For the past decade I have dedicated myself to studying and exposing the tyrannical and authoritarian influence that religion has had, and continues to have, on countries, communities and individuals around the world. I have authored seven books on the subject and received a Master’s degree in studies in religion from the University of New England to better equip myself for a struggle that places Orwellian orthodoxy over individual human rights. I have studied the world’s major religions and the proliferation and mechanics of cults and New Age religions. Throughout my studies and activism, I have struggled to accurately define ‘religion’, which, as scholars in the field of studies in religion know, is notoriously difficult to precisely define. But this difficulty does not negate the existence of religion. Religion can be defined to a degree that exposes patterns of common elements, and the consequences of these elements on human rights are even easier to measure. There are a wealth of examples spanning human history which clearly show just how detrimental religious orthodoxy can be to individual human rights. From religious rites that involved human sacrifice to the Spanish Inquisition, to modern Saudi Arabia, where the choice is either Islam or death, it is evident that religious orthodoxy has had a chilling effect on human rights. It has also had a retarding effect on science and education, and consequently human progress. Does this mean that religion is pure evil? No. Does this mean that religions lack any positive values for individuals and societies? No. Most religions contain deeply valuable teachings, such as the Golden Rule, for example. It would be extremely difficult to argue against this philosophical principle of reciprocity, which can be found as early as 2040 BCE in the Ancient Egyptian text entitled ‘The Eloquent Peasant’, which held: ‘That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another’. This positive teaching would later be repeated in the Christian texts, attributed to the Christian demigod Jesus Christ (See Matthew 7:12). The problem with religions is they are not designed to be picked apart and selectively applied, although such is frequently the case. Believers arbitrarily apply teachings and practices that suit their individual lifestyle, politics and culture. Take for example the tattooed Christian Rugby player, Israel Folau, who uses the Bible as a basis to campaign against same-sex marriage. Folau faithfully preaches from Leviticus 18:22, ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination’, but he ignores Leviticus 19:28, which commands, ‘You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves.’ Hypocrisy abounds amongst the faithful because their tenets are inherently contradictory.
Religion’s contradictory teachings have been one of the key sources to both its success and its negative impact on humanity. Evangelists will disingenuously market the positive teachings to prospective converts, playing on the evolutionary nature of the social animal’s goodwill, to convert and then indoctrinate the target until that person becomes psychologically and socially imprisoned by the entire package, jihad and all. And here is where we find our first point of comparison with wokeism. Wokeism plays on humanity’s sense of fairness and justice in order to sell it an orthodoxy that is unfair, unjust and contrary to modern human rights. Wokeism preys on the goodwill of good people, because what good-hearted person doesn’t want a world in which everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, etc. can live their best life, free from discrimination and oppression? So if you are anti-woke, you must be anti-equality, right? Wrong. The snake oil salesmen of woke orthodoxy use these noble aspirations to sell a toxic ideology that leaves the gullible embittered, morally confused, outraged, malicious, egotistical, narcissistic and zealously opposed to true diversity. It sells hate disguised as love and inequality packaged as equity. Most dangerously, however, it pushes a kind of “morally superior” form of self-defeating extremism in which the ends are seen as justifying the means, no matter how unjust and unnecessary those means may be.
Before discussing the primary marketing strategy employed by the woke, it would serve us well to first define ‘wokeism’. The term ‘woke’ originates in African-American culture, with its earliest use found in a 1962 New York Times article written by the African-American novelist, William Melville Kelley, who wrote. ‘If you’re woke, you dig it’. The term was later used in 1972 in a play entitled ‘Garvey Lives’, written by Barry Beckham. Beckman penned upon the lips of one of his characters the following words: ‘I been sleeping all my life. And now that Mr Garvey done woke me up, I’m gon stay woke. And I’m gon’ help him wake up other black folk.’ The character was referring to Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican political activist who was President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. Marcus Garvey was a talented writer and orator, who, at a time when racial inequality in the USA was acute and severe, raised the consciousness of African-Americans and armed them with the a gift that would eventually see the end of segregation and the beginning of a new age in which racial equality became enacted into public policy and successfully engrained into the consciousness of America. If one were to examine the trajectory of racial inequality in the USA from Garvey’s day to ours, one would notice a very positive incline toward racial equality, not that the woke, with their “progressophobia” as Stephen Pinker coined it, would have you believe. No, to the woke, racial inequality in the US has never been so bad! As an aside, there is a functional reason the woke do not want you to see the objective truth concerning the actual progress that has been made, and is being made, with respect to racial equality. To acknowledge progress is to deny the very premise upon which the entire foundation of wokeism rests. What need would there be for the dismantling of Western societies and their systems if these societies and systems are actually moving in a positive direction? There would be no need for this destruction, and more importantly, there would be no need for wokeism. Its progressophobia is both its evangelical tool and its survival mechanism, just as Christianity’s evangelical tool and its survival mechanism is its eschatology. Like the Christian missionary, the woke missionary is trying to save you from your sins, because you are ignorant of the truth of the coming of the Lord, and more frighteningly, the coming of the end of times and the Anti-Christ. The world/system has you hoodwinked, and the evil doers are great and powerful deceivers, out to oppress you with their diversity of thought and heterodox opinions, which will land you on the “wrong side of history”, the woke orthodoxy’s version of hell.
