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Wokeness, in my view, is a good thing… Awareness of unfairness in the treatment of others not only makes the world a better place and us better people, it creates a culture in which the marginalized receive empathy instead of blame. Everyone has marginalized thoughts, feelings, and desires. Everyone has a history of managing unfair expectations and humiliations. A woke culture would be a pleasure to live in for everyone.

Michael Karson, PhD. in “The Psychology of “Wokeism

Sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?

But – and you know a “but” was coming – Karson says:

“Every movement is susceptible to becoming the thing it despises. Nietzsche said it best, perhaps: “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” Power theory teaches us that every system develops a subsystem that initially makes rules that are good for the system, but, eventually, that governing subsystem makes rules that are good for itself.

On the political left, wokeness sometimes drifts into wokeism—a system of thought and behavior characterized by intolerance, policing the speech of others, and proving one’s own superiority by denouncing others. It’s not hard to see how wokeism benefits the intolerant.”

The Drift from Wokeness to Wokeism

If, as Karson says, wokeness as the “awareness of unfairness in the treatment of others [that would] not only makes the world a better place and us better people” – then how does it drift into intolerance and into an increasingly complicating labyrinth of unattainable expectations?

Even Kelly Bertrand, Founder & Editor of Capsule and self proclaimed woke individual, lamented not being able to keep up with being woke enough:

“It’s exhausting being a good consumer, and like you, I try my best.

Is your coffee fair trade? Are your eggs free range? Have you supported local enough this month? Can you afford to spend double on essential items from a small, family-owned shop, or do you have to go to the big chain store down the road?

And are you sure that the T-Shirt you’re wearing was from a traceable supplier? I don’t get it right all the time, but I don’t understand how anyone can.”

Even Lifestyle & Arts writer for Women’s Republic Vaani Sai expressed similar misgivings in her article posted almost two years ago as the woke movement was gathering velocity and running over dedicated feminists like herself (in her article titled, When You’re “Not Woke Enough).

Indeed, who can understand how anyone can be woke enough in the playing field where the goal posts are continually being moved? The problem is with the paradigm: wokeness itself – aside from the desire for awareness and fairness – is unfortunately an unrelenting and unforgiving philosophy of self-righteousness. It is, as Karson put it, “susceptible to becoming the thing it despises.”

Awake Not Woke

In comes Noelle Mering, Fellow at Washington DC based think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and author of “Awake Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology” speaking to woke idols and pathologies (see YouTube clip above). She argues:

“The long-simmering crisis that grips our culture has exploded in recent years, leaving us divided and intransigent. Discourse seems futile when we are no longer a people with shared principles or even a shared understanding of reality. What seems obvious to one person is patently absurd to the next.

This collapse of meaning is not accidental. It has been plotted and documented for decades, and now presents in its current form as Woke ideology, which is, at its core, an ideology of rupture with fundamentalist and cult-like characteristics. Mering provides answers to such questions as:

      • Why does tolerance seem to only go in one direction?
      • How does the ideology create enemies, eroding friendship across the sexes and races?
      • Why is violence the natural end of Woke ideology?
      • Why are the Woke considered blameless?
      • Why have politics become all-absorbing?
      • Why is the corruption of children a logical outgrowth of Woke principles?
      • How is the movement fundamentally a rejection of the Logos?

Noelle Mering is a Fellow at Washington DC based think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center where she co-directs the Theology of Home Project. She is an editor for Theology of Home

You can never be Woke Enough

There is much to awaken our desire to be aware and fair, but this paradigm of wokeness doesn’t do it. This is just more dogma than enigma; the dirty little secret is: you can never be woke enough.

For more of More Enigma than Dogma, see “In the Absence of Enigma: Dogma.”