This article originally appeared in the Financial PostBelow is an excerpt from the article.

By Philip Cross, February 22, 2024

Conservatives have always ridiculed the rise of the woke movement and identity politics. Traditional liberals have recently joined in, most notably the philosopher Susan Neiman in her 2023 book Left is Not Woke. In part, these liberals are attempting to reverse declining public support for left-wing political parties, which the public now associates with woke’s inherent extremism. But more traditional left-liberals fail to acknowledge their role in encouraging woke ideology, which conservatives warned for decades was the inevitable outcome of modern liberal thought.

What is the woke movement? According to Andrew Doyle in his 2022 book, The New Puritans, its first use was in the mid-20th century, referring to people who were “alert to injustice, especially racism.” This evolved into identity politics, which asserts both that particular groups have been denied justice and that identity determines political views. Group identity supplants the individual and replaces money at the heart of power. Woke ideology replaces the left’s traditional emphasis on redressing economic inequalities with “obsessive focus on race, gender and sexuality” as the source of all disparities in power, according to Doyle. Being woke means believing language reflects the reality of power; hence the proliferation of trigger warnings and cancel culture, which are de facto censorship. For the woke, individual “lived experience” based on group identity trumps data as evidentiary proof. (Is there any other kind of experience?)

The result, argues Neiman, is that woke folk abandoned the traditional liberal values of “universalism over tribalism, a firm distinction between justice and power, and a belief in the possibility of progress.” By emulating the left’s traditional appeal to emotions of empathy and indignation, highly visible woke movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo became what the public perceives to be the dominant force in today’s left-wing politics.



Source link