Updated: Jul 31, 2021
The Conservative Narrative on Woke Capital is Wrong
“My warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics...don’t be intimidated by the left.” - Mitch McConnell
"All of these CEOs are giving into the woke mob and big business is becoming the enforcer of the hard left.” - Ted Cruz
“Now the woke army has targeted corporations. Corporations are, by nature, risk-averse; they seek merely profit and lack of controversy. The hard left has targeted them as the weakest link in the chain of free speech: If corporations can be bullied into pulling their money from social media networks, those social media networks can be bullied into restricting their free-speech cultures ...corporations will be unpleasantly surprised when those they have been seeking to appease turn on them as remnants of the evil system.” - Ben Shapiro
According to many influential conservative voices today, the reason woke corporatism is on the rise is because, essentially, these multinational corporate conglomerates are afraid of a bunch of broke college students. According to people like Cruz and Shapiro, basement-dwelling millennials are "bullying" billionaires into "getting woke and going broke."
Does that analysis of the power dynamics sound even remotely plausible? I mean, good thing the billionaires at Davos have conservative pundits to tell them when they’re acting against their self-interest, right? It almost makes you wonder how such simple-minded rubes were able to rise to the top of the global economy in the first place...
Are we supposed to believe they were likewise coerced into this? Should we feel sorry for the notoriously meek and mild CIA and implore them to stand up for themselves against those blue-haired barista bullies?
But it’s not just college students and baristas, McConnell and others say, it’s also the media. Which media, though? The same media owned by the corporations getting bullied? NBC owned by Comcast? (Assets: $273.69 billion). ABC owned by Disney? (Assets: $201 billion). CBS owned by Viacom? (Assets: $52 billion). CNN owned by AT&T? (Assets: $525 billion). The Washington Post owned by Jeff Bezos? (Net worth: $200 billion). That media?
Does it really make sense to say that journalists are "bullying" the people who sign their paychecks?
Corporations are far more powerful than woke activists. The Deep State is also more powerful than woke activists. The prime driver of wokeness has to be something that is more powerful than the entities it's pushing around.
A more reasonable-sounding theory (at first) is that these companies are cynically virtue-signaling to boost sales because wokeness just happens to be the dominant ideology. This idea suggests that corporate elites have no ideological bias and are just opportunistically appealing to whatever worldview happens to be popular at the moment.
The problem with this theory is that wokeness is not that popular, and it definitely isn’t the dominant ideology among average Americans. Hormone therapy for kids and "defund the police" were not bottom-up populist movements. In fact, the first major Democrat to denounce defund the police was James Clyburn, probably because Clyburn runs an old-school political patronage machine that connects him directly to community needs (listen to this Good Ol Boyz podcast with Malcom Kyeyune for a more detailed explanation). This means he is actually accountable to real people and not just a small group of media and donor elites like most other politicians, and those real people didn’t want their communities taken over by gangs and wokescolds lecturing them about toxic masculinity.
The Wokeness Movement is Top-Down not Bottom-Up
The real problem is that there is one, unified elite ruling class with its own interests, and those interests are directly opposed to ours.
People like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos didn’t just trip and fall into enormous wealth and power— they know what they’re doing and they’re very good at it. They liked the competition and innovation of a free market when they were first starting out, but when they got too big to fail, their incentives changed. In an oligarchy, the oligarchs have a shared interest in keeping that system in place so they don’t lose their position. Thus, the oligarch class has a shared interest in laws that favor big business and weaken both small business and workers.
The Elite Class: Oligarchs, Government, and the Clerisy
Oligarchs will cynically try to twist whatever worldview happens to be popular to their advantage, but they are much more concerned with moving society towards a worldview that’s more amenable to their interests.
Government elites (high-ranking bureaucrats and career politicians) obviously have an interest in increasing their own wealth and power, and it’s much easier to form an alliance with a small group of oligarchs than with millions of workers and small business owners.
Journalists and academics (who we can call the clerisy) are dependent on oligarchs and government for money, but they are likewise needed to create a legitimizing narrative for the oligarchy. They act as “morality mercenaries,” inventing and preaching new pseudo-religions that justify the oligarchy while hunting down and punishing heretics. This is a great article that goes into more detail about the secular clerisy.
For simplicity’s sake, I will refer to this coalition (oligarchs, government elites, and the clerisy) as “the elite class” or “the elites.”
The Elites Push Worldviews that Help them Increase their Wealth and Power
My contention is that the elites have a class interest in promoting wokeness to dismantle Christianity. In order to explain that, we first need to look at another worldview that the elites have been pushing for much longer (since at least the Progressive Era), which is Scientism, which gets its nonsensical roots from materialism.
