During the post-9/11 period known as the Global War on Terror, there were a handful of countries that were known to be the main exporters of Jihadism- the radical Islamic belief system at the heart of groups like Al Qaeda.
Radical Islamic terrorists were operating in dozens of countries, but some of them- like Pakistan and Iran- were actively spreading their extremist ideology all over the world. And at the top of the list- the super spreader of hardcore Islamic terrorist ideology- was our supposed ally, Saudi Arabia.
Well, it seems the western world is starting to figure out that America is the Saudi Arabia of “wokeness” and cancel culture.
Our college campuses have already infected the rest of American society with the ideological rot of identity politics, intersectionality, and political correctness. Now those bad ideas are metastasizing around the globe. And at least some remaining outposts of western civilization- France in this piece by the Daily Mail- realize that wokeness can ruin their societies too.
“Out-of-control woke leftism and cancel culture from the U.S. is a threat to France because it attacks the nation’s heritage and identity, French politicians intellectuals say,” in the blaring Daily Mail headline.
My fellow Americans, this should be a wake-up call. France is hardly a stranger to radical politics- quite the opposite. If anyone tries to make a Frenchmen work a minute more than 35 hours a week or raises the price of croissants a few cents, armies of student demonstrators take to the streets. You could argue that protesting is France’s national sport, going all the way back to 1789 (ask Marie Antoinette how that turned out).
But French intellectuals, elite institutions, and politicians- including President Macron himself- have been calling on their countrymen to reject the wokeness ravaging American brains before it’s too late.
There’s a particular fear of the rotten ideas from our campuses, as the French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer warned back in October of the need to wage battle against “an intellectual matrix from American universities.”
The BLM protests all over Europe in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota were a strong indicator of how far and wide woke ideology has spread. Democrats’ social justice movements and memes are now global, and that means that the divisive tactics and authoritarian impulses of the American Left will undermine the foundations of liberal democracies from Austria to Australia if unchecked.
What some are seeing across the Atlantic is what has become increasingly apparent here at home: wokeness is a form of early-stage totalitarianism. Identity politics create hostility and volatility in modern societies likes ours that are held together not by tribe, religion, or skin color- but shared values, history and ideas. Once those are undermined at their very foundation, the social bonds needed to make a liberty-based, rule of law nation-state function come apart.
There is no guarantee of victory even if we fight this battle. The Democrat party in America has a lust for power that makes it embrace woke authoritarianism and poisonous identity politics. But when even our social cousins in Paris recognize that America is heading for cultural dissolution if it continues down the wokeness path, it’s long past time for those of us who still care about the American experiment to confront that destructive, dishonest, and insane ideas that the Left has mainstreamed.