Defeat Woke Propaganda (2021 May)

by Barry A. Liebling

The principal cultural institutions in the United States are dominated by people committed to the leftist agenda. Most schools – from kindergarten through graduate school – are heavily influenced by teachers and administrators who push woke propaganda on their students. The electronic and print media is staffed largely – but not exclusively – by professionals who enthusiastically support “identity politics.” Key figures in the entertainment industry are outspoken in their push for leftist causes and their contempt for anyone who dares to express a dissenting opinion.

If you appreciate that individual liberty is essential for human prosperity you are dismayed by this tragedy. You want to live in a world where people are free and are encouraged to respect natural rights, take responsibility for their actions, and prosper. You recognize that the leftist vision is incompatible with human flourishing. You may decide to stay quiet and wish for things to improve. Perhaps some advocates for liberty will convince enough people to see the world accurately, reject the woke poison, and encourage a healthy cultural rebirth.

Alternatively, you might decide to speak up, and take steps to replace leftist dogma with ideas and policies that support a thriving humanity. Here are five recommendations on how to proceed.

First, get clear on one fundamental issue and stick with it. I recommend individualism versus collectivism. Collectivism is the notion that groups are important and individuals count for very little – except as they contribute to the group. The modern up-to-date manifestation of collectivism is identity politics which is a Neo Marxist variant. Here every group is either an oppressor or oppressed. The more oppressed groups you belong to, the higher your status. And if you are part of what the leftist elite has designated as oppressors your status is low, and you deserve to be punished, shunned, and ashamed of yourself. Of course the lowest form of oppressor is the straight white male, and this designation should be scorned permanently. Woke representatives designate oppressors as “allies” if they embrace self-hatred and work assiduously to push down others in their oppressor “unearned privilege” category.

Individualism is the antidote. It is the doctrine that every person should be judged by his or her individual actions. No one should be held responsible for events that occurred before they were born. Similarly, no one should be rewarded because they belong to any particular group. This is the sentiment expressed by “all men are created equal.” It does not mean that everyone should wind up with the same outcome. Instead it signifies that the same standards should apply equally when any person is judged. Martin Luther King captured this when he proclaimed that people should be judged by “the content of their character.”

Second, invite conversation. Do not attempt to shut down the leftists. Cancelling the expression of opposing ideas is a character flaw of woke people. It should not be used by advocates for liberty. In a fair conversation with a fair judge freedom wins. The rationale for liberty is strong and will ultimately prevail if everyone is permitted to speak (and enough people pay attention).

Recently there have been conservatives who have been horrified that educators at every level are incorporating Critical Race Theory into the classroom. The essences of that “theory” is that whites and “whiteness” is inherently, permanently bad, and actions should be taken at every level to fight against all things white. Critical Race Theory and its policy “anti-racism” is entirely malevolent. Some conservatives have proposed rules and laws that would ban it from schools. The problem with this approach is that it will not work. Among career educators that are interested in politics, most are enthusiastic supporters of woke thinking. If they cannot make it an official part of the curriculum they will push it informally.

The solution to leftist indoctrination in the classroom is to present valid, persuasive arguments for freedom out of the classroom. Parents who are concerned can have their children attend after school meetings that explain how and why individualism and liberty is the way to go. The internet – even though it is administered by companies that push leftist propaganda – is still an excellent vehicle for explaining why freedom and not collectivism is what humans ought to seek.

When presenting the case for liberty it is important to explain the leftist arguments against liberty. Do not create a straw man where the opposition (the leftist cabal) is portrayed as just plain bad and stupid. That short-sighted tactic is sure to fail. Instead, describe the best arguments for the woke agenda and indicate exactly how and why the Marxist reasoning is fatally flawed. The idea is to innoculate people we are bringing on board so they have an accurate understanding of what the opposition is pushing and how to counteract it.

Third, recognize that when you are talking about norms for human conduct everything is political. A major error made by opponents of the woke program in education is to label the leftists as pushing a political agenda and then to assert mistakenly that education should be neutral – free of politics. Judging people as individuals and applying the same standards to all human beings is definitely not neutral. It is a radical application of the best version of Enlightenment philosophy. Notice that the antiquated historical default is to treat people as immutable representatives of groups. Think of royalty versus commoners, my tribe versus other tribes, one caste versus another caste, and with Marxism – the oppressed versus the oppressors. Individualism is the cure for these sick ways of thinking – and it is political.

Fourth, do not give an inch. When explaining and arguing do not compromise. Do not yield anything to advocates for group identity. They are wrong. Let them talk, but do not retreat.

Fifth, understand that even the best reasoning will not convert everyone. Many people – perhaps most – will never be convinced no matter how true and organized your arguments are. That is the way the world works. Enthusiasts for liberty need more people, not all people, to win the cultural war. The dominant leftists, with all their malicious doctrines all their resources and all their ranting, even now have not hoodwinked more than half of the population. Freedom can prevail if we speak up.

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