IS Wokeism another convenient ideological excuse for intolerance and cruelty? Or is it a puerile preoccupation and naive distraction that ignores the perennial threats that all societies face? While Rome burns, or, in our case, China and Russia threaten the global order by subjugating their neighbours, assassinating dissidents on foreign soil and unleashing pandemics, we’re forced to have unending, interminable discussions about gender identity. I suspect it’s a bit of both.
Savage violence and unspeakable acts of cruelty have been depressing leitmotifs throughout human history, whether to gain access to scarce resources, to right perceived injustices or pursue some religiously or ideologically inspired utopian vision.
I hear you ask: What does this have to do with Wokeism? It’s a lovely, fluffy worldview that seeks equality for all. Indeed, how can demanding more rights for minority groups possibly lead to intolerance and cruelty? Surely it’ll result in the opposite – more tolerance and less cruelty?
One would certainly hope so. Increasing the rights of minority groups is of course a laudable ambition. But what at first glance seems reasonable and commendable becomes, on closer inspection, unreasonable and ugly.
Wokeists reject objective truth and deny biological reality. They claim, for example, that sex is a social construct and that trans-women are real women. Well, they’re entitled to their opinion, you might say, and you’d be right. What concerns me is their intolerance of anyone who refuses to subscribe to their worldview.
Those who disagree are harangued, abused, their reputations besmirched and their livelihoods destroyed. Just look at Professor Kathleen Stock. She was forced to resign her post at Sussex University for having the audacity to question the assertion that a trans-woman can also be a lesbian. It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to envision a time when such ostracism mutates into something akin to the Gulag.
Like the intolerant ideologies of Nazism and Islamism, Wokeism has enemies that must be expunged. Polite disagreement, mutual respect and friendly engagement cannot be tolerated. Opposing views are so dangerous that their exponents must be ‘othered’ and destroyed – adopting the language of equality derived from centuries of Christian tradition and teachings.
Yes, we now have a new excuse to satisfy humanity’s seemingly insatiable desire to ostracise, persecute and maybe, in time, slaughter its kin. The Vikings and Normans did it for resources and self-enrichment, as did the British and Romans, tinged with a bit of proselytising and civilising zeal; the Nazis, Islamists of ISIS and Marxists, on the other hand, enslaved and murdered to create the perfect society. Whatever the reasons, the outcome is depressingly familiar.
We are a violent species and too readily look to excuse such tendencies by deferring to some arcane ideology that dehumanises enemies and absolves us of responsibility. We must therefore be eternally vigilant and ensure that Wokeism doesn’t become humanity’s latest in a long line of self-inflicted nightmares.
Some see Wokeism as the naive preoccupation of a coddled society detached from the tragic, ‘dog-eat-dog’ reality of human history. I have some sympathy with this view. The media’s obsession with race, gay and transgender rights during a global pandemic unleashed by a rogue state that poses an enormous threat to the western world is of profound concern. One look at the BBC’s website reveals its warped priorities.
However, what if Wokeists aren’t as naive and ignorant as this argument suggests? What if they understand the real threats we face only too well? Indeed, what if they’re actively siding with our enemies and confecting distractions to help realise the destruction of the ‘other’ – the ‘other’ being, in this case, the evil Western oppressor? Now that’s a sobering thought.