Woke is revoked:  The mass awakening against leftism has begun

Anthony Morris KC makes some good points below but I think he is a tad optimistic  if he expects Leftism to fade way.  The impetus to Leftism lies deep in the personlity of the Leftist so will never vanish. Leftists are like snakes.  They cast off their skin only to reveal a new but similar one underneath.  

The latest skin is furious antisemitism,  worn under the guise that they are  "Pro-Palestinian".  That most Palestinians  live at peace with Israel both in the West Bank and in Israel itself is invisible to them.  Self-deception that deep obviously serves personal needs and, as such, is beyond any hope of rational  correction

When the time to write the history of the 21st Century finally arrives, the initial 23 years will pose two questions which historians yet to be born will find unanswerable. First, why did the people of our era allow all social, political, and intellectual discourse in the Western world to become shackled and perverted by the phenomenon, initially known as ‘political correctness’, and latterly given the more catchy soubriquet of ‘wokeness’? And secondly, how was this scourge eventually extinguished – how was ‘cancel culture’ cancelled?

To the first question, no simple answer is apparent. But the answer to the second becomes almost self-evident once the presumption is jettisoned that profound changes in social mores are invariably the result of Earth-shattering or cataclysmic events. Ironically, the simple explanation (often the best) is that people eventually began waking up to the fact that wokeness offers nothing more than a vacuous, intellectually dishonest, stultifying, and ultimately counterproductive constraint upon any society where it takes hold.

For Australia, this mass awakening coincided with the Voice referendum. When the Voice eventually croaked, it was because a majority of Australians nationwide, as well as a majority in every state of the Commonwealth, recognised that they did not have to support a radically stupid proposal merely because the chattering classes told them it was the right thing to do. Challenged to use their innate common sense and wisdom, Australian voters made the only sensible decision, and they did so despite being told by the wokest of the woke that opposition to the Voice was explicable only by ‘racism’ or ‘sheer stupidity’.

For the UK, the pivotal moment came in January 2023, when Isla Bryson (originally Adam Bryson), a 31-year-old Scot from Clydebank who had been convicted of raping two women, was incarcerated in a women’s prison, having ‘transitioned’ to identify as female following the rapes but before conviction. Blown out of all proportion, the resulting furore focused on the Scottish Parliament’s (yet to take effect) Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, and was a factor in the downfall of long-serving Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

If there was an equivalent turning-point in the United States, it was surely the resignation of Harvard President Claudine Gay. A person more profoundly unqualified to lead one of the world’s premier academic institutions would be hard to imagine. Within days after her Congressional appearance concerning Harvard’s response to antisemitism on campus – a performance which even the in-house Harvard Crimson labelled as ‘disastrous testimony’ – she found herself compelled to issue an apology. Even then, all she found to apologise for was not having ‘the presence of mind to … return to my guiding truth’ (whatever that means), and combined this feigned mea culpa with the demonstrable falsehood that ‘calls for violence against our Jewish community … at Harvard … will never go unchallenged’.

It later came as little surprise when it emerged that Gay’s pitiful academic credentials appeared to be based largely on plagiarism. What stuck in the craw was not merely that Gay may well be an academic cheat, but that the issue of her alleged cheating was handled with a level of indulgence that no undergraduate could hope for or expect. To this end, the Harvard Corporation even invented a new euphemism – ‘inadequate citation’ – to downplay the extent and seriousness of Gay’s plagiarism.

Gay was the archetypal product of the ‘DEI’ (diversity, equity, and inclusion) agenda: not only was she a clear and supremely undeserving beneficiary of DEI; she was also a staunch proselytiser, notably using her tenure as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to secure increased racial diversity among both students and teachers, regardless of merit. Her ignominious fall from grace was a timely reminder why appointments based on merit are more reliable.

