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Why it’s time to take ‘wokeness’ seriously Rationalism is starting to look a bit cringe, and faith is making a comeback

Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe / Getty


July 30, 2020   5 mins

“Wokeness is a religion”. How many times have we heard that recently? White officials washing the feet of Black Lives Matter protest leaders, kneeling groups reciting pledges to renounce their privilege, ritual chants, not to mention public punishment of heretics and a growing body of fiercely-defended and not particularly logical doctrine.

The comparison is always meant as a criticism. The people who wield it see the story of the West as one of Reason advancing inexorably against ignorance, superstition, repressive morality and hidebound tradition. In other words, against religion.

The secular rationalists who champion this view have been winning for some time. Church attendance is cratering; Christmas and Easter are mostly about shopping; Catholic-run healthcare providers in the US are dragged through the courts over the provision of contraception or transgender surgery. So ‘Wokeness is a religion’ is a secular rationalist’s ultimate dunk: from a perspective that’s been dominant for centuries, it amounts to saying woke beliefs belongs in the dustbin of history.

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Wrong. Or at least, only half right. Wokeness is a religion, or at least a re-emergence of religious impulse. But this is not a bug, it’s a feature.

The Emperor Constantine is said to have embraced Christianity after a dream told him to adopt the chi-rho symbol as part of Roman military insignia. Constantine ordered this Christian symbol to be painted on his armies’ shields, and won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge the next day. That he did so under the sign of the chi-rho was the founding moment of the Holy Roman Empire, the hinge event that turned Christianity from a minority sect into a power both spiritual and political.

Today we’re watching something similar: the transition of wokeness from fringe cult to mainstream public morality. It’s happening both in our plague-racked and protest-riven urban public squares, and also in a digital public square whose rulemakers are largely already converts to the new faith.

Some might protest that Twitter isn’t the real world, and it doesn’t matter what people do in its bubble. But the story of Constantine shows how mass adoption of a new worldview can owe as much to elite champions as deep inner conviction. Plenty will embrace whatever seems to be the new status faith, because they don’t care much either way and don’t want to miss out on promotion.

Imagine you’re a centurion in the Roman army. Your legion has been commanded to paint over your shield insignia with the chi-rho symbol, thanks to an edict from your new woke emperor. You, a regular worshipper of household gods, Caesars and other deities, will most likely shrug your shoulders and do it, because it doesn’t much matter either way and orders are orders.

Similarly, where the celebrities, politicians, billionaires and tastemakers on Twitter go, the rest of the world follows. Because of this, Twitter arguments over what you can and can’t say in fact matter a great deal. But the defenders of Reason have already lost, because they’re arguing from sacred values that wokeness has long since abandoned.

In our Roman legion, a few stubborn hold-outs might complain. How can you only have one god? Who’s supposed to guard your household? No one listens, though, because that sort of thing can get you in trouble, and besides, didn’t you know household gods aren’t even a thing nowadays?

There are analogous hold-outs against wokeness, including not just conservatives but sincere liberals too. The recent Harper’s letter decrying ‘cancel culture’ gathered just such worthies, to mount a defence of open debate and objective standards that should apply to everyone.

Then in the last week, the fact that it took Twitter nearly a week to permanently ban grime artist Wiley after a bilious anti-Semitic rant mobilised much the same constituency in a boycott of Twitter to protest the site’s seeming tolerance of racism against Jews. In the latter case, the defenders of the old faith eventually won – but such protests, while they may win the odd battle, are still likely to lose the war=

This is because from the vantage point of wokeness, being criticised for not treating all groups the same is like a monotheist being told off for not honouring the household gods. If you don’t hold something sacred, you won’t care if someone accuses you of sacrilege against it. And for the woke, objectivity and even-handedness are not just impossible, they’re stalking-horses for privilege. So the old-school liberals of both left and right can only stare with mounting outrage, as people carry on professing wokeness despite the fact that its doctrines aren’t reasonable, or fair, or even trying to be objective.

For secular rationalists, especially the conservative ones, this is prompting a fear that we’ve hit Peak Reason. And indeed, from this perspective it’s not nice to contemplate the possibility that we’re not advancing at all, but instead sliding down the other side of the arc of progress back into the mire of Belief. But really, these grumblers should get over themselves: it’s the secular rationalist worldview which is the flash in the pan.

It’s been barely half a millennium since we first started trying to dethrone God, and barely decades since we mostly succeeded. But if you take a longer view, morality and religious doctrine have been fused in human cultures for as long as humans have had cultures. Far from being a devastating own, the more religion-like wokeness is, the more seriously we should take it.

This also means debates about what does and doesn’t get you banned on Twitter are not idle at all. Rather, they’re debates about an emerging and increasingly powerful faith’s moral orthodoxy, and what will get you excommunicated. In other words, debates about types and degrees of sin and blasphemy.I’m not saying wokeness is Christianity in disguise. As Antonia Senior argued in January, the new faith does lean heavily on Christianity – but it borrows as syncretically as the Romans did. Its vision of the good is far from clear, if it exists at all. But regardless, it should be obvious by now there’s no point trying to resist the apostles of wokeness with the tools of secular reason.

No one who saw the internet go bananas last week because ‘baby witches hexed the moon’ can agree that all we need to deliver a rational, moderate and tolerant world is to chuck religion in the bin. Christianity is on its last legs in the West today, but it’s not obvious that the world is becoming more objective, rational, moderate and tolerant as a result. Rather, these days it’s secular reason that’s looking a bit cringe.

The triumph of Reason over Faith proved short-lived. Like water that’s been dammed, the religious impulse found new channels. As Tara Isabella Burton argues in her book Strange Rites, religiosity is reappearing in strange places, such as gym culture, Wicca – and, with growing dominance, wokeness. Woke liturgy is disjointed and its doctrines still fluid, but my bet is that the woke struggle sessions Gavin Haynes calls ‘purity spirals’ are in truth theological debates, and will solidify to a proper catechism within a decade or so.

To survive the transition back to a religious world, we should study the one that existed before Faith ebbed away under the sign of progress and enlightenment. We’ve already gone some way toward mob punishments for heresy, so we should also dust off the medieval era’s more sophisticated approach to theological debate: disputation. This scholarly art allowed sensitive theological issues to be discussed, even sometimes between faiths, with some protection against being too vigorously cancelled. If religious passions are back, we’ll need all the scholastic tools we can get.

We could do with some medieval pragmatism too. Consider, for example, King Canute, an 11th-century monarch praised by sycophants for his absolute power, who responded by commanding the sycophants to watch as he ordered the ocean’s tide to stop coming in.

Henry of Huntingdon’s Historia Anglorum reports that when the tide, predictably, came in anyway, Canute then said: “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”

Canute was clear-sighted about what was or wasn’t in his control. Those secular rationalists protesting the returning wave of Faith might take a leaf from his book. Instead of ordering the tide to withdraw, it’s time to learn to swim — which means, in practice, that none of us will have the option to be unbelievers for much longer. Instead we’ll all need to embrace one faith or another.

My suggestion is: pick a good one. If you refuse, you’ll end up having to profess wokeness anyway.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

Woke = evil suppression
This country will descend into civil war before some university educated half wits force the working classes into their new religion
Woke = taught everything, know nothing

andy young
andy young
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Oops. Wrong comment

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

“Wokeness” is the at long last pop surfacing of the demythologizing/de-constructing, archaeology that’s been the intellectual programme since the Enlightenment, a necessary precondition for paradigm shift. That bourgeois rent-seekers have glommed onto it, is offensive; but, they are still objectively, , if unwitting, agents of revolution. As Marx says, “They’ll sell you the rope to hang them with.”

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

That will also now even deconstruct the enlightenment itself. To interpret the incoherent ANTI enlightenment impulse of ‘wokeness’ as the final victory of Marxism is a really impressive feat of me tal gymnastics

Simon T
Simon T
3 years ago

Nicely put. A couple of thoughts.

FIrst, China is not woke. It is determinedly scientific and meritocratic. That’s a huge challenge to the woke West. Likewise the growing middle class societies of the Indo-Pacific want growth and skills, not wokeness, and most of the world’s economic growth will continue to be in those countries. The woker the West gets, the faster its relative decline. I can’t see serious businesses being able to put up with Woke for much longer. Smaller and more focussed organisations will challenge them and China and co will challenge everyone. One way or another, the non-Woke will inherit the earth.

Second point is the gospel of woke does not have a clearly worked out body of doctrine (like Marxism) or a spiritual anchor (like a great religion). It is difficult to see it having a future.

David Bottomley
David Bottomley
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon T

Totally agree. I was going to post that like a lot of articles on Unherd, this is an incredibly Western and perhaps Anglo speaking centric article. Surely it and Woke have next to zero relevance to China, India, Russia and many Eastern European , Asian many other countries I.e over 75% of the world population.

