Between 2010 and 2012, American culture changed. Within a few years, what had been obscure concepts in politicized university departments like gender and ethnic studies became orthodoxy not only in the academy, media, & nonprofit sector, but also in the boardrooms of national and global corporations, banks, and in professional affiliations like the Bar and Medical associations.
Beginning with DoE/DoJ imposition of transgender ideology, followed by the march through the institutions of “diversity, equity, & inclusion” based on “critical race theory”, large corporations & banks, universities & major foundations, and the Democratic Party - now the party of college-educated whites and most of the super-rich - ostentatiously signaled their virtue as one new social justice cause succeeded another: Black Lives Matter, climate change, gender radicalism.
Seeking historical analogies for this sudden revolution in American institutions, some spoke of the Great Awokening, alluding to the two Great Awakenings of Anglo-American Protestantism in the 18th & 19th centuries. Still, the term is misleading. Woke activists are not honest missionaries; they are infiltrators with the specific goal of seizing control of institutions & imposing their views on others. Where Protestant evangelists sought voluntary and whole-hearted conversion, the new activists seek submission, imposed on penalty of ostracism.
If these activists are not evangelists, what are they? They are “entryists," a term associated with the Trotskyist denomination of Marxism since the 1930s, when the exiled Leon Trotsky urged his followers in Britain to infiltrate the Labor Party and influence it from within, rather than form their own small, ineffectual party. Wokists, however, are not the new Trotskyites, any more than they are the new Protestants. They are entryists in their methods, but not in their ideology.
Today, unlike a generation ago, young Americans typically must pass through three gateways to be economically successful. They must obtain college diplomas; they must join professional accrediting organizations; and must be able to do business via platforms in the marketplace. Waiting at each gateway, like trolls under a bridge in a fairy tale, are woke leftists, who demand they recite the in-group passwords before they are allowed to pass through the gates.
What makes these gateways particularly vulnerable to capture by disciplined, zealous entryists in the U.S. is the fact they are mostly private and unregulated. Private or public, all American universities are accredited by private, nonprofit accrediting agencies and not by America’s federal or state governments. To be sure, none of the customers of conventional corporations has any say in corporate governance, either. No wonder woke entryists prefer worming their way into immense, centralized quasi-monopolies and oligopolies in the private sector.
Piece by piece, woke activists are assembling a private version of China’s social credit system to cut off those who run afoul of ideological purity from acquiring educational credentials, practicing a trade, or engaging in political speech. While Trotskyist entryists spent decades trying to infiltrate & influence social democratic parties and trade unions, in only a decade and a half woke entryists have captured many of the leading communications, sales, and financial platforms, along with professional associations and universities. Trotsky would be impressed.
Paradoxical though it may seem, political intervention is needed to depoliticize institutions already diverted from their limited missions and competencies. Reluctant but dogged intervention by elected branches of government can compel neutrality by professional and commercial institutions that have been captured and weaponized by the new entryists.
Will anti-woke governments commit abuses in response to abuses of woke companies and nonprofits? No doubt they will sometimes. But if they do, their misdeeds will be easily identified and have clear remedies, unlike the hidden decisions of vast private bureaucracies. Abusive legislators and governors can be voted out of office, unlike the obscure individuals who belong to Facebook’s self-regulating bureaucracy.
In other eras, & other countries, public tyranny has indeed been a major threat to individual freedoms. In the U.S., in the 3rd decade of the 21st century, the private tyranny of universities, professional associations, and tech platforms is a greater threat than even the tyranny of an oppressive state. When it comes to reducing the power of the new entryists in the private sector, restoration of our liberties requires an expansion of democratically accountable government.
How Universities Entered Cloud Cuckoo Land
Grounded by deep insight into human nature the ancient playwright Aristophanes anticipated the capture of our institutions, and the cultural repudiation of the 2020s by nihilistic Utopians who cannibalize the populations they are supposed to serve
Rishi Sunak To Appoint An ‘Anti-Woke’ Tsar To Oversee Universities
The British PM is set to declare a ‘war on woke’ by appointing a free speech watchdog with power to investigate universities which censure academics for their views
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