Black Lives Matter protest
Black Lives Matter protestISTOCK
Being in my mid-40s I often feel more at home in the 20th century than in the world surrounding us today. Although I am open-minded and empathetic enough to understand the mind and worldview of ideologues of every stripe, I admit that the woke mindset baffles me more than Jihadism, Communism, Fascism or Nazism do. Only Neturei Karta’s militant anti-Zionism is in my mind equally incomprehensible and absurd.

Neturei Karta is a fringe that plays no significant role in world events. Cancel culture, newspeak and the obsession with identity politics championed by woke academics, journalists, and keyboard warriors are affecting the education systems, culture and values of the whole Western world.

In its scope and rejection of the past, wokeism is comparable to the changes wrought by the counterculture of the 1960s. And nevertheless, the hippies and students who back then preached free love and "power to imagination" were qualitatively different from contemporary wokes.

Youngsters during the 1960s were naive and shortsighted, yet their idealism and desire to make the world happy and peaceful were sincere. On the contrary, a cursory survey of woke slogans, demands and actions invariably reveals the immense resentment, hatred and destructiveness at their root.

In vain does one seek words of praise, sympathy or love for the minorities whose well-being wokes claim to champion: "Defund the police! Abolish prisons! Destroy the patriarchy! Down with racism! Capitalism is evil!" are the demands and slogans one hears.

The destructive effects of wokeness are around us everywhere: Statues and monuments have been toppled, shops have been looted, inner-cities devastated, hundreds have needlessly died because criminals are no longer jailed, hundreds of experienced officers have resigned from the police force, and nowadays even the streets of beautiful San Francisco resemble those of Tijuana.

In the world of culture and academia the consequences are even more devastating: No young scholar or professor without tenure will dare research a topic, write a paper, or author a book that does not conform to woke standards of political correctness. Whereas a generation ago political correctness protected weaker communities from slurs and baseless accusations, nowadays political correctness means that any community that the left decides is "oppressed" is beyond reproach, no matter what logic and empirical facts might otherwise suggest.

Social studies and humanities departments that once addressed pressing problems via empiricism, hypothesis falsification, and dialectical thinking, nowadays do not tolerate, let alone endorse, scholarship that might be labelled "offensive" or "blaming the victim" by woke activists.

Woke institutions of higher-learning like Oberlin and Berkeley are today, in their ideological outlook, closer to traditional madrassas than to traditional universities.

Although rightwing antisemites blame Jews for promoting wokeism, the truth is that Jews are playing a minor role in the woke movement, although what they are doing there at all is incomprehensible. My impression is that woke activists are disproportionately members of "underprivileged" minorities and young white women with Protestant Christian roots.

The resentment and vested interests of the former activists is self-explanatory. What is more interesting is to analyze the involvement of so many middle- and upper-middle class young white Protestant women in the woke revolution.

The analysis must do justice to the different components of these activists‘ identities.

Class: These activists often grew up very comfortably. Yet unlike their parents and grandparents who worked hard to take advantage of professional opportunities available in North America and Northern Europe, these activists are too pampered to do so too. In addition, since they lack the smarts to study MINT subjects, their living standards are usually lower than their parents'. Instead of blaming their own choices and inadequacies, they blame capitalism for their failures and attribute their parents' success to "white privilege".

Race: Like most middle- and upper-middle-class whites in America and Europe, these activists grew up with only superficial contacts with Blacks, Hispanics or Muslims. In college they meet the brightest and hardest-working youngsters of these minorities, inferring that their problems are primarily due to capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and white racism. Their haste to blame their own ethnicity for the world's problems is amplified by their unconscious yet deeply-seated racism. Whereas their grandparents often believed that "white virtues" would save the world, these activists readily assume that "white flaws" play an opposite, yet equally fundamental role.

Religion: Many woke activists grow up in secular families ignorant of Christianity. Yet precisely like a Jewish mindset often outlives generations of assimilation, so does the Protestant ethos color the outlook of many woke activists: Concepts like the sinful nature of human beings, strict intolerance towards sinners, strong feelings of guilt, and fear of hell and Satan are transmuted into a worldview where whites, capitalism, patriarchy and racism are demonized and anyone complicit in their power deserves to be pilloried and burned (figuratively, for the time being). The apocalypticism of fundamentalist Christians looking forward to Armageddon is secularized, morphing into the cathartic destructiveness of woke mobs.

It is quite interesting to note that wokeness has made its greatest inroads in historically white Protestant countries, rather than in Catholic societies where racism and sexism are more significant problems.

Gender: Young women are disproportionately woke. One reason for this is that female students tend to enter academic fields in the humanities and social studies that promote a woke worldview. Nevertheless, as a relative of my wife pointed out, the woke frenzy coincides with the coming of age of young women who have been deprived of the certainties and roles which provided previous generations of women with security and joy: In the age of climate change, bearing children is considered irresponsible, thus depriving young women of the hope of motherhood; the traditional monogamous marriage is mocked by pop culture as a dated patriarchal institution, making romance and true love evermore elusive.

In a generation that no longer looks forwards to marriage and childbearing, dating is increasingly degraded to an exchange of sexual favors. Since women tend to value emotional intimacy and long-term commitments more than men, it turns out that secular young women often pay the highest emotional and psychological toll for the breakdown of the traditional family.

In other words, wokeness is an ideological brew concocted out of feelings of entitlement, resentment, frustration and fear.

That is the reason that unlike the cultural revolution of the 1960s that inspired beautiful poems and lovely songs, history will remember wokeness as the final and most grotesque manifestation of leftist hatred for Western civilization and traditional Judeo-Christian values.

Rafael Castro is an Italian-Colombian graduate of Yale and Hebrew University residing in Berlin. A Noahide by choice, he is happy to receive comments and criticism at [email protected]