C. S. Lewis once wrote that the impulse to worship was ingrained in humanity. To Lewis, this was proof of the existence of God, although it might just as well be argued that this ingrained spirituality is an evolutionary adaptation (there are even some admittedly tenuous suggestions that some of our primate cousins observe a kind of ritualistic worship). But, regardless of where it comes from, it seems that Lewis is correct that humanity has an inborn need to worship something, anything.
Thus, Lewis further argued, if people are denied the chance to worship a god, they will worship “millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters”. While it might be argued that that sentence is in many ways tautological, it seems true enough. “Spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served,” as Lewis says. “Deny it food and it will gobble poison.”
In the rapidly post-Christian West, too many are choosing to gobble the poison of woke-ness.
Post-materialist activists and ultra-moralist guardians are tuning in and turning up everywhere. On Twitter and the ABC, of course, but time-rich “wokerati” also can be found on forlorn anti-coal convoys, sprinkled over ballot papers and, somewhat surprisingly, within the top ranks of corporations…[these] noisy Australians are spouting a new secular religion — of social justice, affected grievances and a tendentious “diversity” edict.”
This rapid onset progressivism has come about because of a void of meaning in our culture. Traditional religion is in abeyance, abuser-ridden and ripe for demonisation. Political dysfunction — illustrated here by six prime ministers in eight years, the ever-fluid Senate crossbench, section 44 disqualifications, foreign donation scandals and national energy policy, to name only a few prime examples — has diminished voter trust in the system. The times are ripe for exploitation.
The spiritual desert of modern society also does much to explain the left’s otherwise perplexing love-affair with Islam. But then, too many on the left have always needed a Big Daddy authority figure, be it Marx or Muhammad. The religious void also explains the evangelical fervour of environmentalism.
These ideologies are filling a vacuum, which has come about because of the postmodernist demolition of grand narratives, the failure of the Marxist economic agenda and the post-1960s rise of the New Left. The result has been crude identity politics and a relentless politicisation of society, arbitrarily divided into oppressor and victim groups. This ambitious ideological project threatens to become dogma in Anglophone countries, already having considerable influence in politics, the public sector, business, education, health and much mainstream media.
Part of the reason for its encroachment is digital technology. Like the internet itself, social media began with idealistic, sometimes utopian, hopes […] but it also has had some hideous unexpected effects, especially on our young people: working on our primitive in group/out group makeup. Facebook and Twitter have amped up and spread tribalism and political polarisation; they seem purpose-built for policing orthodoxy.
[…] in politics, these digital modes have supercharged unreason, sloganeering and the bullying of individuals and sceptics. [Douglas] Murray shows how social media and identity politics are a toxic combination; the transgender area is perhaps the most toxic because it is the first form of identity politics native to social media.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/editorials/woke-religion-filling-the-void-in-modern-societies
Fascism is the only political ideology actually conceived in the 20th century, and look how that turned out. It is hardly surprising that the first ideology native to social media should be as viciously intolerant as fascism.