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The end of woke is nigh The new political correctness hasn't the power to overwhelm our existing order

Don't lose sleep over them (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Don't lose sleep over them (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)


May 19, 2021   5 mins

Do you remember political correctness? For members of Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, the PC boom of the Eighties and Nineties was part of growing up. Like today’s wokeness, it was all about policing language. For instance, instead of saying “disabled” we were meant to say “differently abled” or “physically challenged”.

The jargon didn’t stick. Indeed, it was widely mocked, with wags competing to contrive faux-PC terms like “circumferentially challenged” (meaning “fat”) and “metabolically different” (meaning “dead”).

Of course, during any reform of manners there are always those who take things too far — putting skirts around piano legs and the like. Fortunately, society as a whole is more sensible; we curb the excesses and move on to a kinder, gentler stage in our development.

This model of permanent-progress-with-temporary-excess is how some conservatives seek to contextualise the current moment. For instance, David Brooks of the New York Times argues that while the “thing we call wokeness” produces “fringe absurdities” it also has “at its core… an honest and good-faith effort to grapple with the legacies of racism.”

Furthermore, he has faith in the “American establishment’s ability to co-opt and water down every radical progressive ideology.” The rise of the woke corporation is not therefore a sign that wokeness is taking over, but rather proof that the process by which capitalism defangs the Left is once more in operation. We weren’t turned into hippies by Coca-Cola teaching the world to sing 50 years ago and we won’t be turned into wokelings by the posturing of corporate PR departments today.

Tyler Cowen makes a similar argument, referring to another song from 1971 — John Lennon’s Imagine. This was an immediate and enduring hit — the biggest of Lennon’s solo career. But despite us imagining the idea of “no possessions” for the last five decades, capitalism continues to sell them in ever greater quantity.

Thus Brooks and Cowen seem to have history on their side.

But there is a counter-argument, made by Rod Dreher who is a friend of Brooks, but horrified by his complacency. For a start, says Dreher, there is no good side to wokeness — it is a “naked attempt to exercise tribal politics, and to do so by (brilliantly) deploying moral language and victim status to disguise what it is being done.”

If that’s true, then wokery isn’t the latest in a long line of vehicles for social justice, but quite the opposite. It has hijacked the struggle against oppression to perpetrate a divisive and destructive ideology of its own. Thus nothing good can come from its growing influence. As Dreher puts it: “the core of our disagreement is over the effects of having a leadership class radicalized by wokeness. David thinks it’s not all bad, but it will fade in time. I think it is entirely bad, and that even if it fades — I’ve got my doubts — the damage it does in the process is going to be immense.”

A yet more disturbing scenario is presented by Ed West. He too doubts that wokeness will fade away. Indeed, he compares the current moment to one of the most important turning points in world history: “In The Final Pagan Generation Edward Watts recalled how the cohort growing up in the mid-4th century watched, helplessly, as their culture was overwhelmed by the tidal wave of Christianity. Bit by bit, decree by decree, their religious supremacy and then freedom was hacked away.”

In this analogy, wokeness is the new Christianity — a belief system that moved from the fringes into the mainstream and ultimately all the way up into the highest echelons of the establishment. As in the 4th Century, it is already too late to do anything about it. The reactionary spasms of the 21st century, like the Trump presidency, are as futile as the reign of the last pagan emperor of Rome — Julian the Apostate — who tried but failed to reassert the old order. Neither he nor Trump ever stood a chance.

How robust is this analogy? Let’s begin with the observation that by Julian’s time, traditional Roman religion bore little resemblance to its old self. All sorts of new belief systems has spread across the Empire. However, most of these were assimilated — often fused with traditional Roman gods.

One could say the same about the West today. Modernity has opened the way for all sorts of new influences on culture and politics at the expense of tradition. And yet, as Brooks and Cowen describe, the established order has nevertheless endured — by taming and co-opting the challenger ideologies.

Christianity, though, was the challenger ideology that would not and could not be assimilated. Just how far Christianity assimilated Rome is matter of debate, but the concept of “Christendom” grew from Rome’s ruins — defining Europe, the West and ultimately the modern world.

The question therefore is whether wokeness today is remotely comparable to the role Christianity played as Rome crumbled. Note that I’m not talking about how much wokeness owes as an ideology to the worldview that Christianity built — I’ll leave that debate to the likes of Tom Holland. Rather, I’m asking whether wokeness has the capacity to offer a unifying vision of such compelling power as to overwhelm and supersede the existing order.

And here the answer is clear: it does not.

First, wokeness is too geographically limited in scope. The impact that it’s made so far depends on conditions that apply specifically to the United States of America — especially in regard to that country’s history of slavery, segregation and ongoing racial discrimination. The global reach of social media helps to explain why the Black Lives Matter movement made waves far beyond America; but it does not change the very different context of race relations in other countries.

Even a country with as revolutionary a history as France has made it abundantly clear that American-style wokeness will not be taking root in French soil. Whether that’s expressed by the ruling establishment centred upon President Macron or a youth vote that’s shockingly skewed towards the far-Right, we English-speakers need to remember that we are not the world.

Second, unlike the Christianity which spread among ordinary people before converting the establishment, wokeness comes from the elites and continues to wield its greatest influence there. It is not a popular movement; it is remarkably unpopular, in fact.

Perhaps, like Protestantism during the Reformation, it doesn’t have to be. Given the control that the elites have over political, economic and cultural institutions, it may be that rest of the population just follows along behind: Cuius regio, eius religio (‘whose realm, their religion’) as they used to say in the 16th century.

Except that these days, voters aren’t so keen on being treated like a bunch of peasants. In the wake of Brexit, the Labour Party tried to pull that trick in their heartlands and it didn’t end well for them.

Third, wokeness doesn’t even begin to match Christianity’s intellectual depth. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo? It’s not exactly Saint Augustine’s City of God, is it?

No doubt that’s an unfair comparison, but if you put the intellectual heavyweights of the contemporary Left up against the best people from the other major schools of political thought — liberalism, conservatism, even classical Marxism —  there’s no doubt as to who’d win the wooden spoon.

The jargon and buzzwords of wokery are easily grasped, a rhetorical framework that just about anyone can assemble and deploy on Twitter. But with so little substance behind each component, they quickly become worn out. Already, terms like “safe space” and “trigger warning” are beginning to sound very last decade. The biggest threat to wokeness isn’t whiteness or the patriarchy, but fashion.

Fourth, wokeness is viral in the proper sense of the word — i.e. it doesn’t do much except reproduce itself (and even then parasitically, by subverting pre-existing institutions). The demands of the movement centre upon changes to language, symbols and patterns of thought. Beyond that, real world policies such as “defund the police” are so wildly impractical as to have rhetorical relevance only.

Clearly, wokeness appeals to people with legitimate complaints against the status quo — especially younger people. But in focusing on extremely generalised theories of injustice rather than specific, fixable failures in the system, the contemporary Left is singularly useless as an agent of practical change.

Finally, the ruling establishment doesn’t have to keep stitching up the younger generation. There is no need for a radical new ideology to fix problems like student debt, unpaid internships, the housing crisis and all the other ways in which Millennials and Post-Millennials have been let down by their elders.

Indeed, the more that the elites adopt woke ideology to distract attention from these failures, the sooner that the young will realise they’ve been had — and the sooner they’ll move on to the next protest movement.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“There is no need for a radical new ideology to fix problems like student debt, unpaid internships, the housing crisis”
of course there isn’t. Cut tuition at public universities. Get rid of the b*lls**t degree programs after which you cannot get a job and woke university departments that do nothing but soak up public dollars. Explain to students before they borrow what they will have to pay back.
unpaid internships are fine, students needs as much experience as possible.
There is no housing crisis. There is a crisis of too many young people trying to live somewhere they cannot afford. No one is entitled to own a home in NYC, San Francisco or London in their twenties. No one is entitled to live in the style in which they lived with their parents in their twenties. The vast majority of baby boomers could not do this either.
ï»żBuy a starter home in a cheaper city. Millions and millions of millennials do this. With the pandemic kicking off an entire generation of people working halfway across the country from their company, there is no excuse to demand to live in a city you cannot afford.

Matt M
Matt M
3 years ago

Well said Annette. Spot on!

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago

with the caveat that you do need to live where the jobs are.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Sure. As we watch people commute often long distances daily. Few with families can afford to live in the city proper thus several hours daily are in a conveyance.

Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Younger people seem to want to avoid commuting at all, from my observation. When I worked in London, a daily commute of at least an hour each way by tube was pretty normal.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

That’s been going on since the 1960s, though. I remember a documentary about commuting on British TV in the 1980s: there was one bloke who commuted to London from the Isle of Wight every day.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

I’m not sure how this has morphed into a rant about how awful young people are. The stuff about housing costs in the UK at least is complete nonsense, not borne out by any of the statitistics, commuting or no commuting. A far higher proportion of young people than before have little chance of buying homes even within commuter distance. Of course some manage it but home ownership rates have greatly decreased in the younger age groups.

People of a certain age nostalgise about the cheap houses they were able when very young, maybe then needing to do them up. Those properties have astronomically increased in value, and anything like that is now a complete impossibilty for many.

House prices are soaring, fundamentally because of demand massively outstripping supply. Of course, a large fraction of the population who already own their homes are now beneficiaries of that fact, or at least perceive that they might be through downsizing in future. They have absolutely no incentive to change.

