What Do Wokesters Want?

I am using “wokesters” as a convenient handle for persons who subscribe to a range of closely related movements, which include but are not limited to wokeness, racial justice, equity, gender equality, transgenderism, social justice, cancel culture, environmental justice, and climate-change activism. It is fair to say that the following views, which might be associated with one or another of the movements, are held widely by members of all the movements (despite the truths noted parenthetically):

Race is a social construct. (Despite strong scientific evidence to the contrary.)

Racism is a foundational and systemic aspect of American history. (Which is a convenient excuse for much of what follows.)

Racism explains every bad thing that has befallen people of color in America. (Ditto.)

America’s history must be repudiated by eradicating all vestiges of it that glorify straight white males of European descent. (Because wokesters are intolerant of brilliance and success of it comes from straight white males of European descent.)

The central government (when it is run by wokesters and their political pawns) should be the sole arbiter of human relations. (Replacing smaller units of government, voluntary contractual arrangements, families, churches, clubs, and other elements of civil society through which essential services are provided, economic wants are satisfied efficiently, and civilizing norms are inculcated and enforced), except for those institutions that are dominated by wokesters or their proteges, of course.)

[You name it] is a human right. (Which — unlike true rights, which all can enjoy without cost to others — must be provided at cost to others.)

Economics is a zero-sum game; the rich get rich at the expense of the poor. (Though the economic history of the United States — and the Western world — says otherwise. The rich get rich — often rising from poverty and middling circumstances — by dint of effort risk-taking, and in the process produce things of value for others while also enabling them to advance economically.)

Profit is a dirty word. (But I — the elite lefty who makes seven figures a year, thank you, deserve every penny of my hard-earned income.)

Sex gender is assigned arbitrarily at birth. (Ludicrous).

Men can bear children. (Ditto.)

Women can have penises. (Ditto.)

Gender dysphoria in some children proves the preceding poiXXXX

Children can have two mommies, two daddies, or any combination of parents in any number and any gender. And, no, they won’t grow up anti-social for lack of traditional father (male) and mother (female) parents. (Just ask blacks who are unemployed for lack of education and serving prison time after having been raised without bread-winning fathers.)

Blacks, on average, are at the bottom of income and wealth distributions and at the top of the incarceration distribution — despite affirmative action, subsidized housing, welfare payments, etc. — because of racism. (Not because blacks, on average, are at the bottom of the intelligence distribution and have in many black communities adopted and enforced a culture the promotes violence and denigrates education?)

Black lives matter. (More than other lives? Despite the facts adduced above?)

Police are racist Nazis and ought to be de-funded. (So that law abiding blacks and other Americans can become easier targets for rape, murder, and theft.)

Grades, advanced placement courses, aptitude tests, and intelligence tests are racist devices. (Which happen to enable the best and brightest — regardless of race, sex, or socioeconomic class — to lead the country forward scientifically and economically, to the benefit of all.)

The warming of the planet by a couple of degrees in the past half-century (for reasons that aren’t well understood but which are attributed by latter-day Puritans to human activity) is a sign of things to come: Earth will warm to the point that it becomes almost uninhabitable. (Which is a case of undue extrapolation from demonstrably erroneous models and a failure to credit the ability of capitalism — gasp! — to adapt successfully to truly significant climatic changes.)

Science is real. (Though we don’t know what science is, and believe things that are labeled scientific if we agree with them. We don’t understand, or care, that science is a process that sometimes yields useful knowledge, or that the “knowledge” is always provisional, always in doubt, and sometimes wrong. We support the movement of recent decades to label some things as scientific that are really driven by a puritanical, anti-humanistic agenda, and which don’t hold up against rigorous, scientific examination, such as the debunked “science” of “climate change”; the essential equality of the races and sexes, despite their scientifically demonstrable differences; and the belief that a man can become a woman, and vice versa.)

Illegal immigrants migrants are just seeking a better life and should be allowed free entry into the United States. (Because borders are arbitrary — except when it comes to my property — and it doesn’t matter if the unfettered enty ro illegal immigrants burdens tax-paying Americans and takes jobs from working-class Americans.)