. If anything, I tend to see Woke as perhaps a symptom of a declining West – one which slowly crumbles in its lack of direction and certainty and it is quite possible that the rest of the world looks on slightly bemused or pleased to see the decline of Western culture. More likely though, i suspect that Woke is a passing social movement not too dissimilar to the Peace, Anti War movements etc of the 60s and 70 s, movements that generated mass protests, gatherings etc. Years later however, we still have Western troops fighting on foreign soils, still have increasing nuclear and conventional arms races and indeed, the rest of the world is joining in.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The usual sequence of events is Go Woke, Go Broke. The West appears to have reversed this approach.

John Mattingley
John Mattingley
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon T

I agree.

As a specialised management consultancy, we are receiving calls from distressed managers pointing to the damage that woke is doing to their corporations and begging for solutions. Diversity, Inclusion and Equity quotas appear to have undermined the checks that focus employees on operating performance, no matter where you are from, what you identify as, or what colour you are. Wokeness has added nothing to performance but has definitely emboldened narcissists, free-loaders, rent seekers, politikers and other bad actors which would otherwise have been restrained in service of the firm.

Similarly, Unconscious Bias training seems to achieve nothing other than to build resentment and break down trust and cohesiveness and cause otherwise reasonable employees to become racist and uncooperative with each other, whether BAME or White. Being on the receiving end of a White Fragility seminar appears to be particularly toxic. This is an emerging area and needs to be examined in more depth urgently.

An interesting aside: In interviewing one CEO of a major bank, he said he was strongly influenced in his wokeness by his daughter who was at Oxbridge. Intrigued, I took this as a question into other conversations with similar level senior managers and found a pattern emerging. It is interesting to note that these senior and supposedly rational managers do not apportion the same weight to a son, should he advocate woke views.

It seems, that very senior managers are particularly susceptible to the opinions of daughters, whose views are often buttressed by wives too. Any father knows that from two years old his daughter has him wrapped around her little finger. So to some degree, yet to be fully explored and measured, major corporations are being steered by extremely woke, indeed overly woke, twenty year old girls.

I have yet to discover whether the institutional shareholders suffer the same influence from the same quarter. But I suspect they do. It seems to be a consequence of the managers of these large corporates being both insulated and divorced from real world concerns. When at the pinnacle of a large corporate one is by and large only ever dealing with abstractions. The days of walking the factory floor are long gone. This makes them peculiarly susceptible to other abstractions, particularly those that garner familial love and the social status that woke opinions do among the professional and managerial classes these days.

It would seem that the larger western corporations are in for a very bumpy ride. Inevitably they will wake up to the disease inside their organisations at some point. Doing so could be very painful though.

Simon T
Simon T
3 years ago

Thank you, the first two paragraphs capture precisely why I left my previous job. Prior to the diversity program (implemented by a CEO who’d come in from a job in Europe) it was a happy, diverse and pretty effective place. The diversity program divided everyone. Chancers who ticked one or two of the boxes were empowered and good people left (either going to smaller consultancies, or Asian companies or retiring).

David Radford
David Radford
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon T

Agree with most of what you say. I think China has an end goal – supremacy – and is brutally pragmatic about getting there. The CCP no longer care about upsetting us like they may have done when Deng was in charge. Woke, Trump, weak EU’s pathetic policy on anything of importance are all helping CCP’s cause. The only way to stop this is what seems increasingly unlikely- a unified and purposeful opposition to their drive for supremacy. Would the believers in woke feel fulfilled if they were slapped in jail by the autocracy they are ignoring in their drive to destroy our history rather than accept it as fact.
Thankyou for this article. It changed my perspective.

Simon T
Simon T
3 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

But maybe China (and the other developing countries) just want our standard of living and some ‘space’, in which case, good on them. There has to be a happy medium between extreme Panda-hugging and animosity.

Simon T
Simon T
3 years ago
Reply to  David Radford

Maybe. Or maybe China just wants to be rich and secure and well fed. If so, good luck to them, I’ll drink to that any day.

opsimathos
opsimathos
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon T

Good. Islam is not woke either. But the essay suggests that with the backing of the powerful it could arrive very quickly. Christianity did not start with a clearly worked out body of doctrine. It took centuries. Of convocations and declarations of heresy and schisms and inquisition and religious wars to achieve anything close to that. Marxism too involved splits and killings before it was established as the state religion.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago

Bring back Christianity, even if it’s a mostly secular version of the original. Nice buildings, good music, interesting sermons. I don’t know why people want to throw it all away. Pure secularism always felt too dry for me. Life is empty without Christianity.

Simon Burch
Simon Burch
3 years ago

Agreed – partly. The example set by Christ is a pretty good one to follow, even if you find it difficult to swallow the virgin birth, miracles, rising from the dead and the concept of God.

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Burch

About 40 years ago I became shockingly aware of my own mortality. I asked my cousin, then a chaplain or some such at St Albans cathedral, what made him believe in God.
Without hesitation he replied “I don’t but I believe in the Christian philosophy”.
It was the best answer I could have received.

David Blackburn
David Blackburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Green

Very simple, for God, read good.

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago

Indeed! The poet, Louis MacNeice got there first, and his words have remained with me since student days (1970s). Eternally relevant to all thinkers; specifically in the face of ‘woke’ destruction and hatred.

‘God or whatever means the Good
Be praised that time can stop like this,
That what the heart has understood
Can verify in the body’s peace
God or whatever means the Good.’ (Meeting Point, 1939)

“A protest of the organic and organising imagination against the chaos of approaching war”.

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Green

In that case he is a Humanist not a Christian. If more people identified as Humanists the world would be a much better place.

Rob C
Rob C
2 years ago
Reply to  K Sheedy

Isn’t that kind of what Wokism is? Secular Christianity?

Larry Percival
Larry Percival
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Burch

So refreshing to read this. I thought I was alone. At school over half a century ago, our wonderful school Reverend (at a middle order Private School in North London) told me one-to-one that the various miracles and prophecies were almost all made up, but that the central Christian message of love and forgiveness was all I needed to believe to be Christian. I still feel that. A secularised version could be far more powerful than the CorE or Catholic versions currently available.

Pierre Brute
Pierre Brute
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Burch

Most of that list was invented by others, post mortem. Jesus’s actual ministry lasted only about a year and was centred around complete equality and respect of one’s fellow citizens.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

I wouldn’t agree to ‘bring back’ Christianity. But I think we’d be utterly foolish to deny its influence and place in our cultural history. Not least from a heritage and artistic perspective.

I think morally there are a lot of truths and good lessons to be taken from it. But we’d be deluded in thinking that Christianity alone is responsible for these views – most major religions have come up with a similar set of rules. We also intrinsically know which vile nonsense to ignore – and there’s a fair amount of that in the bible also.

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

This view is summarised best in Humanism. People succeed when they work together and when they ‘tolerate everything, except intolerance’.
Better to dump the religious wrappings and focus on the good stuff. (but keep the nice buildings etc)

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

I wholeheartedly agree with you, We certainly have a unique collection of both Monastic and Secular Cathedrals, that, with exception of France, is unrivalled in Europe.

Even if one is a ‘fully paid up’ Pagan (or devout sceptic) as I am, they offer a wonderful feast of art and architecture, besides being undoubtedly the greatest buildings of the Middle Ages.

Additionally there are the astonishing Collegiate Churches, such as magnificent Beverley Minster, and those great Abbeys that avoided the Cromwellian (Thomas) axe, such as Selby or Romsey, plus about nine thousand medieval Parish Churches.

A plethora of goodies that will gladden the heart of all but the most obstinate, woke Shrieker.

andy young
andy young
3 years ago

Absolutely. Just ditch the Old Testament. Have you read it? It’s horrific! The language can be very beautiful but the sentiments are just the same old ” our God’s better than your God” stuff. The mythological history of the Jews may be interesting, but irrelevant to Christ’s doctrine of Love & Humility.

Jimbob Jaimeson
Jimbob Jaimeson
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

Im not a believer but if you’ve ever read the Bible you’ll see that this is sort of what Jesus does.

He exposes the hypocrisy of those legally following the old testament and sort of says “all you need is love” ditching old testament dogma. And they killed him for exactly that!!!!!

The ones that kiled he were just like the woke of now, so pious in their perfection, ruining others lives for an idea.. But as Jesus famously said….said..”he who is without sin, cast the first stone” the difference is the woke think they are perfect.

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
3 years ago

Tolerate everything except intolerance!

jcurwin
jcurwin
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

I thought the same thing until I watched Jordan Peterson’s biblical lecture series on Youtube. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy it and learn from it. For me, it made me rethink many of the stories and myths that shaped our culture and gave me a new respect for the Christian tradition, including the Old Testament part. Of course there are chapters in that book which don’t make sense in 2020–and none of it makes sense if you take it literally. But watch JBP’s take on it before you throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Patrick Martin
Patrick Martin
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

I’m afraid this doesn’t work. It’s been advocated before by among others Marcion in the 2nd century and by Alfred Rosenberg (from anti-Semitic motives) in the 1930s. The Old Testament is an essential part of Christian revelation. It provides the context for the life and ministry of Christ. It records the gradual, unfolding understanding of God from a vengeful, wrathful, jealous, national Deity to the universal God of love, mercy and compassion as definitively revealed by Christ. As St Augustine observed, “the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New”.

