Mar 2, 2022Liked by Sarah Haider

There’s something to this for sure. There’s similar parallels in environmentalism, which unfortunately has become increasingly religious in character, and overlaps with wokeness in many ways now. Original sin=Earth was an Eden until white men invented industrialisation. Our carbon footprint is a sin for which we must atone. We can buy indulgences, aka “carbon credits”. This style of environmentalism is successful in the same societies as wokeism.

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Feb 19, 2022·edited Feb 19, 2022Liked by Sarah Haider

Great piece Sarah. Of course you know that John McWhorter & others have written about Woke being a religion, but the idea that its strictly Christian thing is interesting. I'm curious if the Muslim community has widely succumbed. Clearly some Muslim fundamentalists at least use wokeism to their own ends. But what about the ex-muslims you deal with? Do they lean more "four horseman" or are there some ex-muslims who now pray to the God of intersectionality?

One quibble, since you asked for honest criticism. As an ex-choir boy (Protestant - Episcopalian), I find that most of the major Christian churches don't usually consider Mormons real Christians (even though the Mormons consider themselves real Christians). I think it might be similar to how many Muslims look at Ahmadiyya Muslims. Know what I mean?

Either way it would be interesting for someone to do a study of "social justice" true believers and see if there's an over representation by people from fundamentalist families in general and if so which ones.

As far as Catholics being immune, my anecdotal view is that there's many devout Catholics but not many fundamentalist ones. Also, as a Protestant I was always jealous about Catholic confession. They could misbehave as much as they want, then just tell the priest, say three hail Mary's and they're forgiven. Not much forgiveness in Woke-istan.

No matter what, another good piece. Made me a paid subscriber! Keep up the good work!

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Feb 19, 2022Liked by Sarah Haider

I encountered an essay today that argued not only that Woke-ism is christian, but specifically that it is the most recent manifestation of the gnostic heresies that have recurred in Christianity since it's beginning. (See here: https://theupheaval.substack.com/p/the-reality-war?utm_source=url). I'm aware that Noah Smith has made the argument that Woke-ism is the most recent manifestation of American Activist Puritanism (https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/wokeness-as-old-time-american-religion?utm_source=url).

I think Smith has a point and find the argument about Gnosticism a little hard to follow, but I think it's worth pointing out that from what I've seen Wokeness seems to have difficulty penetrating beyond the historically protestant countries- it's Dominant in the US and English Canada, on the fast track to supremacy in the UK, Australia and New Zealand (and possibly the nordic countries though I'm not familiar enough with those to comment on how far it has progressed there) but it seems to be having difficulty in the Netherlands and is hitting a brick wall in France and Quebec.

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It's true wokeism has characteristics of a religion, and unfortunately it's one where everyone is their own Pope. Always good to hear from you.

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Mar 17, 2022·edited Mar 17, 2022

Woke relies on a particular mentality that is only dominant in WEIRD cultures. WEIRD cultures are all Christian or formerly so, but they are only a subset of Western Christendom, which is only a subset of global Christianity. Woke is uniquely post-Christian, but not universally so.

African Americans, Eastern Europeans, Latin Americans - all historically Christian, but not WEIRD or woke, except for a small minority. Argentina and Uruguay are exceptions, but this is to be expected: Unlike the rest of Latin America, the mainstream of these countries are transplants from WEIRD Europe, similar to the United States and Canada.

Note: This is not racial. The boundary between WEIRDs and normal humans runs within Europe - sometimes, even the same country. Yankee neo-Puritans and Appalachians, among the most and least woke populations in the world, both trace their ancestry to Britain. I believe Razib himself would be hard-pressed to distinguish between the two populations, even with access to full genomes.

The fact that the general body of African Americans and rednecks are immune to this shit, despite both sharing centuries of history in this country with WEIRDos, and despite one group being a reliable political ally of the WEIRDos for the last 150 years, gives me hope that Woke is a naturally limited contagion. It will infect the mainstream of most Western European (descended) societies, and intellectual minorities in certain others, but it will stop there. Not that a dedicated intellectual minority can't do severe harm to their country - but outside of the cultural West, Woke will go no deeper than communism.

And, it's unlikely to ever gain as much power in the first place. The ideology is actively repellent to the kind of people who seize power in revolutions and coups, and actively repellent to the general population. Western-aligned governments may pay it lip service, but only a few internationalized, legacy elite classes would ever try to implement it (and of course, they would fail).

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I would agree with this analysis as a former fundamentalist (now Catholic) Christian and would be interested to know what you think a Muslim wokeism would look like? What portions of it would morph into a secular religion? Have you seen instances of former Muslims attempting to fill the “god-shaped hole“? I teach World Religions at my school, and most of my students have no idea how their current beliefs around justice, forgiveness, and human dignity are shaped by the residual influence of Christian religious culture. What I see in woke theology is the language of Christian support for the weak used as a weapon of dominance by those who used to be, but are no longer, disadvantaged to the same degree as in the past. Without knowing it, they are doing exactly what disadvantaged groups do when they become freer: they use that power to force others to submit to them and attempt to stamp out dissent. It's a terrible truth about humans, that they can't allow “heretics,“ and it's why the liberal world order needs protecting; otherwise, we will descend again into tribal violence. We can't allow violence to become an accepted instrument to protect our deepest beliefs.

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Tangent on the AHA: the Dawkins incident pales in comparison to the Braasch incident.

You don't hear about the latter so much, because Braasch (understandably!) has ongoing mental health issues. I wouldn't be commenting about this incident on a public Substack post.

The full story is very long and complex: https://www.thebulwark.com/standing-up-to-the-moral-outrage-industry/

Key points relating to the AHA's behaviour:

- Braasch had been a writer for the AHA.

- Ijeoma Oluo called for Braasch to be harassed

- Just weeks later the AHA gave Oluo an award!

- Since then they've given Oluo another award!


One question I have is, were the AHA awards given to Oluo merely DESPITE what she did to Braasch? Or BECAUSE OF what she did to Braasch?

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I have also noticed these similarities before, specifically the fact that the lowest are regarded as the highest and the practice of self-castigation. This becomes especially clear if you look at the language that Pope Francis uses (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/01/pope-francis-calls-on-christians-to-embrace-green-agenda).

I do have a few observations/notes from my European perspective:

- I see some note that catholics seem immune. I am going to disagree here, woke ideas are gaining ground in European countries with strong catholic traditions. But more importantly in Central and Latin America (where you will probably find the most zealous catholics) you can find a branch of wokeism that is incredibely fierce (among the class that can afford it ofcourse).

- This also seems to be something very American it would probably not have gotten this form in Europe despite having been the core of the Christian world for centuries. Despite it's growth in Europe in the last decade I still see at as a trend of Americanization. It is very curious to see that they are using the exact same vocabulary and concepts that Americans use despite not being native english speakers and having a very different history (To the point where they will use Slavery based rethoric despite this being uniquely American).

Something I do associate with the US is christian zealousness and this is especially true for groups like Mormons, Protestants, ... (Maybe thats why Catholics seem immune to some).

- The idea that Muslims are less receptive to wokeism is also something that has occured to more right-wing thinkers. In it's extreme form they are even revered for this by the extreme right wing (despite also being antagonized). Although they would never blame Christianity but rather say that our soft lives have made us soft people.

But I do think there is a truth in the observation, I speculate that as the Muslim population becomes more politically mature that this will become more and more obvious. Minorities have been a strong base of support for those movements that have pledged to 'protect' them, but as they are gaining stronger footing they will not be content with just 'protection' and probably shy away from wokeism.

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