Columns

Wokism's Cult Following

Antifa posts fliers with their demands in its "autonomous," "cop free" zone in Seattle, Washington, following the death of George Floyd while he was in Minneapolis police custody. (Townhall Media/Julio Rosas)

When statues are toppled it’s because the topplers are making room for their own monuments. Every revolution is driven not only by the desire to tear down but also to replace the old world with the new. ‘Defunding the police,’ we are now told, does not mean defunding the police, but shifting the money to a new public safety agency, which will almost certainly lead to a politicized if not a political police. Even banning Gone with the Wind is preparatory to more. No political movement ever bans just one book.

That coming new world will be inconceivably different from anything familiar. It has to be in order to be transformative. Reason describes a video of an American woman ripping off posters that Hong Kong protesters posted in the Prince Edward district, saying that “safety is more important than freedom.” That ordering is transformative.

“You guys value freedom more than safety. Do you agree? I think safety is more important than freedom,” the American says. “If you have a safe environment, you can communicate.” …

“China’s thinking is safety is more important than freedom,” the woman claims, before beginning to chip away at posters with her nail. “We shouldn’t do this! This is my city, too!”

The Chinese Communist Party would probably agree. The woman in the video was proselytizing the new doctrine of safetyism, “a culture or belief system in which safety (which includes “emotional safety”) has become a sacred value.”  In this vision of the future, no one will be allowed to give any offense which anyone may feel at any time. It will be thickly planted with rules to prevent that. Since freedom is a pretty stressful condition, rife with doubt, risk and responsibility, those seeking “safety” might regard it as a burden and prefer predictable mediocrity or even guaranteed bare existence to the weight of liberty. From the safetyist point of view, people have no right to endanger others by even wanting to be free, which only causes trouble and is selfish. Liberty is privilege. It’s a myth that everyone desires freedom; many aspire simply to be trusties.

But what of those who don’t feel ‘safe’ in that safe space? They could be a problem, but will soon be shown the error of their ways through reprogramming and soon be groveling on the ground, even washing the feet of demonstration organizers, grateful that they no longer trigger anyone. Donating large sums of money to obtain forgiveness for social sins will be a standard form of obtaining absolution. These features so strikingly resemble religious rituals that the Woke movement has been accused of being a cult.

When people like the “critical whiteness educator” Robin DiAngelo tell us things like that “antiracism is a lifelong commitment to an ongoing process of self-reflection, self-critique, and social activism,” she is providing a mid-level cult indoctrination path. The demand is to change yourself for life in alignment with the cult’s doctrine, including how you think, how you see yourself, and how you operate in the world, and make that change a permanent part of who you are. Notice that it also demands you do the work on behalf of the cult and its objectives, which ties you more tightly to it. …

In the case of Woke cult programming, there is an older and more formal name for that view of the world, which is having a “critical consciousness.” Having a critical consciousness occurs when one is able to see the “problematics” in everything, where “problematics” are any deviation or potential for deviation from the cult doctrine anywhere in any aspect of society. This includes in speech, writing, institutions, thoughts, people, systems, knowledge, history, one’s past, and society itself.

Cults arise in societies that have lost their way and stumble in the darkness toward any glimmer of sunshine. “When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything,” Chesterton is paraphrased as saying. “Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer,” Voltaire said. Translation: If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him. It’s curious but nevertheless true that people too sophisticated to believe in the teachings of Jesus or Moses have no trouble believing in Xenu or Gaia.