The United States spends too much on national defense because (a) borders are arbitrary (except when they delineate my property), (b) there’s no real threat to this country (except for cyberattacks and terrorism sponsored by other states, and growing Chinese and Russian aggression that imperils the economic interests of Americans), (c) America is the aggressor (except in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Gulf War I, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and in the future if America significantly reduces its defense forces), and (d) peace is preferable to war (except that it is preparedness for war that ensures peace, either through deterrence or victory).

What wokesters want is to see that these views, and many others of their ilk, are enforced by the central government. To that end, steps will be taken to ensure that the Democrat Party is permanently in control of the central government and is able to control most State governments. Accordingly, voting laws will be “reformed” to enable everyone, regardless of citizenship status or other qualification (perhaps excepting age, or perhaps not) to receive a mail-in ballot that will be harvested and cast for Democrat candidates; the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (with their iron-clad Democrat super-majorities) will be added to the Union; the filibuster will be abolished; the Supreme Court and lower courts will be expanded and new seats will be filled by Democrat nominees; and on, and on.

Why do wokesters want what they want? Here’s my take:

  • They reject personal responsibility.
  • They don’t like the sense of real community that is represented in the traditional institutions of civil society.
  • They don’t like the truth if it contradicts their view of what the world should be like.
  • They are devoid of true compassion.
  • They are — in sum — alienated, hate-filled nihilists, the produce of decades of left-wing indoctrination by public schools, universities, and the media.

What will wokesters (and all of us) get?

At best, what they will get is a European Union on steroids, a Kafka-esque existence in a world run by bureaucratic whims from which entrepreneurial initiative and deeply rooted, socially binding cultures have been erased.

Somewhere between best and worst, they will get an impoverished, violent, drug-addled dystopia which is effectively a police state run for the benefit of cosseted political-media-corprate-academic elites.

At worst (as if it could get worse), what they will get is life under the hob-nailed boots of Russia and China:; for example:

Russians are building a military focused on killing people and breaking things. We’re apparently building a military focused on being capable of explaining microaggressions and critical race theory to Afghan Tribesmen.

A country whose political leaders oppose the execution of murderers, support riots and looting by BLM, will not back Israel in it’s life-or-death struggle with Islamic terrorists, and use the military to advance “wokeism” isn’t a country that you can count on to face down Russia and China.

Wokesters are nothing but useful idiots to the Russians and Chinese. And if wokesterst succeed in weakening the U.S. to the point that it becomes a Sino-Soviet vassal, they will be among the first to learn what life under an all-powerful central government is really like. Though, useful idiots that they are, they won’t survive long enough to savor the biter fruits of their labors.

Is a Reckoning at Hand?

If it is, it will arrive on two fronts: political and economic.

On the political front, Conrad Black and Victor Davis Hanson are (sort of) optimistic that the left’s audacious power-grab will fail. A recent op-ed by Black at Epoch Times ends with this:

But we are almost at the point where this administration’s attempt to revolutionize American elections by practically abolishing any verification process for ballots and turning election day into a weeks-long orgy of ballot-harvesting, while packing the Senate and the Supreme Court and gagging congressional minorities, will collide with public opposition to all of these measures.

In those circumstances, the Supreme Court, its attempt at appeasement of the Democrats by abdicating as head of a co-equal third branch of government having failed, might also reassert the legitimacy of the Constitution.

A turning in the road is almost at hand.

Hanson’s view complements Black’s:

We are becoming cynical 1980s Eastern Europeans who quietly scoffed at their daily government news. And this is step one to a repudiation of the lies we have been living with—that masks were necessary outdoors even for those fully vaccinated; that derelict, sexual harasser Andrew Cuomo is a noted author, Emmy-winner and national icon rather than a reckless sexual-harasser and responsible for needless death and misery by his unhinged long-term facilities policies; that Oprah, LeBron, and the Obamas are genuine voices of what it is like to be oppressed in America, and all the subsidiary untruths: the “brave” former intelligence officials who signed campaign-sensitive affidavits seconding Joe Biden’s insistence that Hunter’s laptop was a Russian disinformation trick; that Trump scoffed at “proof” that Russians put bounties on Americans in Afghanistan as they were appease;, and that Joe Biden has no cognitive issues and never did, at least of the sort that prompted his predecessor to take cognitive tests and draw the attention of a Yale psychiatry professor to diagnose him as unhinged in absentia.