Patrick Elson
PE
Patrick Elson
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

the old testament contextualizes the new…

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  andy young

Christianity is Jewish!

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

The only snag is the Archbishop of Canterbury is wholeheartedly woke.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

I agree, and I’m an atheist.

jcurwin
jcurwin
3 years ago

Certainly seems like a good idea to keep the “good bits” of a tradition that took thousands of years to perfect. I wish more churches would get with the program and make themselves more appealing to people who don’t want the same thing their grandparents wanted.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

I’m an atheist and agree with you.

Andrew Shaughnessy
Andrew Shaughnessy
3 years ago

Not all religions are on their last legs. Islam is marshalling its forces to realise its long-term goal of world domination, and with no opposition from the woke brigade.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

Islam is no more interested in world domination than any other religion. Anyway it has little power.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

For your sake I hope you are too old to witness what is coming down the line…

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Nothing is coming down the line, not in that sense. The fear mongering about Islam is neocon nonsense. I should say to begin with that I oppose mass migration, it’s not working out, although culturally compatible immigration is ok. Here are the stats:

A Pew Research Center study, published in January 2011, forecast an increase of Muslims in European population from 6% in 2010 to 8% in 2030. The study also predicted that Muslim fertility rate in Europe would drop from 2.2 in 2010 to 2.0 in 2030.

When the fertility rate falls below 2.0 the population will stop growing. 8% isn’t a threat, although some Western European countries may have some issues, particularly with parts of the liberal society. But why care?

The real threat is not the levels of immigration, but the wokeness driven by the US hegemony which spreads anti-European and anti-white hatred. It wasn’t muslims who overthrew the statues recently, it was the local woke.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Yes, spot on. Islamophobia is wildly exaggerating the threat. The reality is Islam is moribund, locked in a sort of 8th century death cult. Chanting “God is great” before vaporising oneself in concert hall is not going to command any form of respect.

Islam should learn from its early days when it was very receptive to other ideas . From the 7th to 10th centuries it was an avid collector of Ancient Greek texts, which it translated and then disseminated across the Islamic world, in total contrast to the behaviour of the Gothic barbarians who plundered Western Europe on a epic scale a little earlier.

Martin Harries
Martin Harries
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

The peoples the Islamic armies conquered didn’t go away. They carried on with their lives under new management – a management which made people ‘an offer they couldn’t refuse’ and those conquered people adopted the religion of their conquerors.
Islam isn’t a person. Islam wasn’t an avid collector of Greek texts – the Greeks didn’t go away. They eventually lived under the thumb of of their Muslim rulers after the fall of Constantinople. There were peoples who lived in the classical world who were intelligent and inquisitive and did just fine under pantheism / Christianity / Judaism. Those sorts of people didn’t develop their intellectual dispositions because Mohamed became the person they were made to consider THE exemplar. There were intellectuals in those lands long before the Muslim armies conquered them.

opsimathos
opsimathos
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

As I understand it one of the reasons for Islam’s success in newly conquered lands was that it cancelled all debts, thereby freeing many from debt burdens they would never be able to afford to pay.

Martin Harries
Martin Harries
3 years ago
Reply to  opsimathos

Interesting. I wonder what constituted a debt? I wonder how many people in feudalistic pre-feudalistic times were actually in debt? And what about people who couldn’t ‘afford’ to lend, but lent anyway? What would be fair about them not being paid back? From my reading there is some references to canceling where the borrower is unable to pay. Therein lies the rub, one must examine the reasons for the alleged inability to repay; is it profligacy or bad luck etc. I imagine decisions on those matters were routinely arbitrary.

Islamic finance avoids interest / usury by simply calling it rent. It’s a joke. You could call it sausages – the outcome is the same: the lender always receives back more than the money borrowed – otherwise there would be no money to pay employees who work for ‘Islamic Finance’ companies

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
3 years ago
Reply to  opsimathos

On the contrary: Christians and Jews who lived in Muslim-occupied territories and who refused to convert to Islam had two choices. Pay a heavy tax (“jizyah”) and accept the role of second-class citizen, or be killed. Islam’s success in newly-conquered lands was due to terror. And once you converted to Islam the penalty for apostacy was death. Still is, officially. That’s pretty effective.

Larry Percival
Larry Percival
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

The Neville Chamberlain school of political comment.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Larry Percival

Yes indeed, he should have been concentrating on the USSR, just as ‘we’ should be focused on China.

As it is, following on from your logic, we are/were concentrating on the lesser of two evils, Adolph and Islam.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I basically agree, but the Goths actually had quite an advanced literary culture.

Larry Percival
Larry Percival
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

I think your fertility rate figures are way out, or you live in Islington and only see Muslims on TV. Go to Asda in Clapham junction and watch the families of 8 and 10 children walking behind the mothers, one born every year, the girls head to toe in all black, the boys wearing NBA and NFL fan apparel, plus the ubiquitous baseball caps.

Pierre Brute
Pierre Brute
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

The study also predicted that Muslim fertility rate in Europe would drop from 2.2 in 2010 to 2.0 in 2030.

Who made this calculation? Neil Ferguson?

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Hey, are you really that naive?

Patrick Elson
Patrick Elson
3 years ago

with its complicity it seems…

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Wokey-dokey. Whatever, I’ve read a number of articles on this theme in recent months – if not years – and even attended a talk by Tom Holland on what is, broadly, this subject.

My own experience is that very few people I know could be described as ‘woke’, and most of them regard the whole thing with a combination of amusement, despair and derision.

Of course, one takes care not to make any jokes or sarcastic remarks in all social or corporate environments until you can be sure of who is unwoke. In that sense, our societies are now little different to the Soviet Union and its acolytes.

Paul Theato
Paul Theato
3 years ago

A personal note on wokeness.
A woke female contacted the HR dept. of the company I contract for recently asking for me to be sacked for disagreeing with her (non-aggressively) on LinkedIn regarding the Marxist, woke organisation Black Lives Matter that she supported. I was not ‘released’ surprisingly, even though the company I do work for has firmly embraced BLM, wokeness and mandatory diversity training (excluding, presumably, diversity of opinion).
I assume that the silent majority on LinkedIn who had nothing to say about e.g. the racist slogan ‘white silence is violence’ in a business context, either agree with the sentiment or prefer to risk our culture, history and society over their jobs.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 years ago

Ye, but. The dominant religion of any time has never admitted to being religion. It is the Truth! And don’t you forget it, peasant.

Did not St. Thomas insist that his theology was all about logic and reason?

And did not Marx insist that his religion of socialism was scientific?

The present woke religion issues from the Frankfurt School’s modification of socialism from a scientific class analysis to a race and gender analysis.

The basic error, of course, is the idea that a religion gussied up by some rich kid — lookin’ at you Marx, Engels, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse — has any relevance to the life of an ordinary Commoner.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago

Rejecting your cultural heritage is a form of self emasculation equal with if not greater than denying your parentage and biological inheritance. Like it or not, you are your antecedents, Marx as well as Jesus.

The problem with present day identitarianism is that it’s been colonized by bourgeois types gaming it for profit. Like all petit bourgeois idealism it’s bad faith.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Sadly the Shrieker culture of ‘woke’ has penetrated to the very bowels of UnHerd.

Whilst commenting on the recent desecration by the RAF of the grave of the Black Labrador Retriever of the late Group Captain Guy Gibson, VC, DSO, DFC, (he of the ‘Dambuster Raid’), the UnHerd Censor, balked at the use of the correct name of the above dog, and insisted on a substitute!

Sometimes I wonder if Gibson and the four hundred thousand others who gave their lives for this country shouldn’t have bothered. We might be quite happy now speaking German and tucking into the odd ‘bratworst mit fries’.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I’m going to nick “shrieker culture”. Very good.

Clay Bertram
Clay Bertram
3 years ago

Could the new religion of ‘Woke’ be yet another manifestation of the Abrahamic impulse in a largely secular West?

The urge to believe in something divine has not gone away, deep down. Suppressed by consumerism and technology yes, but eradicated no. The void has not been filled by rationality or liberalism it would appear.

The Woke symbolism, rituals and evangelical focus on fighting a great evil opponent (insert – privilege/the west/western history) that has produced an alleged moral decay is consistent with themes of purity/sin/religious and personal struggle that are inherent to the Talmud, Bible and Koran.

It is becoming increasingly clear that those who adopt the rituals/beliefs and protestations of the Woke religion are by definition ‘chosen’. Those who fail to do so through ignorance or intransigence are therefore not ‘chosen’. Again, this is very Abrahamic.

The Abrahamic impulse to override locality/culture and non-monotheistic beliefs is as strong as ever through the lens of Woke. There is no place for plurality in Woke. Dogma is all.

Scientific facts, rationalism and a belief in the personal and collective power of reasoned debate fall by the wayside in the process too.

