For a handful of years now I've taught my freshman composition students about the death of Christianity in the West, coming at that idea from the work of Flannery O'Connor. I argued that O'Connor, in some sense, predicted it. I have come to understand that I was wrong about O'Connor predicting the end of Christianity. Instead, O'Connor was witnessing and testifying to the ascendancy of Americanism, and Americanism's shaky foundation has in turn led to Wokism, and Wokism, as far as I can tell, is the end of the story. Wokism will lead to the balkanization of the United States, the physical separation along ideological and racial lines, and this is going to happen faster than most people realize. In this piece, I'm going to explain how this happened and where I think we are headed.
Let's start with the Baby Boomers, who grew up in front of their technological god the Television in the living room, the first American generation that inhabited a fantasy world in which only other people ever died, and it happened on TV. Americanism is what I'm calling the particular fusion of certain tenets of Christianity with a dominant corporate consumerism. For the Boomers, if asked, they might claim to be pretty religious as long as it convenient. Everything about the Boomers is built on sitting-on-ass convenience. They are now fat and diabetic and scared.
Covid is the last hail-Mary, the last time Television will drive a moral panic. I spent a couple of weeks last summer sitting on my ass with my parents, watching CNN broadcast two numbers, cases and deaths, which ticked upwards, ever upwards, as my parents were scared to go to church or go shopping. Yet, and this is key, when you took a walk or a looked around at physical reality, things were fine. Covid never caused any real disruption in reality. The only disruptions were caused by the media's propaganda about Covid, never the disease itself. As of this writing, I still don't fully grasp the point of it. From the beginning, I recognized social engineering at play, but I still don't see the end game, the point of it. All I know is that the death-fear of the Boomers had been harnessed.
Writing about this in 2021, Americanism is what America used to be, not as physical realness, but in Television broadcasts. It is the primacy of the automobile. In America, no one with a good car needs to be justified. It is, in some sense, hot dogs and apple pie and baseball cum Sunday NFL Doritos. It is Leave it to Beaver reruns. It is Nike Air Sneakers. Motorboats. It is also Sunday church, if going to church is convenient and doesn't disrupt football. It is Jesus and Ben Franklin, except no one in America knows much about Ben Franklin and even less is known about Jesus. All of it is caricature, made to be entertaining and mesmerizing on Television.
In Americanism, you can't spot Christians, and nothing about Christianity imposes itself or is inconvenient in any sense whatsoever. Christianity is there to give just enough formality and ceremony where such is necessary, such as at funerals or graduations or weddings. This kind of Jesus worship is completely harmless, and Jesus is reduced to a mere place-holder, and that's a key concept, the need for a place-holder. It could be Thor or Odin or Akhenaten. I mean it can't be those gods, but I am saying that the identity of the God doesn't matter. One needs only a place-holder, a thing on which to focus when focusing on a thing is useful.
This is another of the great lessons of the Covid: Christianity is utterly neutered. The government said shut down and Christians shut down, no questions asked. They were the only group of people we had that could have possibly resisted the covid madness, and they failed to do it. The Boomers made Christianity expendable. Television never found a way to make it sexy and exciting. That cultural pillar that had previously supplied the West with its moral compass discarded, there was nothing that could oppose Wokism.
Wokism is Ascendant
In February of 2020, about one month before the covid “pandemic” was fully released on the American people, I drove my daughter to Atlanta to listen to Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay talk about the threat of wokism. I’d long been an admirer of Boghossian as a writer about atheism, and he along with Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose were being celebrated among the Intellectual Dark Web for their hoax papers. They’d written woke papers and had them published in high-level journals to prove that as long as one knew the jargon, he or she could start with the conclusion and work back from it and find publication. This highlights that in a wokist paradigm, only certain kinds of conclusions are permissible. Chief among them, and I do mean the first and most unbreakable cardinal rule of wokism: Black people can do no wrong. Black people are always the good guys, and white people are always the villians. This also works with women if the binary is women vs. men. Women always good. Men always bad. Or, with sexual orientation. Gay people always good. Straight people always bad. Boghossian, Lindsay, and Pluckrose just started with a conclusion and wrote backwards to justify the conclusion. As long as one starts with the right conclusion and knows the jargon, a woke journal will publish the paper. The inverse is also true. If you follow the evidence and reach a negative or controversial conclusion about blacks, women, or homosexuals, come hell or high water, no journal will publish your paper.
