James M. Patterson, associate professor of politics at Ave Maria University, has offered up the best explainer on “wokeness” as a new religion. Patterson’s piece appears in the Summer 2021 issue of National Affairs. It’s a must-read and particularly so if you struggling to understand woke logic, which he argues is a religious movement wrapped in hierarchies, ritual cleansing, and state and corporate power.
It’s been clear to me that this movement has been a religious phenomenon from the onset given that something always has to fill the void of secularism, a point Patterson highlights in his piece too. Of course, wokeness offers new pathways of special enlightenment and consciousness, a recycled gnostic heresy washed in Marxist principles. Thus the agenda can easily defy logic and reason to those on the outside.
Patterson argues that if wokeness is rightly recognized as a religion then it spells bad news for the movement. It can no longer freely encapsulate the government and corporate America since there are constitutional limits to the establishment of religion.
Another great insight from the piece is the corporate appeal to the woke movement and the religious caste system of wokeness.
Highlighted are a few excerpts below but read the whole piece:
For the woke, identity is the source of divinity. Yet individuals are not divine on their own; they only participate in the divinity found in shared group identities…
For this new faith to flourish, it requires global capital, and global capital has adopted wokeness as its religion. There are exceptions, of course — the most prominent being Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A. But for most corporations, the decision to embrace wokeness is a no-brainer, as there is no downside: Outside of Russia and the Middle East, where woke branding and messaging might prove to be a liability, coordinated opposition to the movement is virtually non-existent.
Helen Lewis of the Atlantic concurs, defining the “iron law of woke capitalism” to be that “[b]rands will gravitate toward low-cost, high-noise signals as a substitute for genuine reform, to ensure their survival…”
Wokeness is the opiate of the elites. None of the patronage directly benefits struggling communities; it simply moves funds from state institutions, global corporations, and universities to diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants.