Last modified on December 26, 2022, at 21:21

Woke

"Germany Awaken" (Deutschland Erwache) was the slogan of "enlightened" Nazis.[1]

Woke, "adjective (woker, wokest) informal alert to injustice and discrimination in society, especially racism: we need to stay angry, and stay woke; does being woke mean I have to agree with what all other woke folks say should be done about issues in the black community? the West Coast has the wokest dudes. 1960s: originally in African American usage" (OED).

To be "woke" stems from the Age of Enlightenment, when "enlightened" atheists rejected God, challenged the Divine Right of Kings, and started the calendar over at the Year 1. By the 1920s and 1930s, "enlightened" Nazis regarded God and Jesus Christ as a "Jewish conspiracy" that even Jews and Marxists did not believe in. Woke "knowledge" is esoteric, for example holding firm the maxim that "religion is the opiate of the masses." So once a "true believer" casts off the opiate, they become "woke" or "enlightened." David Greenfield describes it as "a cultish term for a political cult that reframes extremism as a revelation."

In modern America, leftists often use the term to refer to a person unquestioningly accepting a radical political doctrine viewing society in terms of "white privilege." Just as Christians who find inner peace by accepting Jesus Christ into their lives are called "born again", some people who feel great anger at society because of what they feel is social injustice are called "woke." In truth, however, those on the Left who claim to be "woke" (which is incidentally an improper use of English) are actually the exact opposite - stupefied and dulled to the truth instead of being awakened.

The term "awake", however, is used by opponents of the woke and politically correct ideology to differentiate themselves from the supporters and spokespersons of the latter, hence the slogan "Awake, not woke", started by President Donald J. Trump and Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis.

According to David Brooks of The New York Times:

To be woke is to be radically aware and justifiably paranoid. It is to be cognizant of the rot pervading the power structures. The woke manner shares cool’s rebel posture, but it is the opposite of cool in certain respects. Cool was politically detached, but being a social activist is required for being woke. Cool was individualistic, but woke is nationalistic and collectivist. Cool was emotionally reserved; woke is angry, passionate and indignant. Cool was morally ambiguous; woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable.[2]

Polling indicating that cancel culture does not have much of a future

Taliban enter Kabul airport after U.S. departure, August 31, 2021.[3]

The article Has the Woke Wave Peaked? Shock Poll Reveals Generation Z Rejects Cancel Culture indicates:

The hard realities of the real world often have a way of exposing foolish ideologies for what they are. Everyone has relearned this lesson over the past week, as America’s 20-year effort to transform the culture of Afghanistan has crumbled and the Taliban has retaken control. As that actual war for the future of a country concludes halfway around the world, many Americans may also be finding themselves disillusioned with the woke left’s not entirely incomparable crusade to transform American culture here at home. Recent polling shows that, for the youngest generation of Americans, the campaign to impose “wokeism” on the American people may already be running into nearly as much trouble as did the effort to impose liberalism on Afghanistan.

Morning Consult recently released a survey of cultural attitudes broken down by age. When it came to “Cancel Culture,” the breakdown was staggering. Overall, no one liked it. The only group for whom more respondents viewed it positively (19%) or neutrally (22%) than negatively (36%) was millennials. Predictably, more members of Gen X (1965-1980) and Boomers (1946-64) viewed it negatively (46% for Gen X, 50% for Boomers) than positively or neutrally (29% for Gen X, 27% for Boomers).

Culture wars are by their very nature a fight for the future, and have therefore historically been fought along generational lines. “Cancel Culture” is part of a broader left-wing reaction against the traditions of the Enlightenment, which have been under sustained assault by a mostly millennial generation (born 1982-1995). Many in this generation believe that words are weapons, and that “problematic” speech should be “canceled” along with those who utter it. These ideas have infected corporate HR departments, the media, and even schools. Yet perhaps surprisingly, the millennial effort to transform America seems to be hitting a wall not only with their generational seniors, but with their younger brothers and sisters as well.

The real shock is the Morning Consult poll came from those born between 1997 and 2008. Only 8% viewed Cancel Culture favorably, while 55% had a negative view. That was higher than for Gen X or Boomers.

