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How to defeat the 'woke mind virus'

Teacher in classroom with basket of apples teaching wrong math.
Teacher in classroom with basket of apples teaching wrong math. | Getty Images/ selimaksan

The famous English author G.K. Chesterton once speculated that “We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which furious party cries will be raised against anybody who says that cows have horns, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening mob with the news that grass is green.”

In the pageant of human history, few other predictions have been quite as prophetic as this one from the jolly giant of G.K. In August 2020, woke activists and Critical Theory scholars took to (then) Twitter to argue that 2 + 2 can equal 5, “howling down” those who argued it makes four.

One account, Wokal Distance, which works to expose the dangers of Critical Theory, compiled screenshots of these arguments. Of particular note was a comment by a Math for America “master teacher” named Joe Herbert, who argued that “Math is actually not universal. Treating it as such upholds white supremacy.”

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In other words, if you believe that 2 + 2 = 4, and only 4, and always 4, then you might be a white supremacist.

How could this happen? Where did this insanity come from? It’s the product of a serious illness. The symptoms of a mentally and spiritually deadly infection. Answer: It’s from the woke mind virus. Solution? Defeat it. The stakes? Civilizational.

Elon Musk, tech entrepreneur and owner of X (formerly Twitter), agrees, claiming in a post that “The woke mind virus is either defeated or nothing else matters.”

Of course, from a Christian perspective, we can have confidence that all sinful ideologies will ultimately be destroyed when Jesus Christ returns as the risen and conquering King. But in the meantime — from this day until that final day — Christians should join the fight to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This includes defeating the woke mind virus, which continues to have serious — even disastrous — consequences on our lives in America. Let’s consider a few.

Suppression of free speech and free thought

One of the primary concerns conservatives have with the “woke” ideology is its tendency to stifle free speech. While they purport to stand for tolerance and inclusivity, the woke wield cancel culture as their weapon of choice. Individuals who hold differing views — whose minds are still uninfected — are vilified, silenced, canceled, investigated, and lose their jobs. This tactic is self-fulfilling: It creates a climate of fear, wherein people are afraid to express their opinions for fear of retribution (and intentionally so) and then choose to censor themselves. The suppression of free speech undermines one of the fundamental principles of a free society.

Identity politics and division

Conservatives see clearly that woke ideology, which is weaponized Critical Theory, exacerbates identity politics. It divides society into competing groups based on race, gender, and other characteristics. They argue that individuals should be judged on their character and actions rather than their group identity.

As conservative scholar Victor Davis Hanson explains, “Most of America is exhausted from being smeared as racists or hearing that a wonderful country — the most free, just, equitable, affluent and leisured in civilization’s history — must continually pay penance for its past and present. The public is more tired of projectionist hypocrisy. Those who scream the loudest are usually the most guilty of woke crimes.”

Erosion of meritocracy

One of the major achievements of the woke mind virus is that it has all but destroyed the principles of meritocracy and individual achievement. Its myopic obsessions with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) quotas have led to the promotion of individuals based on their identity rather than their qualifications or abilities. This approach harms both individuals and organizations, as it results in less qualified individuals being placed in positions of authority.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my pilot, or heart surgeon, chosen based on whether or not they check a box on the intersectionality chart or help fill a DEI quota — I  want them chosen for their experience and competence.

If we don’t defeat the woke mind virus, it’s only a matter of time before planes start, literally, falling from the skies.

Ideological indoctrination

Woke ideology has infiltrated educational institutions, pushing a twisted, divisive set of beliefs onto students. This kind of ideological indoctrination stifles critical thinking and discourages dissenting viewpoints. Conservatives instead advocate for a more balanced and open educational environment that encourages students to think for themselves and engage in respectful debate.

And it’s not just conservatives. John McWhorter, a self-described liberal and linguist at Columbia University, describes the woke ideology as a religion rather than a political project. He argues that this ideology is not only performative but also harmful to the people it claims to support. He’s not wrong.

The antithesis of Christianity

Professor Owen Strachan rightly understands that the woke mind virus isn’t just a matter of misguided thinking but the product of sinful hearts, those 24/7 idol factories in our chests. He explains,

“In the final analysis, wokeness as taught by many is less a direct response to the Gospel and more a reworking of justice and equity to form a this-worldly religion. What does all this mean? It means that the worldview of wokeness is not a Christian one where God is Creator and Ruler, but an atheistic one where man is divinized.”


What’s the antidote to mind-corrupting, nation-destroying, false gospel?

The true Gospel — both preached and applied. The Church must proclaim the saving message of Jesus Christ, crucified, dead, buried, and risen again as the only and final atonement of sins for all who repent and believe. Then Christians must take this message out of the pews and into the public square, calling on politicians, CEOs, professors, publishers, and the media to reject wokeness and submit to Christ instead.

We must deliver the antidote of renewed minds in Christ, following Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:2:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Because if we don’t, while the Church will never fail, our country just might. So let’s get out there and deliver the Christian antidote to the woke mind virus, starting today.

Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center. 

William Wolfe is a visiting fellow with the Center for Renewing America. He served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College, and is finishing his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Follow William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe

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