Welcome back to the Week in Woke, where we take a look at some of the (often quite unlikely) things that right-wingers are calling “woke.” This week, a you’ll notice, there’s a little bit of a military theme. Because what could be more woke than the military-industrial complex?
The Air Force Academy
It was the op-ed that launched a thousand headlines. Well, not literally, but an op-ed from an associate political science professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy did cause more than a few conservatives’ heads to explode, also not literally.
“As a professor of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy,” wrote Lynne Chandler García in the Washington Post.
I teach critical race theories to our nation’s future military leaders because it is vital that cadets understand the history of the racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy …
To think critically and read broadly is fundamental to making them future leaders for times of both war and peace.
After conservatives put their exploded heads back together, they launched a counterattack. A headline on Fox News declared “Air Force Academy Goes Woke, Brainwash [sic] Airmen With Marxist, Anti-American Critical Race Theory.” A GOP congressman called for Garcia to be fired. Republican senator Tom Cotton told Fox News that:
It’s clear she knows very little about our Constitution, which is typical of colleges these days. She has no business teaching the Constitution or political science to cadets at the Air Force.
I’m sure Mr. Cotton is quite the constitutional scholar himself.
[Defense] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin has testified at least twice that our military does not teach, instruct, or condone critical race theory. So Miss Garcia should start looking for a different place of employment in my opinion. … We should not be … indoctrinating our cadets to believe that our military is a fundamentally racist institution.
Speaking of the military:
Raytheon is the second biggest military contractor in the United States. It’s also, if you believe some on the far right, a hotbed of Marxist “wokeness.” According to anti-Critical Race Theory activist Christopher Rufo, talking to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Raytheon has launched
this really political indoctrination program teaching employees to judge each other on the basis of race …They provided specific rules for white employees how to speak to black employees. And they even said that employees should reject the principle of equality in favor [of] equality of outcomes, which is a synonym for socialism, maybe communism
And it’s really astonishing because this is one of the largest corporations in the world, it manufactures key defense armaments, and yet it has been captured by this woke ideology that seems to be now the dominant force not only in education and in government but also in business.
It’s a defense contractor, dude. It’s about as Marxist as my cats.
Yes, even capitalism itself is going woke. As Tim Busch writes on National Review Online,
Company after company now routinely weighs in on the most divisive issues, and the C-suite take seems uniformly liberal. See the mass opposition to Georgia’s recent election law, enormous criticism of Alabama’s regulation of abortion, and deep support for federal legislation that would limit religious liberty in the name of gender equality, among many other examples. Elite opinion overwhelmingly favors this transformation, and I’m sure newly political CEOs love being told they’re “on the right side of history.” There’s even a name for what they’re doing: “woke capitalism.”
A more accurate label might be “pandering to the liberal majority in the US in order to keep employees happy and sell more stuff.” The companies that take so-called “woke” stances on civil rights issues and the like recognize that the American people are far to the left of the politicians that claim to represent us.
But Busch thinks taking a political stance is somehow antithetical to true capitalism. “Businesses are built to provide the innovation that improves lives,” he writes. “Virtue-signaling tends to detract from this important work.”
No it doesn’t. Taking a symbolic stance in favor of, say LGBTQ+ people by putting a pride flag on your logo during pride month takes two seconds. It’s marketing, not Marxism.
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