How is it that those aged 13-23 have a much more negative view of “cancel culture” than older generations? The answer may be that familiarity breeds contempt. While older Americans are exposed merely to the concept of “Cancel Culture” in the abstract, Generation Z is exposed to it every day. Their heroes and idols are regularly torn down, often by what seem to be depressed and resentful 20 and early 30-somethings who lecture younger Americans about how they are bad people for liking what they like.[4]

Backlash against big tech firms engaging in cancel culture

Below are news reports about two major social media companies who engaged in big tech censorship and face "techlash" (backlash):

Factors that caused peak wokeness in the United States and the world. Factors that will cause wokeism to die

Wokeness has very weak appeal outside of the United States.[5]

Google Trends shows that worldwide, the term "woke" has already peaked outside of America. In other words, the term "woke" has peaked for Google global searches.[6] Given immigration into the United States from Latin America and elsewhere, wokeness will wane and eventually die in the United States.

Furthermore, many of the proponents of wokeness have a secular outlook and the United States is expected to hit peak secular sometime between the years of 2043-2050.[7][8] See: United States, irreligion vs. religion and demographics

Peter Franklin wrote in his essay The end of woke is nigh:

I’m asking whether wokeness has the capacity to offer a unifying vision of such compelling power as to overwhelm and supersede the existing order.

And here the answer is clear: it does not.

First, wokeness is too geographically limited in scope. The impact that it’s made so far depends on conditions that apply specifically to the United States of America — especially in regard to that country’s history of slavery, segregation and ongoing racial discrimination. The global reach of social media helps to explain why the Black Lives Matter movement made waves far beyond America; but it does not change the very different context of race relations in other countries.

Even a country with as revolutionary a history as France has made it abundantly clear that American-style wokeness will not be taking root in French soil...

Second, unlike Christianity which spread among ordinary people before converting the establishment, wokeness comes from the elites and continues to wield its greatest influence there. It is not a popular movement; it is remarkably unpopular, in fact...

Third, wokeness doesn’t even begin to match Christianity’s intellectual depth. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo? It’s not exactly Saint Augustine’s City of God, is it?

No doubt that’s an unfair comparison, but if you put the intellectual heavyweights of the contemporary Left up against the best people from the other major schools of political thought — liberalism, conservatism, even classical Marxism — there’s no doubt as to who’d win the wooden spoon.

The jargon and buzzwords of wokery are easily grasped, a rhetorical framework that just about anyone can assemble and deploy on Twitter. But with so little substance behind each component, they quickly become worn out. Already, terms like “safe space” and “trigger warning” are beginning to sound very last decade. The biggest threat to wokeness isn’t whiteness or the patriarchy, but fashion.

There is no need for a radical new ideology to fix problems like student debt, unpaid internships, the housing crisis and all the other ways in which Millennials and Post-Millennials have been let down by their elders.

Indeed, the more that the elites adopt woke ideology to distract attention from these failures, the sooner that the young will realise they’ve been had — and the sooner they’ll move on to the next protest movement.[9]

There is data showing that wokeness has less appeal outside the United States and that it has peaked globally. Google Trends shows that worldwide, the term "woke" has already peaked outside of America. In other words, the term "woke" has peaked for Google global searches.[10] Given immigration into the United States from Latin America and elsewhere, wokeness will wane and eventually die in the United States.

The Culture War is the name given to conflict over moral or religious values typically between mainstream American political thought and liberals/leftists.

Furthermore, many of the proponents of wokeness have a secular outlook and the United States is expected to hit peak secular sometime between the years of 2043-2050.[11][12] See: United States, irreligion vs. religion and demographics

As far as the Google search "woke", the Google Trend graph for the last five years shows that the term "woke" has peaked in the United States.[13] In addition, there is backlash against such woke things as critical race theory being taught in public schools and transexuals competing in women's sports.

Movements can be like fads with a certain shelf life. And movements spawned by intellectuals/elites such as wokeness become less less fashionable and often they die. For example, there was the New Atheism movement which died (see: Decline of the atheist movement). Feminism has had some waves of feminism (there was First-Wave feminism, Second-Wave feminism, Third Wave feminism and Fourth-Wave feminism) and now feminism there is some backlash against feminism.

