Woke provides the special sauce for tyranny

The dictator of George Orwell’s “1984” knew that “Who controls the past, controls the future: Who controls the present, controls the past.” This is the special sauce of tyranny.

How do you gain control? 

Force of arms is one way. It is expensive, obvious, and fraught with the danger of armed insurrection.

There is another way: Control language. 

If you control language, you control thought. 

When you first can’t say certain things, it’s not long before you are unable to even think certain things. 

When your mind is manacled, guns are not necessary.

How do you take control of the language?

Start in academia, which is intensely progressive, where underworked, hypersensitive tenured professors have gobs of time to invent concepts as novel as Covid-19 that  can be spoon fed to impressionable freshmen.

Well, except we’re no longer allowed to say “freshmen.”

That’s according to the University of Washington.

As often happens, some of the worst newest ideas come from the rich groves of academia. Many universities have devised glossaries of acceptable and unacceptable words. I have chosen the University of Washington to provide one example.

Among the other words or phrases the UW ayatollahs find objectionable are these: grandfathered, webmaster, first-class citizen, dumb terminal, man in the middle, brown bags, cake walk, he, she, mantra, housekeeper, minority, ninja, guru, peanut gallery, redline, blind spot, guys, crazy, virgin, lame, and, of course, normal.

Because “normal” is a pejorative to those who think they are not normal.

The driving force, they will tell you, behind the speech codes is “inclusion,” and eliminating any chance whatsoever that anyone would be offended in any way. More than 20% of surveyed college students say that offensive or impolite speech should be prohibited, despite the First Amendment. They are mentally manacled. And humorless.

I urge you to follow the UW link and find the excruciating pains UW has taken to dance on the head of a pin. 

Quick example: Peanut gallery, banned. Here is the UW explanation: Peanut gallery originally referred to the balconies of segregated theaters, where African Americans had to sit. Peanuts were introduced to America during the slave trade, and thus became associated with Black people.

Did you know that? Neither did anyone else, including Black people. Like the word “gay,” its original meaning has been replaced by another. So why ban it?

Just a few days ago, the World Health Organization ordained that the colorful “monkeypox,” which just raised its head in one Philly school, is to be referred to as “mpox.” 

Let me guess. Monkeys took offense?

Next to be scrapped — charley horse? (Asking for Mr. Ed.)

And don’t get me started on chicken pox.

As I explained yesterday, Woke started out as an awareness of social injustice, but has been stretched so far that it now includes CRT and DEI and a belief that white people are irredeemably racist.

So now we are into government entities, where not too long ago, when she was still Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi ordered all gender terms to be banned from use in official language.

While this banned such hideous terms as chairman, and congresswoman, it also dumped “mother,” “father,” “sister” and “brother.” 

You aren’t allowed to have a “mother” and “father,” you have “parents.” 

Thanks, Nancy. We all feel better now.

Meanwhile, over at the State Department, Secretary Antony Blinken is pushing his own version of Newspeak, also dropping down the memory hole words such as “mother” and “father.” 

The mealy-mouthed explanation was to make comfortable the almost nonexistent few who do not think this way.

How many people do you know who do not have at least a mother or a father?

Well, IMHO, if you were hatched, you may have to suffer when hearing about the mothers and fathers that 99.99999999999% of us have.

See, one of the tenets of Woke is that if you are oppressed — and everyone is except for straight, white, Christian males — your sensibilities and rights triumph over all others. This is the tyranny of the minority. 

First Woke takes away your words, then they take away your thoughts.

Back in 2022, I wrote that the Social Security Administration was going Woke and would permit those enrolling to self-select the gender to appear on their record. No bureaucratic involvement. No documentation. No pesky official saying, “You’re a woman?!”

But there’s a catch.

You had to select either male or female.

Those bigots! 

Haven’t they ever heard of bi, or tri, or pan? Don’t they know there are more gender selections now than Heinz has varieties?

Meanwhile, a few days back, news broke that Google’s AI Chatbox image generator went crazy Woke and was providing Black founding fathers and female popes. 

Way back in 2014,  Facebook offered 58 gender choices — and that was 10 years ago!

Please click on the FB link for a laugh. But what’s not funny is getting you to obey. 

The National Institutes of Health also leaned in, publishing a bulletin on pronouns.

It’s kind of a dense read, but the best part is the chart of invented pronouns the people with the invented afflictions characteristics want you to use.

If you do, you are supporting their mental illness.