Despite wokeism’s exclusively African-American racial roots, it has been recently hijacked by predominantly pink-haired, privileged white social justice warriors and expanded to include all areas of philosophically flawed critical social justice, and in a way that is harming the independent causes it uses to bludgeon those who refuse to conform to its narratives. In an article in Al Jazeera, Why Woke Became Toxic, its author Johnny Luk gives an example of the harm the woke trans movement caused to a women’s shelter:
‘Wokeness can also shut down good causes. In 2019, Canada’s oldest women’s domestic violence shelter, based in Vancouver, was stripped of local authority funding because it refused to accept trans women (who were biologically male). Perhaps the shelter should have handled the issue differently, as the local authority won a short-term victory in the name of “inclusion”. But the crippling of an essential service only meant further division and long-term damage to the cause.’
Another example of the dangers of the influence of the woke trans orthodoxy can be found in the burgeoning number of cases coming to light where female inmates in prisons are being raped and sexually assaulted by male transgender inmates. Karen White, a 52-year-old male transgender offender (Note to self: Transgender Offender is a great name for a new Suicide Squad anti-hero) was housed in a women’s prison because Karen identified as a woman. Karen was also a male rapist. After raping women on the outside and sexually assaulting female inmates in a UK prison, she was finally moved to a male prison. ‘The Ministry of Justice [later] apologised for moving her to a women’s prison, saying that her previous offending history had not been taken into account.’ This case and other similar examples show how wokeism obliterates reason and common sense, because the authorities were only concerned with how this rapist identified. It didn’t even occur to them that placing a male rapist in a female prison would be a gross infringement of common sense and the duty of care they owe female inmates.
The woke movement is doing measurable harm to not only female inmates and women who have been the victims of domestic violence, but also to women’s sports, in which biological males who need only identify as women can now participate. To be fair, a trans-woman born biologically male must be tested to ensure their testosterone levels are not too high, and there was a recent case in which a trans athlete failed this test and has been excluded from competing in the Tokyo Olympics, but male biology has other physical advantages over female biology that have evolved to ensure the survival of our species.
This is also a seriously dangerous problem in the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) cages, with biological males crushing the skulls of female combatants. Recently, Joe Rogan received heavy backlash and calls to be cancelled by Spotify employees after he spoke out against issuing a licence to trans-MMA fighter Fallon Fox, who, due to the woke political climate gained her licence to fight biological females and broke the skull of one of her opponents, Tamikka Brents. Reflecting on the fight with Fallon Fox, Tamikka stated:
“I have struggled with many women and I have never felt the strength I felt in a fight like that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say that I have never felt so dominated in my life and that I am an abnormally strong woman in my own right? I still disagree with Fox’s struggle. Any other job or career that I say I try, but when it comes to a combat sport I don’t think it’s fair.”
Rogan correctly observed: “The operation doesn’t shave down your bone density. It doesn’t change. You look at a man’s hands and you look at a woman’s hands and they’re built different. They’re just thicker, they’re stronger, your wrists are thicker, your elbows are thicker, your joints are thicker. Just the mechanical function of punching, a man can do it much harder than a woman can, period.”
Naturally, Rogan was accused of transphobia for simply stating the facts about biology and physiology, which are well-established sciences. Fox rallied the woke to try to have Rogan’s podcast and career cancelled. Had it not been for Rogan’s impressive success, it might be fair to posit that the cancellation would probably have been a success, but given how much Rogan makes for his hosts, contributors and sponsors, capitalism won the day over wokeism. Rogan stating scientific facts and being mobbed by angry wokeists is loosely analogous to Galileo plainly stating that we live in a heliocentric solar system, not a geocentric one, for which he too was mobbed by angry believers who preferred unsubstantiated narratives over unbiased facts.