Those whose religious beliefs contradict/oppose the central impulses of Wokedom are likely to be treated like the Pagans of old Europe and Africa/South America in the 18th/19th centuries during the days of empire.

Amidst all of the puritanical and pious displays of Woke devotion I have been unable to identify any impulse to forgive. This is very sad indeed. Without forgiveness, how can we move forward as a culture/society?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Clay Bertram

This lack of forgiveness supports my long-held belief that the Woke movement is more Maoist than Christian/religious.

Judy Englander
JE
Judy Englander
3 years ago

Wokism reminds me of gnosticism. The gnostic sects abounded around 2000 years ago. Gnosis is a mystical experience of the Truth, available only to the elect, which is immediate, certain and not open to doubt. So, we have Robin DiAngelo’s (she of ‘White Fragility’) statement in her PhD thesis:

“… rather than work to prove [racism’s] existence, work to reveal it.”

The Truth of pervasive ‘whiteness’ is a moment of enlightenment when what was hidden to you is revealed, and then you can never unsee it. You literally ‘wake up’ and become ‘woke’. You are one of the initiated because you have the ability to see the reality behind the curtain. A rich girl in the US has recently posted about “unlearning all the elitist sh*t my brain normalised”. This is what is behind #nondebatable and dismissive statements such as ‘educate yourself’ and ‘do the work’. ‘Whiteness’ is not about skin colour as such but about the whole structure of your mental universe.

Btw, isn’t it interesting that initiation into wokism is often called ‘the work’ and a 20th century esoteric/gnostic sect founded by Gurdjieff is also called The Work.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

Interesting you should mention Gurdjieff. He preached careful self observation (without attempting to interfere while learning about yourself). This is quite different from “woke” which provides off-the-shelf conclusions for the intellectually lazy.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

“… rather than work to prove [racism’s] existence, work to reveal it.” In other words, “manufacture ‘evidence’ to fit your conclusions.”

It really devalues the title “Doctor” when a Ph.D. will be awarded for methodology like that. With people like DiAngelo claiming the title, no wonder “expert” is getting tarnished.

I hope people don’t start lumping my physics Ph.D. with this pseudo-intellectual stuff!

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

When you work from an untested premise, and refuse possible falsifications, then you’re stuck in the loop of confirmation bias – you only see what you expect to see.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Agreed. My Philosophy PhD was hard unpleasant work. I don’t want to be classed alongside these bozos.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Interesting article. Despite Woke’s many parallels with religion, I think it is predominantly political in origin. Marxism and Communism were and are upheld and adhered to by the faithful in a similarly religious way.
The trouble with rationality and reason, minus any belief in the Divine, as a way forward for humanity is, we are not always either rational or reasonable, and that is particularly true the more crowd-like we become. It seems to me that in some ways social media behaves like an overt collective unconscious (if that’s possible) the power of which is frightening.

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago

as others have commented the ‘woke religion’ is all the worst aspects of religion – the fire and brimstone without the redemption. ‘original sin’ without the compassion & allowances for the frailty and faultiness of mere mortal humans. The irrationality and authoritarianism without an actually transcendent conception. Such a fundamentally abysmal shallow conception may last for a while, and may do quite a bit of damage in the short term. But no more than that.

So no – I think you’re giving it a bit too much credence. Though its certainly something for grave concern.

jcurwin
jcurwin
3 years ago

I see “Woke” not as a new religion, but as a perversion of the religious impulse in a “post-God” world. I’ve always laughed at the fundamentalist atheists like Dawkins and Sam Harris, who seem to believe that as soon as people forsake religion they become rational by default. These guys need to read Carl Jung.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago

Although it seems like this is spreading across the world, of course it isn’t. The wokeness seems confined to North Western Europe and the US. If the Italians were to remove all buildings built or funded by slavery the Roman empire’s legacy would be eliminated. Columbus statues are all over Southern Europe and Central and South America (where the victims of European colonialism supposedly are). None are attacked. Hispanics are more likely to defend statues than attack them. Eastern Europe isn’t woke. Russia isn’t. China isn’t. And so on.

Frederick B
Frederick B
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Agreed. It seems to be a disease of the Anglosphere and a handfull of countries bordering the North Sea.

hyperreader
hyperreader
2 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Gonna have to disagree with you there. There are absolutely people in other countries taking cues from this newly ascendant cult.

India, my country, seems to be quite susceptible to this given our long colonial history as well as the lefty reactions it provoked.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Woke culture will be brought down by it’s own blasphemy law. All these cultural movements from the left fail on exactly the same hook because they end up “eating their own young” when they try to out woke themselves. The best example of this was Tim Farron who was the picture of the woke establishment, until they discovered he was a Christian who had person issues with gay marriage (and abortion I think). He abstained on HoC votes and suddenly he became “Persona non grata” and his view on one issue dominated everything. Independent thought or variation from the stated doctrine on all issues is a requirement but we are complex and have different views based on different experiences.

Woke will not survive the internecine wars that will come. A system in which the tint of skin colour gives “privilege” will see “privilege” taken away from people who feel entitled to it because they where told that today and won’t accept tomorrow that someone else’s tint is more “deserving”. Those wars will start small but will erupt and will see the organisation destroy itself from within. Anything which is built on prejudice and entitlement always does!

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
3 years ago

Which is all very well, but “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” led to centuries of persecution, civil war and general abandonment of progress in the name of religion. It is to be hoped we learned enough to not repeat it with whatever some self-centered oikophobe decides is the next installment of truth-defying dogma.

alan mahon
alan mahon
3 years ago

What an excellent article.

I, like many others, have been describing the “phenomenon that has no name but lets call it woke” as a religion, and have noted its similarities to the worst impulses of the montheisms, particlualry with regard to heresy, purity, original sin and manichaesim.

This is the first article I have seen that takes the next steps and says, of course this is a religion, we can stop arguing that point but move on to ask: as we are witnessing the birth of a new religion, what should we expect to see coming next?

The analogy of Constantine as our elites and the legionaire as the commoners who give half-hearted surface compliance is spot-on and very funny.

Personally, I think that wokeness and Communism are terrible consequences of believing that the religious animal that we are can be satisfied by atheism. I suspect that the optimal religious organisation of human beings is a symbolic structure that has extraordinarily low demands and that no-one really beleives in, but that the population give lip service to, such as the 1970s Church of England.

The CofE probably gave us the closest to ‘atheism’ that humans are capable of.
We lost that, and now we are returning to the inquisition of the15th century, albeit with greatly reduced torture.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  alan mahon

Legionary please! Legionnaire belongs to the French Foreign Legion, not the Roman Army.

However your point about “a symbolic structure that has extraordinary low (religious) demands is well made.

Historically one of the finest examples of that would be the Roman Republic, followed by the Empire. That is until it was wrecked, by Constantine’s lunatic mother, Helena.

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago
Reply to  alan mahon

Not really, the very term “woke” is symptomatic of current standards of debate; illiteracy and poor education have triumphed over scholarship and reason. Please don’t advocate a retreat to mindless bigotry as a way to defeat the semi-educated…

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  alan mahon

Excellent post, and I say so as an atheist.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago

I think the general principles of a humane society are well established. They have been held to some extent or another in the great organising institutions of the West -religion being one of them. But a significant failure has been both the corrupt elements of these institutions, and the failure of these institutions to successfully disseminate, integrate and uphold these general principles right into the living corners of the wider society. Chiefly I think they have proved to be incompetent at what they profess to exist for.

I experienced something of this recently -attending a local council planning meeting. The local councillors were doubtless, well intentioned -but they were only somewhat competent individuals trying to do their best. I don’t wish to denigrate them – thank God someone puts themselves forward for these roles -but nonetheless these people are required to make extremely complex decisions which ultimately have very serious and long lasting effects that can shape a whole community for years to come. They are assisted by a variety of civil servants -but it takes a particular type of person to be able to cut through both public opinion and civil service advice to arrive at good decisions that truly serve the people. Someone exceptionally competent (if you want it done right).

Councillors are not even paid for what they do. It struck me as insane that one first expects the electorate to choose from a presumably tiny pool of ‘volunteer’ candidates (likely to come from a very small and specific group of people), to do a thoroughly serious and vital job -and then requires those elected to do it all unpaid (save for expenses). The E&W Magistrates’ Courts operate on a similar principle -and anyone who has worked within this system will have some familiarity of the insanity which often prevails in those places. I cannot think of any private enterprise which would think for a moment that this is the optimal way of selecting and appointing its most important decision makers.

The experience made me think to what extent we take seriously the important general principles of western culture and society. In these examples the principle is about having the most competent people for the job and we most definitely do not have a system in place to ensure this happens. So what does it say about the sincerity of our professed beliefs?

Those at the top preach a good game (from time to time at least) but it seems the further away the problems are from their direct experience the less they care about ensuring these general principles are enacted. It made me think how Jordan Peterson talks an excellent (and pretty valid) general game -espousing general principles that any sane person ought to believe -but the devil is always in the detail and in the small things, and in how an institution, or individual for that matter, is prepared to go to uphold them.