In sum, the woke movement daily, hourly, second-by-second hinges on untruth, from the 1619 canard to America is systemically racist. And the number who spot the lies is beginning to outnumber the number who lives by them—which means the Revolution is likely to follow the Jacobin rather than Bolshevik fate.

On the economic front, the huge increase in government spending over the past two years — which Biden wants to perpetuate — will bear rotten fruit.

Here is the increase, in perspective:


Derived from Bureau of Economic Affairs, Table 1.1.5 Gross Domestic Product (billions of dollars, seasonally adjusted at annual rates) and Table 3.1. Government Current Receipts and Expenditures (billions of dollars, seasonally adjusted at annual rates)

As I have amply documented, government spending doesn’t “multiply”. If fact, it “divides”; that is, it causes real GDP to decline because government spending (and the regulatory activities funded by it) result in the transfer of resources from productive private uses to unproductive and counterproductive government uses, while also discouraging business expansion and productive investments in capital formation.

The bottom line is that a sustained increase in the share of GDP spent by government from about 33 percent (the average for the 10 years before the recent surge) to about 45 percent (the average for the recent surge) would cause a long-term reduction 4 percent of real GDP. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, consider that it would be the equivalent of a Great Recession that lasts for years on end instead of two or three years.

Voters flocked to the Democrat Party in the 1930s because they believed (mistakenly) that it — and especially FDR’s “New Deal” — would rescue them from the Great Depression. Voters will flock the the GOP in the 2020s if the Democrat Party remains stubbornly “woke” and persists in economic policies that impoverish them.

And if voters fail to switch in droves, it will prove the wisdom of the Framers’ (long-abandoned) Constitution, which was designed to prevent demagogues from pillaging the nation.


Related reading:

Victor Davis Hanson, “Are Americans Becoming Sovietized?“, The Daily Signal, May 6, 2021
Patricia McCarthy, “Aldous Huxley Foresaw Our Despots — Fauci, Gates, and Their Vaccine Crusaders“, American Thinker, May 5, 2021
Jeffrey A. Tucker, “Is the U.S. Economy a Virtual Reality?“, AIER, May 2, 2021

Related post: Turning Points

Thinking about Thinking — and Other Things: Beliefs, Herds, and Oppression

This is the sixth and final post in a series. The previous posts are here, here, here, here, and here.

What this series adds up to is that human beings can and will believe anything. And much of what they believe – even “science” – is either mistaken or beyond proof. Belief, at bottom, is a matter of faith; it is a matter of what we choose to believe.

And why do we choose what to believe? We choose to believe those things that make us feel good about ourselves in one way or another. Here are four (not mutually exclusive) ways in which our beliefs serve that purpose:

  • Logical or epestimic consistency, which can be intellectually satisfying even if the logic is fatally flawed or the knowledge is cherry-picked to fit a worldview.
  • The (usually false) reassurance that a belief has been proclaimed “true” by an authority — “science”, religious leaders, political leaders, etc.
  • No skin in the game: The holding of views (for reasons listed above) that are inconsequential to the holder of the views but which (when put into action) are harmful to others (e.g., a rich person who has private security forces and lives and works in secure settings who calls for defunding the police).
  • Groupthink: Going along to get along, also known as “taking sides”.

On the last point, I defer to Michael Huemer:

There’s … a study that finds that political beliefs are heritable. (Alford et al, “Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?”) They get a heritability estimate of 0.53 for political orientation (p. 162), much larger than the influence of either shared environment or unshared environment. That’s kind of weird, isn’t it — who knew that you could genetically transmit political beliefs? But of course, you don’t directly transmit beliefs; you genetically transmit personality traits, and people pick their political beliefs based on their personality traits.

But, as Huemer notes,

the primary choice people make is not so much which propositions they want to be wedded to, but which group of people they want to affiliate with. Maybe there’s only a very tenuous link between some personality trait and some particular political position, but it’s enough to make that position slightly more prevalent, initially, among people with that trait. But once those people decide that they belong to “the same side” in society, there’s psychological pressure for individual members of the tribe to conform their beliefs to the majority of their tribe, and to oppose the beliefs of “the other side”.

So, e.g., you decide that fetuses don’t have rights because the fetus-rights position is associated with the other tribe, and you don’t want to be disloyal to your own side by embracing one of the other side’s positions. Of course, you never say this to yourself; you just automatically find all of your side’s arguments “more plausible”.

