A Review of Wokeshevism. Edited by Augusto Zimmermann and Joshua Forrester.

Connor Court Publishing, 2023.

This new collection of essays on the woke revolution is a must read:

If a doctor wants to properly help a patient, he first needs to know just what ails him. In the same way, if we are concerned about the West and the downward spiral it clearly is on, we need to learn more about its malady, how it got there, and how it might be remedied or removed.

That is what this volume seeks to do. Subtitled “Critical Theories and the Tyrant Left,” this collection of a dozen essays by mostly Australian experts examines the activist left and its war on just about everything – at least everything of worth and value that the West has painstakingly developed and produced over so many centuries. For these militants the grand struggle between good and evil is reduced to the rest versus the West. And they want the West to lose.

In their introduction, the editors – law professor Augusto Zimmermann and Joshua Forrester – tell us of the rationale for the title: “The term ‘Wokeshevism’ is a portmanteau of ‘woke’ and ‘Bolshevism’.” (19) They define both terms and remind us of the many similarities between the Left today and Lenin and the Bolsheviks: “‘Wokeshevism’ thus denotes the woke’s revolutionary zeal to impose their worldview on all parts of society, and to crush any dissent.” 22

Zimmermann takes this further in his chapter discussing the links between Marxism, racism and genocide. He documents the Marxist roots of Nazi-Fascism, showing how they are indeed kissing cousins. For example, Mussolini’s fascism “grew up on the soil of Italian Marxism.” (283) As for the Nazis, the party

was established as a mass movement to bring together the ideals of nationalism and socialism. . . . Besides anti-Semitism, this [1920] manifesto promised government expropriation of land without compensation; nationalisation of all basic sectors of the national industry; the abolition of market-based lending; and the confiscation of all income unearned by work. In a speech on Labour’s Day on 1st May 1927, Hitler declared: “We are socialists. We are enemies of today’s capitalistic system…” (285)

He continues: “There are, therefore, important commonalities between Nazism and Marxism. It is patently wrong to assume the Marxism is the polar opposite of Communism, or that the Nazis were ‘reactionary capitalist counter-revolutionaries’. As a matter of fact, the Nazis were committed socialists…” (289)

As Michael McMahon puts it in his chapter, “The Genesis of Critical Theory and Cancel Culture”: “The present day Neo-Marxist attacks on Western Civilization contain the same elements of reductionism. There is a prolonged assault on the historical sins and present failings of the West without any attempt to recognise its achievements and successes. The West is profiled as a ravenous, imperial, colonial, and capitalist power: its negative identity – without any dwelling on its positive attributes or its outstanding contribution to civilization.” (155)

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Wokeshevism: Critical Theories and the Tyrant Left by Zimmermann, Augusto (Editor), Forrester, Joshua (Editor) Amazon logo

One important American contributor to this volume, Princeton University jurisprudence professor Robert George, has a key chapter on “Natural Law, God, and Human Dignity.” He argues that his understanding of human rights, as viewed through the lens of natural law theory, rejects both rugged individualism and collectivism.

The former “overlooks the intrinsic value of human sociability and tends mistakenly to view human beings atomistically” while the latter subordinates the individual “to the interests of larger social units – the community, the state, the volk, the fatherland, the fuhrer, the future communist utopia.”

All areas of Western life are now contaminated by woke activism, including the academy. Education expert Kevin Donnelly looks at this area, reminding us of how far down the secular left road our schools have gone as critical theory is applied to every aspect of the West, while the non-West is ignored. Yes, the West has been guilty of imperialism and slavery, but…

the reality is all civilisations are guilty of crimes against humanity. Often ignored by cultural-left activists, for example, is the Islamic slave trade centred on the Mediterranean between the 16th and 18th centuries and the way women were and still are oppressed in many tribal societies. The unique strength and benefit of Western civilisation is that over time it has been capable of rectifying inequalities and the sins of the past. (63)

But this book does not just deal in the theoretical or the big picture analysis. It gives us practical examples and case studies of how the radical secular left woke agenda is causing tremendous harm. Alexander Millard and John Steenhof for example look at “Vilification Laws: Tools for Tyranny”.