Of course we ought to be able to build far more homes, of all types, as other countries do.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

“Of course we ought to be able to build far more homes, of all types, as other countries do.”
We can’t. There are already 69m of us, our numbers are increasing at a rate of 250,000+ per annum, and we only have about 100,000 sq miles to play with.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Sure, people have always done that.

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

…then you should rent, with a roommate or two, sublet, share living space, rent a room. Thirty years ago the problem wasn’t – but seemed – a lot less complex.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

Precisely, I grew up in NYC. If I wanted to live there after college, I didn’t get to live in the style to which I was accustomed on my parents dime. I had three roommates in a very small rented apartment and never felt it was my right to own a home there. I have a niece who lives in not much more than a large closet there now. She wants to live in the city but cannot really afford to. That’s life.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

Saying that’s life is an asinine way of looking at this though. If we were to get to the point where many people could no longer live in their home towns because they became gentrified it would be a poor reflection on our society.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

But it is actually life. Who expects a twenty something to be able to buy a home in a London or NYC? What on earth do you mean by gentrified? London used to be a wreck but now it’s gentrified? No.
London is expensive because a lot of people want to live there. More people than ever before. That’s not what gentrification means. This is simple economics and it applies to life in general. Can’t afford a rolls Royce? Buy a Honda.
Just because you can’t afford to live in London at 25 doesn’t mean you will never be able to afford to live there. Use some common sense.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

I’m from London I didn’t like living there because it seems mostly devoid of either a unifying culture or sense of community. The primary reason for this is that so many have emigrated to London from elsewhere and others who are from the city have moved elsewhere. I’m not even saying this is a good or bad thing just an observation.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

I’m quite similar. Although born and raise in NYC it’s not a livable city for me (for many reasons, not just the cost) so I don’t live there either. Like many New Yorkers and Londoners, I find quality of life to be better elsewhere. But tons of people do want to live there.

andy thompson
andy thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

Precisely.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

Not anymore. Pre pandemic more so.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago

You are right, but that is never going to happen.
Just now, the police have decided they will not recruit any new trainees without a degree.
The insane, bankrupt state of higher education in this country exists because it is in the interest of the ruling elite. It is the best mechanism they have come up with since the EU for transferring vast sums of money from ordinary people into their own pockets.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Just now, the police have decided they will not recruit any new trainees without a degree.

Well, why not. After all nurses need a degree. I’m waiting for the first course in “sanitary hygiene management” aka “toilet cleaner”.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Which will probably happen as the woke system wants that cleaner to have lots of debt and be tied into the system. Wokeness is kept going by the woke informing on the non-woke. Look at the smug face on the male or female who manages to catch a person or institution out & reports them with all the zeal of the Witchfinder General.People are controlled by the fear of being reported & so suppress their true feelings. Capitalism won’t help as all their new customers are woke-look how many gluten free items are now on sale , but the majority population don’t eat them.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

The present systems of higher education serve as a class filter. That may be their most important function to those whose preferences and interests matter.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Also, it eliminates those who lack the intelligence and/or ambition to make it through college.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Krehbiel

You think? Surely anyone can make it through college if they are prepared to take on debt and make a fist of parroting woke orthodoxies

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Sending kids to uni for years was first done as a way to reduce youth unemployment.
Those figures are barely reported now but were all the rage in the 80s

That said ..let’s call it for what it is ..an American obsession/cult. As the article says…there’s no woke in France. Nor anywhere but the Anglosphere. No pronoun debates in Turkey, Russia, Nigeria or Indonesia.

If the Anglo govts really want to take on woke culture then they need to go after the main media organisations like the BBC and at the same time the high education establishment. The current UK govt may do this. The current US govt won’t… in fact they’ll double down on this nonsense.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

As I’ve explained elsewhere, what I think you’re calling ‘woke culture’ is the expression of ruling-class concerns which have been transmitted to students and the people who teach them, and to some extent to the official media. These concerns arise in the US because the population consists of many different and often mutually hostile cultural, ethnic, religious, and class groups. Obviously racism and other forms of tribalism will pose a large problem for the state and its institutions, especially major corporations, if the situation advances to open conflict. It seems unlikely that the government will overtly call the project off unless they think of something better. I don’t know what the situation is in the UK but what I get out of reading the messages here is that something similar is going on.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Surely it comes from the universities and the media . The government didn’t start it and they have few powers to ‘call it off’ .other than by stopping a few people being silenced or sacked here and there.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

Tribal conflict was not invented by the universities.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

The attraction for politicians to extend education was the reduction in unemployment figures for the 18-22 age and they can look good while doing it. However its a disaster for young people. An 18 year old would probably be quite happy to make tea and run errands while learning on the job-a sort of ASM in theatre terms. By the time you are an adult graduate this is beneath your dignity-however you have nothing more to offer an employer than the 18 year old if your degree is in social science subject.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago

Right again, Annette, except perhaps older generations do bear some responsibility for fuelling the unrealistic expectations you describe. 

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baseley

I’ll grant you that. If you have not explained to your kids that you didn’t live the lifestyle in your twenties that you live in your fifties or sixties, then you haven’t done your job.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

No one is entitled to own a home in NYC, San Francisco or London in their twenties. No one is entitled to live in the style in which they lived with their parents in their twenties.”
This is true – but there are material factors in the UK housing economy that do not apply in the US. One of the main drivers of housing scarcity in the UK is very simple and almost never spoken of: immigration. To keep up with immigration, we would have had to build a Peterborough (or an even bigger town) every year for the past three decades. Obviously, that has not happened. And, anyone who tried to raise this would be yelled at with brainless accusations of xenophobia.
With that expansion of housing need – guess what? Prices go up! Duh.
The situation in the US (e.g. SF or NY) is different. There, income inequality has been more of a driver. I have been a regular visitor to SF and NY many times a year for the past two decades. SF in particular has changed dramatically in that time.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

“The situation in the US (e.g. SF or NY) is different. There, income inequality has been more of a driver.”
Income inequality implies that everyone should have the same income. It is not the driver anymore than income inequality is the driver of everyone not being able to drive a Rolls Royce because that isn’t reasonable either. If all you can afford is a Honda, buy the Honda until you can afford the Rolls.
No one has the right to demand to live in the most expensive city in the world. We cannot equalize everyone’s income so they can all live in SF. Live in a city you can afford. If you can afford to pay only $250,000 for a home, don’t look for one in SF. Try a city where $250,000 buys you a decent home. “Income inequality” solved.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

I don’t fundamentally disagree, but there are details. I agree; not everyone can live in SF. I agreed that already.
When I started teaching in SF (visiting academic) police officers and firefighters could afford to live in SF. Now they cannot. This is a structural problem for the city.
When I was a junior doctor in London (18 months out of med school) I could buy a 3 bed apartment in a pleasant area (not with parental help, either). Impossible today for someone in that position.
It is unquestionably the case that income and wealth inequality in the US have risen (as it has in the UK, though less so than in the US). This has had an impact on house prices and where people may live. Perhaps cities like London and SF will become less desirable as a result.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

Housing prices in SF and NYC are not astronomical due to income inequality. They are astronomical because so many people want to live there. And what you are overlooking is the fact that many more people want to live in London and NYC and SF today than did 40 years ago.
This isn’t about income inequality. Lots and lots of people can afford to live in NYC or SF. They will never be unattractive places to live for many people. I grew up in a one bedroom apartment in NYC with parents and two siblings. In the 1960s. The kids slept in the dining room. We lived there until I was 12 when my parents built a home in a more affordable location – Westchester County. Eventually they moved back to the city in a very nice place. So while they eventually could afford NYC they could not when they were younger. If you want to live in NYC, you pay.
It’s about people demanding to live where they cannot afford to. At no time in history were NYC and SF affordable for everyone. Nor should that be the goal. People used to have a better understanding of living within their means. The choice isn’t NYC or homelessness.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

The problem with unpaid internships is that unless mummy and daddy can fund your first year in the workplace after graduation, you can’t go into those sectors that have them. There’s a reason that old-fashioned seven year indentured apprenticeships died out: ordinary people could not afford to pay a master craftsman to feed, accommodate and train their sons for seven years. Unpaid internships are the same thing for the modern age, and the kind of people who can afford them would sail into a top job regardless. The route is mapped out in advance, regardless of talent: public school, Oxbridge, internship, the-sky’s-the-limit. Bright kids from comprehensives, who might achieve a place at a Russell Group university if they get past the “it’s not for the likes of you” attitude of their teachers can forget about it.
Believe it or not, I’m not a lefty.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

Who is doing a seven year internship? Must be a very slow learner.
An internship is not seven years and the year is 2021. Internships are usually a few months and done during school time as an accompaniment to classroom learning. If you want an internship after college, live at home while you’re doing it.
Internships are not jobs, they are learning experiences. What we need are learning experiences for students, high school and college. They are also not full time so if a student needs to work an actual job they can do that. I waited tables for pay while interning. I am not at all interested in any sort of rant about class, which doesn’t apply in the US anyway since millions of students of all incomes have unpaid internships. This isn’t about rich people, it’s about students and what they need.
Demanding that interns be paid will do nothing but limit the number of internships available. We need every student to have learning experience they can then sell to an employer.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

I did refer to “your first year in the workplace”; the seven-year apprenticeships of old were a rough parallel, not an exact one.
And I’m pretty sure that some internships are full-time positions for those who already have their degrees.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

It’s not normally a year but in any case even a year is not anywhere parallel to seven years. The vast majority of internships are summer positions, usually one to four months.
yes some internships are for after you have your degree. Mine was. internships are not employment, they are learning opportunities. We don’t want people to stay in internships, we want them to move into jobs. And while I have no objection to companies paying interns, if that is legally mandated, it will limit internship opportunities hurting the very people you say you are concerned about.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
andy thompson
andy thompson
3 years ago

On the nail again Annette.

andy thompson
andy thompson
3 years ago

My parents were married 30 years before my dad could afford her an engagement ring and another ten before he was in a position to buy our (ex) council house; and then only because of the discount 40 years rent brought. Young people these days expect to move immediately into 3/4 bedroom executive homes on brand new estates with top notch furniture throughout and two cars parked in the drive. No compromises. Can you imagine young married couples today moving – proudly may I add – into a identikit house on a vast council estate with only a second hand bed and someone’s old hearth rug to their names?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  andy thompson

No, I can’t. Anymore than I can imagine a family with three children in a one bedroom apartment as my parents lived in their thirties. In their fifties, they were much better off but that was 25 years of hard work. Now, no one wants to wait, it’s their “right” to live in their “hometown” as another poster put it above. Well, yes, if you can afford it. If not, no, it’s isn’t your right.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

Third, wokeness doesn’t even begin to match Christianity’s intellectual depth. 