And, as we have seen, belonging to a “side” and signaling one’s allegiance to that “side” seems to have become the paramount desideratum among huge numbers of Americans. “Liberals”, who not long ago were ardent upholders of freedom of speech are now its leading opponents. And many “liberals” – executives and employees of Big Tech companies, for example – demonstrate their opposition daily by suppressing the expression of ideas that they don’t like and denying the means of expression to persons whose views they oppose. They can conjure sophisticated excuses for their hypocrisy, but they are obvious and shallow excuses for their evident unwillingness to countenance “heretical” views.

This hypocrisy extends beyond partisan politics. It extends into discussions of race (i.e., the suppression of “bad news” about blacks and research findings about the intelligence of blacks). It extends into discussions of scientific matters (e.g., labeling as a “science denier” any scientist who writes objectively about the evidence against CO2 as the primary cause of a recent warming trend that is probably overstated, in any case, because of the urban heat island effect). It extends elsewhere, of course, but there’s no point in belaboring the obvious.

The worst part of it is that the hypocrisy isn’t practiced just by lay persons who wish to signal their allegiance to “progressivism”. It’s practiced by scientists, academicians, and highly educated persons who hold important positions in the business world (witness Big Tech’s censorship practices and the “wokeness” of major corporations).

In other words, the herd instinct is powerful. It sweeps all before it. Even truth. Especially truth when it contravenes the herd’s dogmas — which are its “truths”.

And a herd that runs wild — driven hither and thither by ever-shifting “truths” — is dangerous, as we are seeing now in the suppression of actual truth, the suppression of political speech, firings for being associated with the wrong “side”, etc.

Today’s state of affairs is often likened to that which prevailed in the years leading up to the Civil War. There is a good reason for that comparison, for the two epochs are alike in a fundamental way: One side (Unionists then, the “woke” now) assumes the mantle of virtue and thus garbed presumes to dictate to the other side.

Yes, slavery was wrong. But that did not justify the (successful) attempt of the Unionists to prevent the Confederacy’s secession on the principle of self-determination — the very principle that inspired the American Revolution that led to the Union.

Yes, it is fitting and proper to treat the (relatively) poor, persons of color, and persons whose sexual proclivities are “unusual” with respect and equality under the law. But that does not justify the wholesale violation of immigration laws, the advancement of the “oppressed” at the expense of blameless others (who are mainly straight, white, males of European descent), the repudiation of America’s past (the good with the bad), or the destruction of the religious, social, and economic freedoms that have served all Americans well.

Ironically, the power of the central government, which was enabled by the victory of the Unionists, now enables “progressivism” to advance its dictatorial agenda with little effective opposition.

Donald J. Trump did oppose that agenda, and opposed it with some success for four years. That is why it was imperative for the “progressive” establishment — abetted by pusillanimous “conservatives” and never-Trumpers — to undermine Trump from the outset and, in the end, to remove Trump from power by stealing the election of 2020. There has never, in American politics, been a more heinous case of wholesale corruption than was evidenced in the machinations against Trump.

Having said all of that, what will happen to America? The slide toward fascism, which has been underway (with interruptions) for more than a century, now seems to have reached its destination: the dictation of myriad aspects of social and economic intercourse by our “betters” in Washington and their cronies in the academy, the media, and corporate America.

And most Americans — having been brainwashed by the “education system”, bought off by various forms of welfare, and cowed by officious officials and mobs — will simply acquiesce in their own enslavement.


Related reading:

Matt, “Varieties of Opinion“, Imlac’s Journal, March 14, 2021

Frank Furedi, “Big Brother Comes to America“, Spiked, February 8, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson, “Our Animal Farm“, American Greatness, February 7, 2021

Arnold Kling, “Rationalist Epistemology“, askblog, February 26, 2021

Arnold Kling, “Cultural Brain Hypothesis“, askblog, March 5, 2021

Mark J. Perry, “Quotation of the Day on Truths That We Are No Longer Allowe to Speak About … “, Carpe Diem, February 2, 2021

Malcolm Pollack, “The Enemy Within“, American Greatness, February 13, 2021

Quilette editorial, “With a Star Science Reporter’s Purging, Mob Culture at The New York Times Enters a Strange New Phase“, Quilette, February 9, 2021