Materialism is the view that only objects exist, and that minds and everything in the general category of the mind (such as morality, purpose, meaning, beauty, consciousness, spirituality, and religion) are all just illusions, or that they are fully reducible to objects. On this foundation of sand, Scientism just adds the absurd deification of scientists and of science as an institution, insisting that "science" is uniquely immune to the corruption, error, and bias that afflict every other human institution. Acolytes of Scientism usually advocate for a totalitarian technocratic government where everyone is forced to do whatever the “science says” is best.
We can simplify this further by breaking all worldviews into two categories: Religious and Materialist. A Religious worldview is any view that recognizes the reality and fundamentality of the mind. A Materialist worldview is any view that fails to recognize this. People are naturally religious and throughout all of human history, the vast majority of people have held a Religious worldview. This is because we naturally see the world in terms of both mind and object, with mind being dominant and object being an impotent creation of mind. But there are some outliers—people who naturally see the world in terms of only objects, and those people are also the best positioned to become elites in modern society.
There are nine reasons why the elites prefer Scientism to Christianity:
1. There is a Constitutional Separation of Church and State, but No Separation of Science and State
This is laid out in the first amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This statement makes it difficult for government elites to directly control the church since they can't mandate the doctrines they prefer or ban the doctrines they don’t like. They also can't establish an official state church or use selective taxing or funding to manipulate the church (since they can’t tax or fund it), and they can’t ban anything that is part of the free exercise of religion.
However, there is no constitutional basis for a separation of science and state, and there is no freedom of exercise or establishment clause for science. The government does have the authority to determine scientific doctrine and decide what counts as science and what counts as pseudo-science. As we saw during COVID, there are even official Government spokespeople for science. Dr. Anthony Fauci said people who question him are questioning "science itself" and are "against science." There is no equivalent position in the government of someone who speaks for religion.
2. Funding for Christianity is Bottom-Up but Funding for Science is Top-Down
Scientific doctrine as determined by the government is enforced through public schools and through taxpayer funding of research. The government is a major funder of most scientific research and a major employer of scientists. Alternatively, local churches are primarily supported by donations from members, not from billionaires or the government. Christianity can do this because it provides significant value to people, so they are willing to pay to support their local church.
Private funding of science is not crowd-sourced, bottom-up, or local since scientists depend on funding from billionaires like Jeffrey Epstein and the Sackler family. This means that scientists are accountable to billionaires and government bureaucrats, not to local communities like churches. Materialists will often pretend that scientists are not influenced by this, but this always relies on some abstract notion of an idealized science. Of course, these same people would be the first people to point out the obvious absurdity of this type of argument if a religious person was using it to defend religion; for example, if they were arguing that no Christian has ever sinned because ideally, Christians shouldn’t sin.
3. Christianity is Decentralized Whereas Science is Centralized
Christianity is also highly decentralized, so it’s much harder for the elites to exercise significant control over Christian doctrine; there is no one person or committee that they can buy off or blackmail. America has hundreds of different Christian denominations and thousands of non-denominational churches which operate independently. Even within the same denomination, local congregations are largely locally funded and governed. The trend is moving towards even more decentralization as the number of congregations in the U.S. increased from 336,000 in 1998 to 384,000 in 2012, and the number of those that were non-denominational increased from 54,000 in 1998 up to 84,000 in 2012.
Given these factors, it is very difficult for the elites to exercise top-down control over Christians, but that doesn’t mean they don't try. After 9/11 many conservative Christians supported Bush’s elitist neoconservative agenda of endless war abroad and removal of civil liberties at home. By 2008, many of those voters were supporting radical anti-war libertarian Ron Paul. Then, by 2016, most of them were supporting Donald Trump as he publicly savaged the Bush family in multiple debates, including saying that Bush lied us into war and blaming Bush for 9/11.
The most important point is that the Bush Administration’s initial success with Christians was not due to them buying them off or removing government funding for pastors who didn’t support Bush or passing laws mandating that churches teach neocon ideology as doctrine (although they probably would've done have done those things if they could have). Rather, the administration's success was due to the emotional impact of the 9/11 attacks. However, once Christians started turning against their agenda, the neocon elites had no way to force them back into the fold because they couldn't pull the government funding for churches or outlaw anti-war theology.