The wokies are latching onto something. I don’t buy the ideologies of systemic racism/ sexism/ homophobia etc… but the corruption and incompetence/ lack of vision/ lack of purpose of our current leaders has left them (and our wider society) very vulnerable to such attacks. No wonder many people are really not happy, and no wonder they are looking to other authorities -and more authoritarian ones at that.

I wonder if the issue is not so much one of systemic bias but of systemic incompetence. I think it is this that has most eroded people’s Faith. Did we lose faith in the church because we suddenly disliked its message (unlikely, because the message seems to have survived) or was it more likely because the Church proved itself so corrupt and incompetent in delivering and upholding the message?

This sort of experience can lead people to feel very cynical about the message itself -it can erode the power of the message itself -which is very dangerous for society.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

An excellent post that more less sums up the situation in the West, where all our institutions are largely rotten and corrupt. Eric and Bret Weinstein are the most astute observers of this in the US. You should check out their various podcasts and appearances on Joe Rogan etc.

In that sense the Woke are indeed on to something. And so were Occupy. It’s just that they don’t really understand how to put in place something better because, in the case of Occupy for instance, they didn’t understand the way in which money is created and the people for whom it is created. They only know that something is very rotten, and they are right in that respect.

But these are deep waters that require an entire book. Not that there aren’t plenty of books out there on the subject. One such is by Gaad Sad (or Gad Saad) who talks about the pathogens that have infected the Western mind. Things have been rotten for years or decades, propped up only by money printing and various other illusions. There are signs that C-19 is now collapsing the whole thing.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

My Local Lib-dem ,Tory councillors think it is ”Green” to concrete over Lutterworth,Hinckley,great bowden,little bowden,etc….With No extra A&E within 15 miles ,No Cinema,Theatre,Schools…..They are only Concerned with short term Profit,as per Labour city council,obsessed with Student accommodation,sure to be less after,SARS2 ..instead of Local people settling in Same areas….I despair,but You Get councillors,MPs you deserve, EU citizens will be voting in Local elections in may 2021!! I distrust ALL Political parties which is why excluding European elections ,(Brexit or ukip) i have NOT voted for one is over 30 years…I stand as Independent whether I stand in my 6th General Election in 2024 ?Depends What issues are relevant…but im Glad im in my later 60s!

Don Clayton
Don Clayton
3 years ago

Wokism is a cult, not a religion. The old saying that “a person who does not believe in God, will believe anything” is indeed true. Every man worships something. And “wokeness” in my opinion is merely a convenient tool for Marxists to achieve their clearly stated aim of destroying and toppling Democratic forms of government. Those who embrace it are just pawns.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

“…But regardless, it should be obvious by now there’s no point trying to resist the apostles of wokeness with the tools of secular reason…”

No, they’re really not smart enough or intelligent or knowledgeable enough to have a reasoned discussion, but a hard punch on the nose would probably at least shut up their whining.

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

What the Woke brigade believe is illogical and unreasonable, e.g., it’s possible to change your sex.
It’s been said elsewhere that you can’t reason someone out of a belief that they weren’t reasoned into. You have to get through to them emotionally.

Plus: they are far closer to fascism than anyone will publicly admit. Does this writer seriously suggest we should accept fascism? The wokerati are going after statues, and are cancelling people online. How long before they cancel people in real life?

Christianity is failing precisely because it’s been under sustained attack by the same far left, and by the adherents of another religion who have been destroying churches, and killing Christians, e.g. 30,000+ in Nigeria alone.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

”woke” I prefer the Term ”Shriekers” or ”Illiberal liberals” Think Shouting down or censure wins arguments it NEVER will…… it doesn’t mean Conservatives will win in 2024 ,as they are making mistake of 1) Ignoring Small businesses 2) Obsessed with Making it impossible to deliver Goods in Central London 3) Concreting over rural Towns 4) pursuing expensive HS2 instead of Opening Some beeching cut main lines eg Northampton to Market harborough 5) Not taking Correct corporation &profit taxes on google,Apple,Starbucks,Horizon etc..6) Not cutting VAT to 10% permanently

penangtom
penangtom
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Making it impossible to deliver Goods in Central London. Not a point I have seen raised elsewhere, but very true indeed.

Lang Cleg
Lang Cleg
3 years ago

An interesting take on the cognitive and regulatory capture of liberal institutions by evangelists and approved and aided by the elites!

I hope you are wrong, Mary, and my more practical prediction – that Wokeness cannot survive the scandals that will inevitably arise from the religious fervour that impels its destruction of all our safeguarding protocols – is the accurate one. I fear I may live in hope, however.

Simon Sharp
SS
Simon Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  Lang Cleg

oh no you will surely be proven right eventually. The ‘woke religion’ is fundamentally self defeating and cannibalistic of its own. The question is of how much damage it will do in the short term. Even Maoism didn’t last that long. Hopefully we don’t need to get anywhere near that level of destruction before the purity spiral convulsions subside and a semblance of sanity returns.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

Nihilism occasionally becomes fashionable with the young. Especially when a society is witnessing civilization collapse. At some point when enough buildings are burned and enough bellies are hungry they move on from collective insanity. They don’t have a choice.

Basil Chamberlain
BC
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

There’s something to Ms Harrington’s argument, but I think there is some sleight of hand being performed. Years ago, we were told that coastal American liberals described the heartlands as “flyover states”, and this was offered, by conservative commentators, as evidence that of the elitism of patronising liberals. Eventually it turned out that this allegation originated with Barry Goldwater, who phrased it as a joke: “They [the coastal liberals] think the first stop after Los Angeles is Idlewild.”

Similarly, it’s not usually secular rationalists who claim that Wokeness has the qualities of a religion. Nor would the Woke themselves accept the description; they tend to assume that Wokeness is a rational diagnosis of objective social conditions. The commentators who regularly parallel Wokeness with traditional religions are almost invariably people like Ms Harrington, who are sympathetic to religion, sceptical of the claims of rationalism, and want to encourage a religious revival. They thus use the parallels between Wokeness and elements of traditional religion as a rhetorical strategy to encourage us to re-embrace the latter. In Ms Hartington’s last paragraph, the mechanism is exposed with unusual transparency.

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago

maybe – but there are enough others who are very clearly secular liberal who are the strongest critics of wokeness. See James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose at ‘new discourses.’

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

In truth, Wokeness fails as a substitute religion for exactly the same reason that Communism fails as a substitute religion. It has no transcendent support to appeal to. Religion is effective because its truth claims and its moral assertions are almost always anchored in the hypothesis of a God or gods and because it generally posits posthumous reward and punishment. This provides an impetus for people to be good which is (in principle though not always in practice) sufficient to overpower worldly motives.

By contrast, Wokeness is an idolatrous fake.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago

Really good article – particularly liked the reference to disputations.

In the last few years we have seen a resurgence of ‘spiritualism’ and other dogma that seem to have supplanted mainstream religion. The popular atheism movement in the 00s to some people became much like another religion to be obeyed. Which ironically gave ammunition to the religious critics of the movement.

Sometimes we see the same accusations aimed at science – that it is just another dogma. I think the best counter to that is to define science as ‘what we know to be true’. It’s a tool and a method, not an end in itself and that distinction is important. A similar story for what could be described as ‘true’ atheism.

There is an important point to make though – the reason traditional religion has tailed off, at least in the West, is that the foundations and rationale behind it have been utterly destroyed. That does not mean that much religious teaching or culture is therefore wrong or should be completely dismissed, but the ultimate foundations behind the belief are no longer credible which undermines the whole edifice. (A study of Darwin’s own personal religious struggle after his discovery of Natural Selection illustrates this well).

Interestingly, the vagueness of non-Judaeo Christian beliefs and spiritualism is an easier bed fellow of real science, on a superficial level. Paganistic ideas that god or gods are neither good or bad, that the world is chaos and that there are life forces outside of our knowledge has a resonance with the current limits of our scientific understanding; how much of what influences the world we can neither smell, see nor hear for example. Added to this are cod-science adoptions of quantum theory and the theories of alternate dimensions. A fetishism of all that’s considered ‘natural’ and therefore good also plays a part. From this point it’s easy to see how people can feel a certain truth in older spiritual beliefs as science does not (and currently cannot) rule them out.

Until recently I mistakenly mistook a lot of people’s interest in more spiritual things at face value – as just an interest in the culture or history of such things. When actually an alarming number of people have such a scepticism of known truths that they actually believe a lot of the actual nonsense that comes with it. Horoscopes, copper bracelets, homeopathy, and tarot reading seem to have more credence amongst more people than we realise.

It is unsurprising perhaps that another different but equally pervasive belief system such as ‘wokeness’ might take hold.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

“I think the best counter to that is to define science as ‘what we know to be true'”
I agree with your thrust, that science is a method. But because science is an approach to mapping the unknown, and we cannot know with certainty* what is “true”, I would put it slightly differently:

“Science maps what is false. Truth lies somewhere in what is not yet proven false.”