Or anything’s intellectual depth, for that matter. Problem is, the demand for intellectual depth is rapidly vanishing with the educational standards dropping into “decolonised” oblivion. Deep-sounding platitudes and “profound” slogans are what pass as “intellectual” for the woke. But it’s a moot point anyway, as intellect is obviously a ‘white privilege’, therefore oppressive, therefore the Devil incarnate. The universities will keep churning out thick miseducated dimwits for as long as wokery is prevalent in the education system, and there will be a chronic shortage of intelligent, educated people for quite a while down the line.

The jargon and buzzwords of wokery are easily grasped, […] quickly become worn out. 

There’s a bit more to it though than just faddy buzzwords. Wokery turns into legislation, policies, curricula, economic matters. The undoing of those will be difficult, costly and complicated. It pervades much more than just ‘culture’.

Clearly, wokeness appeals to people with legitimate complaints against the status quo — 

But the status quo IS wokery. Wokery is the status quo now, since more than a decade or two.
Which leads to:

wokeness comes from the elites and continues to wield its greatest influence there. It is not a popular movement; it is remarkably unpopular, in fact.

Clearly, wokeness appeals to people with legitimate complaints against the status quo — 

^ So which is it then? A remarkably unpopular niche indulgence of the elites, or a grassroots ideology of the aggrieved anti-establishment yoof?

Beyond that, real world policies […] are so wildly impractical as to have rhetorical relevance only.

A large number of real-world public art pieces would say otherwise. All the statues etc. removed / earmarked for removal not by the vandals themselves but by the authorities who caved in to the woke vandals’ demands.
Also all the “hate speech / hate crime / non-crime hate incident” laws, the various quota systems, the butchered English lit & history curricula, the illegal immigration farce etc., you name it. Wokery has real-life consequences.

youth vote that’s shockingly skewed towards the far-Right

???
What would be this “far right” the French youth vote is so ‘shockingly’ skewed towards? One has to be shockingly woke to consider the RN “far right”.

Last edited 3 years ago by Johannes Kreisler
James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago

“One has to be shockingly woke to consider the RN “far right”
The RN are the best chance to avoid civil war and the best chance paradoxically for Muslims to successfully integrate. Pandering to the radicals and lawbreakers of minority groups has not worked anywhere.

George Glashan
George Glashan
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I don’t think they want to avoid a civil war, they want to push to that because they think they will win. They see the 1,000’s / 10,000’s of other revolutionary cosplayer on marches (and the few 100 hardcore antifa style actual revolutionaries) and all the likes in their twitter echo chamber and believe its just one last push to utopia.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

If we disregard the “shockingly” and “far right” slurs, one thing the columnist is correct about the French youth’s support for RN and Marine. Much unlike in the UK where Labour / Green has the monopoly on the young vote, the youth in France leans to Le Pen / RN and the middle-aged/middle class “boomer” gen buys into the ‘centrist’ cluster. No surprise it was France where GĂ©nĂ©ration Identitaire was born. Also in France the actual “elite” (the aristocrats, the intellectuals, the intellectual aristocrats – NOT the political / money “elite”) is generally more right-leaning, unlike in the Anglo world.
Crossing fingers for a Le Pen win next year.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  George Glashan

Watching the enemy retreat means they are winning, geographically as people have recalled how different cities have become and culturally-look at all the new laws on ‘hate speech’ which are only used to prosecute certain people ( and their dogs!)

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

To the media RN is far right, especially the English-speaking media. RN is Marine Le Pen’s party, and is a remodelled version of her father’s party, the FN, which translated into English as the NF. In Britain (England, really), NF was an all-out neo-Nazi party. So it’s easy to draw a straight line and conclude that Marine Le Pen is her dad in a skirt, her party, and policies, are the same as his, and his party was the same as the one that used to march through the more racially mixed cities of England in the 1970s.
It’s lazy, it’s inaccurate, but it’s also meat and drink to those on the northern side of the Channel who have their own political reasons for wishing to denigrate her.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

I am less optimistic.

1) Wokeness is too geographically limited.
Under Constantine, Christianity co-opted the power of imperial Rome to advance itself throughout the world. Today, wokeness has co-opted all major power centers of the dominant world power (America), and it now using American’s imperial reach to advance the woke agenda throughout thw world. How successful has this been? 2 weeks ago was a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Budapest, Hungary — a nation that is <1% black. Wokeness is not geographically limited.

2) Wokeness is only among elites.
Christianity is the exception, not the rule. Radical political views nearly always come from the elite. The Enlightenment: led by educated elites. The American revolution: led by wealthy elites (Washington was said to have worked hard to hide his educational the cultural deficits — a colonial version of JD Vance.) The French revolution: led by students in 1789 and radical elites like Thomas Paine (the last time America exported revolutionaries to France.) It is said there was only 1 blue-collar worker on Lenin’s worker’s council, and he was booted for not being radical enough. Poor people don’t drive radicalism; they’re too busy trying to put food on their tables and a roof over their heads.

3. Wokeness is shallow.
Christian theology took centuries to develop. Like Christianity, wokeness has lens through which all events are filtered (racism), an answer for every problem (oppression), and an enemy (white, male Christians especially). The germs of a woke theology is present in universities today; give it a few decades. Marxist science was objectively bunk, but it still starved a whole lot of people becuase no one could challenge it.

4. Wokeness appeals to those with legitimate complaints
The most woke are often the most privileged. Of course “defund the police” is wildly impractical, but only for those without the resources to hire your own security.

Like David Brooks, I would like to believe that wokeness will burn itself out. However, I’m almost 50, so I’ve watched the gradual march of post-60’s progressivism across our institutions. There is no evidence yet that Western Civilization has any desire or ability to push back.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

‘Like David Brooks, I would like to believe that wokeness will burn itself out. However, I’m almost 50, so I’ve watched the gradual march of post-60’s progressivism across our institutions.’
I think you’re right with the above statement. And wokeness is just the moniker given to the latest version of ‘progressivism’ that over time ended human sacrifice, slavery, child labour and gave equal rights to women.
The aspects of what is termed wokeness that stand the test of time will become mainstream and societies (in those regions that experience progressivism) will continue to get incrementally more pleasant and safe for the majority of people.
The current backlash from reactionary/conservative minded people will pass on to the next generation of progressivism which will no doubt, be given a new name.
I think the big threat to that is probably the risk of irrevocable human initiated harm to the environment in such a way to make it unsuitable for human habitation in some places.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

commenting on how things had changed since we were young , we agreed that people are now expected to be a lot kinder to children & animals.However the other side is a general laziness to call people out who are breaking the rules as people don’t want to be classed as illiberal.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

In the present world, the ruling classes of large polities have to solve difficult problems of tribal integration. In the US, at least, the project has been going on since the country resigned itself to being a world-imperial power after World War 2. One of the severer divisions is between ‘White’ and ‘Black’ and other minorities. The r.c. obviously did not want to try to rule a Balkanized population, so various strategems have been tried — Integration, Affirmative Action, and so on, to reduce the tribalism. The young have picked up on what their elders want and try to supply it, sometimes heroically, but it turns out to be very difficult. ‘Woke’ may disappear — it already seems pretty fluffy — but the underlying motives for it won’t, so it will simply reappear in a different form. Given that human tribalism is probably genetic and the product of our difficult evolution, it’s going to be a long struggle.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

 â€˜progressivism’ that over time ended human sacrÂĄfice, sIa*ery, child labour and gave equal rights to women.

That’s a very 
ehm, interesting take on things. 
Human sacrÂĄfÂĄce was ended in much of the world by the spread of ChrÂĄstianity. 
SIa**ry is still rampant in vast parts of the world, and is being imported into those (civilised) parts where it was successfully abolished. 
Child labour ditto. 
Equal rights of women ditto – and in many civilised (“Western”) societies women had equal rights without any suffragette style ‘movement’, they just came about organically.

Last edited 3 years ago by Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

societies (in those regions that experience progressivism) will continue to get incrementally more pleasant and safe for the majority of people.

