Thursday, March 18, 2021

Bill Maher on Wokeism

To some of us nothing is quite as obvious as the simple fact that wokeism is destroying America. It is certainly destroying the American mind-- such as it was. If you think that critical race theory, a recycled version of Marxist ideology, is an advance in human intellectual labor, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

Ought we not to notice, if only in passing, that CRT bears a striking resemblance to what is called Black Liberation Theology. Its leading American proponent was Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Wright’s leading protege was-- you know who? If you think that it’s some kind of cosmic joke that CRT and BLT are infesting our schools and our media, you should think again.

When leading French intellectuals, seconded by the government of President Francois Macron, warn their country about the corrosive influence of wokeism, you can see that this ideological aberration is not only damaging the minds of American children-- as though that were not enough to consign it to the local garbage dump-- but that it is seriously damaging our nation’s reputation around the world.

Why would countries around the world want to emulate America if that means destroying children’s minds with critical race bilge.

You might have noticed that we are in a culture war, a clash of civilizations with China. Of course, the Biden administration has chosen to enlist new culture warriors from El Salvador and Honduras-- because that is just what we were lacking.

You were probably dismayed to read Tom Friedman’s commentary about how we are incapable of building a high speed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles-- to say nothing of a train from New York to Chicago. And you recall his remark that China is building a high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai-- roughly the distance from New York to Chicago-- that will reduce the time travel to a little over three hours.

You must also know that our serious thinkers responded by saying that trains are totally yesterday because we have jet planes that will go from New York to Chicago in less than three hours. Of course, when you add the time it takes to go to the airport, to pass through security, to recover your luggage, which would you choose, the bullet train or UAL?

And, let us not forget that much travel in this country takes place by automobile-- for what that’s worth.

So, now, as though it is piling on season, one Bill Maher, the talk show host, had a few things to say about America and China last week. I am relying here on the transcription and report offered by one Marmee Rooke in The Federalist Papers.

Maher begins with the current mania about Dr. Seuss books, the effort to suppress these books because they offer  a stereotype of a Chinese man. You might ask why we are tearing the country apart over such nonsense, but Maher adds that, without having done very much research, the people of China do not give a fuck about this. The fact that we do makes us unserious. Or, as Maher says, they makes us a silly people living in a silly country.

Maher said, “Do you know who doesn’t care that there is a stereotype of a Chinese man in a Dr. Seuss book? China.” The HBO host said that “all 1.4 billion [Chinese] could give a crouching tiger flying f**k because they are not a silly people.” He said that Chinese people wouldn’t care about this because they are “serious as a prison fight.”

No one is ignoring the bad things that the Chinese do to their Uighur population. No one, that is, except for the world’s Muslim leaders, all of whom, to my knowledge have said nothing about it.

The host said that China “does bad stuff” as he lightly touches on the horrific human rights abuses happening the China’s Uyghur population, saying, “they put Uyghurs in camps and punish dissent.” Maher said that Americans “don’t want to be [China], but there’s gotta be something between an authoritarian government – that tells everyone what to do – and a representative government that can’t do anything at all.”

A government that tells everyone what to do is more totalitarian than authoritarian. And we should point out an argument that one Naomi Wolf has been making, namely that wokeism is quickly becoming a totalitarian effort at gaining complete control over the American mind. 

As for the notion that our representative government can’t do anything at all, it certainly cannot control our Southern border. Then again, the American people knew full well that a Biden administration and the Democratic Party would open the gates to Mexican and Central American migrants-- and voted for them anyway.

As China moves ahead in technology-- refusing to continue to be subject to American sanctions-- America is tearing itself apart about transgender issues and about lizard people eating babies. I am not familiar with the last reference, but clearly, we have become a silly people. And that means, unserious, unwilling to shoulder the responsibilities that come from being a hegemonic power:

Maher claims that Americans are widely ignoring China’s dominance in 5G, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure. “Half the country is having a never-ending “woke” competition deciding [what gender Mr. Potato Head will be] and the other half believes we have to stop the lizard people because they’re eating babies. We are a silly people,” retorts Maher.

Maher introduces a rather vulgar metaphor to describe America’s inability to fix problems. He explains that we tend to ignore the problem, then fight about it, then litigate it, then call in the regulators and the bureaucrats, then kick it down the road. Who dares say that he is wrong about this? 

“Nothing ever moves in this impacted colon of a country,” says Maher as he remarks that our government can’t handle fixing the problems that Americans agree on because “we see a problem and we ignore it; lie about it; fight about it; endlessly litigate it; sunset clause it; kick it down the road, and then write a bill or a half a** solution that doesn’t kick in for ten years.”

And China, on the other hand, sees problems and fixes them. This might be one reason why the Chinese people, by all accounts, are happy with their government, while Americans are wallowing in the slough of despond about theirs. 

China, on the other hand, “fixes it,” claims Maher. “China sees a problem, and they fix it. They build a dam. [Americans] debate what to rename it.”

Note the last phrase-- we are worrying about renaming things-- though of course, in many cases we are obsessing about whether or not to tear them down.

As for childhood education, there again China has us beaten. While China has purposefully found a way to test children and has brought them back to school, America has largely not done so. Maher does not mention the role that the teachers’ unions have played-- but they are a symptom of America's political dysfunction:

 “We’re not losing to China. We lost. The returns just haven’t all come in yet. They made robots that check your kids’ temperature and got their a**es back in school. Most of our kids are still pretending to take Zoom classes while they watch Tik Tok and their brain cells slowly commit ritual suicide. As George Bush once said: ‘Is our children learning.’

He concludes by indicting the American educational system, in terms that reflect nothing if not the arguments I have been presenting on this blog.

There is a progressive trend now to sacrifice merit for equity. Colleges are chucking the SAT and ACT test, and in New York, Mayor DeBlasio announced ‘merit’ would no longer decide who gets into the schools for advanced learners, but rather a lottery system.

You think China is doing that – letting political correctness get in the way of nurturing their best and brightest? You think Chinese colleges are offering courses in ‘The Philosophy of Star Trek;’ ‘The Sociology of Seinfeld’ or ‘Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse.’ Those are real [classes offered at U.S. universities], and so is China. And they are eating our lunch.”

Whatever you think of Bill Maher-- and some of you might not have warm fuzzy feelings about him-- credit where credit is due. If his monologue is a wake-up call for America, well and good.


David Foster said...

"(Maher) remarks that our government can’t handle fixing the problems that Americans agree on because “we see a problem and we ignore it; lie about it; fight about it; endlessly litigate it; sunset clause it; kick it down the road, and then write a bill or a half a** solution that doesn’t kick in for ten years.”"

He is assuming that fixed of problems is something that only *government* does, and that assumption is a big part of the problem.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Good point-- we should add that government has often done its best to prevent others from fixing problems.

Sam L. said...

It's good to hear that Bill Maher has been smited with a CLUE-BAT. Don't know if it has been effective, though. One can hope...

KCFleming said...

Maher has moments of common sense that interrupt his usual defense of all things woke.
Usually he gets chided for wandering off the reservation, and comes quickly back to orthodoxy.