Yet it would be unfair to give Claudine Gay sole credit for the demolition of the DEI agenda, let alone the woke movement generally. The backlash had been festering for some time, in a variety of different fields of activity, unrelated except through a growing consciousness that ‘reverse discrimination’ – that is, discrimination against the best qualified, brightest, most skilful, most competent and most successful – is unsustainable. In the academic world, reverse discrimination has traditionally been practised for the benefit of minority black students, but became increasingly controversial as it emerged that the real victims of this discrimination were not the white hegemon, but another ethnic minority, Asian Americans. That was until the landmark 2023 case of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, in which the US Supreme Court held that race-based affirmative action in college admissions violated the ‘equal protection’ clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The participation of transgender people in competitive sports had, meanwhile, become a lightning-rod for anti-LGBT activists in the United States. It was a well-chosen battleground, as there is a strong case that, due to differences in human physiology that are not fully reversed by transgender hormone therapies, transgender women who have experienced male puberty have an unfair advantage over biological women, and may present a physical danger to them. Wokeists derided this debate as a ‘stalking horse’ to conceal the real agenda of activists motivated by personal, moral or religious philosophies or by base transphobia. Even so, the argument achieved significant traction, including among a wide range of biologically female athletes, and led to partial or complete bans on the participation of transgender women in international female swimming, track and field, boxing, and Rugby events, as well as local competitions in countless sports.

But perhaps the biggest threat to wokeism in the US has been economic: specifically, the discovery that a consumer boycott – whether spontaneous or organised – can be enough to prevent big business from pursuing woke corporate ideologies that have not (yet) been accepted by their customer base. This is an interesting variation on a well-known theme.

Consumer boycotts, sometimes masquerading as ‘ethical consumerism’ – along with the ‘de-platforming’ of speakers and performers on ideological grounds – has long been the Left’s weapon of choice, especially for the promotion of woke mantras. Businesses have repeatedly been the targets of such campaigns against (alleged) discrimination on the grounds of race, sex or LGBT orientation; for participation in the defence (particularly nuclear), tobacco and alcohol industries; for (alleged) involvement in environmentally harmful activities, the production of fossil fuels, or the use of merchandise produced by child, forced or underpaid labour; and for doing business in countries of which the boycott organisers disapprove, such as Apartheid South Africa, and more recently Israel.

In 2022, Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature enacted the Parental Rights in Education Act, which actually did no more than outlaw discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity within public schools ‘in kindergarten through grade 3’, or otherwise ‘in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards’. The Walt Disney Company initially refrained from making public comment, but the release of a statement attributed to ‘the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar, and their allies’, and a further statement from Marvel Studios which ‘denounce[d] any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community’, compelled Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, to state the company’s official position (Pixar and Marvel are both Disney subsidiaries). He condemned the legislation, and hoped the legislation would be repealed or struck down. The reported cost to Disney was the loss of over two million subscribers to the streaming service Disney+, as well as special concessions and privileges that the State of Florida had previously granted to the Orlando-based theme park, Walt Disney World.

Since then, things have gone from bad to worse for Disney. In 2023, Disney’s box-office flops included the movies The Little Mermaid, Strange World, Lightyear, and Elemental: four movies with one thing in common, the blatant promotion of woke ideologies. In its annual report, Disney candidly admitted that the loss of over $1 billion reflected a ‘misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences’. But Disney’s biggest woke disaster is yet to come, in the form of a live-action remake of the 1937 animated classic, Snow White, which is reported to include an actress with Latin heritage in the title role of a German princess with ‘skin as white as snow’, and seven ‘magical creatures’ standing in for the original seven dwarves. Latest reports have the release date deferred by 12 months, as Disney attempts to reintroduce some of the politically incorrect features of the much-loved original.

Le dernier cri of anti-woke boycotts was the Bud Light fiasco, triggered by the engagement of transgender actor and TikTok ‘influencer’ Dylan Mulvaney to promote what had for over two decades been America’s most popular beer. The result was a slump in sales estimated to be as high as 26 per cent, loss of Bud Light’s premier position in the US beverage market, and a drop of 20 per cent in the stock price for Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (ultimate holding company of the Budweiser brand) representing a $27 billion loss of market capitalisation.

