Matthew Schmitz offers a provocative thesis in Tablet. He divides our culture-war camps into three: the Woke, who are anti-racist politically correct progressive true believers currently seeking cultural hegemony. Opposed to them are the Trads and the Nones. The Trads are traditional, religious, and conservative. Think people like Schmitz himself. The Nones are secular, skeptical, and liberal in outlook. Think of Bari Weiss or, in his way, Joe Rogan.
Wokeism could well become America’s established faith. If that outcome is to be prevented, the more skeptical, scientific, rationalist opponents of wokeism will need to join with people who have different reasons for opposing its utopian claims. Liberals who stress the provisional nature of knowledge, resist all-encompassing political claims, and seek space for public error and disagreement, have grounds for agreement with Jews, Christians, and others who believe that men are sinful and fallen.
I thought of Schmitz’s thesis today when I saw that the College Historical Society of Trinity College Dublin has disinvited the None par excellence Richard Dawkins. Dawkins has unacceptable views about Islam, which probably follow from his atheism.
It’s notable that when “New Atheism” was the big intellectual trend on the scene about 15 years ago, Christians were anxious to debate them as intellectual opponents.
Maybe if Christians were in a position near cultural hegemony, they would, like the Woke, rely on social stigma, and invoke feelings of pollution and safety to avoid unpleasant challenges. But we’re a long way from that.