Societies which experience “progressivism” will continue to allow and experience the mass immigration of the global majority (from Africa etc.) and the import of all the profoundly unprogressive things those global majority people bring with themselves – crime and economic decrepitude are only two items on the menu. So when the locals become a minority among the global majority, everybody will inhabit a deeply and uniformly unpleasant and unsafe society.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

John Lennon’s Imagine. This was an immediate and enduring hit 

Ugh. The most irritating piece of popular music i ever heard, i hated it long before i learnt or understood English. Understanding its lyrics didn’t improve my opinion either; the lyrics are just as crap as the whole music of it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Johannes Kreisler
James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago

Lenon should have written “imagine no possessions, I know I cannot”, but hey, the stupid song made him money.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

For a while he & yoko ( travelling round the world handing out acorns for example)were an early version of H & M who also don’t practice what they preach

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

That was the same bloke who said he’d likely be a lite more rich and a little less famous. Liverpool named an airport after him and not Bill Shankly … disgraceful

CYRIL NAMMOCK
CYRIL NAMMOCK
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

“Imagine six apartments-
It isn’t hard to do;
One is full of fur coats,
Another’s full of shoes.”

Elton John.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Indeed. It was a poor song which was tanking in the charts until Lennon was shot.
Mine was not a popular viewpoint back then.

andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

It was actually recorded a number of years before 1980 and had charted in 1975, reaching number 6. The single that went to number 1 in the immediate aftermath of his death was Just Like Starting Over, which was moving down having reached number 10. Imagine subsequently reached number 1 early in 1981. For the record I don’t like the song very much either!

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Thanks for that pop pickers intervention. I like the song, despite disliking it in my anti-hippy punk youth on principle because of the flares and hair. Now, I can appreciate wider trousers, having hair and asking somewhat idealistic questions about the nature of religion and capitalism. It’s a pop song. Not a freaking manifesto. Starting Over was better, though.

andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Not arf.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

bate..

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoff Cooper

Quite liderally….

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

pop pickers-Alan ‘fluff Freeman?

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

in my anti-hippy punk youth 

At last one thing we have in common. Used to be a punk (well, more punk lite) myself at around the age of 17 – 18, just after i grew out of my brief pro-hippy episode at 16 or so. Then by 20 i fell out of the loop with most of popular music altogether.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

Thanks for the correction Andrew.
I guess my memory just registered my annoyance with people later choosing to like/buy a song that they had previously seen little attraction in.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Barton
andrew harman
andrew harman
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Apologies for the nerdery Ian…Lennon wrote some great songs, Imagine is not one of them!

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  andrew harman

It seems melodically lugubrious, but many people like lugubrious music. The recommended imaginings had already passed into common culture in the ancient world, so its message wasn’t news.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Yeah, to me it just sounded like a synopsis of Plato’s The Republic set to music. Well, except for the anti-religion part.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I loathe it and actively turn it off any time i hear it on the radio, much to the amusement of my children

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

‘Jealous Guy’ is his best solo song, but not popular since it concerns shame and guilt, not vacuous idealism.

chris carr
chris carr
3 years ago

Yes, it is a very dreary song, but even worse is that it’s so unimaginative. “Imagine there’s no Hell”?
He might as well have sung “Imagine goldfish often live in bowls” or “Imagine the sun rises in the east.” Or just “Imagine the bl**ding obvious.”

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  chris carr

Those aren’t the lyrics. But don’t let that get in the way….

Mikey Mike
Mikey Mike
3 years ago

You’re too generous. It’s just more bad poetry. And why is it always the guy who owns a townhouse in Manhattan who asks us to imagine a world without possessions? Imagine you’re living in a collectivist dystopia where everyone has hairy armpits and your girlfriend brushes her teeth with peat moss and her forefinger.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Mikey Mike

 Imagine you’re living in a collectivist dystopia 

I didn’t have to, LOL. I was living in the soviet block (where i was born) when that godawful dribble pervaded the radio waves. I haven’t understood much of the lyrics back then, still found it extremely irritating.
(Despite my screen name – which is taken from a 19th century fictional literary character, – i’m a woman and i can attest that indeed many women / girls had hairy armpits and legs in the state-communist times. Toothpaste and toothbrush we had though, but women were hairy. A common way to describe the experience of a hot, sweaty ride on public transport (bus, tram, metro) on a summer day was “all the armpitpoodles barking at you”.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

perfect anthems for those dopes who thought putting on a Che Guevara T-shirt was striking a blow against capitalism.

But Lennon also wrote: “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao / You ain’t gonna make with anyone anyhow”.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

You mean they love a draw.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago

Lennon was a phoney. Aunty Mimi bought him up to be a nice lower middle-class boy and urged him not to waste his time with the council house dwelling McCartney. Rather like the later Mockney affectation adopted by among others Tony Blair, Lennon’s Liverpool accent became broader the further away from the city he moved. In this light Working Class Hero can be viewed as a rather desperate claim for authenticity.

David Platzer
David Platzer
3 years ago

The silliest song in the history of popular music. And to think he was called the “thinking Beatle”.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Platzer

I always blamed it on Yoko’s influence

Looney Leftie
Looney Leftie
3 years ago

I disagree with this article. The author insinuates that the ‘fads’ of political correctness and woke are separate, where I believe one has lead directly to the other. This, with the fact that wokeness has now infested our main stream media (BBC, ITV, C4, Sky), schools, universities, institutions and corprations is a worry, which an anti woke government can do little about. (and indeed I question the slow reaction from the Johnson government on what it can actually prevent woke loons from ruining) I believe the effects of the current influx of wokeness will not be seen for a good 5 years from now, when a lot of their radical views become normalised (even more so than now), and seen as the ‘thing to do’ and ‘the way to think’.

However, I hope the author is correct, and woke is a fad because it is ‘slave morality’, constantly resentful, and motivated by spite. Lacking nuance, it is negative, totalitarian, sexist, racist, Anti working class, dogmatic, illogical and anti free thinking. Seeing all issues through a single, incredibly warpped SJW lens. Perfect for bullying the gullible and manipulatung people of low intelligence into a Marxist like group think, and for convincing the lefty Middle classes that they are not among the oppressors, when in fact, some most definitely are. I really do hope ‘woke’ is a fashion like many seem to believe, however, I, myself am not so convinced.

Last edited 3 years ago by Looney Leftie
Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

“The new political correctness hasn’t the power to overwhelm our existing order” – woke already dominates politics, media, academia and is making massive inroads into the world of business.

google
google
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Indeed. The author seems to be unaware how bad things already are.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  google

Unaware, or in denial. There’s a tendency to downplay wokery’s extent and reduce it to “just some silly student slogans”, the author seems to be working hard to spread that perception.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

“thing we call wokeness” produces “fringe absurdities” it also has “at its core
 an honest and good-faith effort to grapple with the legacies of racism.” People like David Brooks are either active enablers of the problem or willfully ignorant to it. Wokeness is very much like a cancer; it has no end point. It’s not about “racism.” No one can even define that term anymore. It is rendered impotent by overuse when people in Brooks’ circle apply it to math, punctuality, and assorted other things that people of all stripes do routinely.
Wokeness is what happens when one is steeped in the idea that anything touched by white hands is inherently bad. It’s what happens when there are no first-world problems left to consider. It’s what happens when you are among history’s all-time 1% but lack the self-awareness to realize it.
Enough with the victimhood. It’s tedious. Past generations did not fight for freedom so that the current crop could squander it on perpetual victimhood. The idea that what passes as racism today is similar to what it was 100 years ago is not just absurd, it is patently offensive who lived in that time. If black lives really mattered, those chanting the slogan would notice the black lives ended by other black people. They would notice the absence of fathers in the home, the worst schools usually being in black neighborhoods, and they would notice a culture that routinely glorifies the worst of the bunch – the gangters, the “artists” who sing about b!thce$ and hoes.
The woke are mostly white kids from middle-class if not affluent families. They have the least to be angry about any generation in history, yet are perpetually aggrieved by something. They can afford to clutch their pearls over someone saying “ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.” The ‘good faith’ effort of Brooks’ imagination would have no room for idiocy like that. It would have no room for American Airlines investigating a pilot who dared to say a cross word about critical race theory. Instead, it fuels this sort of nonsense and there will be more of it.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Agree, just adding my own take on this:

 It’s what happens when there are no first-world problems left to consider.

It’s what happens when the phrase “first world problems” is uttered with sarcasm and mockery, as if “first world problems” were somehow self-indulgent fripperies, invalid, illegitimate, immoral, to be ashamed of.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

They’re called ‘first world problems’ for a reason. People complain about slow Internet connections, a bad haircut, a short of a particular vegan/gluten-free/organic item in a grocery store, but they do it with a level of seriousness that is grossly disproportionate to the issue itself. These things ARE trivial when compared to issues of the past or to those of other countries where survival itself is a consideration.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I know exactly why they are called as such. My issue is with the insinuation that “trivial” problems are somehow less valid / less deserving than the “serious” third world problems. For example, if a family in Uganda struggles to survive because they thought it’s a perfectly good idea to conceive and birth eight offsprings, i will regard their self-inflicted plight as much less deserving of sympathy than my neighbour who paid for a decent haircut and was given a rubbish one.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago

I sincerely hope the author’s prediction of the demise of wokeness is correct. It might be true in Europe. I see the UK is introducing legislation to financially penalize institutions of higher education that ‘cancel’ faculty members or otherwise deter free speech.
I also note the Australian government is providing less funding for arts subjects, supposedly because they don’t generate ‘job-ready’ graduates. I suspect, however, the main motivation is to strike a blow at those departments that are breeding grounds for wokeness.
Here in the US, however, I see few signs of push back against this disease. Perhaps I’m just not looking in the right places.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Why the writer picked the extraordinarily intellectual Christianity, whose structured ideas of thinking gave us 100 out of the top 120 philosophers of all time, to be an analogy of such backwards, and hateful ideology as Wokeism is just wrong. Christianity gave us education its self, as the 10,000s of monks hand copying classic books for generations, and Priests educated to university level in the Dark ages, to spread literacy and classical thought, and the very schools and Universities themselves. The Scientific method was established by Scientist Priests, all the Western achievements come from the fact Christianity incubated them.

