GUEST POST – Bernard Moran is a retired journalist, with an interest in modern social movements.
Woke activists are inserting their ideology into the workplace. Their zealotry threatens and intimidates us to self-censor what we think and speak. We end up parroting their thoughts to: “go along – to get along”.
Australians recently had an example of Critical Race Theory in action when the Governor General David Hurley arranged for his staff to undergo “unconscious bias training” with a facilitator, to learn about: “white privilege”, diversity and racism.
The term “Woke” mainly means being “Awake” to areas and issues of perceived social injustice. The teachers and adherents see themselves as social justice warriors in the forefront of overcoming “transphobia”, “homophobia” and in particular, racism.
Attempting to get a handle on this new ideology can be a challenge, so a useful first step is to see where it fits in a historical context.
Our guide is a German political scientist Eric Voegelin, hunted by the Gestapo, who escaped to teach in America.
Voegelin discovered a common theme in pre-Enlightenment heresies and later with Marxist Leninism, the Nazi era and what happened in Mao’s Cultural Revolution. All these movements entailed a Gnostic view that the world was evil. Identifiable bogeymen caused the evil and once they were dealt to, Utopia was within reach.
Resolutely rejecting the idea of the Christian God, the post-Enlightenment Gnostics searched for a civil theology to build their Utopia – a dream-like state. This interpretation of history ensures a false reality. When the false reality is made the basis of political action, the practical consequence is creeping repression.
In the Nazi era, Utopia was to be the Thousand Year Reich. Germans of that time described it as like being in a “Dream”. The bogeyman was “World Jewry” to be eliminated through the Final Solution.
Marxist Leninism sought the Utopia of the “Workers’ Paradise”, a classless society, where capitalism and class categories would be eliminated. As one of Lenin’s apparatchiks told OGPU executioners: “Do not concern yourselves with questions of innocence and guilt. What marks enemies for death is their Class.”
The third modern Utopia is Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where millions of Red Guards fought in the nationwide frenzy to show loyalty to Mao and destroy his perceived enemies. They were the heirs to decades of “Thought-Reform” through struggle sessions to identify hidden dangerous thoughts and attitudes.
Critical Race Theory aims for a Utopia where citizens are purified of “systemic racism”, racist thoughts and attitudes, subconsciously imbibed in the world and structures of “white privilege”.
The Theory has emerged in recent times as a mixture of Post-Modernist ideology and Cultural Marxism. Previously confined to university campuses, it has now been embraced by many leaders in the corporate world and public service through inviting employees to undertake “unconscious bias training”.
So, who are the Social Justice people that might have such an influence on the culture of your workplace and perhaps your own career prospects? Simply Google “career options for graduates of Gender Studies” and the extent of their opportunities is enlightening.
Gender Studies departments appear to serve as secular versions of theological colleges or seminaries. A key difference is that churchgoers choose to attend church; Critical Race Theory graduates in education and the corporate world increasingly are sanctioned to enjoy potentially captive audiences.
An American academic Dr Edward Feser, uses Eric Voegelin’s “The New Science of Politics” to discern the nature of Critical Race Theory as the latest civil religion gaining the upper hand in Western society. He notes that Woke Social Justice Warriors tend to display an indifference to discussion on the validity of their ideology.
In a way they are both a mixture of missionary and political commissar. During the era of Lenin and Stalin, commissars served as both social exemplars, educators, and watchdogs on guard for “enemies of the State”. Political Commissars were uninterested in debating or discussing contrasting viewpoints, they sought compliance.