This will be brief. Sometime around 2010 a term entered common usage—Woke—which basically meant be alert and aware of racial prejudice in all its manifestations. It took hold and came to stand for general awareness of discriminatory conditions and practices across a wide range of social interactions. Being alert and aware and, a step further, choosing to speak out about a variety of all-too-commonly held beliefs that slowly, deeply poison our daily discourse, from anti-LGBTQ statements to all manner of anti-Progressive resistance from certain quarters. In the short decade since, it is being weaponized as a pejorative on behalf of the very attitudes and mouthpieces the term was intended to call out. The Right is very good at this sort of thing. Look what happened to the term Liberal. To some people it’s another word for devil-worship and pederasty.
And people who repeat the detractions and attack Wokeism (as they call it) seem blissfully unaware that what they are railing against is merely a call to vigilance. They throw the accusation of Woke as if they know what it means. Well, they know what it means to them, perhaps, but it always puzzled me that they themselves would have to be functionally Woke in order to even recognize the thing they’re opposing. I don’t believe they are. I don’t believe they understand what they’re denigrating at all.
I’m reminded of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis. Someone, somewhere, has gifted them with the intellectual equivalent of that delightful fungus and they go forth issuing challenges and putting up barriers and challenging anything that runs afoul of their pet aphorisms and they do so at the behest of the parent organism that has infected them. The basic scenario is this: Person A makes a blanket statement about Those People. The statement is worse than useless, it parrots something they may have heard growing up, but they’re comfortable with it because most of their life it has gone unchallenged. Person B says “That’s not true. In fact________” What follows is a string of actual data which shows the original statement to be a load of dingo berries. Person A responds “That’s a load of Woke B.S.” and triumphantly withdraws from any potential dialogue that might threaten the comfortable zone of thoughtless categorization they use in lieu of actual intellection.
I have witnessed this. Almost never is any substantive rebuttal offered and direct engagement is refused.
Someone like Ron DeSantis told them Woke is evil and, unquestioningly—because the hapless ant walks around with a host of substanceless heuristics that allows them to walk through life without doubting their own intelligence—they go forth and refuse to learn. Instead they have a new heuristic in their arsenal of defenses that prevents any possibility that they might reconsider a longheld prejudice and rethink their attitudes,
Zombies in service to ignorance. And rather than take any steps to find out if that is the case, they will simply turn it around and accuse those questioning them of being exactly what they are—zombies in service to ignorance.
Look: even if you end up reaffirming that thing you believe, doing a little work to find out if it’s true never hurt anyone. But refusing even to look in the evil telescope or open the forbidden book is the kind of behavior that leads to the collapse of civilization.
But it may not be your fault. Poor little ant, you’ve got a parasite.