May 5, 2021

JOHN MCWHORTER ON HOW TO RESPOND TO THE WOKE: ‘We need to start telling them no.’ At Hot Air, John Sexton links to McWorter’s new interview with Nick Gillespie of Reason TV:

“We have to understand that you can not reason with people like this,” he said. “It’s very rare that you teach somebody out of their religion and this is a religion. And so to try to talk these people down doesn’t work. All they know is that you’re a racist and that’s all you’re going to get. So the idea is not to try to have a dialogue with them about these sorts of issues…I think we simply need to start telling people like this no.”

McWhorter added that it won’t stop them from calling you a racist but by ignoring those attacks and going about your business you can demonstrate that “screaming that you’re a racist isn’t going to get them what they want.” He added, “We need to start telling them no.”

I think he’s largely right but it only works to the degree that, for instance, your boss happens to be one of the people willing to tell them no. Because if you tell them no and the woke mob responds with attacks (as they do) your boss might be tempted to solve the problem by pushing you out the door rather than risk becoming the next person on the mob’s target list.

I think he’s diagnosed the problem accurately but there’s still a lot of work to be done on how to resist a religion of freelance heretic hunters in the public square. That said, I’ll be interested to see how McWhorter deals with that problem as his book project proceeds.

Note for those watching at work, or listening on speakers, the first twenty minutes or so of Gillespie’s interview with McWhorter focuses on his new book, Nine Nasty Words, and needless to say, contains some very salty language. The topic shifts to McWhorter’s upcoming book, currently titled The Elect, at about the 22 minute mark. As the video’s Reason.com page notes, “‘Anti-racism as currently configured has gone a long way from what used to be considered intelligent and sincere civil rights activism to today [being] a religion,’ said McWhorter. ‘I don’t mean that as a rhetorical thing. It actually is what any naive anthropologist would recognize as a faith.’”

But what elements of the left aren’t a substitute for religion? Since we’re currently living in the version of the Matrix that was programmed by Tom Wolfe before his death in 2018, it’s worth quoting from in his epochal 1976 article, “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening:” “It is entirely possible that in the long run historians will regard the entire New Left experience as not so much a political as a religious episode wrapped in semi military gear and guerrilla talk.” (That line was written with early ‘70s radical chic in mind, but reverberates quite nicely today, given Antifa’s love of paramilitary cosplay.)

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