The Woke Doctrine of ‘Cancellation’
Ideological movements need to establish strict fences to maintain their structural integrity. These fences must be zealously policed and if a patroller notices someone climbing over the fence and attempting to live freely on the outside, sanctions must be swift, severe, and advertised, to dissuade others from trying to live beyond the confines of the ideological compound. These fences also serve to divide humanity into two competing categories, insiders and outsiders. Woke ideological authoritarianism uses cancel culture as a punitive measure, by which both escaping insiders and heretical outsiders are publicly punished to coerce widespread conformity. Here we encounter a prima facie distinction between other cults like Scientology, who primarily seek to control insiders through fear of degradation and banishment. However, in similitude to wokeism, Scientology is also notorious for harassing and litigating its critics. Having said this, James Lindsay argues that the woke tend to police each other more heavily than they police the non-woke[citation pending]. If true, this would go some way to mitigating my distinction between wokeism and cults like Scientology, but it wouldn’t eradicate the distinction entirely, as there are numerous examples of the non-woke being targeted for cancellation. I think the reason is, wokeism is largely, yet not exclusively, an online socio-political religious movement, which gives it an extended capacity to enforce its dogmatic worldview on both insiders and outsiders.
Cancel culture is spreading throughout all of its host-societies’ institutions, from entertainment to academia. Most notably of recent, comedians are bearing the brunt when it comes to the implementation of this doctrine. Regarding cancel culture’s impact on society, Jordan Peterson correctly observed that today’s comedians are the “canaries in the coal mine“, so to speak. The reason for the woke moral panic surrounding comedy will be discussed below, however, in the conceptual framework of woke orthodoxy, jokes, words and phrases all have near-supernatural powers, and where rational people see a harmless joke, the woke see a violent and dangerous thought crime capable of creating real atrocities, and so cancellation of the expresser is seen as the only safe remedy. But what is cancel culture? Let’s start by clarifying what cancel culture is not. It is not someone receiving public criticism for saying something that offends the norms of the society. Let’s just get that meme out of the way. The term can be applied in different ways and exercised to varying degrees, and against various targets, from people to anything at all the woke find “problematic” and worthy of erasing for the rest of us. Brooke Kato of the New York Post defines ‘cancel culture’ as; ‘…the phenomenon of promoting the “canceling” of people, brands and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies.’ The woke defend this mechanism of control by arguing that they are just innocently and justifiably “holding people accountable for their violence”. As will be discussed, to the woke, “violence” can be something as innocuous as an innocent act, omission, symbol, breath, or comment capable of being misconstrued in a manner that goes against this hypersensitive cult’s neurotic dogmas. As an example, the ‘OK’ hand gesture, despite being important to the deaf community, is now considered by the woke as a symbol of hate, simply because some alt-right activists used it. On the New Discourses website, Lindsay said of cancel culture:
‘Because of the cultural power held by Social Justice ideas and activists and the fears of organizations that they will be deemed racist, sexist, or transphobic, etc., these attempts at cancellation are often successful (see also, hegemony). Various factors, including the popularity of the individual (thus their potential influence on the discourses), the seriousness of the problematic speech or behavior, and the “wokeness” of the individual’s audience or that of the organization for which they work, decide whether that individual is ever able to redeem themselves or will be forever “untouchable.” The goal of a cancellation is usually to remove the targeted individual from status-bearing jobs, particularly ones that have the capacity to create or influence the discourses of society.’
The list of cancelled people and things grows at an increasingly rapid rate. Not even cheese is safe from cancellation. A famous brand of cheese in Australia has been pulled from the shelves and rebranded due to its “offensive” name. Coon Cheese, named after American cheesemaker Edward Coon, is now ‘Cheer Cheese’ after an uproar by the woke orthodoxy in Australia. Coon, however, is not a racial slur in this context at all – it is a Scottish family name of Gaelic origin. Nonetheless, this family name was deemed cancel-worthy due to its fortuitous phonetic transliteration into English.
The Woke Doctrine of Metaphysical Linguistics
This prominent doctrine of wokeism concerns the belief in the metaphysical power of words. Words alone are believed to have almost supernatural powers. For the non-believer, it is the expresser’s intent and the context of use that supplies words their meanings. For the woke, however, the words themselves hold autonomous magical powers. The idea that words are magical underpins the origin of that which we now popularly refer to as the ‘curse word’, which has all but lost its supernatural meaning and become a synonym for ‘swear word’.