No, for wokeism look more to Black and Brown shirt thinking. Suppressing, self loathing, tearing down history and modern society and meritocracy its self, to replace it with Leveling down and forced redistribution and guilt by birth.

Woke thinking may break Freedom, may wreck the West, as it teaches tearing down, Self Loathing, and devaluing achievement, but mostly as it makes the different elements in society hate each other. It is the law of the ‘Thought Crime’, the Gulag of the ‘Political Prisoner’, the endless insincere ‘Struggle Session’ is required. It is the Kafkaesque nightmare where all must say they believe that which is nonsense, and disavow that which they do believe.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Leaving aside for the moment the minor irritant that is the ‘Woke’, your claims for Christianity are frankly preposterous.

If I may take them in reverse order:

“The Scientific method was established by Scientist Priests”.

Nonsense, have you not heard of Pythagoras*, Euclid, Archimedes and countless other Ancient Greek mathematicians & scientists who operated centuries before the advent of Christ?

“10,000s of monks hand copying classic books for generations, and Priests educated to university level in the Dark ages, to spread literacy and classical thought, and the very schools and Universities themselves”.

Complete nonsense again I’m afraid. The University’s, such as they were, acted almost exclusively as Priest Factories, teaching only one idea, blind faith. No alternative was possible. Education likewise, such as it was lay completely in the clammy hands of the Church.
Yes, thousands of parasitical, contemplative Monks spent eons slavishly copying the few surviving Classical texts but to little avail.

“Christianity gave us education its self”:

What on earth do you think Ancient Greece & Rome were up to, again centuries before Christ? Where do you think the very word education comes from ?

“Christianity, whose structured ideas of thinking gave us 100 out of the top 120 philosophers of all time”

Your most outrageous claim! Have really never heard of say Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato & Aristotle to name but a few? Some today would even maintain that all Philosophy is but a footnote to Plato.
Incidentally and yet again where does the word Philosophy come from?

The ‘triumph’ of Christianity was an unmitigated disaster for Western Civilisation, from which it has yet to fully recover.
At least a thousand years of intellectual nihilism and stagnation were the result of the “Rise of Faith and Fall of Reason “ as it has been called. As a result Western Civilisation today is remarkable for its plethora of prurient pygmies and intellectual dwarfs.

However, thanks to the rise of Agnosticism*, the West has survived, and having ‘survived’ Christianity, will no doubt see off the Woke in short order.

(*Died about 500 BC.)
(**and where does that word come from?)

Tim Stewart
Tim Stewart
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’m in Australia, and have gotten into interesting conversations on the university fee changes with some people who lean woke. I’ve pointed out that if we’re to have any serious crack at a lower or zero net carbon economy within a few short decades then we’d better concentrate on training the next generation to be power electronics engineers who can build grids supporting distributed generation and storage, materials scientists who can develop battery tech, logistics professionals who can refactor transport systems, bio-scientists who can develop agricultural and land use innovations, nuclear physicists who can have a shot at nailing fusion, mining technicians who can focus on the availability of lithium, silicon and all the other resources we will need, and software engineers like myself who can help manage the information around all these things. I also point out that as a techie, I find the suggestion that it is only arts and humanities students who will develop the awareness to vote “correctly”, hold government to account and preserve civil societies to be deeply patronising. I’m glad to say this has not all fallen on entirely deaf ears.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Stewart

Good response. However, as they are classical Marxists they have a well used final solution to too many people and not enough resources….

Paula Jones
Paula Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Stewart

“I’m glad to say this has not all fallen on entirely deaf ears.”
I was heartened by that sentence, although the communications I have with Australian friends do betray a creeping, unthinking acceptance of Wokery.
On the plus side, they’ve just bought a hybrid car, which should more than offset all those air miles they use on their adventures exploring the world.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Stewart

One official upvote circa 10,000 extra here

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim Stewart

Interesting perspective. Thanks.

Stephen Rose
Stephen Rose
3 years ago

I get nostalgic for political correctness, its relative civility and absurdity. It spawned “Snow white and the seven men of diminished stature” It had a creativity about it, we could laugh.
Now Snow White is a victim of rape culture.
Woke has gone rogue,it isn’t even done in good faith. They lump people into “communities” that have little in common, but their grievances make effective weapons. It is deceitful and stupid with a naked desire for power.
It bears so little relationship to theology, philosophy or science, that on reading its key texts, one is astounded at how facile it is. It has no leader, no poetry, no metaphysics.it seems principally a lawyer’s racket, like previous revolutions.

It reads the room, it pushes buttons, it also wants to wrap your head in duck tape!
What can we do about it, when it suborns those two young women in your header, who just want us to be nicer to one another.
I don’t think it’s a fashion, it’s a malaise, that could be part of our culture for some time to come.
I recently watched an interview with Mary Erbhert, the writer, who made a convincing case explaining this cultural phenomenon, based on among things the diminution of the family.

Alan B
Alan B
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Rose

Was that Mary Eberstadt?

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

Wokeness gives meaning to people who have no struggle in life, who have never really suffered. Overfed, satiated beyond need, attended to by the welfare state, self-absorbed and seeking the romantic allure of the suffering hero/intellectual/saviour – wokeness is all that gives them any sense of identity or purpose. Human beings need to struggle to give meaning to their lives. Fulfil all their needs and they will create imaginary struggles.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Spot on. People with BLM placards routinely gather at a major intersection near where I live. They are all white and mostly old and, judging from their appearance and clothes, reasonably well off. I think it’s old people who’ve suddenly found a reason to get up in the morning.

Paula Jones
Paula Jones
3 years ago

I always found Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to be hugely amusing. Once that savvy Yoko had turned his fortunes around, he owned chunks of Manhattan.
‘Imagine no possessions’ indeed… He must have written it after a nightmare.

Last edited 3 years ago by Paula Jones
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

wokery isn’t the latest in a long line of vehicles for social justice, but quite the opposite. It has hijacked the struggle against oppression to perpetrate a divisive and destructive ideology of its own.
It’s hard to disagree.
To do so one would have to argue that wokery has some good in it, and if wokery does, then so does everything bad there’s ever been. When the Aztecs disembowelled people and tore their hearts out while still alive, they meant well.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I believe there’s a lot more good in wokeness than you argue, but I love that sentence, and will try to remember it in the future:

When the Aztecs disembowelled people and tore their hearts out while still alive, they meant well.
Emre Emre
Emre Emre
3 years ago

Brooks compares wokeness to the hippies – but he understates it. Harvard didn’t declare centrality of hippiness, the Navy didn’t institute mandatory hippie ideas training, or the CEO of JP Morgan didn’t publicly declare being a hippie – wokeness clearly is a stronger influence. It ranks somewhere between the Prohibition to Reformation in its depth of influence I’d say – still to be seen.

Last edited 3 years ago by Emre Emre
William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

the more that the elites adopt woke ideology to distract attention from these failures, the sooner that the young will realise they’ve been had â€” and the sooner they’ll move on the next protest movement.

I hope you are right but wokeness has powerful backers in China (who are more than happy with wokeness as it breeds instability and division which at the very least makes people buy more stuff). I also think India with its caste system is not exactly strangers to woke ideas. Add to that big tech and that has dragged the rest of the corporations along. As well as the left (who lets face it have most of the levers of power in the west if not actually being in government) and many “pragmatists” on the right.
So the only real opposition is the majority of the people, who don’t like wokeness. It really depends on will they stay opposed and if they do can they really make a difference in our “representative” democracies.

Last edited 3 years ago by William Gladstone
horowme
horowme
3 years ago

The author describes the “political correctness” of the 1980s and the current “woke” atrocity as if they are separate and distinct phenomena.
They are instead, era-specific expressions of the same weaponized and insidious ideology on a continuum described by Dutschke as the “long walk through the institutions of power.”
The process is akin to the “Boiling Frog” analogy where slow imperceptible changes go unnoticed until the unsuspecting frog can no longer save itself.
Each successive generation provides the “movement” with a fresh cadre of callow youths, “useful idiots,” and “splendid dupes.” impelled by the “religious gene” to find meaning in a world that appears irrational and meaningless.
“If a society is to preserve stability and a degree of continuity, it must learn how to keep its adolescents from imposing their tastes, values, and fantasies on everyday life.” – Eric Hoffer
“Both [Antonio] Gramsci and [Rudi] Dutschke argued that radical social change in highly developed societies would be the result of long, patient organizing inside and outside of key institutions, and not simply or primarily a quick, frontal assault through mass actions. This is Dutschke’s “long march through the institutions of power”, what Gramsci called the “war of position…” – Carl Davidson

Last edited 3 years ago by horowme
Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  horowme

Precisely. That’s why the abrupt “total reset” in 1945/46 in the eastern-bloc proved to be a failure; we hated marxism with the same fiery passion from the first day to the last. (I was born in the soviet-colonised bloc in the mid-1960s.) And we gained robust and long-lasting immunity to wokery from the sordid experience.
Experiment aborted, lessons learnt, now the marxists leave the clunky jackboots at home and softly tiptoe through the backdoor to trample over every institution. Seems to work this time.

