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One podcast I try not to miss is The Glenn Show, hosted by Brown University economist Glenn Loury, and I make a point of never missing his regular every other week guest, the Columbia linguist John McWhorter. I am slow in getting to McWhorter’s most recent book, Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. Here’s his case that “wokery” is literally the new religion of the left:
I do not mean that these [woke] people’s ideology is “like” a religion. I seek no rhetorical snap in the comparison. I mean that it actually is a religion. An anthropologist would see no difference in type between Pentecostalism and this new form of antiracism. Language is always imprecise, and thus we have traditionally restricted the word religion to certain ideologies founded in creation myths, guided by ancient texts, and requiring that one subscribe to certain beliefs beyond the reach of empirical experience. This, however, is an accident, just as it is that we call tomatoes vegetables rather than fruits. If we rolled the tape again, the word religion could easily apply as well to more recently emerged ways of thinking within which there is no explicit requirement to subscribe to unempirical beliefs, even if the school of thought does reveal itself to entail such beliefs upon analysis. One of them is this extremist version of antiracism today.
With the rise of Third Wave Antiracism we are witnessing the birth of a new religion, just as the Romans witnessed the birth of Christianity. They way to get past seeing the [woke] Elect as merely “crazy” is to understand that they are a religion. To see them this way is not to wallow in derision, but to genuinely grasp what they are.