False Prophets Are Challenged by a Skeptic – John McWhorter has produced an important book—a controversial book, in fact, since in contemporary America, black men who think or write as he does are anathema. McWhorter is aware of the boundaries within which he is required to live, but he refuses to accept the pseudo-righteousness propagated by the Elect of the Establishment Church of Wokeness. Regarding this new religion’s perspective of race in America, we could be inclined to quote Romans 1:22: “Professing themselves to be smart, they became fools.” We shall discuss this church’s possible connection with Christian churches momentarily. Woke Racism is McWhorter’s assessment of the absurdity of racism.
Why can’t guys like John McWhorter have a place in the ghastly world that The Elect has created, a world in which the crucial division between politics and religion has crumbled, and in which a self-assured and detached elite does great damage to black America while claiming to heal it? Consider the phrase variety, which is one of the tenets of this new religion. In a nation with a longstanding commitment to pluralism that has never been completely fulfilled, diversity seems like a wonderful concept. It’s not so. Diversity presumes that individuals must be treated according to their ostensibly fundamental group identities. These group attributes are univalent. To be a woman, one must be a feminist; to be black, one must vote Democrat and reject conservative ideals, etc.
Diversity claims to make visible individuals who were previously invisible. It does so at the expense of rendering invisible those individuals who cannot exist in principle within the groupings it seeks to reveal: traditional women, black conservatives, etc. Pluralism necessitates that all voices be heard due to their humanity, but diversity necessitates that ostensibly innocent victim groups be acknowledged and rated based on their victimisation. Those who are not victims must remain mute; only victims may talk and only victims matter. The Elect of the Establishment Church of Wokeness play with a spiritual eugenics programme that grades identity groups based on their suffering in the early twenty-first century. The higher the social class, the less responsibility its members have for their own care, and the greater their need for a state-funded army of “helpers” to make them feel secure, supported, and admired.
It should come as no surprise that transgenderism is at the forefront of the outreach missionary work undertaken by the Establishment Church of Wokeness; it represents the most extreme case to date of a purportedly monovalent innocent-victim identity group requiring a state-funded army of helpers — medical, psychological, and legal. The AMA, APA, and ABA have been in the forefront of this cause’s missionary enthusiasm. Our once-lauded autonomous guilds are no more.
Members of so-called victim groups who refuse to be patronised or regarded as innocent victims must be silenced for this pathological moral accounting system to operate without hindrance. Who are the women who ridicule the claim that conventional parenting is a product of patriarchal oppression? Silenced. Black males with realistic optimism who believe in America despite its centuries-long history of slavery? Silenced. John McWhorter has such realistic optimism. Not a victim, he. As so, he contradicts the category he is meant to belong to. John McWhorter must be silenced for this reason.
According to McWhorter, conscious racism is a new religion. Similar to other religions, awakened racism is characterised by superstitions, a clergy, original sin, evangelical outreach, an apocalyptic vision, heretics, and a desire to supersede prior faiths.
The psychological sensitivity of McWhorter’s work is one of its greatest strengths. Aware racism is a sickness, yet the disease’s symptoms are occasionally manifest. Your friend, neighbour, or family member may look completely rational one minute, and then lose himself in a fit of cathartic fury directed at a convenient scapegoat, or even prostrate themselves before an innocent victim. If the adherents of this new religion were always outraged or grovelling, the contrast with healthy, sensible neutrality would be evident. This condition is difficult to diagnose due to the fact that its practitioners are often sensible. The advantage and disadvantage that you, the outside spectator, possess is that you see the episodic outbursts from an amused distance, whilst the parishioners are unaware of the gulf between their logic and their occasional awake state. They believe that their entire lives are rational, yet you observe that in the morning they buy groceries at the local market like any other neighbour, in the early afternoon they watch CNN or MSNBC and participate in collective rage against President Trump, and in the early evening they engage in white self-humiliation sessions overseen by white or black high priestesses who promise to exorcise the racist demons they harbour. This is peculiar. You can perceive it, but they cannot.
In a nutshell, awake racism is an eruption that occurs inside an otherwise sensible context and should not be mistaken with the total breakdown of such a system. The two-minute hatred depicted by George Orwell in 1984 exemplifies this intermittency in literature. Oceania’s residents experience two minutes of cathartic wrath every day, punctuating their otherwise flawlessly reasonable civilization. Its residents, like so many Americans today, are unconcerned by the distance between their daily logic and their occasional cathartic wrath or grovelling. It is unknown how this mental disorder may be treated.
