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Wokeness – a top-down project to re-socialise the world
This is not a grass-roots movement but a project
Once upon a time, attitudes and practices associated with the politicisation of identity and the anti-traditional ideals of the counter-culture were confined to universities. Until recently, the university was the most important site for promoting a woke worldview. Today, the situation has changed. Western governments are busy mainstreaming gender ideology and encouraging the decolonisation of everything. Corporations have gone so woke that their human resources operatives have become the most enthusiastic advocates of diversity, inclusion, equity and sustainability. The Harvard Business Review continually communicates the conviction that embracing woke values is good for business and warns its readers not to give in to the pressures emanating from critics of woke capitalism.
It is evident that whatever the origins of the movements which popularised the politics of identity and the notion that the ‘personal is political’, it is not now a movement from below. As I write this post, I discover that Charles III, the King of England, has come out to support a study into the Royal Family’s links with slavery in the past. It was reported that the King did not rule out making slave trade reparations. His decision is clearly not a response to public pressure. Millions and millions of people are not demanding that King Charles III take the knee. The embrace of the cause of decolonisation by a supposedly very traditionalist Monarch indicates that even the old Establishment has gone woke.
Indeed, the outlook of woke – which many wrongly suppose is anti-establishment – is thoroughly hostile towards working people, especially if they have white skin. Instead of regarding working people as their allies, it rejects them as simple-minded fodder for populists, and these days populism is invariably portrayed as a dangerous political pathology. As we noted in the last post, ‘The Aware’ believe that the rest of society lives on a lower plane than they do. The top-down character of the phenomenon under discussion is demonstrated by its prevalence amongst 21st-century captains of industry. Presently, the most effective and powerful advocates of woke are among corporates and the cultural and technocratic establishment.
The globalist elite who gathers at meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos imagines that they possess the kind of unique wisdom which is absent amongst large sections of society. They possess a vision encapsulated by their notion of The Great Reset. The Great Reset is often misinterpreted as a project solely devoted to modernising capitalism. However, the advocates of the Great Reset also possess another objective. They aim to alter people’s outlooks and re-socialise them to adhere to norms that are very different from those they live by. That is why the Great Reset offered pride of place to the fashionable causes associated with identity politics. The Great Reset envisages a post-pandemic world where LGBTQ+ identity politics displaces the old ideologies. It claimed that ‘LGBT+ inclusion was the secret to cities’ post-pandemic success’. It bizarrely suggests a ‘strong positive correlation between LGBT+ inclusion and economic resilience’. Evidently, flying the rainbow flag now symbolises the identity of Davos Man. That is why even hard-headed corporates worldwide have eagerly signed up to the Holy Trinity of hyper-wokeness, technocratic social engineering and decarbonisation.
As is the case with all top-down initiatives, those that relate to the politicisation of identity are not a response to public demand. Take the numerous guidelines on language usage that public and private institutions issue. It is not normal human beings who want to be told what pronouns to use or which words to drop and which ones to adopt. Nor are people queuing up to have their awareness raised by self-appointed awareness raisers. Nevertheless, whether they like it or not, they have become targets of a project that aims to alter how they think and behave. In the first instance, this project aims to rupture people’s attachment to traditional values – patriotism, duty, community solidarity, courage, love of family and religion. It then wishes to re-socialise people to embrace the recently invented norms associated with awareness – diversity, inclusion, non-judgementalism, equity, etc.
The practice of raising awareness is directly implicated in the project of the re-socialisation of people. This practice is systematically promoted through institutions of education, media and culture. The advertising industry plays an important role in disparaging and displacing traditional norms with recently invented ones. Take the ad publicising Nike’s women’s sports bra, which features Dylan Mulvaney, a biological man who identifies as a woman and uses the pronouns ‘she/they’. The ad encourages viewers to regard the distinction between men and women as artificial and conveys the claim, that being gender fluid is the new normal. Mulvaney is the creation of an elite culture that regards the norms and values of ordinary folk with contempt. Thanks to the encouragement of people with serious power Mulvaney has become an important social media influencer. Last October, he was interviewed by President Biden and informed about the Democrat's commitment to trans-ideology. US Vice President Kamala Harris wrote an anniversary letter to congratulate Mulvaney for reaching the milestone 365th day of 'living authentically'.
That Biden and Harris are part of Mulvaney’s entourage is significant. It indicates that for a substantial section of the political elites, being woke serves as a form of self-identity, one that binds them together. Their determination to take a very visible public stand on the trans issue is motivated by the conviction that they need a new set of norms to replace the so-called outdated ones of the past. In this way, they hope to forge a sense of cohesion and elite consciousness and consolidate their cultural power over society.
Many individuals who are critical of the ascendancy of woke ideals and practice tend to underestimate the significance of this development. They frequently claim that their influence is exaggerated and that, in any case, it does not impact their lives much. This naïve assessment of the situation overlooks the fact that the project of re-socialising people represents an exercise in class domination. They are not just raising our awareness but dictating how we should think. This development is most visible through the policing of language. Their goal is to gain control of language, impose a new vocabulary on society and eliminate words that communicate values with which they disagree. Those who control language are likely to take the next step and seek to control how people think. Ultimately it leads to a loss of voice and the emptying of public life. Thankfully while we have a voice, we can fight back, which is why we have no time to lose.