‘Woke’ Ideology Is the Way the Elite Says They’re Superior to You

‘Woke’ Ideology Is the Way the Elite Says They’re Superior to You
Protesters attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington on June 22, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Philip Carl Salzman

What do you think “virtue signaling” is about? The point of it is to claim superiority for the speaker, and inferiority for the listener. It means “I am a good person, and, if you do not agree with me enthusiastically, you are a bad person.”

When the Canadian prime minister says that he’s a feminist and demands of others that they implement feminist policies, and that he’s anti-racist and that others must implement anti-racist policies, he’s saying, “If you agree with me and act as I ask, you are a good person. If you disagree with me, you are a wrong thinker, misogynist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and probably an insurrectionist who should be in jail.” This is exactly what Justin Trudeau said to the truckers striking in Ottawa instead of talking to them about their concerns.

When Hilary Clinton said that half of Trump voters were “a basket of deplorables: the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic,” and the audience of urban Democratic voters laughed and applauded, she and her audience were saying, “They are bad people, very different from us, who are good people.”

To support their virtue signaling, the elite has generated a series of massive lies about North American society. Specials interests such as feminists have claimed that all females are helpless victims of a brutal hierarchy, and all men are “toxic” oppressors of females. Some men have gone along with these misleading claims because they want to be on good terms with women, and feminist virtue signaling is the ticket to acceptance.

African American activists have claimed, in spite of the overwhelming contrary statistical evidence, that police kill blacks at will and in massive numbers, and that white racists do the same. Black Lives Matter (BLM) used this lie to justify widespread rioting, looting, arson, assault, and murder, and the destruction of inner cities across the country. Politicians such as Trudeau and U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), previously a Republican presidential candidate, virtue signaled by marching in demonstrations with BLM and endorsing this extremist organization.

Politicians were by no means alone in their expressions of solidarity with BLM. Major American companies made strong statements and sent tens of millions of dollars to the BLM organization. All of this was allegedly in aid of “social justice” and “black lives.”

BLM advocated rioting and defunding the police, which was carried out in most Democrat-led cities. During the riots, many small businesses owned by blacks were destroyed, and blacks, such as retired police captain David Dorn, were murdered. And the reduction of police, not favored by black communities according to opinion polls, resulted in the crime rate in black communities soaring, almost ten thousand blacks murdered, most all by other blacks. The BLM organization then reportedly took the donations given for “black lives” and bought a multimillion-dollar mansion. The leaders of the BLM organization, who are recorded as proclaiming that they’re “trained Marxists,” advanced the cause of BLM by making their own lives more luxurious.

However, the lies of BLM pale in comparison with the monstrous falsehood promulgated by no less than President Joe Biden, who claimed repeatedly that America was “systemically racist.” This claim rests on the travesty of an argument that certain census categories—blacks and Hispanics—do not do as well as whites, and therefore whites and “whiteness” are great villains holding down oppressed minorities. The technical claim is that these minorities are “underrepresented” statistically compared to their percentage of the population (blacks at 13 percent and Hispanics at 18 percent) in certain occupations and in income levels. Note that no actual racist prejudice need be demonstrated. Rather, the mere “underrepresentation” is deemed sufficient to claim “racism.”

Never allowing facts to confuse them, the “anti-racists” neglect the relevant facts that the most successful ethnic group in America is “people of color” Asians, who do better than whites, as do Nigerians (who are black the last time I looked) and black Caribbeans. How come these folks are not held back by America’s alleged “systemic racism”? There are prestigious fields in which whites, Asians, and Jews are “underrepresented.” In the highly lucrative National Football League, 58 percent of the players are black, a 400 percent overrepresentation, while in the National Basketball Association, 72 percent of the players are black. Is this a result of “structural racism” against whites, Asians, and Jews? Anyone claiming that would be laughed out of town. Unlike “woke” education, industry, and government selecting people on the basis of race, professional sports is too important to impose racial diversity; professional players are selected according to merit, skill, performance, and potential.

“Political correctness” has been a tool in other places and other times to determine who would be the elite and who would be the underclass. In more religious times, “godliness” has been a criterion separating the elite sheep from the pleb goats. Exactly which godliness was often critical. The English civil war of the 17th century broke out over church furniture, that which was sufficiently austere to reflect Protestantism, and that which hinted at Rome (paintings). Behind that was the fear that the Catholic queen would pull the country back to Rome. So too the thousand-year conflict between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims over legitimate authority after Mohammed. Where one side was in charge, the other was treated as an underclass.

Virtue signaling is a component of status competition. Those who aspire to power and fame will strive to be seen as having more virtue than others, and thus worthy of special esteem and status. One way that they do this is to take more and more extreme positions on behalf of the alleged virtue. Today, this means showing ever greater solidarity with “victims” as defined by the intersectional grid of race, gender, sexuality, and ability/disability. Finding new “victims” to support is an innovation demonstrating great “virtue.” We have seen “virtuous” efforts to turn social arrangements upside-down on behalf of transsexuals. Now there’s a push to recognize pedophiles, renamed as “youth-attracted individuals,” as an oppressed minority that deserves to be protected and given preferences.

In Canada and the United States, the majority of citizens, whites and males, Christians and Jews, are condemned as “oppressors,” and slated to be marginalized and excluded, with special preferences given to the “marginalized and underserved” minorities. In Canada, under the guidance of the Liberal government, Canadians of European derivation are designated “colonial settlers” who usurped the land and position of First Nations Indigenous Peoples, and engaged in “genocide” against them. Euro-Canadian citizens are thus not legitimately citizens, but usurpers.

Canada really belongs to the First Nations in the “woke” view, and the Liberal government sees its duty as returning the country to the First Nations. First Nations, at less than 5 percent of the population, have been given the veto on all development projects, which means they have been given control over the future life conditions of all Canadians. Universities have been directed to hire First Nations individuals to teach Indigenous folk subjects such as “Indigenous science” and “Indigenous justice.”

And to top it off, Canada’s current attorney general has labeled the Canadian Supreme Court a “colonial institution” to which Indigenous individuals should be appointed and the Court modified by Indigenous practices, which would lead to a “truly pluralistic legal system.” This is hailed as “decolonialization.” In the view of the Liberal government, their commitment to First Nations supremacy makes them virtuous, while Euro-Canadian citizens are condemned as usurpers and criminal murderers.

Perhaps the ultimate example of virtue signaling was Trudeau’s decision to fly all Canadian flags across the country at half mast for half a year, in honor of Indigenous children allegedly murdered and buried in mass graves on residential school sites. When some enthusiasts burned down a number of Catholic churches because some of the schools were run by Catholic orders, the prime minister said he “understood” the sentiments. No graves were ever verified; no bodies of children were ever found. But Euro-Canadians were branded, once again, as murderers.

Woke elites fain concern for minorities, even though their actions often harm the minorities, but what they’re really doing is claiming that they’re good people fighting oppression, while you are evil people advocating and perpetrating oppression. It’s a dishonest and outrageous con job perpetrated by the elite to gain status and power.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Philip Carl Salzman is professor emeritus of anthropology at McGill University, senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Past President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.
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