The concept of curse words finds its origins in the ancient superstitions of our comparatively ignorant ancestors, who believed that the utterance of certain words and phrases could invoke the wrath of gods and even summon forth demons and evil spirits. It was believed in many earlier civilizations that it was possible to “curse” a mortal enemy with the simple expression of a word or a phrase. Drawing upon the works of various scholars in the relevant fields, Steinbach-Eicke and Eicke observe:
‘In ancient sources, we find the invocation of supernatural entities (e.g. gods, demons) or initiated human specialists (e.g. priests, magicians) who performed a ritual for the client. Thus, cursing was a religious or magical action with a distinct, violative but defensive aim.
A few recent publications on curses in the ancient world illustrate this characterisation: in her book about cursing in cuneiform and Hebrew texts, Kitz (2014: 3) defines curses as “petitions to the divine world to render judgement and execute harm on identified, hostile forces”. At the beginning of her overview of Ancient Greek and Roman curses, Eidinow (2013: 1877) describes such curses as speech acts “invoking supernatural powers and reinforced ritual”’.
There are many examples throughout history which demonstrate that people believed, and some still do, that the mere utterance of words can metaphysically affect corporeal reality. In The Oxford Handbook of Taboo Language, Allan writes:
‘For Ancient Hindus, Sanskrit vedas had to be in the pure form (suddah) described by Panini in the…(fourth century BCE), ‘A mantra [hymn] recited with incorrect and “careless” arrangement of varna (letters) [reacts] like a thunderbolt and gets the reciter destroyed by the God Indra’ (Kachru 1984: 178, quoting a sutra). Why? Because it is blasphemous to deviate from the prescribed rendition of the holy text. At about the same period, Plato warns against speaking ill of the gods…’
To offer up an entire corpus of examples from every religion and culture from the ancient world to the modern age would fill books, so I will give you one last example from Christendom.
In medieval Christianity, it was considered dangerous blasphemy to utter phrases which included God, Christ and body parts. For example, it was believed that by merely saying “by God’s bones” or “by God’s nails” out loud, Christ would actually be torn to pieces in heaven, as such phrases were seen to have served as a kind of reverse eucharist, capable of disassembling the ethereal body of Christ.
As bizarre and ridiculous to the modern mind that such concepts seem today, the belief in the metaphysical power of written or phonetic expressions of arbitrarily constructed characters (words) persists as a key doctrine of wokeism.
Here we see a throwback to the more superstitious origins of the concept of the curse word. An example of this, and there are plenty available in this growing climate of political correctness and “wokeness”, can be found in the reaction to a tweet I posted which referred to religion as a ‘retarded relic’. The word retarded, although not applied to people in my post, was seen by woke commentators as being somehow endowed with a metaphysical ability to disenfranchise vulnerable people with learning and/or physical disabilities, regardless of the intention or application of its use. It was deemed almost magical in its ability to harm or curse the afflicted group by virtue of nothing more than its expression. Critics of free speech appear to be arguing that if we allow the popularisation of such words, which were used as discriminatory pejoratives in more ignorant times, then we will bring back those times and cause the regression of society. But do such words, in and of themselves, possess this spell-casting power to make entire societies unlearn all we have learned since those more ignorant times? Is our scientific understanding of the heliocentric solar system at peril each and every time we use the expression ‘sunrise’, given that we now understand that the sun doesn’t actually rise? Might the words we use in different social and historical periods and circumstances also have different applications and meanings? Could calling someone a “funny cunt”, which is a compliment in Australia and other countries, advance gender-inequality, for example? I guess what I am really asking is, do words have supernatural powers that can affect corporeal reality? Can a word, by itself, alter reality? I think most sane and rational people would agree that words do not have this type of magical agency.
This metaphysical belief in the power of words has popularised the woke sub-doctrine of ‘violent speech‘. Now, of course there are categories of speech which can be rationally considered violent. If I call on my friends to physically attack someone standing in front of me that I do not like, then such speech might reasonably be considered violent. However, the context of the idea of violent speech has been warped and extended beyond its sane and functional parameters, and this insane extension of the notion could be argued to hinge on the woke doctrine of the metaphysical power of words. Another related sub-doctrine of wokeism has taken this insanity to new levels, claiming that not only is speech violence, but so is silence. Again, silence *can* result in violence, just not to the same extent proposed by this sub-doctrine. If, for example, a man is holding a gun to someone else’s head and issues the ultimatum, “Give me the code to your phone or I will shoot this guy in the face”, then my silence here would provide the potential catalyst for a violent act. However, as with the ‘speech is violence’ sub-doctrine, this has been taken to insane yet functionally useful extents for the woke orthodoxy. It is functionally useful for the religious orthodoxy of wokeism because it reinforces those heavily policed fences. These two sub-doctrines (‘speech is violence’ and ‘silence is violence’) work together to ensure control not merely over a target’s use of language, but also over their right to remain silent. “You’re either with us or against us, and you must immediately drop what you are doing and tell us you stand with us, or else we will cancel you”, is the Orwellian message intended to be conveyed by these tandem human-rights-infringing sub-doctrines. Thus, it becomes clear that the purpose of these doctrines is to exert control and amass power over the infected society and its members.