They begin by showing the connection these laws have with postmodern critical theory, and then speak to specifics. They write, “These laws place a heavy burden on free speech because they limit the open contest of ideas in liberal democracies, regardless of whether someone is speaking truthfully or if any harm is actually caused.” (180-181)

After looking in some detail at the various state-based laws on this, they say: “The language of incitement to hatred adopted in vilification statutes was implemented by totalitarian states that sought to eradicate any domestic opposition to communist rule.” (194) No wonder they are so eagerly sought after here as well.

Another case in point involves the various laws being passed prohibiting ‘Conversion Therapy’. Andrew Kulikovsky has a chapter on this which is worth noting. He notes the consistently flawed “research” that these laws are based on, as well as the nebulous concepts of “harm” and even the term “conversion therapy” that are so often used. He also looks at the harms these laws cause to churches and religious groups. As he says in his conclusion:

Legislative restrictions and bans on ‘conversion therapy’ are based on faulty assumptions and assertions that are not supported by scientific evidence. . . . Moreover, it appears that ‘conversion therapy’ is perfectly acceptable when applied in one direction but not in the other. There is no problem with counselling an individual to adopt a gender identity different to their own biological sex. . . . In other words, ‘conversion therapy’ is fine if practiced by homosexual or transgender activists, but reprehensible and harmful if practiced by religious conservatives. (374)

This book is not just a volume of gloom and doom however, but also offers ways to fight back. Right now in America we are witnessing a terrific example of people power in action, with a very effective boycott of Bud Light and its idiotic trans woke agenda really taking a toll on the company. Thus Peter Kurti was quite right to say this:

“One of the most apparent manifestations of Critical Theory activism is cancel culture, which suppresses dissent with ruthless vindictiveness and cows into silence those who might express dissent. Cancel culture depends for its prevalence on the timidity of those it attacks. But although the activists appear to dominate public debate, cancel culture is not popular.” (139-140)

Sadly in one brief book review one cannot discuss in detail what all the contributors have written in this important volume. All the essays are of real value, and all the other authors – Laurie Stewart, James Allan, Steven Alan Samson, Anthony Gray, and Gabriel A Moens – could also be singled out here.

Zimmermann and Forrester are to be congratulated for bringing together so many experts to deal with one of the major challenges of our time.

(Australians can purchase the book here: https://www.connorcourtpublishing.com.au/Wokeshevism-Critical-Theories-and-the-Tyrant-Left–Edited-by-Augusto-Zimmermann-and-Joshua-Forrester_p_516.html )

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9 Replies to “A Review of Wokeshevism. Edited by Augusto Zimmermann and Joshua Forrester.”

  1. I love what the German pastor and theologian Helmut Thielicke said. He stood against the Nazi regime during World War II, and he said about this request,
    “Jesus is Victor!
    He has already won, and all our struggles are only rear-guard battles and mop-up actions”
    (Our Heavenly Father, p. 135).

    Cheers & blessings to all Bill…
    Eric Hansen

  2. Target has gone into transgender clothing for babies and children, not sure if in Australia or only America so I won’t be shopping with them much anymore unless there is an apology/change of management.

  3. Our battles are for more severe than simple rear guard action or mop up work. Yes the ultimate victory is won. But the battles we face are large and monumental. If we held the high ground yes rear guard action and mop up work would be good but we seeded that ground, and most other, to satan long ago. Now we are fighting to regain what we once had culturally, and morally, and rear guard just won’t do it we NEED front line infantry and LOTS of them. Culturally and morally we need a SUSTAINED D-day style offensive, the largest and longest mobilization of Christian warriors in history, and for THAT we need warriors taking the fight TO the enemy not just fending off the enemy when he rears his head against us. In the West at least I don’t see that. We have a few platoons here and there but not what we need.

    We think of Gideon and the 300 and other examples and figure God can can work miracles with just a few so it’s fine that so much of Christianity has fallen into the abyss God’ll work another of his miracles and we’re back to where we should be. We can’t rely on miracles. Not saying we should deny them but we can’t be so reliant on them that we don’t adequately prepare and do things ourselves. Remember God often partners with man but man has to do his part. If man won’t do his part God won’t do anything either. The church has not been doing its part. If we start out on a long D-day style offensive with our front line troops leading the way perhaps God will do something miraculous along the way and the fight won’t be as long.