4. Churches are a Source of Political and Cultural Power for Working-Class People
Although the working class doesn’t have the money, credentials, or connections that the elites have, there is one thing they do have, which is numbers. But in order for them to be able to use this power, they need to be organized. Family, unions, churches, and other community organizations are all bases of power for the working class. The more these organizations are damaged and the more workers are divided and atomized, the less of a threat they are to the elites.
5. Christianity Provides an Alternative Source of Meaning and Purpose in People’s Lives
This is related to the previous point. Christianity provides a source of meaning and purpose for people outside of their role as consumers, employees, and subjects of the state. The faith in something beyond material wealth and status diminishes the influence that the elites at the levers of State and Capital can exert over them. Christianity also promotes the family, which can create problems for the elites, such as women doing work that isn’t taxable or otherwise exploitable. Obviously, throughout all of human history, women worked just as much or more than men; the difference was that a larger share of their work was focused on making life worth living, whereas men’s work was more focused on making life possible. The value of this kind of "women's work" likely only shows up in the lives of their family and community and not in corporate earnings reports or government tax revenues.
6. The Tools for Finding Christian Truth are Available to Everyone
This makes it difficult for the elite class to claim to have authority through their superior education or other credentials. Almost everyone in America has access to the main tools for finding truth within the Christian worldview since those tools are God, the Bible, and other Christians. You don’t need millions of dollars for lab equipment and a Ph.D. in order to read a Bible or pray to God.
On the other hand, very few people have access to the tools for finding truth within science. Labs are expensive, so they require funding and they require specialized expensive training. Science Journals are behind paywalls that are intended to keep people out. Buying access to one 15 page paper in a journal can cost $45. That’s not a price you set to make money, that’s a price you set to keep people out (although the journals do make a ton of money, but that's almost entirely through selling full journal subscriptions to universities, not individual people).
Science uses specialized, obscurantist language that very few people can understand. Science is highly centralized and the attitude among scientists and scientism believers is extremely elitist. Whether or not someone can become a scientist today is almost totally dependent on class and wealth. Science also relies heavily on credentialing, and this credentialing is indirectly controlled by the government and donors because the institutions that give credentials rely on funding from them.
7. The Influence of Materialism
This can be difficult to understand because of what a patently absurd worldview materialism is, but the elites unironically believe that materialism is true. How could this be? How could they all believe something that is so obviously false?
Due to the success of science and technology, we live in a world where the elites tend to be people who are highly specialized in object-oriented intelligence. Who’s to blame for this? Broadly speaking, it was Christianity for creating the theological and sociological foundations for science, but more specifically it was Galileo.
Galileo suggested we firmly separate mind and object conceptually. He argued (correctly) that this would allow us to use math to describe, predict, and test the precise laws that objects followed. He said four attributes of objects could be measured mathematically: motion, shape, size, and location. Everything else was relegated to the category of mind. This is similar to the distinction between objective and subjective or quantitative and qualitative.
This was actually a brilliant idea since it’s hard to put a number on moral value, consciousness, meaning, purpose, aesthetics, free will, and everything else he relegated to the unmeasurable category of mind; removing those things from science allowed scientists to focus on the things that could be precisely measured and tested using math.
However, Galileo obviously never intended for people to literally deny the existence of mind! But, it was out of his hands. The focus on objects was so successful—allowing Western Europe to conquer the rest of the world through its technological superiority—that people started pushing the view that mind was just an old superstition. The success of science and technology, combined with the transition to capitalism and democracy, caused the method of choosing elites to shift from hereditary aristocracy to meritocracy.
Arguments about meritocracy are usually arguments about the role that talent—as opposed to factors like race, gender, and class—plays in determining who becomes an elite in Western societies. Those are important issues, but I'm going to focus on the talent itself, that is to say, the talent for what? The answer is the talent to navigate and advance in an object-oriented society and acquiring material wealth in that society. Because of the technological revolution, that object-oriented intelligence is far more important than it ever was before. I am not claiming that there is anything unfair about this; I’m just arguing that it changed the composition of the elites so much that they are now almost exclusively people who are specialized in object-oriented intelligence. In a technologically advanced society, the ability to reason abstractly about objects is the key skill that is needed to become wealthy.
Would someone as physically and socially awkward as Mark Zuckerburg have been a natural leader in a primitive society? Or an agricultural society? Or even in the industrial age before the invention of computers? I'm not saying that object-oriented ability is all that's needed to be successful today. There are other personality traits—such as ambition and drive—that have always been essential, but no matter how ambitious and driven you are, there is zero chance that you will become the next Silicon Valley billionaire if you aren’t good at thinking abstractly about objects. Even Steve Jobs, who is often seen as an exception since he barely knew how to code, was a genius at object design.
