[Excerpted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively through VDARE.com]
Earlier, by Steve Sailer: What If Wokeness Is A Russian Conspiracy To Ruin America?
I’m starting to be irritated by the word “Wokeness,” I’m not sure why. When “Woke” and “Wokeness” first came up, I thought they were sort of cute.
Since the 1980s, if not earlier, we had been using the cumbersome phrase “Politically Correct” to describe the idiocies of linguistic puritanism about race and sex. “Woke” was a big improvement: it replaced a two-word seven-syllable adjectival phrase with a concise one-syllable adjective. What’s not to like?
The derivative terms—”Wokeness,” “the Wokerati,” “the Great Awokening,” et cetera were likewise cute and handy. My favorite derivative is “Wokefishing.” That’s when cynical young males pretend to be Woke in order to lure Woke young women into sexual engagement. I suspect my 26-year-old son of having practiced Wokefishing, but he denies it.
It’s also been satisfying to know that we stole the word “Woke” from antiwhite Progressives. So says Wikipedia, anyway. Quote from it, referring to the phrase “stay Woke”:
Following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, the phrase was popularized by Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists seeking to raise awareness about police shootings of African Americans [Accessed January 21, 2022]
You can’t get much more Woke than Wikipedia, so I’m going to trust it on the origins of the word
Even with all that going for it, though, I can’t escape the feeling that the words “Woke” and “Wokeness” have worn out their welcome. Wokeness—Wokeness the thing—is a very serious matter. It’s poisoning our culture and destroying our educational system. Yet it sounds kind of frivolous. I dunno, I just wish we had something with a bit more…weight.
I’ve tried coining replacement words, but haven’t come up with anything that works. In Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell called the state ideology “IngSoc,” presumably short for “English Socialism.” Along those lines I thought of “AuthProg” for our state ideology, short for “Authoritarian Progressivism.” Not bad; but I can’t get a one-syllable adjective out of it.
After all that commentary on the word, here are three points on the thing suggested by recent news items.
- First point about Wokeness: It really is killing academe.
I have to confess I am not closely engaged with Jordan Peterson. That’s a bit embarrassing for me because I get regular emails from Radio Derb listeners who are thus engaged, and who urge me to watch this or that YouTube clip of Peterson talking about something or other.
Plainly those listeners think that Peterson and I are on the same page somehow. Well, to a degree we are. We both detest, loathe, and deplore Wokeness. We both think it’s all a lie, and a huge social and cultural negative.
So far so good; but while I nod along in agreement with much of what Peterson says, we differ on a key point of psychology. Peterson believes in what 19th-century scholar Adolf Bastian called “the psychic unity of mankind.” I don’t; I think that observed differences in social outcomes between races and sexes arise from innate biological differences.
All that aside, I applaud and admire Peterson as a fearless warrior against Wokeness. I have been applauding and admiring all the more this week because on Thursday, in Canada’s National Post newspaper, he fired off a splendid broadside against the “appalling ideology currently demolishing the universities and, downstream, the general culture” [ Jordan Peterson: Why I am no longer a tenured professor at the University of Toronto, January 19, 2022 ]
Peterson, he tells us, has recently, at the age of 59, retired from his position as full tenured professor at the University of Toronto. What has driven him out is the university’s obsession with DIE. That’s D-I-E, Peterson’s (and Steve Sailer’s) preferred ordering of the Woke Holy Trinity: Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.
DIE, says Peterson in the National Post Op-Ed, means that
(a) “qualified and supremely trained heterosexual white male graduate students” stand no chance of getting research positions in the university, while
(b) there aren’t enough qualified BIPOC people—that’s black, indigenous and people of color—to meet the diversity targets, so the research positions go to people not qualified for them
That, combined with the death of objective testing, has compromised the universities so badly that it can hardly be overstated. And what happens in the universities eventually colors everything. As we have discovered.
Peterson cites a gem of a comment—quite a long one, over three hundred words—by Vladimir Putin, pouring scorn on Social Justice dogma and comparing it with Bolshevism:
It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already … The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones—all this was proclaimed progress … By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs. [ Russia’s New ‘Conservative’ Ideology To Counter Liberalism, MEMRI.org, January 11, 2022]