Woke Got What It Wanted — and Then What?

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

The woke movement was giddy after January 20, 2021. The Left controlled both houses of Congress.

Joe Biden was drafted as the necessary veneer of 1980s Democratic normality to ram through an otherwise hard Left agenda. 

All the major cultural, financial, economic, entertainment, and media institutions had played various roles in seeing Donald Trump not just defeated, but also impeached twice. He was written off as persona non grata after the January 6 riot at the Capitol. 

So, academia, the corporate boardroom, Hollywood, the media, the Pentagon, professional sports, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street in near hysterical fashion all boarded the woke train. 

All now boasted of ferreting out “white rage,” and hiring legions of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” czars. 

Critical race theory would be mainstreamed to excise racism and discrimination by embracing racism and discrimination. 

“Crime” was to be seen now mostly as a construct created by the elite to protect their own privilege, prerogatives, and property. Shoplifting, looting, and street thuggery were just part of living in a normal city.

Social justice warriors could replace defunded police. Gone would be most bail, incarceration, mandatory jail time, stop-and-frisk, and broken-windows deterrent policies. 

Green agendas would fundamentally transform America to put an immediate stop to man-made “climate change.” So, lots of oil and gas leases were either canceled or their fees vastly increased. 

Pipelines were stopped. Gas and oil companies were warned that everything from lack of financing to new regulations would put them soon out of business. The golden age of wind and batteries was already upon us. 

Modern monetary theorists assured us that printing money “spread the wealth”— devaluing the cash of undeserving capitalists who had too much and implanting it in the hands of the needy who unfairly had too little. 

To the extent inflation followed, it would be a good thing—a sign of a newly empowered robust consumer class too long denied “equity.”

COVID was virtually over. We were assured by Joe Biden that Trump had killed over 350,000 Americans by his lax policies. 

In contrast, Biden would soberly vaccinate us all, claiming its efficacy as his own. He would predict victory over the virus by the Fourth of July. The Delta variant was still then just an obscure rumor from abroad. 

The border would be opened—and stay open. No more walls. As citizens of the world, the Left welcomed in 2 million, arriving illegally without audit or vaccinations in time of a pandemic. 

As the woke drove terrified old liberal Democrats into hiding, all the old wisdom about human nature vanished. 

Forget that criminals hurt the poor the most. Discard the quaint idea of Martin Luther King, Jr. that our character not our color determines who we are. Ignore the passé idea that inflation eats away at the wages of the working class. 

We could always resume the quarantines, lockdowns, and shutdowns that made Amazon, Target, Walmart, and other conglomerates hundreds of billions in profits, while the mom-and-pop small businesses went broke. 

So, what did the people conclude 10 months out from the Woke getting their wishes?

The polls reveal that voters don’t like open borders at all. They disapprove of illegal immigration as much they support legal immigrants. They worry about crime and drugs. They don’t want the unvetted and unvaccinated flowing across their open border. 

The people want cheaper, not pricier gas. They prefer American energy self-sufficiency. Why, with cup in hand, go begging to Saudi Arabia and Russia to pump more supposedly Satanic oil? 

The people like the police and hate crime. Even the rich among the woke are now scared—some of whom sowed the wind of decriminalization and are themselves reaping the whirlwind of crime. 

Most voters care less about our color, but far more about our character. They think a meritocracy, not quotas and tribal chauvinism, explains the exceptional American standard of life. 

They despise inflation as much as recession—and fear they may now get both soon.

Freedom-loving individuals don’t like cancel culture, ostracism, iconoclasm, Trotskyization, and commissars. They prefer free speech. They treasure the Bill of Rights. 

So, in just 10 months the Left got what it wanted. And the people are becoming not just sick of what has followed, but disgusted. They are terrified that the Left is not just failing, but also wrecking the country and them along with it. 

The ages have left us adages for the people’s growing anger at the hubristic and now unpopular Left. 

We know the ancient warnings variously as, “What comes around, goes around,” “You reap what you sow,” “Be careful about what you wish for,” and “The law of unintended consequences.” 

Words like “nemesis and “karma” also come to mind. But of the collapse of the woke appeal, perhaps we could say, “It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of zealots.”

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12 thoughts on “Woke Got What It Wanted -- and Then What?”

  1. Greatly written as usual.
    They (woke people) are self-destructive. However, in the process, they are causing huge damage to the working middle class.

  2. The foundation of Woke is Postmodernism, which is a thoroughly nihilistic philosophy. It is totally destructive, offering no upside. Fascism offered a glorious thousand year Reich, Communism offered Utopia, religions offer justice after death, but all Postmodernism offers is an excuse for your failings and revenge on everyone who is more successful than you. It’s pure evil, and evil is impotent, unless it co-opts the good, as the Nazi’s co-opted Germany’s enlightened past and Communism co-opted the rational desire for a better future. Postmodern Woke destroys everything: logic (it becomes white male’s tool of. oppression), science (Western exploitation) truth (domination), words (violence), justice (repression) knowledge of reality (an exploitive illusion), virtue (your skin colour determines your original skin), sex, beauty, health, human life (it exploits other species and despoils the earth)! The good news is that because it is a disintegrating evil rather than an integrating evil (read The Dim Hypothesis) it will be short lived. So the most important question is: what will replace Woke when it implodes? A rational integration, or another irrational mis-integration?

  3. Go woke, go broke.
    Hopefully the voters will realize they have to put republicans/conservatives back in office in 2022.

  4. James Fratanduono

    There are 330,000,000 Souls in this country, all of varying opinion, split between party. In days of yore people disagreed sometimes passionately, but eventually compromised civily…Your Party has no more right than mine to demonize the other. Your words and actions CARRY WEIGHT… Is it your intention in life to preach my side is right… and their is no other way. Is it your intention to mentor the youth, teaching only to bicker and quarrel. Kill the other half of differing opinion… When did having a discussion leading to a compomise of the masses become a bad thing? Is this who you are? A man of intellect sucking at the teat of popularity with no positive role, except to expound meaningless words(to the like minded) Where are the Intelligent humans who bind us…Guide us…Leading with Integrity for the benefit of ALL. I look at 45 with contempt, a grifter who put Democracy in Peril…culminating on 1/6. Woke isnt worth writing about. As the lies of our history are apparent. We cannot move forward without accepting them, learning from them. Teaching our not so proud moments, instead of the white washed lies you and others propegate. Germany teaches the perils of Nazism…How extreme racist or authoritarian views and behaviors led to the attempted Genocide of a group. Are we now following Hitlers 4 step process for dehumanizing a political party. Predjudice, Scapegoating, Discrimination, Persecution. Maybe we should all take resposibility for our words and actions,

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