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  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)
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 )