Is awakened racism a new faith? How we respond to this question provides some insight into the necessary treatment. According to McWhorter, conscious racism is a new religion. Similar to other religions, awakened racism is characterised by superstitions, a clergy, original sin, evangelical outreach, an apocalyptic vision, heretics, and a desire to supersede prior faiths. If it is a new religion, then there may be several reactions. We may claim that, like other faiths, it fulfils an unquenchable need in the human heart, and therefore, in light of Christianity’s fall, it will continue to rule for decades, if not centuries. Alternately, we could say that in the twentieth century, humanity nearly emancipated itself from the religious superstition of Christianity, that a new religion, no less irrational than Christianity, has arisen to replace it, and that we must resist its irrationality just as we were obligated to resist Christianity. On this basis, enlightenment is the remedy to awakened racism. Here is McWhorter’s stance:
A new religion masquerading as global development is not progress; it is a diversion. This is self-help, not philanthropy. It is a fungus, not sunshine. It is time for racism to be recognised for what it is and for people to cease cowering before it and allowing it to diminish the potential of everyone, black and otherwise.
I am not convinced that enlightenment in its commonly accepted definition may serve as a remedy. In the Establishment Church of Wokeness, enlightenment is seen as one of the fruits of “Whiteness,” and as such, it is viewed as the very poison that must be eliminated. This is a serious difficulty that Plato originally described in the Republic: when a soul or a city is unwell, the necessary medication to heal it is misunderstood as a poison. An alternative explanation, which McWhorter does not consider, is that woke racism is actually a deformation of Christianity, whose cure cannot be enlightenment in the commonly understood sense, but rather a recovery of an undeformed Christianity, whose understanding of enlightenment predates the period of the Enlightenment in western history by approximately 1,700 years. If this is the true remedy, then we will find it in the churches. Christianity can regain a more accurate narrative of original sin than can awakened racism. Regardless of our perspective, it should be evident that we take one of two potential stances: either a darkened religion is healed by enlightenment in the commonly accepted sense, or it is cured by a return to the enlightened version of the religion whose darkened version is a distortion.
What are the benefits of white and black Americans partaking in woke racism? Whites, according to McWhorter, are entitled to membership in The Elect, a privileged status in America going back to the Puritans that protects them from the isolation of democratic anonymity and differentiates their purity from the taint of the irretrievably damned. They recognise that racism is widespread in America; only irredeemables would disagree. The Elect may thus confidently assert that the police are agents of white institutional racism and therefore be defunded. They have the finest understanding of what is best for the nation as a whole and for African-Americans in particular. They are aware that they are the only ones who can help black Americans by eliminating or lowering the bar on standardised exams and disregarding grades, all of which are pernicious restraints put in place to preserve and strengthen Whiteness.
Before the racial grievance business took out in full force, black political thinking in the Linked States was defined by a vast array of beliefs united by the belief that human action mattered.
What benefits do African-Americans get from the Establishment Church of Wokeness? The black Elect also take satisfaction in knowing with certainty something that others, particularly whites, are too entrenched in ignorance and sin to acknowledge: namely, that racism is systematic in the United States. The Puritan Elect had unique knowledge that “the world” did not and could not grasp, while the black Elect have special awareness that the world is racist regardless of what worldly evidence says. To dispute this demonstrates a lack of such specialised understanding. Black America as a whole gets something as poisonous, namely the peculiar comfort, common throughout the era of American slavery, that they cannot grow and prosper until the Elect does it for them.
Therefore, it is meaningless to discuss personal responsibility. Nothing that black Americans can accomplish on their own, with their friends, families, or in their communities can change their destinies. Confirming this claim required nothing less than erasing the history of black prosperity in the United States. As a lofty aspiration was changed into the racial grievance racket in the aftermath of the Great Society Program, this same action was taken. Now, many decades later, with the history of black accomplishment obliterated, young blacks and whites in the United States are taught that slavery was followed by Jim Crow, which was followed by an even more pernicious type of institutionalised racism. Individual agency, mediating institutions of the kind Tocqueville envisioned for all of us, the rule of law, and the U.S. Constitutional structure are of little use to black America.
McWhorter does not make this point, but it is worth noting that before the racial grievance industry took off in full force, black political thinking in America was characterised by a vast array of beliefs linked by the belief that individual agency mattered. What has been discouraging and even worrisome is the degree to which this perspective has almost vanished in the hands of The Elect. Despair and resignation have substituted the desire for liberty. Here, The Chosen stand out because they can perceive what the irredeemably tainted cannot, namely that all of humanity is insignificant.
McWhorter’s proposal for dealing with the Elect on the ground is consistent with a rising chorus of conservative and even center-left intellectuals. Citizens can only listen to and bear zealotry for so long before closing their doors and telling proselytisers to go. McWhorter considers it a disgrace that, at its best, the political left generates new concepts about justice, which are periodically required for the renewal of all communities. The Elect parishioners of the Established Church of Wokeness, who believe they have discovered the solution to the puzzle of history, are in actuality impediments to the provisional attainment of justice that it is the obligation of each generation to create.
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