*Even our most accurately verified theory, QED, can’t be said to be absolutely true. However, when its calculations match experiments to 1 part in a billion billion, that is bracketing “truth” quite narrowly. Any rival theory his a high bar to match.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Thanks – yes I have seen that view before, but came down on the “what we know side”. But I am unsure – perhaps I am not understanding fully but here’s my thoughts:

I understand what you’re saying. The correct approach or method to science never can utterly rule something out empirically. But I think in practical terms this approach has two major issues:

Firstly it’s naturally open to criticism – the “ah so you don’t really know!” counter. This can be just rhetoric, but really it does do a lot of damage to credibility whether we like it or not.

Secondly, and I would argue more importantly, it is very limiting in the practical application of science. It is objectively fair to say that in fact we do actually know one hell of a lot of things. If you cut off the oxygen supply to a human brain – it will kill for example. You do not need to do a “billion billion” experiments to know this.

Is it surely not an almost theoretical/mathematical argument you are making? It most certainly could be relevant at the very limits of scientific theory, but has little grounding in a practical application (i.e. reality)? The best advances in medicine and other areas do not require an nth degree of accuracy to function – but nobody would question the science behind these achievements.

Does that makes sense?

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

You are making sense. However the “mapping falsehood” is not as limiting as you think. For example, turn around the “oxygen to the brain” question: “How long can live with oxygen cut off from the brain?” 1 hour at room temperature? No!. 5 minutes at room temperature? Some do. Some don’t – seems to be at the boundary. What about at reduced temperature? There have been examples of reviving people from drowning at near freezing after an hour.

It is all in how you ask the question. This is particularly important when people try to use correlations to infer causation. In a sense, all experiments are correlation reasoning. it is just that you try to have all the independent variables under your control. But have you accounted for all the variables? Politicised climate modelling is most egregiously unscientific in this regard.

P.S. I take a particular interest in how to reason scientifically, because I am a physicist.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  David Barnett

Thanks – makes complete sense

David Bardell
David Bardell
3 years ago

“Today we’re watching the transition of wokeness from fringe cult to mainstream public morality…….also in a digital public square whose rulemakers are largely already converts to the new faith”
This sets out why the author is the very definition of someone who needs to shut down their laptop, get out more and talk to some regular people

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bardell

I think you’re missing the point of what she’s getting at. It doesn’t need most people to actually truly believe in it for it to become a dominant cultural force. Just one example – darts got rid of their ‘dolly birds’ because they were deemed ‘sexist’. Who do you think came to that conclusion? The beer bellied inhabitants of the darts halls? The actual women doing the dolly-birding who were getting paid a good wage? No – it was a minority of woke activists who knew they could threaten to embarrass the darts association with the dreaded label of institutionally sexist. And so they capitulated.

Now replicate this across many… many different facets of like and you have ‘woke culture’ as a mainstream cultural authority even though a majority don’t actually believe in it. Just how many other religions have come to prominence.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

Mary, what is your reaction to the suicide of Professor Mike Adams, victim of the woke mob?

aelf
aelf
3 years ago

‘Wokeness’ has more in common with the Phrygian cult of Cybele (including its mendicant eunuchs) than it does with Christianity.

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago
Reply to  aelf

I’d say it has more in common with the People’s Temple:

This frightening tale of mass suicide was carried out by members of the People’s Temple, a cult born in the 1950s with the supposed objective of practicing Apostolic Socialism. In the 1970s a Caribbean missionary post was established in Guyana; “Jonestown” was allegedly a benevolent communist community and sanctuary for racial and social equality headed by leader and self-styled prophet Jim Jones. However Jones, claiming to be the Messiah, applied mind-control strategies to brainwash the sect and receive full and incontestable devotion; implemented torture holes to solve disciplinary matters (for both adults and children); and had sexual control over women and children.

In November 1978, strange disappearances began to occur, including the murder of inspecting California Congressman Leo Ryan and a number of fugitives from the ‘camp’. Afraid of American retaliation, Jones brainwashed his 912 followers into preserving the People’s Temple for eternity by committing the ultimate sacrifice. Poisoning themselves, they thus participated to the largest mass suicide in modern history.

aelf
aelf
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Smex

The misnamed People’s Temple were, nominally, Christian.

David Barnett
DB
David Barnett
3 years ago

“Woke” conjures to me the horror movie image of a fist thrusting out of a newly dug grave. Or perhaps zombies out to devour the brains of the living.

thedrumdoctor
thedrumdoctor
3 years ago

‘Woke’ will eventually eat itself, once it’s run out of width of hairs to split. I personally don’t believe we have to choose a ‘faith’ as such. Not every human wants to belong to a club which wears its heart on its sleeve. I read a quote once, correctly or incorrectly attributed to the Hopi Indian tribe which said:

Stop looking outside yourself for leaders

Eventually, people wake up and realise what they slavishly followed was a mistake born out of a lack of life experience. Enlightenment will only come when you stop listening to the loudest voices and follow your instincts.

angersbeagle
angersbeagle
3 years ago
Reply to  thedrumdoctor

Totally agree.
Woke will eat itself as the only thing these “oppressed minorities” have in common is antagonism to current social norms.
How to reconcile the demands of LGBT / BLM / Antida / Islamists or any of the other dozen protest groups…….in a nutshell, you cannot.

Jeff Krinock
Jeff Krinock
3 years ago

How can it be that so many comments miss the major point that Christ taught meekness and humility, while wokeness teaches the polar opposite?
Forget lamenting the loss of cathedrals and art. Any teaching centered on blind assertion of will (as the epically mis-named “woke” movement is) will result both in reversion to mud-hut residences and the destruction of all that is good, true, and beautiful.

David George
DG
David George
3 years ago

Thank you Mary, a really good, thought provoking essay once again.

S H
S H
3 years ago

Liberalism occurred in combination with a market economy, which has seen a huge increase in economic wellbeing over the last 150 years. Wokeness has no such association, meaning it will lead to economic stagnation and thus, at best, will only be a temporary phenomenon

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

I do solemnly promise to stick 2 fingers up at wokeness and all its acolytes until the day I die.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Difficult to argue about whether wokeness is a religious or secular phenomenon without defining what is meant by wokeness’. From what I can judge by the comments here woke is a new term for the pursuance of an understanding of themes of social justice which has been something secular rationalists have been doing for at least two or three centuries.

Graeme Caldwell
Graeme Caldwell
3 years ago

That he did so under the sign of the chi-rho was the founding moment of the Holy Roman Empire, the hinge event that turned Christianity from a minority sect into a power both spiritual and political.

This is a well-argued article, but the historical details are a little off. There was a five century gap between Constantine and the Holy Roman Empire. It would be more accurate to say this event was the founding moment of that other great Christian Empire: the Byzantine, which was the leading force in Christendom for many centuries after the fall of the Western Empire.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago

Ms Harrington is not encouraging you to join the Woke. She’s encouraging you to convert to Christianity.

John Alyson
John Alyson
3 years ago

If religious passions are back, we’ll need all the scholastic tools we can get

This makes the common mistake of talking of “religion” without bothering to think that its content might be important and that it might consist of something more than “passions”. Scholasticism worked in Christianity because the entire religion was underpinned by a form of rationalism rooted in a single unchanging, law giving God. If “wokeness” is a religion then we have to ask ourselves whether it is based on something similar that would allow such scholastic tools to be viable.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  John Alyson

I think ancient polytheism explained the unpredictability of life by rivalries amongst the gods. Pauline Christianity seemed to do it via a battle between God and the Satan. Judaism does it by positing cause and effect, but many of the workings are hidden from us (essentially the argument in the Book of Job).

Wokeism seems to deny that there is anything but the subjective, and does not require any consistency. I would say it has its roots in Rousseau’s “general will” and the priests of woke are the ones who define what that is.

It would seem with wokeism we are back to a chaotic world except that instead of propitiating one or more gods, it is only the priests of woke. I am reminded of the the Knights of Nih (Monte Python and the Holy Grail) who will destroy anyone who does not satisfy their desire for…a shrubbery.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

I think it is a mistake to think that Wokeism and Progressivism in general is irrational because it isn’t. It is a different worldview that has rational roots.

The basis of it, like the newly forming versions of Conservatism, is how best to manage society within the context of a looming human growth crisis in particular and a looming ecological crisis in general.

In this respect, Progressivism and Wokeism is primarily concerned with how to manage human society at a global level with the eradication of national boundaries and countries turned into free movement regional sanctuaries of cultural relativism with globalised technocracies managing resource flows in order to fulfill humanity’s needs along with the requirement to protect ecological life support systems.

This framework identifies the pressure points and the obstacles that need to be overcome in order to realise that vision along with the permanent revolution of cultural cleansing, especially of cultural organisations which are free to propogate Woke and Progressive propoganda.

BLM and other such civic organisations are the means to aggrandise this agenda, especially through social sorting regimes with an emphasis in undermining confidence in Conservative governments.

The Progressive grand plan is rational and makes perfect sense but their main obstacle is implementation with numerous technical obstacles to overcome. In particular, how do they bridge between the local and the global and ensure free movement does not create ecological hazards, especially if a regionally located population outstrips its ecological capacity.