After the Disney and Bud Light debacles, the retail market became ‘spooked’. Target US decided to downplay its line of Pride Month merchandise, withdrawing some items from stores in southern US states and from their website, and relocating their ‘Pride displays’ from entrance areas to the backs of other stores. Victoria’s Secret – which underwent a significant rebranding in 2021, engaging a more diverse range of models, and featuring plus-size and transgender models in advertisements – back-pedalled on these initiatives which reportedly cost the business a multi-billion dollar decline in revenue; the company then announced that it will return to a focus on ‘sexiness’, stating that ‘sexiness can celebrate the diverse experiences of our customers and that’s what we’re focused on’.

To quote US-based author and political researcher, Steve Soukup:

‘It’s not that Target is left wing. It’s not that Bud Light embraced left-wing values. It’s not that Disney is liberal. They are, in fact, but that’s not the point. The point is that people are tired of having politics shoved down their throat at every possible occasion.’

The smart money in America has learnt this lesson. Australian businesses are not so quick on the uptake. But it may be anticipated that our most woke corporations – such as Woolworths, with its in-store public announcements backing the Voice and its ban on Australia Day merchandise, and Qantas, with its ‘out and proud’ support for gay marriage and the Voice – have little commercial alternative.

Nor is anti-woke economic pressure always a bottom-up phenomenon, starting with the customers. The most recent examples show how it can operate top-down, with employers declining to hire staff whose woke bias is detrimental to the firm’s policies or market objectives. In October 2023, two of the world’s largest international law firms – Davis Polk of New York and Winston & Strawn of Chicago – withdrew offers of employment to students from Harvard, New York, and Columbia Universities who had signed or approved anti-Israeli public statements asserting that ‘Israel bears full responsibility’ for the Hamas attacks of 7 October. A similar stance has been foreshadowed by other employers, including restaurant chain Sweetgreen and lifestyle company FabFitFun.

In this context, as in many others, the Achilles heel of woke activism is its stark hypocrisy. There is nothing uniquely woke about criticising the overwhelming ferocity of Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks: many people of conscience, who hold no truck with other aspects of woke ideology, have found good cause to argue that Israel’s response is excessive. But they do so without excusing Hamas terrorism for initiating the current conflict, and they do so without chanting for the freedom of Gaza ‘from the River to the Sea’ (ie., the complete annihilation of the State of Israel). Moreover, people of goodwill will be among the first to acknowledge Arabic and Muslim bloodshed in the Gaza Strip in the context of other anti-Arabic or anti-Muslim atrocities, whether it be the Turkish genocide of the Kurds, the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China, or the slaughter of Muslims by their co-religionists in Syria, Yemen, Iran, and elsewhere.

For woke activists, however, it is not enough to acknowledge one wrong among many. Not a single woke voice will be heard against China’s reintroduction of ethnoreligious concentration camps for the first time since the fall of Nazi Germany; nor against a butcher’s bill of Muslim-upon-Muslim atrocities in the Middle East which well overtops the entire population of the Gaza Strip; nor (of course) against Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, the PLFP, or any other terrorist organisation which targets Israelis. Israel is roundly criticised for closing its borders to Gaza, but the wokeists have nothing to say against Egypt steadfastly maintaining the closure of its own border with Gaza. According to the hypocritical woke worldview, there is room to denounce only one threat against people of the Islamic faith, and that threat needs must take its inspiration from the apocryphal Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

At a global level, arguably the Russo-Ukrainian War finally turned the tables on wokeness, challenging many of the Global Left’s most cherished shibboleths. The collapse began with a defenestration of the Left’s conviction that Russia and its fellow dictatorships are morally sound, while the liberal-democratic West is the source of all evil. This conviction became difficult to maintain when daily footage showed Russia as clearly the aggressor; Putin, Lavrov, and their flunkies advancing palpably nonsensical excuses – as well as outright falsehoods – to justify this aggression; and the carnage and wanton destruction being inflicted on Ukrainian civilians by the Russian military, supported with weapons from other totalitarian states like Belarus, Iran, North Korea, and (most probably) China.

