[this column was written for the Unz Review]
The Biden Administration has gone out of its way to show itself as absolutely “woke-compatible” and even as a champion of “wokeness” (Foggy Bottom has just allowed US embassies and consulates to fly the “gay pride” flag next to the Stars and Stripes. I bet you they won’t do that in Riyadh!). According to the hyper-politically correct Wikipedia, “woke” refers to the “awareness of issues that concern social justice and racial justice”. This definition is, however, misleading because, for example, it clearly is not intended to cover, say, social injustice meted out to poor whites. In other words, wokeness is a one way street. What wokeness does mandate is for my son (who is studying biology) to be told in his class that he is the carrier of “white guilt” even though his ancestors never interacted with blacks, let alone blacks in the USA.
[Sidebar: as I have mentioned in the past, I do not consider categories such as “black” or “white” as analytically helpful since they are not properly defined. That, however, does not mean that I am not willing to use them in a specific context where the parties to an ideological dispute refer to themselves, or to others, as black or white. By the way, “Asian” is another useless category as, depending on whom you ask, it would include Pakistanis (who sure ain’t yellow) and lump them together with (brown) Indonesians and (yellow) Japanese people. The fact that these categories are used in the western political discourse means that I cannot ignore them solely because I find them ambiguous and misleading. Furthermore, the category “African” whether used with “American” or not, is not helpful either since it would include people otherwise considered white; say Elon Musk, even though nobody thinks of Musk as African-American. Finally, the category black might include Tamils or Australian aborigines, but it is rarely, if ever, used in that sense. Thus, when I will use the words black or white below, it will be in the largely accepted US meaning of “descendants of African slaves” and “descendants of white colonists” even though I am acutely aware of the reality of interbreeding (by rape or by mutual consent) between these two groups and even though the woke ideology blames *all* so-called “whites” for their putative racism and their supposedly “privileged” position in the US society due to its alleged “systemic racism”, even when they are new immigrants to the USA.]
I don’t think that I have tackled the issues of race or racism before, mostly because I am horrified by all the nonsense one can hear as soon as these topics are mentioned. It is, however, indisputable that the woke ideology is the main ideology of the Biden Administration and this is why it cannot simply be ignored. Of course, other ideological trends of the US ruling class (messianism, imperialism, self-worship, capitalism, etc.) have not been abandoned; instead, they have been “wokified” in the sense that the woke ideology is now used to give these traditional US ideologies some kind of politically-correct imprimatur, a kind of “when we do that in the name of wokeness we are doing something morally right” label placed on an otherwise deeply discredited set of “western values”.
Of course, there is an apparent paradox here: how can the woke ideology be used to try to give a semblance of respectability to a set of western ideologies when the woke ideology is also rabidly anti-western?! The woke ideology is most definitely anti-western, and not in the sense of condemning the West’s thousand years of bloody wars and imperialism, that would at least make some sense, but it is anti-western in the sense that it places an equal sign between, say, J.S. Bach and the rapper “Ice Cube” with a “logic” along the following line: “hey, who are you to say that Bach was more talented than the rapper Ice Cube?! That is racist!!!” Even mathematics are now considered “racist”! And anybody disputing that is, of course, a racist.
What is missing here is the element of proof. Some kind of rules of evidence which could be appealed to; let’s use the modern term to ‘fact check’ most of the assumptions made by the supporters of the woke ideology.
For example, in my Swiss high school we had a huge mural declaring that “all races are equal”. No evidence for that statement was ever given. In fact, during my entire academic life (1 undergrad and 2 graduate degrees) I have never seen any real evidence for this thesis. (I have seen plenty of evidence disputing this, beginning with US Army IQ tests). By the way, that does not at all mean that I affirm the opposite (that races are somehow unequal), only that in a dogmatic statement like “all races are equal” even the term “equal” is extremely ambiguous and, frankly, meaningless. Let’s compare this statement to another famous one by Saint Paul (Galatian 3:26-28 KJV):
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”.