It is solely as a result of these technical difficulties that Progressivism and Wokeism in particular has taken a more Faith based turn. It is not because this political movement is irrational, it is because they do not possess the acumen to create rational solutions to their technical obstacles.

Meanwhile, Conservatism as it is being progressively informed by nationalism and populism do have rational solutions in the form of national boundaries, immigration policies and multilateralism in order to manage the expected consequences of the looming growth crisis.

In this respect, it is Progressivism and Wokeism that are the aberration not Conservatism. This is only realised when viewing humanity and its challenges through the lens of ecological science which teaches us that territorial delineations are the basis of sustainable feeding grounds with thermodynamic laws highlighting the need to balance population needs with ecological and economic capacities.

As such, Progressivism is an example of transnaturism and far from acknowledging ecological science, it is actively opposed to it as the basis of their rationalism. Consequently, these ecological aberrations could be called faith based rationalism since within their fragmentary rational frameworks are immense knowledge gaps which require a kind of transecologism to resolve and will undoubtedly require some form of globalised technocratic authoritarianism.

It is because Wokeism is the real aberration, the real ecological aberration, that much of the faith based nature of what seeks to be rational is so ego driven. The very fact that it is now predominantly a movement so ubiquitously ego centric that it will eventually implode and collapse under its own volition especially under conditions of a democracy. In other words, whilst they are trying to buy time with ego driven exploits whilst trying to resolve their techno-rational dilemmas, they are simultaneously creating the conditions of their collapse as a socially acceptable ideology.

On a last point, the only reason why Wokeism has anchored deeply within the American imagination is because of the deep cultural relativism embedded within that country’s recent history. In this instance, the Progressive framework is probably the only framework that would work for America in order to avoid its collapse. However, as a global solution, the insurmountable technical difficulties that have now been replaced by faith based rationalism is no substitute for a multilateral global system of self determining national societies that looks after its own feeding territories with assistance given to others where it can.

David Barnett
David Barnett
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Gwynne

Progressivism has always been about control of the people by creating dependence on the elites. Wokeism is part of a divide and rule strategy. However, most of the adherents are useful idiots who don’t realise they are pawns in a power game.

Dominic Hendron
Dominic Hendron
3 years ago

Just a thought but is not kneeling in repentance and washing of feet an endorsement of Christianity rather than a subjection to something greater. Jesus told his disciples to go and do likewise. To put it another way: paper smothers rock

Dick Barrett
Dick Barrett
3 years ago

I’m not sure if the practice of disputations is any defence against cancel culture. The Cathars had disputations with St Dominic and other Christian heavy hitters, but not long afterwards, they were well and truly cancelled anyway.

Luca Marx
Luca Marx
3 years ago

Wokism is coming to assume many of the attitudes erstwhile associated with Fascism in it’s classic (not Nazi) manifestation. Particularly that we are each assigned our segregated role / station in Society and that we should stay. Or else.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

With regard to the image that accompanies the article, I am not going to take ‘seriously’ some young fool wearing a facemark and kneeling in some sort of absurd prayer next to a bottle of water.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

‘Woke’, at least for Europeans, is Marxist class antagonisms transferred to race and culture. ‘Racism’ in place of ‘Capitalism’ as animating or ‘scapegoat’ principle legitimising ‘struggle’ i.e. political violence. For sure Marxism as a form of membership / identity is to that extent a ‘religion’.

But it’s an entirely negative identity founded on a repudiation of inherited identity. To that extent it’s a reversal of the original Woke as a concerted valuing of inherited identity by the most racially antagonistic group whose identity is invested in their appearance to a degree out of all proportion to any other.

What is called “secular rationalism” here, the notion of ‘religion’ as a kind of existential choice, i.e the possibility of occupying a space ‘outside’ religion already presupposes Christianity.

‘Secular rationalsm’ v Christianity is a false opposition. Indiscriminately assimilating ‘religion’ with Christianity, as if Church of England shares an identity with Salafism, carries no more explanatory value than grouping the Royal Family with the Don Corleone Family in virtue of their shared identity as ‘families’.

When Nietzsche attacked the atheist scholars of his time whose researches proved biblical events historically untrue, his point was that the idea of truth which directed their investigations in the first place was already founded on Christian concepts.

For Nietzsche, science as pure truth derives from the Christian idea of the one true God, its ontological antecedent. The scientist himself being the latest incarnation of what he called “ascetic values”: the man of God or “priestly type” having renounced faith in the one true God for faith in Truth itself: what he interpreted as ‘will to truth’, ie as expressing a ‘weak’ bodily force.

The animal or physical specimen man isn’t implanted with something called ‘religion’ which is then displaced by another thing called ‘science’. That’s back to front: ‘rationalism’ / ‘religion’ merely describe outward or ‘cultural’ forms of the type man.

Nietszche, the proto-fascist or n*zi – understood as worship of power for its own sake – philosopher sought to attack scientific truth: why should the higher man be subject to the law of the herd? The warrior aristocrat, by definition, creates and lives by his own rules, his own ‘truth’.

This is where the ontological identity between Science, i.e. truth independently of any perspective and the one true God of Christian monotheism becomes apparent: science being the same truth for everyone regardless of rank, i.e a God-like perspective above any mere individual standpoint.

We take such things as equality before the law, each person being of equal worth for granted but they’d be as incomprehensible to a Roman as they are now to ‘primitive’ peoples who tend to have a healthy respect for human differences and rank, especially physical prowess..

But Nietzsche could no more criticise Christianity from an ‘atheistic’ standpoint than he could attack German culture as an Englishman. Cultural inheritance being no more a matter of individual choice than language. Enlightenment values: secular rationalism / liberal individualism / liberal democracy derive from the Christian idea of all souls being equal in the eyes of God.

That their foremost defenders formally reject Christianity, identifying as ‘atheist’ / ‘agnostic’, even scapegoating Christianity a la Dawkins, doesn’t alter the reality of their cultural membership. All these attitudes can be traced to species of Protestantism. How could it be otherwise? How could people not take after their forebears? How could Richard Dawkins be an exception to his own theory?

According to French-American philosopher-anthropologist Rene Girard, the transformation of Christianity into Marxism is largely attributable to the influence of Ludwig Feuerbach. Just as Nietzsche’s thought was indispensable to the anti-Christian German nationalist reversion to pagan / archaic religion.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago

‘Woke’, at least for Europeans, is Marxist class antagonisms transferred to race and culture. ‘Racism’ in place of ‘Capitalism’ as animating or ‘scapegoat’ principle legitimising ‘struggle’ i.e. political violence. Marxism as a form of membership / identity is to that extent a ‘religion’.

But it’s an entirely negative identity founded on a repudiation of inherited identity: a reversal of the original Woke as an assertion inherited identity on the part of the most racially antagonistic group whose identity is invested in their appearance to a degree out of all proportion to any other.

What is called “secular rationalism” here, the notion of ‘religion’ as a kind of existential choice, i.e the possibility of occupying a space ‘outside’ religion already presupposes Christianity.

Secular rationalism v Christianity is a false opposition. Indiscriminately assimilating religion with Christianity, as if Church of England shares an identity with Salafism, carries no more explanatory value than grouping the Royal Family with the Corleone Family in virtue of their shared identity as ‘families’

When Nietzsche attacked the atheist scholars of his time whose researches proved biblical events historically untrue, his point was that the idea of truth which directed their investigations in the first place was already founded on Christian concepts.

For Nietzsche, science as pure truth derives from the Christian idea of the one true God, its ontological antecedent. The scientist himself being the latest incarnation of what he called “ascetic values”: the man of God or “priestly type” having renounced faith in the one true God for faith in Truth itself: which he interpreted as ‘will to truth’, ie as expressing a ‘weak’ bodily force.

The tamed animal or physical specimen man isn’t implanted with something called ‘religion’ which is then displaced by another thing called ‘science’. That’s back to front: ‘rationalism’ / ‘religion’ merely describe outward or ‘cultural’ forms of the type man.

Nietszche, the proto-fascist or n*zi – understood as worship of power for its own sake – philosopher sought to devalue scientific truth: why should the higher man be subject to the law of the herd? The warrior aristocrat, by definition, creates and lives by his own rules, his own ‘truth’.

This is where the ontological identity between Science, i.e. truth independent of any perspective and the one true God of Christian monotheism becomes apparent: science meaning the same truth for all regardless of rank, i.e a God-like perspective above any mere individual standpoint.

We take such things as equality before the law, each person being of equal worth, for granted but they’d be as incomprehensible to a Roman as they are now to ‘primitive’ peoples who tend to have a healthy respect for human differences and rank, especially physical prowess.

But Nietzsche could no more criticise Christianity from an ‘atheistic’ standpoint than he could attack German culture as an Englishman. His cultural inheritance being no more a matter of individual choice than his language. Enlightenment values: secular rationalism / liberal individualism / liberal democracy are secular versions of the Christian idea of all souls being equal in the eyes of God.