The Birkbeck College, University of London professor Eric Kaufmann wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? concerning America:

High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.[14]

NPC internet meme

Popular graphic used in the NPC internet meme.

The NPC internet meme (derived from non-player character in video gaming), is a politically right-wing internet meme that represents liberals/leftists who do not think for themselves, lack critical thinking skills and have been politically indoctrinated.

According to website The Verge:

Last week, The New York Times published a piece about an insular 4chan meme that had started to bleed over into political Twitter. At the time, NPC — an acronym for the gaming term “non-playable character” — had been weaponized.. in an attempt to “own the libs” by calling them automatons, but it was still a relatively niche meme very few outlets had touched.

Along with a couple of stories before it, the Times’ article kicked off a domino effect: its publication prompted popular members of the alt-right — including Paul Joseph Watson and Infowars — to amplify the meme to their audiences through YouTube videos, articles, and tweets. Search results for “NPC” increased, according to Google Trends...

Suddenly, a meme... [was] telegraphed to a massive audience in a jarringly forced display of virality that highlights just how quickly an inside joke from an insular community can spread with the oxygen of press coverage. [15]

The rise of the NPC internet meme

Google Trends graph of the number of worldwide searches for the term NPC

There has been a huge rise in the use of the NPC meme on the internet as can be seen by this Google Trends graph of worldwide searches for the term .

The main factors are:

1. Elon Musk taking over Twitter which gave a boost to the political right.

2. Supporters of right-wing politics are getting more active in culture war issues such as anti-woke backlash.

3. The growing hunger for free speech and anti-cancel culture sentiments.

4. The rise of a few other right-wing friendly social media platforms (Rumble, Gab, etc.).

5. Right-wingers are aggressively building their own ecosystem.

6. A right-wing populist programme normally encompasses factors such as economic protectionism/problems and anti-imigration/anti-illegal immigration sentiments and these factors are rising in some countries.

7. European right-wing political figures (Marine Le Pen, Viktor Orbán, Andrej Duda, etc.) are using the European Union corruption scandal as a political weapon and inciting anti-EU sentiment ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections which is giving a bounce to right-wingers.

(The popularity of video gaming is somewhat down from its coronavirus pandemic high so that cannot explain why the NPC meme is currently rising in popularity in the above Google trends graph.)

See also

Essay:

External links

References

  1. https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/02/ivy-league-wokes-are-biggest-supporters-political-daniel-greenfield/
  2. Brooks, David. "How Cool Works in America Today", New York Times, July 25, 2017. 
  3. https://www.defenseone.com/policy/2021/08/future-us-taliban-relations/184976/
  4. Has the Woke Wave Peaked? Shock Poll Reveals Generation Z Rejects Cancel Culture, 2021
  5. The end of woke is nigh
  6. THESE GOOGLE TREND GRAPHS dealing with the world which has a graph related to wokeness
  7. Why Is Secularization Likely to Stall in America by 2050? A Response to Laurie DeRose by Eric Kaufmann July 24, 2019
  8. Secularism, Fundamentalism or Catholicism? The Religious Composition of the United States to 2043, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 49, no. 2 (June) 2010, Eric Kaufmann, Vegard Skirbekk and Anne Goujon
  9. The end of woke is nigh
  10. THESE GOOGLE TREND GRAPHS dealing with the world which has a graph related to wokeness
  11. Why Is Secularization Likely to Stall in America by 2050? A Response to Laurie DeRose by Eric Kaufmann July 24, 2019
  12. Secularism, Fundamentalism or Catholicism? The Religious Composition of the United States to 2043, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, vol. 49, no. 2 (June) 2010, Eric Kaufmann, Vegard Skirbekk and Anne Goujon
  13. Google Trends for the term "woke" for the last 5 years
  14. Why is the year 2020 a key year for Christian creationists and pro-lifers?
  15. The NPC meme went viral when the media gave it oxygen, The Verge, 2018