December 27, 2020

THE YEAR THE RULING CLASS GOT WOKE: Identity politics has become the new secular religion. We need more heretics.

For me, the defining image of 2020 was also the funniest: that of Democratic lawmakers in the US taking the knee, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, draped in Ghanaian kente cloth.

Watching thoroughly establishment politicians, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to the fore, literally kneeling before the new woke politics was striking. It provoked so many questions, not least if Pelosi and Schumer (80 and 70 respectively) would be able to rise again unassisted.
But this absurd attempt at virtue-signalling – which provoked mockery rather than plaudits, even among those it was meant to impress – made one thing clear: that wokeness is the new orthodoxy, and the old elites know this.
Divisive, identitarian ideas around race, gender and sexuality have of course been gaining ground in elite circles for some time. The idea that Western societies are not simply affected by bigotry, but defined by it and built on it, had been gaining ground in academia for decades.

* * * * * * * *

What was perhaps more unexpected* was the almost total embrace of Black Lives Matter, the banner under which this movement marched, by the capitalist class. Corporate giants lent their support to the protests. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pledged to ‘dismantle white supremacy’. And the CEO of JPMorgan Chase took the knee in front of a giant open bank vault.

From the article we linked to yesterday on Christopher Lasch:

Taken as a whole, Lasch’s body of writing offers an account of the limitations of the American political panorama of his era. Conservatism, he suggests, tends to provide de facto ideological cover for the economic developments that have eroded the social values it claims to promote. Liberalism, for its part, has overseen the rise of a state bureaucratic apparatus that promises to compensate for the effects of this erosion. However, in the process, it further weakens the autonomy of individuals, families, and communities, and enables the substitution of democracy with technocratic elite rule. While the New Left of the 1960s rebelled against the expansion of corporate and bureaucratic power, the end result of its revolt was not a reassertion of the local and the communal, but the infusion of those structures with a new therapeutic sensibility.

To borrow the headline of an article we linked to last month: You Keep Using The Word “Liberal:” it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Related: The Religion to Replace All Other Religions.

* It shouldn’t be that unexpected, considering how easily corporate giants embraced another gnostic religion, radical environmentalism, a few decades ago.

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