Why the military-industrial complex went woke

Have you ever wondered what NATO’s position on diversity is?

This week, the world’s most powerful military alliance tweeted, ‘Diversity is our strength’. The tweet featured a video of employees of various ethnic backgrounds, including both men and women, telling viewers to ‘respect our needs’ and ‘embrace our differences’. NATO encouraged Twitter users to share the tweet – which was in honour of ‘#ZeroDiscriminationDay’ – ‘to join us in celebrating the differences that make us stronger’. The organisation which bombed Iraq and Libya back to the dark ages is diverse. How nice.

It’s not just NATO that has leapt on the woke bandwagon. Former CIA boss John Brennan – the ‘principal coordinator’ of a US anti-terror ‘kill list’, who also oversaw American drone strikes – revealed his white guilt this week. ‘I’m increasingly embarrassed to be a white male these days with what I see other white males say’, he told MSNBC.

The US Army is in on the fun, too. It has its own ‘Equity and Inclusion Agency’, which launched ‘Project Inclusion’ last year. This operation included ‘listening sessions with soldiers and civilians worldwide to converse on race, diversity, equity and inclusion’. General James C McConville, chief of staff of the US Army, said on the army’s website that it ‘must continue to put People First by fostering a culture of trust that accepts the experiences and backgrounds of every soldier and civilian’. I wonder what the citizens of the many countries the US has attacked in recent years would have to say about that.

The military is signed up to the environmentalist agenda, too. Both the US and British armies are pursuing ‘Net Zero’ emissions targets. The army needs to be ‘on the right side of the environmental argument, especially in the eyes of that next generation of recruits that increasingly make career decisions based on a prospective employer’s environmental credentials’, according to senior British general Sir Mark Carleton Smith. The military, with its gas-guzzling tanks and fighter jets, is a significant emitter of CO2. So apparently, in order to attract recruits for the next foreign war, we need eco-friendly death machines.

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Translating Social Justice Newspeak

Opponents of our new social justice dispensation often find themselves at a rhetorical disadvantage. Social justice advocates desire to replace oppressive “cultural, structural, and personal norms” with a new, more “welcoming culture.” Anyone who opposes this transformation is, by definition, unwelcoming. Who wants to be defined as unwelcoming? The rhetorical disadvantage of dissidents is only compounded by the development of new code words for social justice (like diversity or inclusion). Social justice warriors win battles simply through deploying certain terms, since this language cows and confuses their opponents.

Americans, after all, value diversity, inclusion, and equity. Diversity of faculties and talents produces inequalities—and protecting such diversity was, as Madison writes in Federalist 10, “the first purpose of government.” Inclusion reflects the universality of the rights of man, though certain people would enjoy them sooner and others later as enlightenment spread. Equity is a characteristic of impartial laws, derived from English common law, that protects and recognizes all equally before them; it provides predictable rules and doctrines for settling disputes. Diversity, inclusion, and equity produce inequalities that serve the public good: they reward productivity, expand opportunities for individuals, and provide a basis for stable common life under equal laws.

Our regnant social justice ideology redefines these words, taking advantage of their sweet sounding civic bent. This co-option represents a thoroughly new civic education. Social justice advocates have won no small ground in American political debate by seeming to adhere to the words and ideas of the old civic education, while importing a new, pernicious vision. We must re-train our ears to hear what social justice ideology peddles.

Opponents of this movement can best grasp social justice newspeak through an analysis of its public documents. What follows is based on my analysis of the state of Washington’s 2020 Office of Equity Task Force’s Final Proposal. The same word salad is served everywhere critical race theory is taught—in university task forces (like Boise State’s), in corporate trainings, even in K-12 curriculum.

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The Spectre of Totalitarianism

In March 2019, tax expert Maya Forstater was dismissed from her job — legally, according to a later judicial ruling — for voicing the view that “sex is a biological fact, and is immutable.” When author J.K. Rowling came to Forstater’s defence, she was bombarded with abuse, including an invitation from one lady to “choke on my fat trans cock”. The case became a cause célèbre. But it is only one of many such cases. Today, anyone who ventures a controversial opinion on “trans”, race, disability, Middle Eastern politics and a handful of other issues risks being fired, insulted, intimidated and possibly prosecuted. 

Last year, a “Journal of Controversial Ideas” was launched, offering authors the option of writing under a pseudonym “in order to protect themselves from threats to their careers or physical safety”. How did things come to this pass?