Stewart Ware
Stewart Ware
3 years ago

When all this wokeness is over the Wokists will go home to Woking and the Dorks will return to Dorking.

Weyland Smith
Weyland Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart Ware

Who goes back to Scun+horpe?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Weyland Smith

Very good

Stewart Ware
Stewart Ware
3 years ago
Reply to  Weyland Smith

The same question could be asked about the residents of Penistone.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart Ware

Yes but it doesn’t work with Scun+*thorpe as it would be Scuns which is meaningless

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Weyland Smith

Scunthorpians – who else ? – anyway it would be Scuns – which is meaningless

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Stewart Ware

Some of them will go to Woke Newington.

Stewart Ware
Stewart Ware
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Or Woke-on-Trent.

Adam M
Adam M
3 years ago

I have no doubt that so called ‘Wokeness’ is never destined to become a dominant world religion. What I fear is that the woke ideology is a virulent disease of the current crumbling Christian morality and will hasten it’s demise, laying the ground for something far worse.

Mike Ferro
Mike Ferro
3 years ago

It’s interesting how all these euphemisms for promoting left wing dogma, like woke, the latest, and earlier versions like political correctness, backwoodsman (a person too crude and unrefined to accept left wing ideas) and redneck and blue rinse (offensively racist conservative stereotypes) imply that there’s no debate, only one acceptable view, the left wing one.
Policing of thought is what it’s about and always has been.

Alan Hall
Alan Hall
3 years ago

Dangerously optimistic. The elite decision-makers are now fully woke. Most public institutions, the media, university social sciences, museums, charities, quangos, etc are all following a woke agenda. This elite were brainwashed by romantic left wing political/philosophical French intellectuals, and lead by 1960-70s “revolutionaries” (aka Corbyn).
The younger educated elite, future leaders, are steeped in this thinking and are scared to trip on language that might upset some professional victim group. The only hope is that they will destroy themselves through factionalism, as we see now in the feminists vs trans battle. And no doubt splits within the non-cohesive so-called BAME will soon show.

Armand L
Armand L
3 years ago

I think you’ve ignored or side-stepped the central issue here: what is Christianity at its core, what is ‘wokeness’ at its core?
Wokeness is (described by itself) about injustice, righting wrongs, victims and reparations, equality and equity etc. There is no way it cannot consume itself once it becomes even close to the prevalent ideology — once in power, it cannot agitate against itself.
As a cultural moment it will fizzle out but its tenets are timeless and will continue to pierce unless society writ large moves past the paradigms in which wokeness persists. Move past race and identity and wokeness won’t matter. Stick with ethnonationalism and wokeness will never leave.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Great point, Armand. In other words: Don’t like woke, and want it to fade away? Well, then address the portion of the woke grievance that is real.
The fake grievances will evaporate faster once we address the real problems that were tragically mixed up with BS in the current chapter of our never-ending polarization wars.
And if you keep repeating that no real problem exist to support some of these grievances, you are perpetuating the war, so you don’t really want a solution.
Woke is a disgrace. But so is dismissing some of their grievances.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

the portion of the woke grievance that is real.

Real it may be, but is it a legitimate grievance?
Say, a number of people decide to move to X country on their own volition, to avail themselves of the perks of X country’s welfare system. Once there, they experience antipathy from the inhabitants of X country who’ve never given consent to this group to avail themselves to their place to begin with. So the newcomer group’s experience of this (warranted, rational) antipathy is real. It’s a real grievance. But is it a legitimate grievance? No, it is not. The original inhabitants’ antipathy towards the incoming group IS the legitimate grievance. And a real one as well.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

You seem to subscribe to the notion that the referred country and perks rightfully belong to you, and that the exclusionary rights you described are sacred and unassailable.
May you never have the misfortune of being forced to immigrate on account of someone elses’ mismanagement, bad choices and/or downright corruption, only to then be treaded as undeserving by someone as righteous and generous as yourself. I am glad I don’t know you personally.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

I am glad I don’t know you personally.

Likewise – although if you knew me personally, you would know i’m an immigrant myself. A foreigner.
I explicitly wrote “to avail themselves of the perks of X country’s welfare system.” – which refers to the economic mass-migration from Africa / ME exclusively. You appear to labour under the weird misconception that all immigrants are downtrodden thirdworlders. Newsflash: the Irish, French, Polish, Japanese, Icelandic, Russian, Italian, Czech, Swiss, Canadian etc. etc. etc. people are all immigrants too, once they move to another country.

being forced to immigrate on account of someone elses’ mismanagement, bad choices and/or downright corruption

The main driving force of thirdworld mass-immigration is the obscenely high population growth. Care to explain how on earth conceiving & birthing 6 – 8 offspring per woman on average is “someone else’s mismanagement”? It is their own personal choice. The abject corruption in African countries is perpetrated by themselves – so are the tribal wars, etc. etc. They are fleeing their own self-inflicted miseries, and they drag the very causes of those miseries with themselves to every place they turn up en masse.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
3 years ago

I have two particular phrases that I take issue with – “white privilege” and “check your privilege”. As a woman from a poor working class family I take issue with both of these – I have never had any privilege to check, especially now I am caring for a disabled husband on scant disability benefits. The worst thing is this bullshit comes from upper middle class guardiantista types who have NO idea how the rest of us live. I do wonder whether BAME people take offence at this patronising approach, ie basically saying they are incapable of putting forward their own points of view – I really hope so!

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Anti-racism is just the photographic negative of racism and therefore every bit as racist. Just as matter and anti-matter put together = annihilation, left unchecked the anti-racist movement will polarise society into 2 groups which will lead to annihilation. Most BAME do see through the bullshit and for the most part it is privileged whites who are pushing this crap, alongside some privileged non white like Meghan.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Spot on – aside from Meghan Markle who is the gueros’ guera.

Last edited 3 years ago by mike otter
Mimi M
Mimi M
3 years ago

Very naive. Wokeism is a cover for Lefitsm/Marxism/Communism. If you think that Leftism/Marxism/Communism is just a passing fad, you haven’t studied your history.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mimi M
Adam Randon
Adam Randon
3 years ago

Its like the tide. Political correctness overreached and its excesses were rolled back but thanks to it nobody would now say words like ‘retarded’, and firemen and policemen are now fire fighters and police officers (bin men are still bin men though). The woke world view wont leave any such positive legacy but after it the world will basically accept as fact that white males have a uniquely evil history which effects how they should be judged today and that colonialism was one of the great evils of history with no redeeming features.

David Green
David Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Randon

I thought bin men are now waste disposal tachnicians

barbara neil
barbara neil
3 years ago

I don’t think it matters if it is here to stay or not at this stage. That’s for historians later. It should be debunked here and now, like anything else not true, whenever it raises it’s ugly head.

Don Gaughan
Don Gaughan
3 years ago

I thought political correctness was too ridiculous to survive and would fall on its weight of hypocrisy and bs.I never imagined that authorities and corporations would not only pratice its insane agenda, but police and force its insane agenda on all and even democratically elected govts.
The domination of institutions by the woke mob is pervasive .The idea it may fade away or that western civilisation is strong enough to just shed it is a comforting but unsafe thought,as proved by their current dogmatic control of mass media, entertainment industry ,internet, White House, public education, govt sectors, etc.
Th author is correct that the neo marxist left progressive cult is a dangerous harmful fanatical force that needs to be effectively dealt with and neutralised. It will take alot of effort, drive and time to do so, but can be done if the citizens of the free democracies of western civilisation recognise the true unjust racist revenge malice they inflict and stand up and defend their cultures and democracies from the woke tyranny.

Warren T
Warren T
3 years ago

As a newbie to this site, I am very impressed with the depth of the writing by many of the authors and the well reasoned and intellectual responses by so many. Unlike so many of the clickbait sites out there.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago

Racism is small d energy, but standards are big d energy and tradition is even bigger d energy. The problem with anti racism attitudes today is that they lead to a form of personal masochism which translates into collective failures: knife stabbings in London, Rotherham, terrorism.
If the only redemption offered is the redemption of self annihilation, of what use is the moral rule? Is it even what it claims to be?

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

“Racism” in he Hirchfeldian sense is white-hatred. It infects the emotionally unstable left.
Racism in the naturalistic sense is a negative preference for adaptive traits. We are all the latter kind of racist, and have no choice in the matter.

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

“Woke” is white-hatred. Nothing else to it.