Unlike the vapid “all races are equal”, Saint Paul clearly states that all humans are “children of God” and he further explains how this happens when he says “by faith in Christ Jesus”. He then clarifies that “all are one in Christ Jesus” (being “one” in Christ is unambiguous, unlike being “equal”). And Saint Paul concludes by explaining that through Christ there is a new generation of mankind “ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”. Unlike the woke ideology, Christianity does truly unite all human beings, and Christianity does so without ever denying or obfuscating the very real differences which makes all humans very much unequal to each other, including a total equality in rights and privileges inside the Christian religion. First, Saint Paul mentions our common filiation as children of God through Adam, to which he immediately adds a further common filiation of those who have “put on Christ” by means of baptism. The evidence here, the proof of the statement, is clear: baptism. One can, of course, disagree with Saint Paul, but not accuse him of ambiguity (especially in the light of all the other Apostolic and Patristic statements providing contextual support for this!).
Compare that with the woke ideology which categorically splits mankind into two groups: the oppressed “minorities” and the (always) “white” oppressors, which even contradicts the actual history of Africa which was invaded and colonized by (non-White) Arabs before the Europeans got involved (something which the US blacks who take on Islamic names either don’t know or try hard to ignore).
The woke ideology also completely ignores racism internal to the so-called “Blacks”. A good friend of mine is a (very dark skinned) lady from Mali who traveled all over our planet and told me one day that the worst anti-African racism she was ever subjected to was in Ethiopia (whose population is just as dark skinned as my lady friend). I also knew a medical doctor from Soweto who told me that there was plenty of hatred between South African blacks which he called “racist hate”. Of course, most US blacks know close to nothing about the history of Africa, past or current (Arabs and black Africans still fight each other in many regions of Africa!) and yet they think of themselves as “Africans” which makes absolutely no sense (especially from the point of view of actual Africans, Arab, black or white).
I just used one example (racial equality), but the woke ideology has failed to prove pretty much every one of its key dogmas. “Systemic racism” is another good one which appears to be proven by none, accepted by (almost?) all.
Of course, none of the above proves any single aspect of the woke ideology wrong, but I hasten to add that the burden of proof is upon the party proclaiming a thesis, and not upon those this thesis is being forced upon. Likewise, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of racism in the United States (including numerous cases of black on white and black on Asian racial violence!), but irrespective of the actual figure of such incidents, the sum of these incidents, however large, does not somehow automatically become evidence of things like “systemic racism” or “white supremacy” (correlation does not imply causation).
Yet, somehow, the proponents of wokeness immediately get offended when their beliefs are challenged and simply accuse any naysayers of “racism”. One example: in the new woke-reality, “twerking” is a delightful form of “culture” which cannot be criticized, especially so by whites. To call it a vulgar display of objectified women accompanied by noise which does not rise to any imaginable definition of “music” is, of course, totally crimethink!
Apparently, for the woke-freaks, “diversity” does not include diversity of ideas, of opinions. As Orwell astutely noticed, “some are more equal than others”. Wokeness does not even deny that! Hence its “Cancel culture” aspect, along with the violence of the BLM/Antifa mobs.
For some, this is just a big money-making scheme for corporate “America” which is now flooding all its advertisements with the “correct” races in total disregard to that race’s real percentage of the population and small money-making scheme for those who hope to get their hands on some free money. As for the US homo-lobby, this is a surefire way to achieve power and influence which they could not otherwise even dream about. In other words, Wokism is about money and power, not justice.
Some might think that this is no big deal, that anti-racism is by definition good, as is the notion that homosexuals should not be deprived of their civil rights on account of their sexual dysfunction. But wokeness has already gone way further than these initial demands and it has now turned into an obligatory form of virtue signaling!
By now most of us have seen new woke-compatible CIA recruitment ads. Frankly, when I saw it I sincerely rejoiced, as a woke-CIA will be far less effective than the one which considered homosexuality a major security risk (blackmail and comorbid psychopathology). But wokeness submission is not just a CIA thing, check out this comparison of recruiting videos (thanks to American Kulak for sending me all the videos below!!!):
And, just for comparison sake, here are a Chinese and a Russian recruitment videos:
Truth be told, I am not exactly heartbroken about the condition of the US armed forces as such, but when I think of the many decent and honorable US officers I had the chance to meet in my life, I do feel sorry for them as I can, I think, imagine their sadness and disgust.
