Why we must speak out against wokeness and how
If you are like me, you are sick of the smug, ignorant, destructive drivel from the “Woke” crowd. “Wokeness” connotes exquisite sensitivity to racial or social discrimination and injustice, as defined by the beholder. Niggling questions about what constitutes discrimination and injustice, what evidence supports the charge, and trend or context apparently are at best irrelevant. The only thing that counts is the feeling or the immediate perception. An honest effort to discover what’s true is not considered necessary.
Woke people use their assumed superior morality and understanding of how the world really is to bludgeon the rest of us into submitting to their howls of outrage. Unfortunately, the woke virus has infected most of those occupying the commanding heights of the opinion-shaping organs of society – government, especially at the federal level, mainstream media, academia, the entertainment industry, the clergy, and now craven corporate executives. If you are not woke, you are sub-human, borderline evil, and desperately in need of re-education by your moral and intellectual superiors.
What is especially disgusting is the orgy of self-flagellation. Every day people are apologizing for things they had no control over. Further, their apologies mean nothing because the apologizers have no personal skin in the game. Their lives will not change once they say they are sorry. I often wonder, for example, what the servants of woke celebrities and politicians, would say about how they are treated.
The whole woke movement is phony and corrupt. It is all about displaying one’s virtue. It is narcissistic in the extreme. Have you ever heard the woke crowd talk about what works to help the less fortunate or what the consequences of their proposals are? Have you ever heard them talk about age-old principle of personal responsibility for our behavior, and the moral obligation of each of us to do our best to take care of ourselves so we are not a burden to others? I haven’t. We should all keep in mind the words of Victor Frankl, a Viennese psychiatrist who spent years in Auschwitz:
“… there is no collective guilt! Let alone – if I may so call it – a retroactive collective guilt, in which someone is held responsible for what their parents’ or even grandparents’ generation may once have done.
Guilt can only be personal guilt – guilt for what one has done oneself or even not done, neglected to do.”
The spread of “woke” attitudes is divisive, destructive, and contrary to the basic ideal of America: one’s initial endowment — skin color, gender, ethnic background – are facts but do not define the person; rather, what counts – all that should count – is a person’s attitudes, values, and most importantly, behavior. America is not all the way to where we should be but we have come a long way. As citizens we should be proud of our progress while realizing we can always do better. The “woke” constellation of ideas is nothing more than a tool for grievance entrepreneurs to divide us and keep us in a constant state of agitation. Categorizing and judging another human being by characteristics that cannot be changed is worse than demeaning; it is dehumanizing. People who buy into wokeness, however well meaning they may be, are de facto encouraging a mindset of victimization and entitlement. The agenda of the woke crowd needs to be named for what it is – vile, stupid, useless nonsense.
It is a waste of time to try to change the minds of people infected with wokeness. No one wants to give up her rationale for feeling righteous and in possession of the answers to how the world should be. Very few want to do the hard, often frustrating work of understanding what would be effective long term for the less fortunate. It is easy to say, “You poor dear; all those other people are oppressing you; I feel your pain, and I am going to help you take their money.” It is hard to say, “The problems are complex, but at root mainly cultural. I will help you clear away the underbrush that hinders opportunity for you, but you have to do the hard work yourself.”
What then is to be done?
- An attitude adjustment comes first. Don’t be afraid. Be proud of our country. Yes, like any human institution, the United States is flawed. But, more than any nation in history, we have been extraordinarily generous in trying to right a terrible wrong. We have nothing to be ashamed of. The people braying at us for not being “woke” don’t know or care about who we are or what we do. We in turn should care nothing about what they say.
- Challenge everything about “woke”. Respond with questions and outrage yourself:
- What do you mean by “racist”?
- Aren’t you racist by categorizing others by their appearance and background?
- Who are you to decide what is just or unjust?
- How dare you judge me or anyone else you don’t know?
- Adopt a “who says so and how do they know” attitude toward authority. There are honorable exceptions as well as many sources of information from good, honest people who know what they are talking about. You should, however, assume that many in positions of power in government, big media, and academia may be intellectually and morally corrupt. By “intellectually corrupt” I mean not caring whether a statement is true, i.e. whether the consequences they project are based on good logic and evidence. A politician, “journalist” or designated expert is morally corrupt in my view if she is focused on promoting an approved narrative rather than trying to help people see how the world really is. Ignore the clueless narcissists in the entertainment industry.
- Don’t expect to win the hearts and minds of “woke” people with reason. They are impervious to it. Your challenge will do nothing but annoy them. Your audience is not the “woke”; rather, it is people like yourself who want to speak up but are worried about being bullied and unsure how to respond. You must set an example by your words and behavior. It is not fun to speak up, but I believe it is necessary. If we don’t speak up, we will deserve what we will get – control over our lives by the dominant elites who will use that control to take our property through taxes and other means, tell us how we may live, how we may think, and what we are to believe. If you think this is far-fetched, read about what the Jacobins did in France in 1789 or the Bolsheviks in 1917. We instinctive moderates must become extreme (but not violent) in our opposition to the fanatics on the left. We must reanimate in our institutions the wisdom of our founding fathers: power must be extremely limited and circumscribed, lest those adept at seizing power (but little else) end up turning us from free citizens (still) to subjects.
The central tendency in American government since the Wilson Administration has been centralization of power in the hands of the elites who control government and the institutions that develop and disseminate ideas as to how we should see ourselves. If this continues, we can look forward to civil strife and stagnation. If we want freedom and prosperity, we the people must return power to our own hands and re-affirm that the purpose of government is to protect our inalienable rights, not dispense goodies to supporters of the people in power.
Finally, I must comment on the odious idea of “white privilege” which to my intense anger is now taught in high schools. The idea is that white people should tug our forelocks and seek absolution for being white. “Rubbish” is the least pejorative word I can think of. Every society in the history of the world , regardless of race, creed, or color has had groups of disproportionate privilege. This phenomenon is not a function of pigmentation. What matters is not whether there is disproportionate privilege – there always is – but what those with privilege do. Have they tried to open up their societies to merit? Have they tried to give a hand to those less fortunate, especially when it comes to protecting their rights to live free in a way that affords others the same? I submit that even a cursory reading of history would show that of all the privileged groups in history, Americans have done more than anyone – as we should – to provide true opportunity to others to better their lives and take care of their families. The woke crowd would reverse all this and substitute a race or identity-based spoils system with themselves as the ones handing out the goodies. This must be resisted.