Sunday, November 22, 2020

We Have The United States Of America, The Rest Of You Are Just Visiting...,

tabletmag  |  Shedding its specifically Northern mainline Protestant cultural attributes, a version of Social Gospel Protestantism has mutated into the secular religion of wokeness, the orthodoxy of the universities and the increasingly important nonprofit sector. Its converts include many of the affluent white secular children and grandchildren of members of mainline Protestant denominations like the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodists, which are hemorrhaging membership to the category of religious “nones.”

By evolving from an ethnoregional culture into a crusading secular creed disseminated by the universities, the public school system, the corporate media, and corporate HR departments, post-Protestant wokeness is capable of assimilating anyone, of any race or ethnicity, native-born or immigrant, who is willing to conform to its weird rituals and snobbish etiquette. The Long Island lockjaw accent has been replaced by the constantly updated “woke” dialect of the emerging American elite as a status marker. You may have an Asian or Spanish surname, but if you know what “nonbinary” means and say “Latinx” (a term rejected by the overwhelming majority of Americans of Latin American origin) then you are potentially eligible for membership in the new national ruling class.

The recent conversion to wokeness of the legacy media and big business can be attributed to the increasing reliance of both sectors on a few prestige universities to recruit their top staff. In living memory, if you wanted a job in a prestigious law firm or company in Dallas or Atlanta, you would do well to attend the local state or elite private university, to make connections with the offspring of the local gentry; being an Ivy League graduate, far from being a plus, might well be held against you. The nationalization and globalization of American business, however, has produced a new, increasingly homogeneous managerial elite filtered through a small number of Ivy League schools and high-status public universities, which serve as finishing schools for the woke overclass.

Although the woke managerial culture in the United States has lost most of the vestiges of its Yankee mainline Protestant origins, the emerging American national oligarchy has the same enemies as the old New England-Midwestern WASP oligarchy: white Southerners, Catholic white ethnics and observant Jews. This became clear in the summer of 2020. The woke left not only demanded the removal of statues of Confederate traitors—a perfectly reasonable demand—but also targeted Columbus, the icon of Italian Americans, and Spanish Catholic saints and conquistadors. Democratic liberals warned, in the tones of 19th-century Yankee Protestant nativists, that papists were taking over the Supreme Court. At the same time, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, Italian American by ancestry but woke by culture, exhibited a striking double standard when it came to public gatherings by left-wing protesters on the one hand and, on the other, Orthodox and Hasidic Jews.

The increasingly powerful and intolerant woke national overclass justifies its cultural iconoclasm in the name of oppressed minorities. But this is just an excuse for a top-down program of cultural imperialism by mostly white, affluent, college-educated managers and professionals and rentiers. Woke attitudes are much less common among Black Americans and Hispanic Americans than among the white college-educated elite.

What we are witnessing is a power grab carried out chiefly by some white Americans against other white Americans. The goal of the new woke national establishment, the successor to the old Northeastern mainline Protestant establishment that was temporarily displaced by the neo-Jacksonian New Deal Democratic coalition, is to stigmatize, humiliate and disempower recalcitrant Southern, Catholic, and Jewish whites, along with members of ethnic and racial minorities who refuse to be assimilated into the new national orthodoxy disseminated from New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and the prestigious private universities of New England. Properly understood, the Great Awokening is the revenge of the Yankees.