Are the Woke Morally Superior?
Defeating Wokeism isn’t merely a political, legal, or even cultural battle. We must also address what ultimately fuels Wokeness on a personal level: a delusional sense of moral superiority because it’s that moral superiority that is the vehicle for the left’s real power grab.
Are the Woke, in fact, morally superior? If you ask them, they certainly are. Their thinking seems to run something like this:
The world consists of people with different skin colors, genders, sexual orientations, etc. We are tolerant. The un-Woke aren’t. Therefore, we are morally superior.
This worldview is seductive. The basic idea is “I’m a good person, and you’re not.” Moral superiority is an addictive drug. But every claim in the above argument is off.
Take the concept that “The world consists of people with many different skin colors, genders, sexual orientations, and so on.” That seems true enough at first look. Yet the error lies in its implicit assumptions and in how it’s used. It implies that humanity’s most essential and important qualities can be reduced to these traits: skin color, gender, and sexual orientation.
The mistake is in the reductionism. This approach reduces the entire moral universe down to very few minor qualities while pretending to cover the entire picture. But skin color, gender, and so on are superficial traits. Everyone agrees on this. (It’s the whole point, really.) These aren’t good ways to measure beings. Yet reducing human beings down to superficial traits—and mandating that the entire world must be rearranged according to these traits—is a central premise of Wokeism. The error lies in the act of reduction. There’s more to human beings than all this.
So, if these traits are superficial, what traits aren’t superficial?
That brings us to the second statement. “We are tolerant.” How is that wrong?
Clearly, the Woke actually aren’t tolerant of much beyond themselves. These modern Sophists merely redefine “tolerance.” They’re working to instill cultural tyranny through hijacking good manners and common decency to control speech, criminalize nonconformity, and mandate identity politics. They’re famously intolerant.
But they would disagree. “No, we’re the tolerant ones! We just don’t tolerate the intolerant. And you are intolerant.”
This admission (that they’re intolerant in their own way) is progress but also exposes core differences in the basic worldview. The Woke reduce every virtue down to one: tolerance of specific superficial traits.
Sane individuals don’t measure human beings this way. We ask different—and much bigger—questions. Are you good or evil? Loving or hateful? Kind or cruel? Do you lie or tell the truth? Do you believe in reason, logic, and dialogue or in chaos, irrationality, and raw power? Do you believe in some form of higher truth or are you nihilistic? Is anything sacred or is nothing sacred? And if the former, what’s sacred for you?
Average Wokeists rarely ask such questions. Instead, they flatten everything down to “tolerance,” and that’s their yardstick for measuring everything. “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Wokeism offers cheap moral superiority for the morally illiterate.
This brings us to the third claim: “Those who aren’t Woke aren’t (tolerant).”
Again, Wokeism essentially reduces all virtues down to one (“tolerance”) and all vices down to one (“intolerance.”) If everyone were just “tolerant,” then we’d all get along, and there would be peace in the world.
But this kind of juvenile, grade-school thinking profoundly oversimplifies a complex situation. Clearly, simply mandating “tolerance” isn’t a panacea. Do they “tolerate” anyone without a Woke worldview? Who decides what should or shouldn’t be “tolerated”? What happens to those who don’t want to judge people solely based on superficial traits?
The universe is much bigger than all this. Wokeism mandates a profoundly narrow view of the world, like wearing a blindfold with a single tiny eyehole. It sees only race/sex/gender and more race/sex/gender.
Wokeism, therefore, misses the important stuff. It presumes atheism, which excludes Logos—a profound order in the universe, an immense buffet of mysteries and miracles that organized religion tries to capture. It’s hard to convey to the fully brainwashed that there’s much more to the world than the Wokesters’ narrow view of things. To paraphrase Nietzsche, “Those who are dancing seem crazy to those who can’t hear the music.” It’s like trying to describe beautiful sights to the blind, or beautiful music to the deaf—only the Woke are much worse. They refuse to look, then insist there’s nothing to see.
This is how the Woke fundamentally misunderstand the non-Woke. The non-Woke are awake to the greater reality that exists once the Woke blindfold is removed. (We understand why indoctrinating young children into sexual confusion isn’t good, for example.) We disagree on fundamental worldviews. The two sides don’t merely disagree about the results of measuring, but also about how and what to measure.
The Wokesters’ caricatures of us are delusional, although they can’t see that. Our world is much wider than the simplistic, grade-school worldview they’ve invented.
Ultimately, Wokeism is a con game—a grift they’ve deliberately engineered in order to gain political power. It’s a moral Ponzi scheme that succeeds only so long as there’s someone left to accuse. When no one is left to accuse, the scam collapses. Its bait—the offer of easy moral superiority—proves illusory.
But here, the game changes. Even if my critique is entirely true, it might not matter.
Decades ago, China invaded Tibet. China then murdered many and destroyed much of the Tibetan culture.
How did China justify this? Its narrative was roughly this: Tibet was once part of China, and now we want to reclaim it. Therefore, this invasion is justified.
No one in Tibet believed this. And neither did anyone in China, it seemed.
But it didn’t matter.
The story was a mere fig leaf, a rationalization. For the Left, words aren’t about truth. They’re about power. Lies are tactics of war. They think they’re at war, so they lie.
Even if everyone eventually sees through the con of Wokeism, it might matter as little as China’s lie about Tibet. By then, the shift might already be complete.
The point is power. The aim of Wokeism is to fool people into voluntarily creating an authoritarian police state. The rationalization is that we need an army of bureaucrats and apparatchiks in every institution to stamp out racism and sexism wherever they see it.
But the brains behind wokeism don’t care about actually stamping out racism and sexism. The real goal is to create an army of bureaucrats and apparatchiks. By the time enough people understand what’s really happening, the narrative will have already served its purpose and can then be discarded. The point wasn’t eliminating intolerance: the point was the army of empowered bureaucrats.
This game isn’t over yet, but the Wokesters have already taken over many of our institutions and fooled many of our leaders. Far too many people with real power believe the con, love the taste of cheap moral superiority and don’t even understand the dangerous game they’re playing.
Destroying the average Wokesters’ imaginary moral superiority is a critical step. Everyone wants to be morally superior, but nobody wants to be part of a sleazy, deceitful con game.
We must relentlessly expose Wokeism for what it is. There’s still time.
But not much.
Steve Rose is a pseudonym.