A Canadian professor is pushing back against the increasingly organized climate of radical extremism permeating the Western world that seeks to police speech, punish critical thought and unleash aggressive, targeted cancellation campaigns on anyone who so much as questions modern-day “progressive” ideas. It’s typically referred to as the “woke mob.”
Canadian professor of politics Eric Kaufmann has recently announced his latest course at the University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom titled “Woke: The Origins, Dynamics and Implications of an Elite Ideology” in response.
Kaufmann begins by defining woke as the “making sacred of historically marginalized race, gender and sexual identity groups.”
“By making these groups sacred and fixating on these particular categories, then anything that is said or done that offends the gods [of said groups] is a heresy and is cause of excommunication,” he says.
Simply criticizing anyone who’s aligned with one of these groups “also marks you as a heretic” explains Kaufmann, “but really it all stems from that sacralization of this holy Trinity of groups.”
Kaufmann shares that 90% of 18-20-year-olds polled in a representative survey in the United States had been “taught at least one of six radical critical race concepts – such as white privilege or systemic racism, which do not have a basis in science – and of those, 70% were taught it as fact.”
“It’s total pseudoscience,” he says. “This is certainly an area that is going to be politicized, I think, going forward.”
Kaufmann explains that the aim of his course is to dissect “woke-ism” for the political ideology that it is, in order to analyze it empirically and scrutinize it appropriately.
“This major phenomenon is re-shaping electoral politics in Western countries and we hear almost nothing about it so there’s definitely a need for something like this and I wanted to do it online and make it open to the public,” Kaufmann elaborates.
The takeover of institutions is not new, though.
Kaufmann describes two rivers that eventually combined to bring us to the current state of affairs socio-politically.
He explains that it was the intersection of Marxist radicals like Herbert Marcuse, Angela Davis and Paulo Freire with a gradual evolution of a speech code under the guise of compassion, politeness and the idea of inherent guilt.
“Political correctness and speech codes really regulate what you’re allowed to talk about on campus. Academia was already saturated with these ideas in the '80s and '90s, then, in the 2010s we get social media and more click-driven online media. That allows these ideas from academia to spread into the press… once it’s in the press it’s then also in pop culture and into sports and gets into the public school system. It used to just be a few radical academics but now it’s widespread.”
Kaufmann says that the stranglehold of woke ideology really takes over when there is a diffusion and decentralization of power away from elected government, replaced by an unaccountable bureaucracy.
“The more you allow bureaucrats to make policy – who are under pressure from activists and perhaps even drawn from the ranks of former activists – the more they’re able to run with it,” Kaufmann states.
In discussing how best to move forward, Kaufmann concludes that he is in favour of a legislative approach to curb progressive extremism, to “ensure that public institutions can’t infringe on free speech, can’t practice political discrimination, can’t indoctrinate, and must be politically neutral.”
He believes it’s in the hands of voters to ensure that elected officials are instituting policy that would “reign in” the administrative state.