When Brandi Kruse recently tweeted that the Russian-British "comedian" Konstantin Kisin was the real deal, I actually took her seriously. His "destruction of the woke worldview" at the Oxford Union Society might contain something I missed. The attack on wokeness has, as far as I can tell, been nothing more than an attempt to repackage the old and only substance of conservative politics: The rich cannot be wrong.
In 17th century Britain, this understanding of society came with little public support. The rich could believe it; but only they believed it. But in the late part of the 19th century, and climaxing with the Boer War, the rich discovered a new tool, mass communication, that could infuse a large number in the working classes with the patriotic feeling. You were not poor. You were not exploited. You were British. And one should be proud of Her achievements, Her economic power, Her navy. And it worked, and, as we have seen over the past 13 years, continues to work.
Konstantin Kisin simply said: the rich can never be wrong, and Brandi Kruse thought this was something wonderful.
A destruction of the woke worldview. https://t.co/VpBwunSgA9— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) January 15, 2023
The saddest thing about all of this is Brandi Kruse has the bad taste of supporting a political commentator (Kisin) who actually says things like "the foundations of our civilization." He is not even trying to be funny when he makes declarations of this kind. He really means it. Woke people are eroding what has made our civilization great. They are the true barbarians. The ruins of Rome, of Greece—this is the future of the West if wokeness continues to go out of control. And what about climate change?
There is only one thing we can do in this country to stop climate change and that is to make scientific and technological breakthroughs that will create the clean energy that is not only clean but also cheap... The only thing wokeness has to offer in exchange is to brainwash bright young minds like you to believe that you are victims, to believe that you have no agency, to believe that what you must do to improve the world is to complain, is to protest, is to throw soup on paintings.
How is this any different from what Big Oil says about climate change? Technology will solve this problem. Technology! I will not even make the point that technological progress has (in this civilization) been mostly confined to (1) creating new demand in consumer markets, (2) reducing the size of the wage bill in production costs, and (3) producing new weapons for the only form of government spending that's politically acceptable (we call this Keynesian militarism—but it was first described, in published form, in 1993 by Rosa Luxemburg). The rest is chump change. And yet Big Oil wants us to believe that technological progress, "scientific and technological breakthroughs," can, under present market conditions, reverse even the 37.12 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide the world liberated in 2021. This is magical thinking.
As I wrote in 2016:
In his 2013 book Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, political economist Philip Mirowski presents one of the most productive schemes for explaining, and even predicting, the manner in which our market-dominated society resists responding to problems whose real solutions demand deep and therefore market-related structural changes. Broadly, and with my own modifications on the original scheme, this is what happens: First there is denial, then delay, then there is a bunch of dreaming.
Mirowski applies these steps to the global warming crisis (denial about it happening at all, then delay by sensible-sounding calls more research and more evidence and more voting, and then then dreaming of science-fictional fixes like mirrors in space).
Kisin is simply at Mirowski's final stage. He is spewing not science but science fiction.
Anything that is not conservative is plain woke. I wish there was more to it than just this. But there isn't. Kruse, who is still processing the passing of her hero, Dori Monson, even called Kisin's Oxford presentation required listening for all students. It will expand minds that are confined to the real foundation of Western democracy, which is working-class struggles in Europe: the factory acts, voting acts, welfare acts. Even free speech is a recent invention. Good luck finding anything remotely like it in the real "foundations of our civilization."