David Foot
David Foot
3 years ago

I wish you were right, but no, this is Marxism and it has been around for ages trying to force outcomes which would never stand a chance if their merit were to be considered.
What nobody mentions is that the second World economy is not even white and this non white economy doesn’t encourage any “cotton pickers” who want to get paid for cotton they never picked to live there. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these ideas come / or are bieng paid for from elsewhere. The Traitor Manufacturing Plants like Cambridge don’t exist in this growing Second Economy either, they are not allowed.
Our problems have been designed as a grievance which is being exploited using envy / zero sum arguments (as recommended by Marx even though he was no fan of the blacks). The Marxists seek to destroy the state as we saw last year (June 7 2020 – London). Marxism needs to control our history/ thought and in so doing it will be able to control our future (so they want to insert a distorted USA slavery history in to the history of the UK and its Empire, the first ever Empire which put an end to slavery in the history of man).
Even though we are one of the best nations in the world to live in, most of the black BLM proletariat wouldn’t last five minutes in Africa of today and what they are saying is “no good” for them, the poor people around the world are prepared to die with their children to get in here, that says it all. Billions would kill to be in the place of many moaning BLMs.
We are inventing a problem which doesn’t exist in order to have a catastrophe that will exist and the catastrophe the Marxists are trying to build for us will require a Marxist solution to be solved in the end by a radical change of our social contract. As always if this is allowed it will bring here the traditional Marxist genocide dressed up as some “equity” /forced outcome solution.
There are other tyrannies around as the French military have pointed out. We may find that internal conflicts break out, then we will be able to address the problem without all the “nice appropriate terms” with our power to do so controlled by the woke in the judiciary, that may be an alternate solution, but make no mistake, June 7 – 2020 was no joke with language which will wear out and fade away, Wokery/ Marxism had its first attempt at a proletariat dictatorship and to cancel our culture last year.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

Not often I so deeply disagree with an article. “Geographically limited”?? Are you kidding? Limited just to Canada, US, Aus, NZ, Scandinavia, Britain, much of Europe (I would argue it has more than a small foothold in France). So basically just the whole western world. Thankfully China and Russia are holding out though – that’ll be good for us in the long run. As Douglas Murray says, the barbarians will be at our gates and our military will be too tied up arguing about pronouns to mount a defense.
My field (medicine) is now completely taken over by wokeness. Read The Lancet highlights and editorials if you don’t believe me. I feel like I’m one of the last humans in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. I meet old friends at conferences and they will spout things about racism and sexism in medicine. Once they were humans, but now…

Paul Sorrenti
Paul Sorrenti
3 years ago

I too believe that this movement will collapse as the passing of time confirms it’s impracticability to it’s followers – but what will become of them? Will some lose so much hope that they will convert totally to the anti-woke side (retaining Wokism in its negative form?). Will there be a power vacuum of sorts? Will some followers put the failure down to a lack of zealousness and double down by offering ever greater levels of executive relief to all the underprivileged they pass on the streets?
Any historians out there who can point to similar times?

John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

Has anyone here ever lost a debate on a point of principle to an advocate of wokeness? Ever? No, because hyper-radical equality and critical race rubbish are lies that have to be enforced by soft violence. No free thinking, self-aware, racially conscious, sexually whole and normal, and just plain sensible person can be persuaded to accept lies as truth. But they can be coerced into saying and doing nothing.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  John Standing

You can’t win any argument through rational factual debate because anything and everything you say just proves their point. Sex is determined at conception by which chromosomes the sperm that penetrates the egg is carrying. Once that has happened the cell begins to divide and the chromosomes are carbon copied to every cell and can never be changed. Those are the cold hard facts proven and indisputable and absolute proof therefore that I am a Transphobe even though I have nothing against adults who want to live their lives in a different way as long as that different way is peaceful and law abiding.

Steve White
Steve White
3 years ago

So the idea that everything is going to be okay because there are bigger and deeper worldviews, and the elites are only using wokeness for gain seems a bit narrow to me. If Christianity offers something bigger and better, and even conservatism, liberalism, or Marxism offer deeper belief systems, so what? If there’s no longer any appetite left for anything of that sort then what difference does it make that they are somehow superior?
If cultural institutions have been hollowed out to coerce behavior either through fear of condemnation, or the hope of personal righteousness for holding the right woke beliefs, then what kind of people does that create? If people have been reduced down to useful instruments, like domesticated animals, lab experiments seen as useful only for their Keynesian consumerist economic activity and voting the right people into power then what are they even capable of? Who are they even? What are they? If any sense of anything transcendent has been usurped from a whole nation, then the whole nation is nothing but a mentally tortured, used, cowed, and manipulated ruled over bunch of drones. Expect nothing but decline down to the level of the useful things they’ve been harnessed into. 
Woke is the final blow cultural infection brought on by the deconstructionists. There simply is not enough intellectual immune system left in the host to recover. America is in the process of ending, At least in its original form.

Last edited 3 years ago by Steve White
Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago

Well that is going to put you out of business. What will your contributors write about now? Something serious perhaps?

Jon Walmsley
Jon Walmsley
3 years ago

However much I may agree that wokeness as a diffuse cultural paradigm – a loose socio-political ideology at best – is not here to stay in the long-term, you’re optimism of an early death knell seems misplaced given how wokeness has already spread across higher education institutions, academia, business sectors, mass media, political parties and plenty of other areas of Western societies besides.
There seems to be little to root it out at this point – political exorcists being in short supply – other than perhaps a cataclysmic disaster to shake the very foundations of Western society at large (Covid wasn’t big enough it seems), which may or may not be forthcoming…Even then, it’s diffuse nature makes it immune to the surgeons scalpel, and it seems likely that wokeness is here to stay in the short-term. However, this does not mean that it will have the same long-term, radical impact upon Western societies at large in the same way something like Christianity from the 4th century onwards did (though that impact was a long, gradual process), as it lacks, as you say, much of a coherent ideology or widely transmissible teachings with ‘social justice’ being more of a cause than a creed.
Indeed, the fact ‘woke culture’ is often compared to religious belief systems bemuses me as, whilst it draws from the same emotional-psychological well in certain respects, and its use of language has a puritanical streak to it, it lacks the same spiritual strength, philosophical depth and structural robustness of any of the organised world religions, which, for all their multi-faceted faults, when they are examined with more than a cursory glance are found to be incredibly rich, insightful and moving edifices that address the essential human condition itself. Furthermore, wokeness lacks (at least presently) a more cross-cultural reach beyond largely Western or Westernised societies – something also taken for granted in Western media at large, probably because of how, ironically enough, culturally myopic the so-called radical left often are.
In other words, whilst I don’t believe wokeness can be dismissed out of hand for its potential impact on the cultural and social harmony (whether for good or ill) of Western societies, neither do I believe it has even the remotest chance of similar enduring appeal as any of the major world religions – thus comparing it so directly to any religion feels misplaced.
It is instead closer in tone and intent to many of the social and political ideologies of varying historical times – focused more on secular concerns after all – which come and go, change and shift, transform and alter as the world turns. Religions too of course also shift and evolve to meet changing circumstances, with theological and sectarian disputes and divisions being rife, with many new synthesises and derivations emerging, and plenty of religions going extinct as history flexes its muscles.
However, their shelf-life tends to be considerably longer than any political structure or ideology too, and those that have endured longest have largely done so thanks to a combination of the widespread appeal of their spiritual essence, and the strength of their organisational structures, both of which the likes of the current socio-political fad that is wokeness ultimately lacks.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

An alternative way to look at it is the corruption of youthful idealism by organisations that wish to engender not peace and understanding, but division and hatred.
Those who march in support of woke are probably far more idealistic and pure of heart than those who judge them harshly; unfortunately they are also far more gullible. And that makes them useful to people who are far from gullible as well as far from pure of heart.
On the other hand, how often in the past have national governments used propaganda to harness the idealism of the young when a war is breaking? Compared to the obscenities of the first and second world wars, and all the wars in between, egging on some teenagers to pull down statues is almost trivial.

I’m not suggesting it should not be resisted. Of course it should be resisted, because in the pursuit of greater fairness the woke are willing to sacrifice not just their own but my capacity for moral autonomy. And they can go take a running jump.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

‘Finally, the ruling establishment doesn’t have to keep stitching up the younger generation. There is no need for a radical new ideology to fix problems like student debt, unpaid internships, the housing crisis and all the other ways in which Millennials and Post-Millennials have been let down by their elders.’

If it doesn’t have to, why does it? If I were woke and broke, that’s a question I would be asking.

I might not like all the answers to that. I might find out, for example, that mass immigration was never a rainbow policy of the idealistic left, but a cynical move by the right to provide cheap labour here at home (remember the process was started when we still had factories worth talking about). Immigration has always suited employer more than employee. You can wrap yourself in the brotherhood of man flag as much as you like, but if there are ten people chasing six flats, the price will be going up for ever and ever and ever. And your wages will be going down (relatively speaking) for ever and ever and ever.

These are facts that are not touchy-feely, and so are simply ignored by those who would most benefit from heeding them.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
David Green
David Green
3 years ago

I think you will find that union supported Labour governments were the biggest promoters of immigration

Steve Wesley
Steve Wesley
3 years ago

Corporate ‘wokeness’ is a false flag, an insurance policy, and cheap advertising. Corporations don’t give a **** about anything other than the bottom line. All claims to the contrary are simply lies. If draping your corporate image with whatever issue is in fashion and zeitgeist, then get the PR geeks to endorse it. Sit back and let the Twittersphere spend their time ‘like’ing and commenting on it, hey presto, how cheap is that! Plaudits for free and if something smells fishy? fear not, just look how progressive we are. Corporations are about money, and nothing else. If employees and customers believe ‘their’ corporation cares about them, then they are sadly deluded.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

We can make a small start by referring to the whole cluster of gender studies, qu__r studies, media studies and the like as “Flat Earth Studies.”
Pass it on.

Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

I think for housing there will always be a problem when the population of the UK rose by a total of 6.6 million between 2001 and 2016. The latest research shows that just over 80% of this increase was due to immigration – that is to say new immigrants and their UK-born children. This overloads the natural balance of supply and demand which is further exacerbated by property bought as an investment by foreign investors with surplus cash they need to make work.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

Wokism may emulate Christianity – current leaders in the violent and degenerate ideology stakes, measured by lifespan and bodycount as a proportion of population. Marxist Leninism and its variants currently running second, with the Religion of Peace coming up fast on the inside. Wokism is still in training but seasoned tipsters think it could match the greatest thoroughbreds known to date.