That their foremost defenders might formally reject Christianity, identifying as ‘atheist’ / ‘agnostic’ / ‘humanist’, even scapegoating Christianity a la Dawkins, doesn’t alter the reality of their cultural membership. All these attitudes can be traced to species of Protestantism. How could it be otherwise? How could people not take after their forebears? How could Richard Dawkins be an exception to his own theory?

According to French-American philosopher-anthropologist Rene Girard, the transformation of Christianity into Marxism is largely attributable to the influence of Ludwig Feuerbach. Just as Nietzsche’s thought was indispensable to the anti-Christian German nationalist reversion to pagan / archaic religion..

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
3 years ago

Harrington is an exceptional commentator…

Unheard is an exceptional site….

Thank “god” for both.

Stuart Bennett
Stuart Bennett
3 years ago

So the suggestion is that we should apply all our attention to the narcissism of the small difference being interminably broadcast by spoilt children and lazy, grasping opportunists? The overpowering sense of Me-ism In the Woke rhetoric is unmissable.
They have no plan, either, it’s easy to destroy things, much harder to build. The author is correct, it is much like religion in that it’s an immature fantasy, a refuge for the self important. They have the attitude of ‘Woke will provide’. Those of us who have some grasp of how a society is built and maintained know that gods have provided nothing to humans in all history, we’ve built it with our own hands. It’s a shame that of all the things it does borrow from religion, it decided to ignore the advice about who should cast the first stone.

We’ll be busy fruitlessly and self destructively appeasing this stupid ideology while the organised, pragmatic and ruthless China continues to overtake the rest of the world.

Mike Olley
Mike Olley
3 years ago

“Christianity is on its last legs in the West today…”, total nonsense. This kind of hysterical commentary have been heard over the centuries, used by the lazy brigade to startle and keep their readers driven to sophistic slumber, awake. Boring …. Some other good points however.

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

I think it is a mistake to think that Wokeism and Progressivism in general is irrational because it isn’t. It is a different worldview that has rational roots.

The basis of it, like Conservatism, is how best to manage society within the context of a looming human growth crisis in particular and a looming ecological crisis in general.

In this respect, Progressivism and Wokeism is primarily concerned with how to manage human society at a global level with the eradication of national boundaries and countries turned into free movement regional sanctuaries of cultural relativism with globalised technocracies managing resource flows in order to fulfill humanity’s needs along with the requirement to protect ecological life support systems.

This framework identifies the pressure points and the obstacles that need to be overcome in order to realise that vision along with the permanent revolution of cultural cleansing, especially of cultural organisations which are free to propogate Woke and Progressive propoganda.

BLM and other such civic organisations are the means to aggrandise this agenda, especially through social sorting regimes with an emphasis in undermining confidence in Conservative governments.

The Progressive grand plan is rational and makes perfect sense but their main obstacle is implementation with numerous technical obstacles to overcome. In particular, how do they bridge between the local and the global and ensure free movement does not create ecological hazards, especially if a regionally located population outstrips its ecological capacity.

It is solely as a result of these technical difficulties that Progressivism and Wokeism in particular has taken a more Faith based turn. It is not because this political movement is irrational, it is because they do not possess the acumen to create rational solutions to their technical obstacles.

Meanwhile, Conservatism as it is being progressively informed by nationalism and populism do have rational solutions in the form of national boundaries, immigration policies and multilateralism in order to manage the expected consequences of the looming growth crisis.

In this respect, it is Progressivism and Wokeism that are the aberration not Conservatism. This is only realised when viewing humanity and its challenges through the lens of ecological science which teaches us that territorial delineations are the basis of sustainable feeding grounds with thermodynamic laws highlighting the need to balance population needs with ecological and economic capacities.

As such, Progressivism is an example of transnaturism and far from acknowledging ecological science, it is actively opposed to it as the basis of their rationalism. Consequently, these ecological aberrations could be called faith based rationalism since within their fragmentary rational frameworks are immense knowledge gaps which require a kind of transecologism to resolve and will undoubtedly require some form of globalised technocratic authoritarianism.

It is because Wokeism is the real aberration, the real ecological aberration, that much of the faith based nature of what seeks to be rational is so ego driven. The very fact that it is now predominantly a movement so ubiquitously ego centric that it will eventually implode and collapse under its own volition especially under conditions of a democracy. In other words, whilst they are trying to buy time with ego driven exploits whilst trying to resolve their techno-rational dilemmas, they are simultaneously creating the conditions of their collapse as a socially acceptable ideology.

On a last point, the only reason why Wokeism has anchored deeply within the American imagination is because of the deep cultural relativism embedded within that country’s recent history. In this instance, the Progressive framework is probably the only framework that would work for America in order to avoid its collapse. However, as a global solution, the insurmountable technical difficulties that have now been replaced by faith based rationalism is no substitute for a multilateral global system of self determining national societies that looks after its own feeding territories with assistance given to others where it can.

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson
3 years ago

I’m not sure how serious Mary Harrington is being here, but if she is really serious in her main argument, then I think she is being far too pessimistic, at least if she agrees with me that old-fashioned liberal rationalism is a good thing. Besides wokeism not offering any promise of an afterlife and pursuing a morality that has no internal consistency or obvious guiding belief, we nowadays live in a democracy where most people still want to be able to express their views freely. There is no Emperor Constantine able to enforce a new state religion. And despite BLM’s absurdly easy ride in the media and its many deluded, mainly young supporters, I am absolutely confident that most people in this country would not support its rather opaque, but fundamentally revolutionary views.

Graff von Frankenheim
Graff von Frankenheim
3 years ago

I would be interested in the author’s recommendation for combating this religious infestation…..assuming rational/historical refutation will make no dent whatsoever in the cult-like worldview of the wokesters. How do you combat a cult? The IDW/Quillette/Spiked/ UnHerd crowd can argue all they like…..their commentary is entirely outside the woke frame of reference if ms Harrington is to be believed.
Three options present themselves it seems to me: (a) ignore them as a totally irrelevant minority passion, stop giving them airtime, demote them in academia, don’t print their views, or (b) try the “Waco” strategy (get them all together in one spot, fake a provocation and torch the place) or (c) a McCarthy intimidation and silencing campaign by the nation’s silent majority against the loud, authoritarian malcontents and misfits, placing them beyond the pale rather than the majority. A requires the cooperation of those who hold the levers of cultural power, most of whom are at the very least fellow travelers of the Woke. B is obviously genocidal and therefore totally unacceptable. This leaves alternative (C); this can be done by constant demonstration that the woke view is an entirely minority hobby (max 8% of the population according to the authoritative study “Hidden Tribes”). How to do this? Vast and continuous polling through the internet (at least 80% of the adult population at the very least) on a safe, anonymous and unhackable basis; this will definitely show that the vast majority of the population is disgusted by this fake cult, has had enough of its bullying nonsense and will take away their votes, their schoolgoing children and their money/business from those who push the woke line. We are still a democracy and a nation; the minority should not be in a position that it can intimidate or even dictate terms to the majority, neither in politics nor in culture.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
3 years ago

This site does nothing other than take “woke “seriously, It is now the most bandied-about term here possibly followed by “liberal intellectual elite” . The problem with the Harrington approach is that no matter how often she references historical sources you end up with no better definition of “woke” than “this person is drawing attention to troubling things that make me feel uncomfortable and make me wish to put my head back under the duvet”. “Sleepies” is the word.

But why are you sleepies so upset? You have won! We now have a Prime Minister who knows that there is now no restraint on his actions as such a constitution as we once had is shot to pieces and will act accordingly when and as Cummings tells him to. You have the Brexit you always wanted which is likely to be no-deal, not for any good reason but because Johnson is unable to concentrate on anything for more than 5 minutes. The BBC is scared (Laura Keunssberg freely admits that she will not focus on news critical of the government as it might “damage public confidence” The newspapers are as biased and trivial as at any time in history (I speak as a lefty who read the Telegraph and Mail as a child). In the USA you have a President dedicated to the task of destroying the constitution while lowering the tone of public discourse to regions Ronald Reagan would have found unconscionable. It will be many years, if ever that the Labour Party will ever dare draw attention to the fact that the gap between rich and poor continues to rise.

So Sleepies Awake! your blessed dawn has arisen

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

It’s trumps America where most of the wokeness is generated. He’s just one guy. The woke are a movement.

Paul Theato
Paul Theato
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

President Trump appears to me to be firmly protecting the US constitution, especially the first and second amendments without which nothing else matters or can be protected, and which are both under sustained attack by a camouflaged far-left disguised as run of the mill socialists.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Theato

most countries manage to preserve individual liberty without allowing individuals to purchase assault rifles

Paul Theato
Paul Theato
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

The rifle is a much better way of guaranteeing that, in my view.

Don Clayton
Don Clayton
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

Most countries place less value on freedom and personal responsibility than the United States does. And “assault rifles” are not legal to purchase in the U.S. anyway.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

“Most” countries? Do you really think a majority of countries in the world preserve individual liberty? ROFLMAO.