Finally, I have to admit, to my great sadness, that this does not affect only the USA. Pretty much the same form of collective insanity has clearly taken over the EU (with a few countries still trying to resist). Wokism has become a global phenomenon.
Yes, the West went from the genius of Baroque to the insipid vulgarity of YouTube.
And so here is my question: why is there so little pushback?!
Yes, there is the accusation of racism. I get it. But the more people this accusation is applied to, the more meaningless it becomes (the same goes for that old “anti-Semitism” canard!). And, besides, nobody can live an honorable life without ever becoming the target of a false and ugly accusation. All we can do is 1) ignore it 2) flush our mental toilet and 3) resume the struggle.
I also understand that woke-compatibility is a “must” for new hires (you gotta love that “corporate America”!). But what about all those of us who already have a career and who won’t be fired just because we push back against an ideology which not only is based on absolutely nothing (it has zero empirical evidence to back its key tenets) but which destroys competence (the famous US meritocracy) and replaces it with what I can only call an extremely intolerant pseudo-diversity which is every bit as intolerant as the major totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century! Why are we silent?
Most of us know about the hidden scandal of the (apparently, neverending) lowering of competency criteria in many professions (ask a firefighter!). But this is now even affecting airlines! I dread the day when a “diverse” crew will smash an airliner into the ground because “mathematics is racist!”. I am sure the skies will still be friendly, but will they be safe?!
I wonder what it would take to finally get some serious reaction to this collective insanity.
So what can we do? I submit that Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s advice to the Russian people living under the Soviet system could also be taken as a model by those in the West who don’t want their countries to be turned into some wannabe Wakanda:
When violence bursts onto the peaceful human condition, its face is flush with self-assurance, it displays on its banner and proclaims: “I am Violence! Make way, step aside, I will crush you!” But violence ages swiftly, a few years pass—and it is no longer sure of itself. To prop itself up, to appear decent, it will without fail call forth its ally—Lies. For violence has nothing to cover itself with but lies, and lies can only persist through violence. And it is not every day and not on every shoulder that violence brings down its heavy hand: It demands of us only a submission to lies, a daily participation in deceit—and this suffices as our fealty.
And therein we find, neglected by us, the simplest, the most accessible key to our liberation: a personal nonparticipation in lies! Even if all is covered by lies, even if all is under their rule, let us resist in the smallest way: Let their rule hold not through me!
And this is the way to break out of the imaginary encirclement of our inertness, the easiest way for us and the most devastating for the lies. For when people renounce lies, lies simply cease to exist. Like parasites, they can only survive when attached to a person.
We are not called upon to step out onto the square and shout out the truth, to say out loud what we think—this is scary, we are not ready. But let us at least refuse to say what we do not think! (…) Our way must be: Never knowingly support lies! Having understood where the lies begin (and many see this line differently)—step back from that gangrenous edge! Let us not glue back the flaking scales of the Ideology, not gather back its crumbling bones, nor patch together its decomposing garb, and we will be amazed how swiftly and helplessly the lies will fall away, and that which is destined to be naked will be exposed as such to the world.
This method of not allowing lies to survive through oneself is absolutely legal, non-violent and does not require any organization or money. Most importantly, this method does not require any unifying ideology. In other words, this method is a moral/ethical defense against any totalitarian ideology. Best of all, it requires no money or power, and it is immediately liberating to anybody using it. It is even compatible with the modern idea of “be the change you want to see in the world”.
The alternative is much scarier. As with any totalitarian ideology Wokism can also trigger a strong blowback reaction and there is a very real risk of such a pushback reaction that it could result in the birth of a new form of Fascism which could be even worse than Wokism. And this is why I think that doing nothing and hoping that this will all somehow magically go away is dangerously delusional.
Totalitarian ideologies must be confronted openly and frontally. Nothing else will do and everything else is nothing but surrender.