    Unfortunately today’s Christian hasn’t the stomach for spiritual warfare.

  4. Society’s big problem is fighting a SPIRITUAL war with political and economic weapons. Yes they can be used but that’s ALL society uses. Until society sees this WAR for what it is a SPIRITUAL CONFLICT between good and evil and starts fighting with spiritual weapons especially PRAYER the war is not society’s to win.

    Just like regular war you need to use appropriate weapons. Yes sending in radio signals and using sanctions can aid in fighting but you can’t win that way you need to actually fight on the battlefield with the weapons of war.

    Perhaps also we should prioritize battlefields so our resources actually go towards fighting against a valuable target. Colleges, entertainment, news media, are high value targets. Schools, both primary and secondary, are likewise high value targets. Local governments and local bureaucracy are also high value targets. Holding open air rallies and meetings are important with 1000’s of people attending.

  5. Jesus faced similar threats of cancel culture, critical theory, and a political power that sought to usurp the minds and hearts of the people through false idols and coercion.
    Elements of His own people wanted to make Him king, including His disciples, to go to war, and take over the government. But not once did He organize an anti government rally, nowhere is it recorded that He spoke against the prevailing culture, but rather His harshest words were reserved for the religious rulers who wanted political governorship and to have themselves seated at the table of power. They were the ones who killed Him.
    Jesus said, His kingdom was not of this world. He didn’t come here to create a political empire. The goals of so many otherwise well meaning Christians today, especially in America, to create some sort of semi theocracy through a union of church and state, and thus contravening the constitution, is fraught with dangers that the American founding fathers strived to avoid.
    What we need today is not a political war against the woke culture. Remember, what is going on is but a symptom of a far wider and deeper conflict than is seen by the naked eye, the real war is between Christ and Satan. Jesus has given us our marching orders. We need leaders who are certainly willing to go to battle. But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. They are not political. They are spiritual, and the message is the gospel. It is the gospel that changes hearts, not legislation. It is the holy Spirit that convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgement, not campaign promises and rallies in the town square.
    And finally, and most importantly, it is the heartfelt repentance and earnest prayer and consecration of God’s born again Spirit filled people, with the image of God…the likeness of Christ, in their characters, that offers the world hope in despair, solutions to perplexity, and truth in the midst of error and ignorance.
    This is our message to a dying world, on the brink of the second coming…
    KJV Revelation 14:6-12
    6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the EVERLASTING GOSPEL to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
    7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
    8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
    9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
    10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
    11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
    12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

  6. Thanks Brendan, but yes and no. I have written about this so often that I do not want to repeat it all here. But a few quick points. Is the ultimate battle a spiritual battle? Yes of course it is. But that does NOT mean that this battle has nothing to do with life on planet earth. It manifests itself everywhere, including in the social, the political and the cultural arenas. It is impossible to obey the command of Christ to be salt and light if we think we can just disengage from this world (as if that were even possible), and have nothing to do with the very real battles that are taking place here. And it would be a complete abdication of our Christian responsibility to have Christ be Lord over all.

    Just imagine if Wilberforce foolishly listened to his Christian critics who told him to stop wasting his time in political and cultural battles: we would still have slavery today. Praise God Wilberforce ignored that fully unhelpful and unbiblical advice, and sought to fully represent Christ in the world he lived in. I will follow suit, both praying and working for God’s Kingdom to come, just as Jesus told us to pray for.

    And for biblical Christians to be greatly concerned about the massive war on their families, their faith, their freedom and their communities has nothing to do with creating a theocracy! It is called obeying the two great commandments about loving God and neighbour. But as I said, I have written on this plenty of times. For those who are interested, here is just one such piece: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2022/04/21/we-must-speak-truth-to-power/

    So I will pray, preach the gospel, and work for justice in this world. Pretending I must choose some but not all will help no one but only make things worse.

  7. Thanks, Bill
    I’m working my way through Douglas Murray’s ‘The War on the West’ at the moment, and this volume will be an update and an upgrade.
    Grace and peace,
    Neil Harvey

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