“Woke” as a term originated in the 1940s. Oxford Dictionaries recorded its early politically conscious usage in a 1962 article, “If You’re Woke You Dig It” by William Melvin Kelley in The New York Times. The term has reared its ugly head again recently as a concept symbolizing perceived awareness of social issues and enlightened social movement. By the late 2010s, woke had been adopted as a generic slang term broadly associated with left-wing politics, social justice activism and progressive or socially liberal causes such as anti-racism.
Many believe woke is simply a manifestation of adolescent consciousness and wannabe activism. Besides the social idiocy with which woke is aligned, the term’s problem stems linguistically from the fact that it can be used as an article (woke actor), a noun (AOC is woke), an adjective (Chuck Schumer is a woke senator), a verb (the radical feminist really woked her accounting class), an adverb (Kamala Harris governs woke), a conjunction (progressive and woke), preposition (Biden’s stealing the 2020 election from Trump was a woke election) and last but not least, an interjection (woke, how socially responsible of her).
Perhaps woke isn’t a word form at all, but simply a leading indicator of abject stupidity. It would seem that if you are a progressive, woke has become both your being and your nothingness (with half-hearted apologies to Phenomenological Ontologist Jean-Paul Sartre). Jorge González-Gallarza argues convincingly what woke is a cannon of identity politics, “a toxic outgrowth of Protestant Christianity that threatens the American regime of liberty and self-government…both Christian and woke worldviews build moral orders around the categories of innocence and transgression—but with vastly different effects.”
González-Gallarza continues, “By placing atonement for past transgressions at the center of politics, wokeness seeks to apportion power in proportion to innocence. Note that how in woke terminology ‘speaking as’ a member of an innocent group instantly confers a legitimacy akin to what Coleman Hughes calls ‘heightened moral knowledge.’” Ah ha! All those George Floyd rioters last summer had to be given a hall pass from prosecution and lionization from Democrats because of their moral courage! So that’s how it goes!
Those who aspire to live the woke life are electrified at being able to thrust their cravenly nonsensical views in our face. All of us, if truth be told, believe in justice but only if it is applied blindly to every morsel of our Constitutional Republic. When the woke are blinded by the fires of their social justice insurrection, they are unable to see the injustice of their destruction of businesses and the myriad lives who overcame real injustices to create their own American Dream. When woke suppresses other’s rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, it becomes a vacuous four-letter word. You may be innocent of the soup du jour social injustices but if you dare to question methods and results, you likely will be shouted down, knocked down and put down with a loud WOKE YOU! Here are the seven deadly sins of woke.
Deadly Sin One: Opposition to a woke cause is by definition fascist and probably racist. The woke like to justify their agenda by using sticks and stones to break the bones of those who question their ideas and methods.
Deadly Sin Two: Create a ‘Sucker Class’. Use a cause to suck in those who want their social justice in the form of reparations, free college, and debt forgiveness. The fact that the media, academic and political classes propagate such nonsense is living proof positive of Tom Waits’ version of P.T. Barnum’s alleged quote, “There is a sucker born every minute, and you just happened to be coming along at the right time.”
Deadly Sin Three: Defunding the police is social justice for a just cause. They wish to deny our safety, and sadly that of the people who need protection most (think Chicago, Portland, Baltimore, New York). Those who fall for this stupidity makes them dumber than a box of rocks as they have earned the increased violence and shame their wokeness has created.
Deadly Sin Four: It’s ok to destroy personal property*. The asterisk means–*”We don’t live here so it’s your problem sucker!”
Deadly Sin Five: Woke is symbolized by meaningless slogans. Being woke is venerated and celebrated by organizations and their vapid ideological symbols like BLM, LGBTQXYZ, ProChoice, Antifa and Climate Change while denying others their right to a voice, especially those of unborn children.
Deadly Sin Six: We are a non-violent loosely organized movement. Hundreds of millions of dollars are funneled in the name of social justice, supporting months-long rioting, assaults on peaceful counter protesters and threats to law enforcement. George Soros and the Big Tech trillionaires support the theme, “You can’t be woke if you are broke….and we’re here to fund you!”
Deadly Sin Seven: We are angry about———. Fill in the blank. Woke means always having to be angry and never having to say you’re sorry or wrong. Stomping on heads, burning down neighborhoods and denying others their rights is legitimized because they allegedly hate oppression of their pet causes but not of other people’s. To the Woksters, any and all illegal and immoral means justify getting their way; is probably the deadliest sin of all!
Unless our Republican political class unites and grows some cojones, America will be living with these seven deadly sins for the next four years, if not longer.
This column originally appeared at townhall.com and was co-authored with Pierce Roberts.