by Victor Davis Hanson
Almost everything that has followed from the woke mass hysteria gripping the nation since 2020 has proved disastrous.
Wokeism destroys meritocracy in favor of forced equality of result—history’s prescription for civilizational decline.
If we continue with the woke hiring of administrators, air traffic controllers, ground crews, pilots, and rail workers, there will be even more news of disasters and near-miss airline crashes.
Wokeness demands a McCarthyite suppression of free expression. No wonder a woke FBI recently hired out social media censors to suppress stories it deemed unhelpful.
Soviet-style, wokeism mandates strict ideological party-line narratives under the cover of “science.” No wonder a woke government lied that requiring vaccines would prevent both infection and infectiousness.
Woke substitutes race for class in its eternal neo-Marxist quest to divide permanently the nation along racial lines, between victims and victimizers.
Yet wokeism recently has embarrassed itself as never before.
Take the COVID pandemic.
The Department of Energy has joined the FBI and is now attributing the origins of the pandemic to a leak of a likely engineered virus from the top-security virology lab in Wuhan, China.
Wokesters had long suppressed that reality, demonizing any who rejected its orthodox lies and spoke a larger truth: A dystopic China is not our global partner in greening the planet. Criticizing Stalinist China is not “racist.” China is not building a progressive society that is a model for others.
The ongoing environmental catastrophe in East Palestine, Ohio, following the train derailment revealed more woke moral bankruptcy.
Ostensibly the ensuing toxic spill and noxious plume have poisoned a poor and working-class small town. It should have galvanized the old Democratic Party that once voiced loud support for all green causes and championed the lower American classes.
But woke ended all that—substituting racial chauvinism for class concerns and ideology for genuine worry over the environment.
Woke dogma mandates that pollution and poverty are no longer concerns—if they affect the white poor who are stereotyped collectively as privileged victimizers.
Wokesters insisted that California is the greatest casualty of “climate change” defined as permanent drought.
Purported climate change required radical new bureaucratic rules and antidemocratic mandates over irrigation supplies, ground water, and contracted water deliveries from public reservoirs.
But then it rained. And it snowed. And it became terribly cold in supposedly scorching California.
Southern California is blanketed in snow.
Even so, for much of this cold, wet winter, state officials continued to claim the man-made drought was in full force. But finally, the most recent frigid, wet weather strangled the woke drought—and with it the credibility of our climate change Cassandras.
Americans sympathize with Ukraine’s plight as Vladimir Putin seeks to destroy its autonomy. But woke brooked no deviation from the party line that Ukraine’s Volodomyr Zelenskyy is a saint, while Russia is near bankrupt due to sanctions, and doomed to lose the war.
Accordingly, the United States was obligated to give Ukraine a veritable blank check given Kyiv’s commitment to freedom. Zelenskyy’s team now even talks of a victorious Ukrainian armored counteroffensive into Moscow’s Red Square.
This week, however, we are learning the Russian economy is nearly as strong now as it was before the war. It has mobilized 700,000 troops to ensure that eastern Ukraine becomes a Verdun-like killing field where tens of thousands more will be ground up.
Ukraine bars dissidents and maintains a government media monopoly. And the more Joe Biden promises another $2-3 billion in biweekly aid, the more Zelenskyy acts as if it is a pittance given what supposedly stingy Americans should be capable of supplying.
Meanwhile, at home, new woke protocols mandate race as essential rather than incidental to the human experience. Supposedly such fixations will heal racial wounds.
Under the new reparatory and compensatory diversity, equity, and inclusion rules, those deemed non-white were to be hired and admitted to colleges in greater numbers than their demographics. Even the old mandated proportional representation quotas were no longer enough.
But racial chauvinism, nonstop talk of reparations, and the new campus segregation have not resulted in better racial relations.
Polls show that there are greater racial tensions than ever before.
Data on interracial and hate crimes show even sharper racial disproportionalities. The incidence of both black violent criminal perpetrators and black crime victims are near historical highs.
Woke policies of no cash bail, downgrading felonies, and no jail time only spiked violent lawlessness.
Our elite universities are now fully woke. Almost weekly an embarrassing story further erodes their credibility and reputation.
Ridiculous lists of taboo words are issued on woke campuses, barring incendiary words like “American” and “immigrant.”
Bragging of segregated dorms, graduations, and safe spaces recalls Jim Crow, not woke racial utopias.
Grades and standards are deemed counterrevolutionary, even as incompetent graduates increasingly fail to impress employers.
Someday wokeism will disappear because it is inherently nihilistic and cannibalistic.
But in the meantime, Americans should end it now before it ends America first.
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Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.
Photo “People’s Power Assembly Protest” by Elvert Barnes. CC BY-SA 2.0.