Things like social skills, common sense, and physical strength might still be important at the lower levels, but if you want to be one of the new masters of the universe, you better be off-the-charts good at STEM subjects. And what do all those subjects have in common? They all depend on object-oriented intelligence.
8. Autism, Mindblindness, and Power
You may be wondering how is any of this relevant to "taking the red pill on Woke Capital?" Because one of the reasons that the elites are opposed to Christianity—and religion in general—is that they genuinely perceive the world as consisting merely of objects.
Most college-educated professionals will claim to be materialists and reject the religious worldview because they “believe in science,” but we all know they don’t truly believe in materialism. They just say that because their professors told them it’s what you have to believe to be a smart person. For most people, the innate perception of mind is so overwhelming that they couldn't believe in materialism if they wanted to, and they can’t imagine that anyone else doesn’t see what they see. However, just as your perception of color may be overwhelming and some people are still colorblind, some people are mindblind. And it just so happens that mindblindness is highly correlated with having exceptional object-oriented intelligence.
According to the CDC, 1 in 54 children has Autism Spectrum Disorder, including 1 in 34 boys and 1 in 144 girls. People who see autism as nothing but a mental disorder or a disease cannot give an evolutionary explanation for this, but something this common must have some advantage. The answer is that autism is caused by an overabundance of genes for object-oriented intelligence. There are diverse skills distributed among the human population, and one of the most fundamental divisions is that some people are better at dealing with minds whereas others are better at dealing with objects. In fact, there seems to be a necessary tradeoff between the two types of intelligence, such that being better at one necessarily makes you worse at the other.
In Power and Autistic Traits, psychologist Geir Overskeid tries to explain why so many powerful people have an unusually high number of autistic traits and proposes that these traits are actually advantageous for gaining power. In Autism as a Disorder of High Intelligence, evolutionary biologist Bernard Crespi tries to explain the bizarrely high overlap between genes for high intelligence and genes for autism and proposes that autism is caused by high intelligence that is unusually skewed towards quantitative as opposed to verbal ability.
Both of these theories dovetail with autism research pioneer Simon Baron-Cohen’s “extreme male brain” theory of autism as originally laid out in his 2004 book The Essential Difference: Male And Female Brains And The Truth About Autism. More recently, in his 2020 book The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention, Baron-Cohen argues that autistic traits were the key to success for everyone from scientists like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein to billionaires like Jim Simons and Bill Gates. One of the earliest autism researchers, Hans Asperger, said “To our own amazement, we have seen that autistic individuals, as long as they are intellectually intact, can almost always achieve professional success, usually in highly specialized academic professions, often in very high positions, with a preference for abstract content. We found a large number of people whose mathematical ability determines their professions; mathematicians, technologists, industrial chemists and high-ranking civil servants.” Later on in his research, he went as far as to say that being at least somewhat autistic was essential for success in science.
9. Mindblindness Causes Materialism
Research by Simon Baron-Cohen (1995 & 2002) has shown that persons with autism have a very weak or non-existent Theory of Mind. Baron-Cohen has referred to this inability to perceive other minds as “mindblindness.” Research by Norenzayan, A & Gervais, WM & Trzesniewski KH (2012) showed that autism also predicted reduced belief in God. They reported that “Autistic adolescents expressed less belief in God than did matched neurotypical controls.” In a Canadian student sample and two American national samples that controlled for demographic characteristics and other correlates of autism and religiosity, autistic traits predicted reduced belief in God. Catherine Caldwell-Harris and colleagues (2011) from Boston University conducted research from which they concluded that “Persons with autistic spectrum disorder were much more likely than those in our neurotypical comparison group to identify as atheist or agnostic, and, if religious, were more likely to construct their own religious belief system.”
Let me be clear that I am not claiming that Christianity is the natural or default human belief system. Obviously, nobody is born believing Christianity and I would say that Christian doctrine is actually pretty radical and counterintuitive. Forming a belief in an all-powerful and perfectly good God probably isn't the default reaction to a world filled with evil, and the idea that this almighty transcendent creator of the universe decided to lower Himself to your level and endure humiliating torture and death, and that He did this to preemptively pay for your sins sounds like the desperate delusions of a raving lunatic. One of the bizarre quirks of the western world is that we are presented with two default worldviews—Materialism and Christianity—and they are both obviously insane, but one of them happens to be true.
