Is “woke” the new abnormal?
Something America ought to export to other — more normal — societies? Because it’s been such a success in America? Like Crystal Pepsi and the Ford Edsel?
George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen thinks so. Wrote so, in a recent column for Bloomberg News. He also wrote a book about The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream.
But what does he mean by that?
Historically, it has been taken to mean the opportunity to pursue one’s dreams, workwise and otherwise. To build the kind of life that suits — on the merits.
To live — and let live.
For the Woke, this is a nightmare.
Wokeism is about ending that dream — and replacing it with a collective nightmare, in which almost everyone is a victim and those who aren’t are the victimizers. A world in which who you are is defined by who you look like, who you sleep with — and above all, the politics you espouse. It is a world of plural first-person pronouns and the fungibility of objective reality; of homogenous “diversity” — and you’d better not question it.
Cowen thinks we ought to export it.
Transmit it to less-Woke countries such as France not yet coming apart on account of it. He describes the “boring and predictable” idea that “…can be adapted to virtually any country.” Because “boring” and “predictable” ideas are so appealing.
But these ideas are dangerous, which makes them the antithesis of boring. Cowen works hard to keep them seeming boring; just run-of-the-mill “ideas” that really ought to just be accepted, you see.
“Identify a major form of oppression,” he writes — and “…argue that people should be more sensitive to it.”
Let’s unpack that.
What is meant by a “major form of oppression?” To the Woke, it means — among the highlights — refusing to publicly agree that a man is a woman (or a woman a man) or plural women and men, in one. To object to regarding the sexes as fungible — and abusive toward the sexes, in some cases. As when biological males who decide they’re females claim the “right” to compete in sports with biological females.
It means berating white male children to accept guilt for the “oppression” of their non-white and female classmates, whom they strangely imagined to be just their classmates. It can mean “accepting” that adults who want to date children are just pursuing their own kind of dream.
Above all, it means submission to totalitarian orthodoxies which may never be questioned, the antithesis of what it means to dream.
Cowen writes blithely about being “sensitive” and of “purging some wrongdoers (and a few innocents) and voilà — you have created another Woke movement.”
A few innocents?
It’s the sort of thing Stalin might have said — and actually did, without saying it exactly that way. The literal father of political correctness — a Soviet communist term for orienting all thought in accordance with the politically correct point-of-view, as elaborated by the communist party of the Soviet Union — which meant, by Stalin himself — is credited with saying:
A single death is a tragedy — a million deaths, a statistic.
Omelets require breaking eggs.
We’re not quite there, yet — but Wokeism is herding us there. And this time, it’s America that’s turning Soviet. And — much like the old Soviet Union — party intellectuals like Cowen want to export the intellectual sickness that is political correctness, which is Wokeness, all over the world.
He writes appreciatively of the “peaceful protests” of the Black Lives Matter movement — which set fire to majority-black cities at the behest of white Marxists, who funneled cash (and pallets of bricks) in support of these “protests.”
And of MeToo — which insists accusations of unwanted advances asserted by any woman against any man be regarded as proof — a nightmare for the accused.
Countries such as France are — unsurprisingly — are not keen to be infected by the woking dead. Cowen cites a New York Times piece which notes that “French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas (italics added) specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society.
More to unpack…
“Progressive” is the OldSpeak term for Woke — and is functionally synonymous, if rebranded. Is it surprising that the French — and others — are alarmed about the exportation (and infiltration) of Woke/progressive ideas about “gender” — by which is meant sexual fungibility — and “race” — a term that means obsession in perpetuity about race?
These “ideas” are dangerous — and the French know it better than Americans, having once-already endured the consequences of ur-Wokeism, back in the late 18th century – when the cry, liberte! egalite! fraternitie! led to the scaffold and the deaths (via the guillotine) of more than “a few innocents.”
“Woke and wokeism are a way to keep people engaged,” Cowen says.
No. They are a way to keep people at each other’s throats. A way to demoralize and tear apart societies.
“The world is full of false beliefs,” Cowen concludes. And indeed, this is so. It is also being overrun by dangerous beliefs.
If we are foolish enough to regard them as “boring” and “predictable,” as Cowen seems to hope we will. He says we don’t have to “like” it – and that we “may have to get used to it.”
Many of us don’t like it – and aren’t going to “get used to it.”
Even if that upsets the Wokesters in their ivory perches.