Wither Woke?

🎶 Hark! The herald angels sing/Death to the a-wokening! 🎶

Before you nag, calendric reader, I already know I’m two months early with appropriated wassailing (and two weeks early to Mariah Carey bursting out of her ice cocoon). But it feels like Christmas.

That’s because the Grinch that’s terrorized our innocent little community of kind freedom-lovers is dead. Or at least moribund. He’s on life support not from a cardiomegaly-induced coronary but from that famed killer of all fantasy creatures: disbelief.

“Woke-ism Is Winding Down,” contends Columbia University fellow Musa al-Gharbi. Our great walking nightmare is slowly ending. What Dan Hitchens calls “the Thing”—”that combination of postmodern identity theory, religious fervor, pseudotheraputic ‘empathy,’ dogmatic moralism, private bullying, and ritualized public shaming which has swept through Western societies over the last decade”—is wheezing its last breaths. Sanity is stirring and returning.

Mr. al-Gharbi calculates a country’s wokeness through old-fashioned arithmetic: protest-counting and polling. Per his numbers, it appears America’s most a-woke demo is hitting the snooze button. He writes: “White liberals, the Americans whose expressed views shifted most radically over the last decade, have begun to moderate their responses to questions, for instance, about the causes and ideal remedies to racial inequalities.” More so, we’re seeing fewer marches for black/trans/gay/disabled/*insert vogue identity* in the streets, D.E.I. department downsizing, and the indefinite delay of Disney’s live-action “Snow White” film. (In a cruel twist, we’re getting a Daily Wire remake that will most assuredly be a more aesthetic crime than an identitarian knot of dwarves.)

Sohrab Ahmari and Rod Dreher agree that wokeness is wilting, writing “Woke Is Dying—Long Live the New Center” and “Is This The End Of Woke?” respectively. Both are convinced the recent outpouring of support for Hamas by journalists, academics, and snotty college brats is repulsing the respectable class, who are peachy keen with up-to-birth abortions but draw the line at wanton infant slaughter. (At least they have a line. Progress, amIright?)

Those demoralizing factors, combined with rampant fraud in hyper-left schemes like carbon credits, effective altruism, Ibram X. Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research, and Black Lives Matter execs expending donor funds on McMansions to fight white supremacy, are giving wokeness a bad rap.

So merry early Christmas? We can safely return to the heterosexual, white Santa Claus delivering toys to good little girls and boys, without being lectured that AKTUSHALLY IN SOME CULTURES Santa is really black with a one-legged boyfriend who delivers puberty blockers to theybies after the Winter Solstice?

Let’s not tear open our gifts just yet—OK, maybe one.

The hysterical hive-mind rapture following the murder of George Floyd has largely receded. Many corporations, after co-opting lefty social movements like Black Lives Matter and Pride, are reverting back to inoffensive commercialism. (With pallets of unsold “tuck-friendly” toddler swimsuits and “hands up, don’t shoot” imprinted dog biscuits presumably shipped off to a remote Africa village.) Big-pocketed donors are snapping their checkbooks shut to universities that—*shock*—actually instill the beliefs of their instructors. The leading Republican presidential candidate doesn’t even bother to say the word anymore. And when’s the last time you saw a statue of a white slaver mob-toppled?

Do all these signs of calming water mean wither woke then? Has the fever broken? Is what Kyle Smith called our “age of angry ferment” finally chilling out?

As every parent says to their kid asking for the latest pricey PlayStation from St. Nick, don’t get too excited—and it’s not a feint to catch you off guard Christmas morning. “Wokeness” as a term may be slinking off to the Island of Misfit Fad Jargon. But its underlying ideology is far from flatlining. Staying “woke” was only ever a racialized rebrand to communist class theory. The heroes and villains can easily be swapped: white straight males vs. black queer s/hes for bourgeoisie vs. proletariat. The former is responsible for all the ills in the world. The latter—meaning the put-upon, the oppressed, the downtrodden, the workers of the world—can do no wrong.

After its brief popularization, and inevitable adoption by our corporate money-wringing machine, wokeism is eroding into its pure form until it finds its next vernacular vehicle to spread its destructively egalitarian logic. Marxists thought they could deploy terms like “social justice,” “diversity,” and “Ur RaCiSt!!!11” as a workaround to undermining capitalist liberal democracy. But the elite adoption of woke slogans to serve its own enriching ends just swindled Marxism from Marx, all while peddling Vietnam-sweatshop-produced “Stay Woke!” t-shirts to the masses.

“What makes a leftist a leftist is not this or that theory but his ability to integrate any theory into the kitsch called the Grand March,” wrote novelist Milan Kundera. Woke’s usefulness to the left’s revolution has expired. On to the next rhetorical iteration.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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