OK, I said it. Go ahead — cancel me.

I can believe that 4-7% of humanity is “other,” meaning nonbinary, gay, queer, bi, tri, pan, or asexual. That stat has been around a long time. 

I do not believe the staggering number of Gen Z people who claim it — 20%, according to a Newsweek survey.

That is not reality. That is just not believable, as I have stated before.

Yes, I believe in evolution, but that happens over many generations, not just one.

Personally, I believe gender hysteria is a Woke-induced psychosis along the lines of the Salem witch trials.

And as the percentage of youth claiming to be queer goes up, so does their suicide rate.

Coincidence or correlation?

It is one thing to be accepting of another person’s beliefs, but that doesn’t require saying you believe fantasy.

I am awake, but not Woke.

20 thoughts on “Woke provides the special sauce for tyranny”

  1. Stu, I’ve leaned liberal my whole life. I’ve been a Bernie guy, raised with a JFK photo in the hall. It now seems left has driven further off the road into the fascism ditch. You are dead on, words are the control point. That’s why they burned those “pesky” books back when fascism was a simpler, more base horror. I cannot agree with you more. Of course these ideas you’re positing could just get you cancelled. But then again if you’re a white male over 40 and God forbid, straight, well my friend, you’re good as cancelled already…Thank God and thanks to these new found Lords of Language, people are no longer judged by their gender, color or sexual preference. Oh wait, unless…

    Keep up the truth, brother (forgive the expression)

    1. I have been called a racist, homophobe, misogynist and more. That comes from people who can’t form a coherent argument to contest my ideas, so F ‘em. Rolls off my back.

  2. I refuse to go along with this nonsense. It reminds me of a 13-year-old who hears someone say “the wind is blowing,” and they run around laughing and shouting “you said BLOW!”
    The other day I registered with a new doctor. As the nurse asked me about myself she said “which gender do you identify with?” I looked at her, smiled and said “I’m sorry, but I don’t play that game.” She laughed and didn’t pursue it further.
    If we all pushed back a lot of this insanity would stop.

    1. Sara – I must remember to use that line the next time I’m hit up with this nonsense: “I’m sorry, but I don’t play that game.” Too cool! LoL.

    2. Jefferson medical in post-visit questionnaire, asks a lot of questions, including two that inquire if my race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual were respected. I reply, I have no idea if the staffer was aware of my race, religion, gender, so how the hell would I know.
      A better (non Woke) question would be: Were you treated respectfully?

      1. Yup – just got that too from a survey for Penn Med. I would have used your reply, but all they had were check-off boxes.

  3. Great stuff. It would be humorous if it weren’t so dangerous.
    I have fun when I fill out those medical forms: where it asks ‘sex,’ I always write ‘yes.’
    Orwell saw this coming. Now it is here.

  4. So much thought and effort spent on something so meaningless, as opposed to solving the real problems of our day. Such a pity!

    1. Worse yet, Mark, we pay for this drivel…either in the forms of tuition, taxes, or mental health.

  5. Please, everyone, do what Stu did and reread 1984. It is a book that has withstood the test of time and is as relevant today as when it was written in 1948.

    And the enemies of our liberties are not just the obvious totalitarian regimes Russia and China. As Stu has repeatedly pointed out, the academy and the main stream press, both of which should be fora for contesting ideas, have chosen to favor one side over the other and have surpressed news that doesn’t fit the narrative from Covid to Hunter Biden’s laptop. That is only slightly less insidious than Putin’s making it a crime to call his invasion of Ukraine a war. And they wonder why they are now less respected and trusted.

    1. I think you exaggerate a bit, Andrew. The laptop story was unsuccessfully suppressed for less than a week. The Covid stuff, a few months, and the jury is still out on the scientific questions. Neither has had a particularly large or lasting impact on public policy. The laptop demonstrated that Hunter was a lowlife druggy who traded on his daddy’s name, and nothing else. The hyperventilating over it was as deceptive as any successful suppression would have been. The Pentagon Papers it ain’t. Heck, it’s not even Trumpian “catch and kill,” in terms of effectiveness.

      And, seriously, since when has either the academy or the mainstream press been perfect vessels of information and debate? In what decades of American history was this true? We’ve always had “yellow journalism,” smears, panics and lies, and academic support of stupid things. Eugenics, Japanese internment, not to mention antisemitism, anti-Catholicism and racism. “Narrative”? That’s Chomsky-ist “Manufacturing Consent” stuff. Do people have biases? Sure. Are they careful when going at the powers-that-be? No doubt. Getting it wrong could cost ya, both literally and in “access.” Who are these folks who set a “narrative” and suppress all counter-narratives?

