Let me start by assuring you, dear reader, that I get it. I understand that you’ve endured many years of rhetorical abuse by the left. I know that social justice warriors, with their relentless accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and ever more creative brands of bigotry, have worn your sensitivity down to a nub. I wholly share your increasing indifference toward other people’s feelings, since the value placed on those feelings has become so inflated that no room remains for reason.
That said, there remains a crucial distinction between the scourge of political correctness and basic standards of decency. Conversely, there remains a crucial distinction between politically incorrect expression and actual bigotry. For our own sake, and for the sake our broader community, we must apply ourselves to recognizing those distinctions. The left is wrong, yes. That does not make any given response to them right.
The past year has seen the emergence of the term “cuck” in our online political discourse. If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media, you’ve likely come across it. Some have taken to using it as an alternative to RINO, calling anyone they deem inadequately partisan or ideologically impure “cuckservatives.”
As an insult, the word carries a lot of heft. It lands with a thud. It has that rhyme with a profanity and catches the eye with its one-letter difference from two notably profane words. It can be used without censorship or censure, since it has yet to be widely recognized as vile. In that sense, it’s an attractive rhetorical weapon, which likely informs why many use it. It’s important, however, to understand what it actually means.
An abbreviated form of the word cuckold, which refers to the husband of an unfaithful wife, “cuck” has taken on a more specific and nefarious meaning. It refers to a white man who takes perverse pleasure in watching his wife have relations with a black man. It is that more specific meaning which led to its adoption by the alt-right.
Recall that the alt-right is little more than rebranded white nationalism. Just as the left has historically rebranded itself — communist, socialist, liberal, progressive — today’s white nationalists have learned to market their ideas under a guise. The alt-right thrives on tribal identity and seeks a nation defined by race. Like bigots of old, they abhor any mixing of the races. “Cuck” therefore resonates with them as the ultimate insult. Since they can think of few things more disgraceful than their wives cheating on them with a black man, accusing other men of perversely desiring such deviance strikes them as supremely insulting.
With that context, it should become clear that use of the word “cuck” conveys more than a term like RINO. A Republican-in-name-only can be anything, depending upon how you define Republican. A “cuck” is something very much more specific — a race traitor. The only type of person who thinks in terms of betraying race is a bigot. Therefore, if you use the word “cuck,” you broadcast bigotry.
Again, I get that our sensitivity to accusations of bigotry has been eroded nearly flat. I get that we’re sick and tired of worrying about whether people think we’re racist. However, at some point, we need to recall our fundamental principles and values.
As both the product of and a partner in interracial marriage, I call myself a conservative and a Republican because I believe in the self-evident truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. I believe “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” I share Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of “a nation where [people] will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Further, I know as an uncontested fact that the vast majority of my fellow Republicans believe those same things. I see it as I look into their eyes. I feel it as I shake their hands. I know ours is not the party, or the movement, of racism and bigotry.
We must therefore proactively reject use of the term “cuck.” We must police it, not as an emulation of irrational social justice warriors, but as defenders of the honor which our creed commands. We are better than our cultural and political opponents, and bear an increased burden to demonstrate it. That proves harder than giving in to the temptation of cathartic release. It may be less immediately gratifying. But we are the party of delayed gratification. As we know and practice in every other field of endeavor, good results require disciple. We have that discipline. Let’s exercise it.
Cross-posted at PJ Media, where comments are welcome.