The new intolerance is often seen as a specifically left-wing phenomenon — an intensification of the “political correctness” which emerged on US campuses in the 1980s. But that is a one-sided view of the matter. It was US Zionists who pioneered the tactic of putting pressure on organisations to disinvite unfavoured speakers; far-right nationalists are among the keenest cyberbullies; and religious zealots of all stripes are prodigal of death threats. 

Generalising, one might say that left-wing groups, being more publicly respectable in our part of the world, prefer to pursue their objectives through institutions and the law, whereas right-wing groups seek out the anonymity of the internet. But the goal on each side is the same: it is to intimidate, suppress, silence. In any case, the distinction between “left” and “right” is becoming increasingly muddled, as lines shift and alliances regroup. All one can safely say is that the various forms of contemporary extremism imitate and incite each other. What has given way is the civilised middle ground.

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If You Liked Common Core, You’re Going To Love Joe Biden’s Anti-American Civics Project

It’s deja vu all over again. A coalition of government- and billionaire-funded nonprofits has a “bipartisan” plan for national curriculum goals, this time concerning U.S. history and government. Today this “state-led” coalition is releasing a major report they hope will get the attention of the Biden administration and state governors to “collaboratively” enact their vision nationwide.

Remember, these sorts of national plans are supported by people on the right and left, so there can be no need for further investigation or any public questioning. The experts have got this problem all figured out. Your children and the nation’s future are in their hands. Trust them, these are experts under whose leadership the nation’s civic and historical knowledge not only hasn’t improved but may be at the worst point in possibly all of American history, because of — oops, I mean in spite of their best efforts!

More than 300 “leading scholars” have spent 17 months putting together a “roadmap” for “what and how to teach integrated K-12 history and civics for today’s learners.” It’s a “cross-ideological conversation about civic learning and history at a time when our country needs it the most,” so don’t worry your pretty little heads about anything and let the experts sort it out! What could go wrong?

What, you heard that the Smithsonian is saturating its exhibits and materials with social-justice saturated fake history and forking over good taxpayer money for racist propaganda, and therefore you’re a bit concerned about their involvement in this project? What’s wrong with you, the Smithsonian is an old and venerable American institution! Republican senators are putting billions of dollars behind its promotion of cultural Marxism!

Did we mention this project is also bipartisan? The education secretaries for Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama are all on board, of course. They presided over a massive decline in U.S. education quality and increase in bureaucracy, so you know it’s a good idea!

The DC uniparty has just the perfect solution for American kids’ dangerous ignorance about their nation’s founding principles, system of government, and history. It’s making them into political activists! It’s called “action civics.” Isn’t that exciting? Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were big fans. Remember them? So are Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, those models of respect for the U.S. Constitution!

No, kids don’t need to know anything to lobby their local, state, and national governments, that would ruin the effect. Everyone knows learning is boring! What’s fun is action! Action civics! You know, like the nation saw in the past year or so, all those refreshing young people protesting in the streets for racial justice.

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The Evolutionary Advantages of Playing Victim

Victimhood is defined in negative terms: “the condition of having been hurt, damaged, or made to suffer.” Yet humans have evolved to empathize with the suffering of others, and to provide assistance so as to eliminate or compensate for that suffering. Consequently, signaling suffering to others can be an effective strategy for attaining resources. Victims may receive attention, sympathy, and social status, as well as financial support and other benefits. And being a victim can generate certain kinds of power: It can justify the seeking of retribution, provide a sense of legitimacy or psychological standing to speak on certain issues, and may even confer moral impunity by minimizing blame for victims’ own wrongdoings.

Presumably, most victims would eagerly forego such benefits if they were able to free themselves of their plight. But when victimhood yields benefits, it incentivizes people to signal their victimhood to others or to exaggerate or even fake victimhood entirely. This is especially true in contexts that involve alleged psychic harms, and where appeals are made to third-parties, with the claimed damage often being invisible, unverifiable, and based exclusively on self-reports. Such circumstances allow unscrupulous people to take advantage of the kindness and sympathy of others by co-opting victim status for personal gain. And so, people do.

Newly published research indicates that people who more frequently signal their victimhood (whether real, exaggerated, or false) are more likely to lie and cheat for material gain and denigrate others as a means to get ahead. Victimhood signaling is associated with numerous morally undesirable personality traits, such as narcissism, Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and exploit others for self-benefit), a sense of entitlement, and lower honesty and humility.

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