      Skepticism is fine, but comparing our rough and tumble multiple news sources peddling different viewpoints, vocal and loud pushback against academic idiocy to Putin’s jailing and killing of his political opponents and journalists is apples to oranges. Sorry, but it is way less insidious than Putin’s regime. It is a difference in kind, not degree.

      Neither Stu, you nor me is in any danger of being jailed for our writing or opinions. It’s simple enough, at least for me, to go from bookmark to bookmark, reading what is the left saying, what is the right saying, what the libertarians are saying, what the centrists are saying, and what’s the conventional wisdom being peddled. Twitter jail isn’t the gulag. Attacks on social media are not a firing squad. PR flaks for government, corporations, political parties, candidates and activists are not the ministry of truth, as much as they wish they were. And there’s plenty of folk immediately calling out biased reporting and bashing the latest woke outrage, not to mention suing over it, or summoning university presidents for congressional hearings.

      My mom escaped Nazi Germany in 1939 at the age of 13, after hiding out for months with her family in an attic, a la Anne Frank. During her college years, she ended up at some silly lefty political meeting where they went on and on about how the US was a police state rife with political repression. She stood up, and in her accented English said “You don’t know what a police state is,” and walked out. One good reason for accepting refugees from repressive countries is to have folks here to remind us how effing good we have it. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only American Exceptionalist left. I’m kinda tired of right and left telling me this country totally sucks and is going to hell in a hand-basket.

  6. We are in an era of a sadly amusing insanity, of snowflakes and of those who grew up “winning” those really cheap “Las Vegas” looking “participation” awards.
    Or, did they grow up?

    Even the Audubon Society, I have read, is changing the names of many birds. Tufted Titmouse and Brown Thrasher, for example, are offensive and trigger hurt feelings!! Oh my.

    I have my own fun when asked for my pronouns on forms.
    “Thee and Thou.”
    That gets them!

  7. I’ve identified most of my life as Yo, since while I lived in Philly I turned around everytime I heard it 🙂

  8. I’d like, if I may, to inject a bit of optimism. That is, there is increasing push-back against wokeism on the left. This is important, as it is good to remember that Orwell was a (democratic) socialist. Think Bernie Sanders, not Josef Stalin.

    While doubtless the right categorizes Bernie as “woke” it is also good to remember that BLM shut down a Sanders rally during his primary run against Hillary. https://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/politics/bernie-sanders-black-lives-matter-protesters/index.html. When the crowd understandably booed, the activist who had taken over the microphone told them “you’ve covered yourself in your white supremacist liberalism.” (In fairness, that was just one BLM chapter, and the rest of BLM distanced itself)

    “Woke” is primarily an attack on liberals. While one might think that it is conservatives that they hate (them also, of course), they despise liberals on the grounds that they see them as shills for the powers-that-be (capitalism/white supremacy etc), pretending to care about things such as racism, income inequality, sexism etc. while acting to perpetuate precisely those things. Think about it: the propositions that “nondiscrimination is racism” and that there has been no progress toward racial equality are not attacks on racists and white supremacists whose dearest wish is that no racial progress had been made–they are an attack on liberalism, liberal progress and the liberal project. “White supremacist liberalism” as it were.

    That’s not the optimistic part. The optimistic part is that the academy is fighting back. Universities are built on data, facts, and, yes, theories to explain those facts. The woke stuff comes does not come out of nowhere. It comes out of “critical theory” (most famously “critical race theory” but there are others) and other sources, that are dense and unreadable. The underlying analysis, as one might expect, is flawed–but they provide “authority” and the patina of scholarship. But what is argued academically can be debunked academically.

    See, for example, Susan Neiman’s book, Left is Not Woke (https://www.amazon.com/Left-Not-Woke-Susan-Neiman/dp/1509558306). As she writes: “wokeism conflicts with ideas that have guided the left for more than 200 years: a commitment to universalism, a firm distinction between justice and power, and a belief in the possibility of progress.”

    My favorite review/blurb on the amazon page is from a rag called “Marx and Philosophy Review of Books” Heh. “Succinct and compelling… Neiman devotes a chapter to each of [the] components of wokeness, laying out their ideological forebears and then skillfully dismantling them…” Even commies don’t like woke!