But that will not convince those who believe they are guided by science. Didn’t Marx call his ideology scientific socialism? Although Bernard Kerik thinks that “at some point America will wake up,” it’s possible that the progressive dream is something one never wakes from. The millennial left may be an archetype, an eternal force that will endure in one form or another through history. Unfortunately, history suggests that such millennial projects end in self-destruction. That is scant consolation, though it’s easier now, after recent events, to understand how Jonestown happened. The “revolutionary suicide” in Guyana was not accidental but the culmination of a long process that started in the bright sunshine of California that ended in darkness.

the Temple originated in Indiana in the 1950s, after leader Jim Jones predicted an apocalypse that would create a socialist Eden on earth … members in San Francisco were urged to live a communal lifestyle. Members elevated to the Temple’s central governing body, the Planning Commission, were expected to “go communal.” …

The Planning Commission meetings would sometimes run all night in San Francisco. They often involved long “catharsis” sessions in which members would be called “on the floor” for emotional dissections, including why they were wearing nice clothes when others in the world were starving. Other members were expected to accuse those “on the floor” of various disallowed activities, while the Temple considered it improper for the accused to mount a defense

They were punished, but it gave the lost meaning. Decades afterward, the survivors of Jonestown still remembered the movement that tried to kill them with longing and nostalgia. The only thing wrong with Jonestown was it hadn’t been done right.

“The people were incredible,” says Jean Clancey, who worked on the Temple newspaper. “People who were capable of committing themselves to something outside of their own self-interests.” Adds Laura Johnston Kohl, another former Temple member, “We – all of us – were doing the right things but in the wrong place with the wrong leader.”

Cults do not see themselves as bad because they are only defending themselves from other cults. Antifa believes it is merely fighting Nazis who are everywhere in America, just “a subset of left-wing radicals who believe in using street-level force to prevent the rise of what they see as fascist movements.” Hardly a week passes without some personality warning that “white Christian nationalism” is “inextricable from the anti-Blackness murdering” victims of police brutality. Two years ago the New York Times warned against the Cult of Trump. “President Trump has transformed the Republican Party from a political organization into a cult of personality.”

For too many people it’s cults all the way down. No wonder the lady told the protesters in Hong Kong the question a Woke person asks himself is not ‘am I free’ but ‘is it safe?’ Yes, it’s so safe in our world of safe spaces that you wouldn’t believe it.

Follow Wretchard on Twitter or visit Wretchard.com

Editor’s Note: Want to support PJ Media so we can keep telling the truth about China and the virus they unleashed on the world? Join PJ Media VIP and use the promo code WUHAN to get 25% off your VIP membership.


Support the Belmont Club by purchasing from Amazon through the links below.

Books:

God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design is it Anyway?, by John C. Lennox. Oxford mathematician and author of God’s Undertaker, Lennox takes a closer look at Stephen Hawking’s logic in his book The Grand Design. In lively layman’s terms, he guides the reader through the key points in Hawking’s arguments – with clear explanations of the latest scientific and philosophical methods and theories – and demonstrates that far from disproving a Creator God, they make his existence seem all the more probable.

The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic, by Robert L. O’Connell. For millennia, Carthage’s triumph over Rome at Cannae in 216 B.C. has inspired reverence and awe. No general since has matched Hannibal’s most unexpected, innovative, and brutal military victory. Piecing together decayed shreds of ancient reportage, O’Connell tells the whole story of this apocalyptic battle for the first time, its causes and consequences, its leading players Hannibal and Scipio Africanus, and reveals the lessons it teaches for our own wars.

The Disappearing People: The Tragic Fate of Christians in the Middle East, by Stephen M. Rasche. Today, Christianity stands on the brink of extinction in much of the Middle East, the land of its birth. How did this happen? What role did Western foreign policy and international aid policy play? What of the role of Islam and the Christians themselves? How should history judge what happened to Christians of the Mideast and what lessons can be learned? This book, published in March this year, examines these questions based on the first-hand accounts of those who are living it.

For a list of books most frequently purchased by readers, visit my homepage.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with your friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

Open Curtains by George Spix and Richard Fernandez. Technology represents both unlimited promise and menace. Which transpires depends on whether people can claim ownership over their knowledge or whether human informational capital continues to suffer the Tragedy of the Commons.

The War of the Words, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres

Rebranding Christianity, or why the truth shall make you free

The Three Conjectures, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age

Storming the Castle, why government should get small

No Way In at Amazon Kindle. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.

Storm Over the South China Sea, how China is restarting history in the Pacific.