The natural default view is probably something like what almost every society (at least prior to Abrahamic influence) developed on its own, namely that, since we live in a world saturated with meaning and purpose and moral value and design and beauty and other attributes of mind, it must be that this world was created by mind, and it must be that mind is still ubiquitous and continually active in this world. And since, in spite of all the beauty and joy in this world, we are also surrounded by all this evil and chaos, it must be that the mind or minds who created and control this universe are a mix of good and evil. That basically sums up every primitive human religion, and it reflects the natural reaction that we have to the world around us.
But then Christianity came on the scene and taught everyone that there was one infinitely rational and powerful mind behind everything, and so people started trying to uncover the perfectly harmonious laws that upheld the universe. This led to the development of modern science and the incredible material wealth and knowledge that sprung forth from that stream. However, the people who were best at science—since science is the study of the laws of objects—were the people who were the best at object-oriented intelligence and therefore also happened to be the people who were the worst at mind-oriented intelligence (including the basic ability to perceive minds and attributes of mind in the world).
Enter the Clerisy
The problem for the elites is that their materialist worldview doesn't appeal to many people because most of us can’t accept a world devoid of mind. Consumerism is a useful distraction, but it only keeps the masses placated as long as the economy is working for them. Thus, there's a need for the secular clerisy. Everyone knows the elites need muscle, such as the Deep State and the military-industrial complex, to enforce their will on the people through violence, but they also need people who can speak the language of religion.
What people like Sam Harris and John McWhorter fail to understand as they hyperventilate about how “Antiracism is a religion! OMG it’s like a religion, you guys!" is that only religion can compete with religion. Most of the elites, although they are among an extremely small percentage of people who actually believe in materialism, have realized that pushing a religious worldview (even if they don't believe it) is much more useful for controlling the masses.
Why the Elites Push Wokeness
The elites don’t really believe any of the nonsense pseudoreligions that their clerisy sub-elites push, anyway. That's because all religions are false according to materialism. A religion is a mind-based worldview and, according to materialism, the mind isn't real. But the elites have realized that the masses won't accept materialism, so they need to find some nonsense to keep them distracted.
Weaponizing Christianity has generally proven to be very difficult (for the reasons I listed above), so the elites need their clerisy to promote a religion that they can control. Wokeness is useful in this regard because it is not protected from the government as a religion by the first amendment (since it claims not be a religion), it is not funded from the bottom up because it provides no value to local communities (therefore is not self-sustainable), and, most importantly, the "truth" within wokeness is decided by the elites.
Some might argue that "wokeness" is simply about lifting up marginalized voices, but who gets to decide what counts as a marginalized voice? Since wokeness provides no value to local communities, there is no grassroots control. It also lacks a universally available source of authority that everyone has access to, leaving whoever has the right academic credentials and grants and awards and gets promoted by the elite media as an authority. And who gets to decide that? It definitely isn't marginalized voices. It's the government bureaucrats that regulate, the billionaires who fund NGOs, universities, and control the media.
Many conservatives have asked why transgenderism is promoted, but transracialism isn't even permitted, and, to be fair, this is only because they think both are silly and they are just pointing out the inconsistency. However, transracialism was already enacted a long time ago as seen by the fact that any black person who strays from the elite orthodoxy is branded a race traitor and stripped of their blackness in the eyes of the media.
This is because, even though wokeness dropped most of the elements of Marxism that the elites hated, it kept the one concept they really loved: false consciousness. This was the Marxist idea that the working class was just too stupid to know what was in their best interest, and therefore they needed a bunch of overeducated elitists to force their best interest on them. Whenever the working class disagreed with Marxist doctrine they would just claim the workers were suffering from "false consciousness." This same idea was incorporated into woke ideology except that this time instead of the working class in general, it is the racial minorities who need the elites to make decisions for them. One sign that a minority might be coming down with an acute case of false consciousness is if they start asking how promoting neo-feudalism and imperialism under the BLM flag is going to help them.
One of the main reasons the elites like wokeness is because it allows them to justify their oppression of the minority working class by blaming it on the white working class, and it allows them to justify their oppression of the white working class by saying they deserve it for being a bunch of racists...thus wokeness allows the elites to kill two birds with one stone.
In summary, the prime mover of woke capital is the capital, not the woke. Obviously, capital doesn't literally believe in wokeness—since wokeness is a religious (or mind-based) worldview—and capital is composed of high functioning autists who believe in a materialist (or object-based) worldview. They don’t believe any religions are true, but they realize they need a religion to justify their position at the top of the hierarchy, and they prefer wokeness to Christianity because wokeness is easier for them to control.
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