    If you want to delve into the thick of things, you can take a look at this.https://jacobin.com/2022/09/carl-schmitt-nazi-jurist-political-philosophy a way lefty publication. That article traces some aspects of woke to the explicit adoption of a Nazi jurist’s critique of liberalism that has also been adopted by the likes of neo-Nazis, and says “don’t do that!” (Basically the guy claimed that political opponents should be treated as enemies, and that instead of universal moral values and rational discourse, there should be forced conformity.)

    So, the calls are coming from inside the house. Take a look at this article by a Black professor of Black studies.https://www.compactmag.com/article/a-black-professor-trapped-in-anti-racist-hell/ Among other stumbling blocks he came across was that “objective facts are a tool of white supremacy” and that readings he assigned weren’t sufficiently radical. Certainly “woke” by most political measures, he couldn’t stand woke, and calls it a cult.

    It’s also becoming near impossible to run any kind of organization filled with wokester’s and their cancel/call-out culture. The way left publication “The Intercept” handles the whole thing with kid gloves, but gives out tidbits like that the 2020 Sanders campaign stopped hiring “activists” in favor of people who would concentrate on their jobs. The younger generation in lefty organizations, empowered by their personal truths and unconstrained by facts is wreaking havoc.

    Consider this paragraph from the article:
    “The pushback against callout culture, which might be surprising on a surface level, is bubbling up in Black movement spaces. ‘In the movement for Black lives, there is a lot of the top leaders saying, ‘This is out of control. No one can be a leader in this culture. It’s not sustainable. We’re constantly being called out from the bottom…’Nowadays, there’s an open conversation — not open, there is a large conversation — about the problems of this, and it’s being led by people within the movement for Black lives'” Another activist calls it a “cancer” on progressive organizations.

    So, between the wonky refutations and internal pushback, the future is not looking great for woke-ism. Add in its political/electoral face-plants like “defund the police” and losing lawsuit after lawsuit on First Amendment grounds, and I think woke-ism, at least in its current virulent form is not long for this world. At the least, to quote Churchill, it may not be the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning. More generally, given the basic decency of the American people, we can be confident (as Churchill also said) that America will always do the right thing–after trying everything else first.

    1. For me, I agree with Neiman, that liberals oppose Woke, who support open discussion. It comes from “progressives,” who are so open-minded their brains fall out.
      Woke may have peaked, which can be gleaned from the increasing number of companies that are walking away from DEI.
      I am over my surprise that capitalists were so open to stupid ideas. They were educated in Ivy League universities, so what else should I expect?

      1. It was not a “stupid” idea. It was simple capitalism, i.e. marketing and legal “insurance.” Corporations want their brands to be warm and fuzzy. At the start, DEI was just another trendy corporate image thing. Like contributing to charity, it was all about “We Care”–we are not a faceless, greedy corporation.

        Plus, in order to be sued for civil rights violations, a plaintiff needed to link the adverse actions/discrimination on race/sex to management action. With a DEI program, management could say, we TOLD our employees not to use racial slurs or harass women, not discriminate and treat each other with respect, and are actively trying to hire minority workers!

        It was a cold-eyed business decision, not woke enthusiasm. The decline in DEI is now due to the fact that it is no longer good for at least certain brands. Another cold-eyed business decision, not a change of heart, eureka moment or sudden anti-wokism. Budweiser is a case in point. The company had always heavily contributed to the GOP–the offending ad was just an attempt to sell more beer, not a political statement. That’s what corporations do.Har

        As for the anti-elitist crack about the Ivy League, that sounds a little like the woke complaints about the founding fathers being a bunch of rich, educated, privileged out-of-touch white guys.

        Though, given the fact that we have, say Elise Stefanik ( Harvard ’06, election denier), Josh Hawley (Yale ’06, election denier), J.D. Vance (Yale ’13, election denier), Blake “Trump Won” Masters (Stanford ’08, ’12) or Ted Cruz, (Princeton ’92, ’95), I can see why you would conclude that our elite institutions do not do a very good job of instilling a respect for facts, logic or decency.

    2. That’s a terrific response. I whole-heartedly agree that the whole woke thing has exactly nothing to do with liberalism. I am about as liberal and humanistic as they come, and I really can’t stand any bit of it. I am all about live and let live. But my greatest fears right now have to do with the alignment of the Republican Party and evangelical Christians and fascists like Putin. I’d love to see a Stu post about that in the near future. I think it’s the greatest danger we face today.

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