grarpamp at gmail.com
Sun Nov 14 21:14:35 PST 2021
Mass Social Control "Certainly On My Mind" - NY Gov.
Jokes About Banning Zoom To Get Workers Back In Offices
New York Governor Kathy Hochul joked with ABC7 New York that she
wouldn't sanction Zoom to get people back to work in Manhattan as the
latest employment survey found less than a third of workers are back
in the office.
"...short of banning Zoom, which I'm not going to do - but it's
certainly something on my mind as we want people back downtown,"
Hochul joked with reporters.
The scary part of which is that, as many have become increasingly
aware of in the last two years, when a Democratic leader says they
won't do something... it usually means, at some point, they will
(remember "two weeks to flatten the curve", vaccine passports are a
conspiracy theory, etc...).
Why Wokeism Is A Religion
Introducing the Taxonomy of Woke Religion
Over the last year, a growing number of progressives and liberals have
pointed to police killings of unarmed black men, rising carbon
emissions and extreme weather events, and the killing of trans people
as proof that the United States has failed to take action on racism,
climate change, and transphobia. Others have pointed to the war on
drugs, the criminalization of homelessness, and mass incarceration as
evidence that little has changed in the U.S. over the last 30 years.
And yet, on each of those issues, the U.S. has made significant progress.
Police killings of African Americans in our 58 largest cities declined
from 217 per year in the 1970s to 157 per year in the 2010s. Between
2011 and 2020, carbon emissions declined 14 percent in the U.S., more
than in any other nation, while just 300 people died from natural
disasters, a more than 90 percent decline over the past century.
Public acceptance of trans people is higher than ever. The total US
prison and jail population peaked in 2008 and has declined
significantly ever since. Just 4 percent of state prisoners, who are
87 percent of the total prison population, are in for nonviolent drug
possession; just 14 percent are in for any nonviolent drug offense.
And many large cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and
Seattle have effectively decriminalized public camping by homeless
Progressives respond that these gains obscure broad inequalities, and
are under threat. Black Americans are killed at between two to three
times the rate of white Americans, according to a Washington Post
analysis of police killings between 2015 and 2020. Carbon emissions
are once again rising as the U.S. emerges from the covid pandemic, and
scientists believe global warming is contributing to extreme weather
events. In 2020, Human Rights Campaign found that at least 44
transgender and non-gender conforming people were killed, which is the
most since it started tracking fatalities in 2013, and already that
number has reached 45 this year. Drug prohibition remains in effect,
homeless people are still being arrested, and the U.S. continues to
have one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world.
But those numbers, too, obscure important realities. There are no
racial differences in police killings when accounting for whether or
not the suspect was armed or a threat (“justified” vs “unjustified”
shooting). While carbon emissions will rise in 2021 there is every
reason to believe they will continue to decline in the future, so long
as natural gas continues to replace coal, and nuclear plants continue
operating. While climate change may be contributing to extreme weather
events, neither the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change nor
another other scientific body predicts it will outpace rising
resilience to cause an increase in deaths from natural disasters.
Researchers do not know if trans people are being killed
disproportionately in comparison to cis-gender people, if trans
homicides are rising, or if trans people are being killed for being
trans, rather than for some other reason. Twenty-six states have
decriminalized marijuana, and California and Oregon have
decriminalized and legalized, respectively, the possession of all
drugs. Progressive District Attorneys in San Francisco, Los Angeles
and other major cities have scaled back prosecutions against people
for breaking many laws related to homelessness including public
camping, public drug use, and theft.
And yet many Americans would be surprised to learn any of the above
information; some would reject it outright as false. Consider that,
despite the decline in police killings of African Americans, the share
of the public which said police violence is a serious or extremely
serious problem rose from 32 to 45 percent between 2015 and 2020.
Despite the decline in carbon emissions, 47 percent of the public
agreed with the statement, “Carbon emissions have risen in the United
States over the last 10 years,” and just 16 percent disagreed.
Meanwhile, 46 percent of Americans agree with the statement, “Deaths
from natural disasters will increase in the future due to climate
change” and just 16 percent disagreed, despite the absence of any
scientific scenario supporting such fears. And despite the lack of
good evidence, mainstream news media widely reported that the killing
of trans people is on the rise.
The gulf between reality and perception is alarming for reasons that
go beyond the importance of having an informed electorate for a
healthy liberal democracy. Distrust of the police appears to have
contributed to the nearly 30% rise in homicides after the 2020 Black
Lives Matter protests last year, both by embolding criminals and
causing a pull-back of police. A growing body of research finds that
news media coverage of climate change is contributing to rising levels
of anxiety and depression among children. And there is good reason to
fear that misinformation about the killing of trans and non-gender
conforming individuals contributes to anxiety and depression among
trans and gender dysphoric youth.
Social Media, NGOs, and the Death of God
Why is that? Why does there exist such a massive divide between
perception and reality on so many important issues?
Part of the reason appears to stem from the rise of social media and
corresponding changes to news media over the last decade. Social media
fuels rising and unwarranted certainty, dogmatism, and intolerance of
viewpoint diversity and disconfirmatory information. Social media
platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram reward users for
sharing information popular with peers, particularly extreme views,
and punish users for expressing unpopular, more moderate, and less
emotional opinions. This cycle is self-reinforcing. Audiences seek out
views that reinforce their own. Experts seek conclusions, and
journalists write stories, which affirm the predispositions of their
audiences. It may be for these reasons that much of the news media
have failed to inform their audiences that there are no racial
differences in police killings, that emissions are declining, and that
claims of rising trans killings are unscientific.
