Whether one calls “wokeness” an ideology, pedagogy, or religion, it is evident that our culture, our institutions, and our politics have had their immune systems sufficiently weakened and our value propositions corrupted by this social mind virus. 

Examples in North Carolina include everything from displaying Black Lives Matter flags prominently from the Town Hall during early voting to medical institutions claiming to provide “evidence-based” gender affirming treatment for children as young as 4 years old. What started out as pushing back against indoctrination into this worldview in our K12 education system and higher education has evolved into a fight for truth, common sense, and free speech in society at large. 

How did we allow this acute symptom to evolve into a chronic illness? How did we allow liberty, equality, and individual happiness to become synonyms for racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia? When did diversity, inclusion, and tolerance become weaponized concepts to advance hate, ignorance, and intolerance?    

The short explanation: power. 

We are told wokeism is the awareness of unfair treatment in society and stands for good qualities like social justice, climate change, and human dignity. We are told it will make the world a better place to live. We have been told lies. Wokeism is the intellectual movement of resentment. They put on the mask of victimhood and called it virtue.

Now, these would-be emperors with no clothes march through the streets daring individuals to tell them they have no clothes. Upon which, they will summon their cancel culture horde to silence truth. But we should speak truth to power, to borrow one of their phrases, and declare that they are in fact naked.

French philosopher Albert Camus tells us, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

Wokeism is victimhood elevated to the status of priesthood. Its utterance is meant to give off the impression of wisdom and profundity. Here in North Carolina, we believe esse quam videri, which is Latin for “to be, rather than to seem.” Wokeism reverses this sentiment to privilege that which is “to seem” over that which is “to be.” Wokeism privileges mental fragility over mental resilience, fiction over nonfiction, and myth over facts.  

To merely inquire into its ridiculous themes is to cause “harm” or “oppression.” Accordingly, thought, speech, and behavior outside of the woke doctrine are met with inquisition-like condemnation. Thought outside the pedagogy of the woke priesthood is a thoughtcrime. Speech outside the narrative of woke culture is an act of violence. Behavior outside the religion of the woke orthodoxy is evil. In this paradigm, a good person is thoughtless, uncritical, and obedient. If this is heaven, then send me to hell. 

When the progressive type attacks Christianity, one is often reminded of the narcissistic tendencies of Nero. Like Nero, wokeism seeks to provide a gentle reminder that it is religiously intolerant — but just of Christianity. In keeping with its Neronian tradition, wokeism seeks to burn great cities with a passionate activism for reform. Who can forget the “peaceful protests” during the summer of 2020.

Perhaps I should play it like Copernicus and Hume and publish my rejection of absurd, arbitrary authority on my death bed. But I’d rather stare down my inquisition and speak truth to power like the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno or the German theologian Martin Luther. 

Let us all unite and tell these would-be emperors of the woke regime, these would-be priests of the woke doctrine, that they are not wearing any clothes and that the power game is up. America would rather have truth and freedom. As the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”