This war has confronted some of the basic tenets of woke ideology. From the beginning, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took the archaic attitude that, although women, children, and the elderly were free to take refuge in other countries, men of military age must remain to defend their homeland; astonishingly, nary a single feminist has protested. The fact that Russia’s covert military conscription fell most heavily on ethnic minorities – combined with the panicked exodus of the more well-heeled young Muscovites and St Petersburgers – only served as a reminder that the post-Communist Russian Federation is (like the Soviet Union that preceded it) not quite the model of an egalitarian paradise which its Western apologists claim.

On the first day of hostilities, the troops defending Snake Island responded to surrender demands from two Russian warships with the memorable riposte, ‘Russian warship, go fuck yourself’. As the war continued, the brawny machismo of the Ukrainian Armed Forces came to represent the type of people whom WE would wish to have defending OUR country in similar circumstances; not the gaunt, hen-pecked, acne-pocked youths of the Russian army, whose open mouths silently betray a lack of familiarity with the most basic advances in dental hygiene, even as the same mouths vociferously display a complete dearth of learning, knowledge, or even intellectual curiosity.

The unyielding morale and extraordinary resourcefulness of Ukraine’s defenders is a reminder of two incontrovertible truths that wokeists would prefer that we forget. The first is that the free-thinking citizens of a liberal democracy will always overmatch the enslaved automatons of a dictatorship. And the second is that there remain some areas of human endeavour in which the best person for a job may sometimes, possibly, be a biological male. Once these truisms are acknowledged, the rest of the woke ideology crumbles away.

If there be any doubt that the end of wokeism is nigh, here are two items of proof positive.

First, check out the most percipient students of societal attitudes: not political scientists; certainly not commentators on the ABC’s endless panoply of ‘talking heads’ programs; but, rather, successful professional comedians. Of all social pundits, comedians have to be inherently attuned to what people in the street are thinking and saying; they depend on it for their daily bread. View any recent stand-up performance by the UK’s Ricky Gervais (winner of seven BAFTA Awards, five British Comedy Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards), or any recent broadcast by the USA’s Bill Maher (nominated for 41 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and various Producers Guild of America and Writers Guild of America Awards). And what you will see is the same message, albeit projected humorously in two very different styles: woke is revoked.

Finally – if you remain unconvinced – take a look at the sanctum sanctorum of woke virtue signalling: the annual round of Hollywood awards. In recent years, people whose sole talent is the (alleged) capacity to entertain paying audiences have chosen to use the ‘acceptance speech’ – is there such a thing as a ‘refusal speech’? – to do the diametric opposite. Rather than providing a masterclass in divertissement, the world’s most amusing celebrities preferred to berate audience for failing to embrace whichever trendy cause the mindless luvvie has most recently read about in one of the educational magazines intended to provide intellectual stimulation in the waiting rooms of the local salons de beaut√©.

Then … all of a sudden … nothing! Come the 2024 round of awards, there is no virtue remaining to signal: not the terror of climate change; not the horrors of #MeToo; not the heinous treatment of so-called ‘first nations’ peoples; not demands for reparations (payable, not by the worst culprits, but exclusively by prosperous countries) for the obscenity of slave trading. It seems that Hollywood opulence has even forgotten the ultimate fall-back conceit, a piteous entreaty on behalf of the world’s poor, underprivileged, diseased and starving populations. Unless the MAGA movement has recently enjoyed a hugely successful recruiting drive within the most expensive boutiques and Michelin-approved eateries of Beverly Hills, the only possible alternative conclusion is: woke is revoked.



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