Another reason may be due to the influence of well-funded advocacy
organizations to shape public perceptions, particularly in combination
with social media. Organizations including the American Civil
Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, and Drug Policy Alliance have
misled journalists, policymakers, and the public, about police
killings, drug policy, and trans killings, often by simply leaving out
crucial contextual information. The same has been true for climate
activists, including those operating as experts and journalists, who
withhold information about declining deaths from natural disasters,
the cost of disasters relative to GDP growth, and declining U.S.
But neither of these explanations fully captures the religious quality
of so much of the progressive discourse on issues relating to race,
climate, trans, crime, drugs, homelessness, and the related issue of
mental illness. A growing number of liberal, heterodoxical, and
conservative thinkers alike use the word “woke” to describe the
religiosity of so many progressive causes today. In his new book, Woke
Racism, Columbia University linguist John McWhorter argues that
Wokeism should, literally, be considered a religion.
As evidence for his argument McWhorter points to commonly held myths,
like the debunked claim that the American War of Independence was
fought to maintain slavery, or that racial disparities in educational
performance are due to racist teachers. He points to Woke religious
fervor in seeking to censor, fire, and otherwise punish heretics for
holding taboo views. And McWhorter suggests that, because Wokeism
meets specific psychological and spiritual needs for meaning,
belonging, and status, pointing out its supernatural elements is
likely to have little impact among the Woke.
But just because an ideology is dogmatic and self-righteous does not
necessarily make it a religion, and so it is fair to ask whether
Wokeism is anything more than a new belief system. There is no
obviously mythological or supernatural element to Woke ideology, and
its adherents rarely, if ever, justify their statements with reference
to a god, or higher power. But a deeper look at Wokeism does, indeed,
reveal a whole series of mythological and supernatural beliefs,
including the idea that white people today are responsible for the
racist actions of white people in the past; that climate change risks
making humans extinct; and that a person can change their sex by
simply identifying as the opposite sex.
Woke Religion: A Taxonomy
While reading McWhorter’s new book, I was surprised to discover many
similarities between woke racism and apocalyptic environmentalism,
which in Apocalypse Never I describe as a religion. Each offers an
original sin as the cause of present-day evils (e.g., slavery, the
industrial revolution). Each has guilty devils (e.g., white people,
“climate deniers,” etc.) sacred victims (e.g., black people, poor
islanders, etc.) and what McWhorter calls “The Elect,” or people
self-appointed to crusade against evil (e.g., BLM activists, Greta
Thunberg, etc.). And each have a set of taboos (e.g., saying “All
lives matter,” criticizing renewables, etc.) and purifying rituals
(e.g., kneeling/apologizing, buying carbon offsets, etc).
I also saw parallels between woke racism, apocalyptic
environmentalism, and victimology, which in San Fransicko I describe
as a religion complete with the metaphysical (essentialist) view that
people can be categorized as victims or oppressors, by nature of their
identity or experience.
I reached out to a new friend, Peter Boghossian, a philosopher who
recently resigned his post at Portland State University in response to
Wokeist repression, and other experts in different Woke movements, and
together we constructed a Woke Religion Taxonomy (below). It includes
seven issue areas (Racism, Climate Change, Trans, Crime, Mental
Illness, Drugs, and Homelessness) covered by Woke Racism, Apocalypse
Never, San Fransicko, Peter’s research, and the writings of other
critics of Wokeism. And it cuts across ten religious categories
(Original Sin, Guilty Devils, Myths, Sacred Victims, The Elect,
Supernatural Beliefs, Taboo Facts, Taboo Speech, Purifying Rituals,
Purifying Speech). We were surprised by how straightforward it was to
fill in each category, and by the fascinating similarities and
differences between them.
We decided to publish the Woke Religion Taxonomy because it was
helpful to our own understanding of Wokeism as a religion, and we felt
it might help others. The Taxonomy identifies common myths and
supernatural beliefs and helps explain why so many people continue to
hold them, despite overwhelming evidence that they are false. We are
under no illusion that the Taxonomy will reduce the power that Wokeism
holds over true believers. But we also believe it will help orient
those who are confused by its irrationalism, and are seeking an
accessible overview. Finally, we are publishing it because we
recognize that we might be wrong, either about matters of fact or
classification, and hope it will encourage a healthy discussion and
debate. As such, we have published it with the caveat that it is
“Version 1.0” with the expectation that we will revise it in the
Both Peter and I would like to stress that we have published the
Taxonomy in service of the liberal and democratic project of social
and environmental progress, which we believe to be under threat from
Wokeism. We believe the U.S. is well-positioned to reduce police
killings, crime, and carbon emissions; protect the lives and the
mental health of trans, non-gender conforming, and cis-gender people;
and better treat of the mentally ill and drug addicted. But doing so
will require that Wokeism weaken its grip over the American psyche.
As Peter writes, “bigotry and racial discrimination are real and they
have no place in society. Yes, there is ongoing racism. Yes, there is
ongoing homophobia. Yes, there is ongoing hatred of trans people.
These are morally abhorrent and we all need to work together to bring
about their end. The woke religion, however, is not the way to stop
these moral horrors. It is making our shared problems more difficult
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