The World Spurns America’s Woke Cultural Exports
America has many popular exports, such as the iPhone, and blue jeans, but there’s 0ne export the world can do without: American woke culture.
America has been aflame (literally, in Minneapolis) as business, media, and political elites impress on their lessers (a.k.a. the American people) that they are the most “woke.”
Activists are finding “systemic racism” (the kind you talk about when there’s none of the real thing available) in places high and low and declaiming the odiousness of every American institution.
For example, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, sounding like someone handed her the Chinese ambassador’s speech, described the U.S. as a country that has “weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles.” President Joe Biden says he will “lead with diplomacy,” but America won’t win friends or intimidate enemies with diplomacy grounded in abasement. (The Chinese have a term for it, Linda.) With Thomas-Greenfield on duty, the envoys from Russia, China, Syria, Iran, and North Korea can call in sick.
Lionel Shriver asked, “Who fears a society that hates itself?” The Biden administration got its answer when America was mocked by China’s envoy at the meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. China’s chief diplomat, Yang Jiechi, accused the U.S. of hypocrisy and declared “[T]he challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated. They did not just emerge over the past four years, such as Black Lives Matter. It did not come up only recently.”
America’s friends are noticing. French President Emmanuel Macron sounded the alarm about American woke ideology and his education minister declared, “There is a fight to be waged against an intellectual matrix coming from American universities and intersectional theses…” and that woke ideology “[I]s the breeding ground for a fragmentation of our society.”
And no American institution is resisting: Recently, a U.S. Navy task force recommended all sailors pledge to “acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities.” And the CIA, which once hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden, is now showcasing a cringe inducing recruitment video that features an employee who identifies as an “intersectional cisgender millennial” with “generalized anxiety disorder,” though I thought anxiety was something the CIA caused the opposition to suffer?
Last year, Russia opened the Cathedral of the Armed Forces, with steps made from melted-down Nazi tanks. Only one side looks like it’s serious about fighting and defeating a real enemy, not just some shipmates who agree with #StoptheSteal.
Consider the original anti-racist, the abolitionist John Brown who led the raid on Harpers Ferry. Brown, who described himself as “an instrument of God,” and said, “I acknowledge no master in human form” was a militant Christian and a “patriotic fundamentalist” and embodied the two things woke society abhors: patriotism and religious fervor (by white Christians, anyway).
President Macron recently declared NATO “brain dead” but he may also have been referring to American institutions, which should be upholding and defending the country’s culture. Instead, Americans’ confidence in their country’s institutions is collapsing. One reason may be that American elites lack respect and empathy for their fellow Americans – and the people in flyover country know that.
Thomas-Greenfield may be embarrassed to represent her country and I’m embarrassed, too – that I’m paying retail for subpar representation. Contrast Thomas-Greenfield with Rachida Dati, Mayor of the 7th arrondissement of Paris, former French Minister of Justice, and the child of poor North African immigrants. Dati has referred to herself as a “daughter of France,” a patriotic sentiment no American administration official or celebrity would dare express.
Modern anti-racism is like the 17th-century witchcraft mania in Massachusetts Bay Colony. Then, it was “trial by water;” today’s trials are conducted by social media. They found no witches then, and they’ll find no racists now, though anti-racism is an opportunity to eliminate political opposition under the color of “equity.” And the collateral damage to peoples’ lives and reputations isn’t a consideration. Not when you’re saving the world.
BLM’s socialist extremism is as bad as white supremacy but more pernicious because it is promoted or condoned by the media, big business, and government officials like Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin who, sounding like a Soviet komissar, pledged to eliminate “ideological enemies…within our own ranks.” He won’t have to look far: the troops consider the BLM-led riots in 2020 and the violent demonstration at the Capital on 6 January equally, which presents a dilemma for Pentagon leaders such as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramón Colón-López, who mournfully notes, “This is coming from every echelon that we’re talking to.”
Wokeness isn’t working diplomatically. A recent worldwide survey found the U.S. is seen as a bigger threat to democracy than Russia or China. U.S. export of divisive woke culture will energize elements that appeal to a nation’s culture to resist U.S. policies. This should give America pause as it doesn’t do well against ideologically motivated opponents: it defeated ISIS (for now) but lost resoundingly to the Taliban and the Viet Cong.
America has no preordained place in the firmament. It should heed the warning from France, its oldest ally, and not blithely assume a fragmentation of society won’t happen here.