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago

The word ‘woke’ is a buzzword for the right and devoid of meaning. The excesses of the left in some instances do not justify a wholesale rejection of every progressive cause. Such a response is reactionary and the product of authoritarian individuals demanding that others live according to their social values. It’s an odd situation because it is the right that have elected political parties that have sold us the vision that to be free is to be an atomised consumer free to purchase and own so long as you can afford it. This near worshipping of economic freedom at the expense of traditional cultural life is in turn blamed on the left. It’s an insane lack of insight into ones own ‘side’ and smacks of beating up the left for the sake of it.

Tom Graham
Tom Graham
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

authoritarian individuals demanding that others live according to their social values.

Funny, that is a pretty accurate description of what the woke cult members believe. Good for something that is devoid of meaning.
I don’t have any side, but I can see Wokeness is real and it is an ideology that is evil and a direct threat to the basic ideas of freedom of speech and belief that underlines western democracy.
You could just as well say it is hard to define exactly what Mao’s Red Guards, or German National Socialists were, doesn’t mean they weren’t evil.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Your last sentence is true – but you could pick out specific policies – like rounding up and killing political opponents or people from particular ethnic backgrounds that you could single out as evil. That wouldn’t exclude the view that autobahns were not evil.

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Graham

Woke politics has a very real dark side and I am staunchly against it. By the same token the readers of Unherd often espouse far-right conspiracy theories and celebrate being called a racist. It is just another extreme and it forces people in the middle to take sides. Moderates seem to be very rare in this forum.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

Glad to learn I am not alone, Zach. And yes, I sometimes wonder if UnHerd has become an echo chamber, the very opposite of what the name suggests.

Moderation seems to be unfashionable. People panic about the numbers game (Us vs. Them) long before casting an impartial look at what they end up advocating here.

Steve White
Steve White
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

How do you know you’re not really a leftist who considers yourself a centrist? I think all sides get represented here, but pop-culture is leftist. The left owns the mainstream. So, it would make sense that if there’s cancel culture, or silencing and for people who are unheard/ (or not part of the herd), that they would be right of center. Really is there a center anymore? Can you be in the center of post-modern woke culture and everything else? What does that look like? Someone living in the past?
Why must everything be left or right? That seems like a forced prison of two ideas. How about truth? Just someone who values truth, seeks to discern what is true, sees the truth and agrees with it. The question then is “what is truth?” The deconstructionists of truth have been asking that question of the ultimate nature of reality ever since Satan told Adam and Eve “Surely you will not die”. But my guess is that you don’t find any of that to be true.

Last edited 3 years ago by Steve White
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

Oh, please. It wasn’t the right that came up with the term. And the authoritarians are a hallmark of the woke movement, from cancel culture to demanding conformity on all things. When the group decides that women no longer exist, that they are now “birthing people” or “menstruating persons” who may at some point “chest feed,” you have lost all moral and rational ground.
This near worshipping of economic freedom at the expense of traditional cultural life is in turn blamed on the left. How much straw did you need to build that man? There is no “at the expense of” involved. Perhaps you have missed that where economic freedom exists, there is usually but not always political freedom.

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The radical left is dangerously authoritarian. However, you label even modest progressive policies as part of communist insurgency. Your views are just as problematic as the radical left.

James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago

I am not the ideal target-market for UH – too old, probably. But, I find this obsession with ‘wokeness’, dead-end, puerile. As many are saying, a confection.
I read some things last night on UH which were demonstrably bonkers. (E.g. Wanting to repeal the Equality Act 2010 with stated vicious intent. The concurring comments were extraordinary.)
For sure the New Progressivism (or Malign-Progressivism or ‘MalPro’ as opposed to ‘BePro’) or even simple, plain New Bigotry, can be objectionable and if necessary needs to be challenged vigorously, case by case. Yes, some black people, some Trans people, some Moslem people etc, can be nasty & bigotted & prejudiced, like anyone else, but to obsess and create this novel fantasical hegemonical monster, ‘Wokery’, is crazy fanatical itself.
Yes, it’s drawing the ‘battle lines’, amassing the troops, in an attempt to ‘right’ the balance, but if in the process it lets all sorts of eugenicist and biological racist monsters in under the wire, I think many more of us (not on here of course) need to get ready, to rally round the Anti-Anti-‘Wokery’ banner, to help our younger beleagured ‘sisters’, ‘brothers’ and ‘inters’.
(Assuming the vengeful strident voices recede, what does anyone have to fear from real racial equality and gender reassignment, for those who need it, for example?)

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

I couldn’t agree with you more. “Wokeism” as defined by Unherd contributors is a gigantic Aunt Sally.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

I third that.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I fourth that.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Is that the Aunt Sally that Harry met in the article about Nora Ephron?

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Please explain, then, what term you would use to describe the ideology behind the outrageous “investigation” of the student at the Aberdeen university covered by the Sunday Times at the weekend.
I agree that “wokeism” is now largely useless, though it has a minor value for the purposes of mockery.

Gavin Stewart-Mills
Gavin Stewart-Mills
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

“… can be objectionable and if necessary needs to be challenged vigorously, case by case”. Indeed you’re right – but don’t you realise, this ‘challenging’ is exactly what is not permissible in the woke discourse? That’s not some over-reaction dreamt up by the right; it is there in the no platforming, the firings, the removal from social media for those that even ‘question’ ideas let alone disagree.
I can’t really agree with your last point. The woke seem to have no interest in actually facilitating racial equality or gender equality; they only care about carving out (by force if necessary) an exalted status via approved beliefs which can be exploited socially, politically or (worryingly) in the workplace. Witness how quick they are to Uncle-Tom actual black voices that challenge their white-saviour nonsense; the abuse hurled at the authors of the EHRC racism report; the Terf slurs towards actual feminists; cross-dressing “transwomen” physically attacking lesbian marches. I simply don’t see anything in the woke agenda that is likely to bring social improvement; if there some core of goodness (as you say) one could be more sympathetic. In the meantime normal society already has a highly effective consensus to bring about racial equality and regarding “gender realignment” as you say – quite OK with me, there is a prescribed pathway from the 2004 Gender Recognition Act for those who wish to do this legally; of course this law is detested by woke activists who want to replace it with gender self-Identification, a move which would bring massively negative impacts on women’s rights and safeguarding and is already being de-facto rolled out in our public institutions.

James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago

How many cases of actual no-platforming and firing? 1000s? 100s? 10s more like. I have been on the receiving end of some repulsive online abuse myself and it’s horrible. But everyone’s doing it. It’s the curse of the Internet. I concede that today campaigns for equalities have thrown up instances of very agressive behaviour, but not by everyone. (Bit confused by your ‘Terf slurs towards actual feminists’. These feminists are ‘Transphobic’ or ‘trans-exclusionary’ ‘radical’ feminists.) Apologies for being facile but what ‘…in the [anti]-‘woke’ agenda…is likely to bring social improvement’? I am sure there is enough existent law to offer remedy to those defamed and/or ruined by these extraordinary cases of no-platforming and firing etc. Repealing contemporary law entirely, is nothing but crude reactionary Retrogression.

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

The real concern is universities. The poor young woman subject to a Salem trial in Aberdeen because she said that only women have vaginas. People blocked from speaking because they don’t think children should be given experimental drugs. Etc. The police involved in going after people for “allegedly misgendering.” This is frightening stuff. This is the precursor to modern-day Lysenkoism.
Your suggestion that defamation law protects these people does not bear scrutiny. The process is the punishment; almost nobody can afford to go to law.
I consider myself progressive, liberal (in the real sense of the word), considerate and thoughtful. I despise hate speech law because the prospect of the government policing speech scares me more than anything anyone might say.

James Chater
James Chater
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

OK, these examples are horrifically absurd. ‘Dystopian’, totalitarian etc. all bundled into one. Yes, aggressive, (state-supported) stupidity and ignorance is very scary and destructive.
Yes, the ‘process’ is the punishment. (I can empathise genuinely as I’ve experienced online abuse – nothing to do with work and it was over within 24 hours, so no real harm. But it was on that continuum.) Yes, going to law is expensive but after a few successful cases (funded collectively, without publicity?) would not some normality/sanity be restored.
My reaction to the ‘anti-woke’ brigade comes from same place. I consider myself progressive and liberal. Anything that issues from the alt-right/lite camp is immediately suspect to me. It’s never said in good faith. That of course is exactly the intention; why it’s known as a cultural ‘war’. Draw out your ‘enemy’. It’s the cynicism of the Right which is so ghastly.

Last edited 3 years ago by James Chater
Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

“Anything that issues from the alt-right/lite camp is immediately suspect to me. It’s never said in good faith…It’s the cynicism of the Right which is so ghastly.”
With respect, that says more about you than those you don’t take at face value. One of the reasons I actively campaign to keep Labour out anywhere I can – while not being a member of the Tories – is that I consider the current left to be utterly toxic and dangerous for that reason (among others). Dismissal of people’s arguments by labelling not by debating is predominantly the territory of the left, and it is deeply harmful.
All my arguments against “wokism” are honest, considered, reasoned and straightforward. No hidden agenda. As are my arguments against the EU and against mass immigration. Yet I rarely find anyone from the left competent to discuss them – they just bleat about “xenophobia” and close their ears/brain.

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
3 years ago

Thank you for this measured comment.