And so we had a nice little outing, and I took plenty of notes, and James Lindsay warned that if wokeness escaped its current confines and broke out into the wider culture, the consequences would be disastrous. On the way back we stopped at Moe's and had huge burritos for dinner, and no one was wearing the stupid masks, and there was only a dull whisper in the background about some virus spreading far away in China . . . and little did we know . . . and how can I not take it as proof that this reality is a simulation when the covid virus and the woke virus erupted into the mainstream exactly one month later?
In Wokism, black culture is sacrosanct, and any criticism of black people or black culture is completely off-limits. Black culture, so-called people of color, are unassailable, just like Muhammad in Islam. Black people and black culture can only be praised and lauded, 100% of the time, in every context. Period. I hope that is clear enough.
That is why George Floyd has been elevated to sainthood and he must never be criticized at all, and that is why, right now as I write this, looting and rioting are happening in Minneapolis over the death of another black man named Daunte Wright. Mr. Wright must never be criticized, nor is anyone allowed to criticize the rioting nor the looting. The mainstream does not cover it except from a perspective of black righteousness, that black people are justified and righteous as they fight against their evil oppressors. Simply put, in Wokism, Black people are holy and can do nothing wrong. If black people riot, rioting is right. If they burn, arson is right. If they murder, murder is right. I can’t overstate this: In Wokism, black people are always right, no matter what.
I’ve been puzzling over this over a year, and I think I understand now why black culture and black people are the holiest figures in wokism. I think it is all about how black culture defines itself in opposition to the dominant white culture (Americanism). I owe this idea to a book I read years ago Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society by Brown et al. Black people never assimilated into Americanism, never fully bought into it. Once you understand this, black culture makes a lot more sense. If white people are punctual, black people are late. If white people wear pants around the waist, black people wear them around the knees. If white people tip the waitress, black people stiff her. And on and on and on it goes. Name a white people value, and you'll likely find the black version to be something like the opposite. That's what Brown et. al. called oppositional culture.
If wokism's goal is to supplant the status quo cultural religion of Americanism, it needed to hitch its wagon to a force that would oppose it down to the atomic level, and it has that kind of opposition in black culture. Ready-made, ready to go. And last summer, all of the statues started coming down. And just two days ago, Derek Chauvin was given a show trial, and here we are. Wokism has fully arrived, ushered in by a potent 1-2 combo of covid mania fueled by mainstream media propaganda. Americanism is over. Wokism is completely converged in the media. Completely converged in big-tech. Completely converged in education. Completely converged in the law. Completely converged in the government. It is over.
I'm speculating here, but I think there's little likelihood of successfully uprooting wokism from American institutions, at least not for the next several decades.
This is what people need to understand perhaps more than anything else, because they will want to believe that we can vote our way out of it, that the old Americanism can be restored. People must understand that the old Americanism is dead and it cannot be revived.Perhaps it is possible that wokism can be defeated, but Americanism cannot be restored. The only option is to create something new, something that is maybe better, built on a god stronger than the Television and the smart phone. I have ZERO hope that this will be possible. I'm completely pessimistic here.
The death of Americanism will be apparent on the ground where people must deal with other people, and they will begin to notice that any negative confrontation between white people and black people will favor the black people. White people will notice it, and black people will notice it. This will happen every single time, regardless of facts. Remember, in wokism, black people can do no wrong, ever. In a negative interaction, the white is wrong, and the black is right. White teachers will see inventives to give black students good grades just to avoid the headaches of dealing with complaints of racism, further eroding an education system that is already failing. Cops will avoid policing black people completely, interfering with them only if there is no other option, and certainly, no sensible white person will go into law enforcement in the first place, further eroding a criminal justice system that is already failing. Crime is set to skyrocket.
Education is going to get much much worse. Crime is going to get much much worse. That's why I think the country will balkanize sooner rather than later. Law-abiding citizens are not going to tolerate rampant crime, nor are they going to send their kids to violent and ineffective schools. This is inevitable when 13% of the population is completely off-limits to criticism or correction. Wokism is madness, divorced from reason, divorced from any notion of how a multicultural society could be made to work peacefully.