De-platforming Human Rights
De-platforming is one of the ways in which the woke orthodoxy employ cancel culture to assert control over speech. This is potentially one of the woke orthodoxy’s most nefarious doctrines, because those who control speech, control the narrative, and those who control the narrative control truth, or at least the subjective and collective perceptions of the truth. It is no logical fallacy to observe the slippery slope this creates toward useful mass ignorance and tyranny. Information and thought control have been a staple for all tyrannies of the past and present. Just as one example from modern history, ‘in the early twentieth century, before the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Empire of Japan (1868–1947), in 1911, established the Tokubetsu Kōtō Keisatsu (‘Special Higher Police’), a political police force also known as Shisō Keisatsu, the Thought Police, who investigated and controlled native political groups whose ideologies were considered a threat to the public order of the countries colonised by Japan.’ I could go on to cite the Nazi’s book burnings, Stalin’s secret police, who were responsible for reporting thought crimes, as well as a plethora of other examples in North Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Just as reporting an employee to his/her private employer for unsanctioned expressions of thought, de-platforming seeks to silence heterodox speech by coercing social media and mainstream media platforms to de-platform commentators who commit the sin of ‘woke blasphemy’. As is the case with traditional blasphemy, woke blasphemy attacks the two cornerstone human rights of freedom of thought and freedom of expression, without which the very foundations of human rights crumble, along with the civilizations these rights uphold and protect. However, the woke clergy argue that de-platforming is not a human rights issue because it doesn’t seek to legally prevent someone from freely expressing themselves. They argue that such people can still go out into the streets with signs (for now) that express their opinions, and that private companies have every right to decide to whom they provide their platforms and services. I agree. Legislating restrictions that would protect the principle of free speech at the expense of freedom of association and the freedom companies require to decide who they do business with would be like biting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. It is, however, a point of irony that some woke believers promote freedom for some private companies whilst also arguing against such freedom for others. Where the woke zealously defend the autonomy of companies like Twitter and Facebook, they preach government intervention when it comes to Christian bakeries who would rather not provide their services to same-sex weddings. I am not arguing in favour of these bigoted bakeries, but it is certainly an interesting conundrum for the woke orthodoxy. To steel man this point, you could argue that this example relies on a false equivalence between identity and speech. That is to say, being gay is not always a choice, but what you say is always a choice, therefore the former deserves unequivocal protection whilst the latter does not. The woke might also argue that if the speech hurts someone’s feelings (“speech is violence”), regardless of how important that speech is to the identity of the person expressing it, then that speech should not be protected whereas someone’s sexual identity should always be protected. But aren’t both of these rights equally important to maintaining a free and harmonious society? I think most human rights lawyers would probably argue that the right to express yourself via your sexuality is just as important as the right to express yourself via your opinions, thoughts and beliefs. In fact, it could be easily argued that freedom of expression underpins gay rights, and that any assault on this foundational freedom has the potential to dangerously undermine the freedom of all expressions, whether those expressions involve dildos or microphones. Once censorship takes root in society it is very difficult to uproot, because censorship is self-protecting, and what the woke orthodoxy fail to appreciate is that there is no guarantee that the dominant political philosophy of the day will remain in power. What if the far-right rises to power? Don’t you think they would benefit from the Left’s zealous erosion of these two fundamental human rights? Of course they would! I would warn the woke to be very careful what they wish for, because before you know it, you’ve just unwittingly dug mass graves for all those people and principles your well-intentioned ignorance sought to protect.
Whilst cancel culture and de-platforming are not strictly considered human rights issues, their application generally have the same stifling impact on freedom of thought and expression. In a hyper-sensitive and hyper-reactive environment, where one could lose one’s livelihood and be unable to feed themselves and their family, self-censorship becomes the most logical behaviour, and once this behaviour becomes the norm, freedom of expression and thought may as well be illegal. In this way, the woke orthodoxy are threatening the existence of human rights in countries that have enjoyed immense progress as a result of these rights.