HAS THIS HAPPENED BEFORE?

Much has been written about the religious attributes of the Left’s new faith – Wokery. The ideology has its martyrs, the most famous of whom is George Floyd. It is filled with ideas of purification and renewal – being “woke,” becoming “aware” of one’s privilege, being an “ally.” It is relentless in its persecution of heresy. Indeed, any divergence from the catechism of “anti-racism” is immediately tarred and excoriated as racism, sexism, and transphobia. Like many other faiths, it cannot tolerate what had come before it. Hence we must assume that American history until the advent of BLM is a trail of “systemic racism,” that our Consitution is the work of “dead white males,” and that our monuments and shrines are to be removed and defaced as blasphemies.

Gradually, then suddenly, this faith that was supposed to appeal to the lowly and downtrodden has become a ticket into the ruling class. Wokery is now the official religion of academia, the sprawling government bureaucracy, and of the heights of big tech and big business. The out-community, that which exists outside the woke circle and clings to the ways of its forefathers, is sneered at as deplorable and racist.

What is the rise of Wokery? Have we seen anything like it before? It has the scent of a revolution, seeking to destroy all that has come before it, yet there is no armed seizure of power. It is reminiscent perhaps of China’s Cultural Revolution, where the frenzied Red Guards took over the universities and instituted a screeching terror of struggle sessions and revolutionary zeal. Yet once more, the armed element is thus far largely missing.

It seems to me that the closest example is the rise of Christianity. First gradually, then suddenly in the 4th century AD. Think about it: Your name is Gaius Plautius, you live in Mediolanum (Milan). The year is 350. The strange cult of the Nazarenes has been made legal a few decades ago and is making great strides. The grammarian who teaches your son Latin and Greek has recently informed you that Homer and Virgil would be taught no more. Instead, the convoluted texts of Christian writers will be used – Luke and John. Your children seem to come back from class with new ideas: When seeing you bow in front of the Lares, the household gods, they seem to giggle and exchange funny glances.

Nothing is as it used to be! Expecting favor as a military veteran, you applied for a position with the municipal sanitary services. However, you were told, sacrifices to Cloacina, the goddess of the sewers, would not be tolerated, and a Christian parish membership is much preferred. Lost in thought, you walk back home, passing by the temple of Venus. Suddenly you stop in astonishment – Venus’s lovely statue, once adorned with a sweet face and golden curls, is now decapitated. In place of the divine head now rests the bleeding torso of a pig.

Yes, this has happened before. Early Christianity’s rise had accelerated greatly in the 4th century. Once the faith of “slaves and women”, it quickly became the religion of the administrative elite, and with Constantine, the religion of the imperial family itself. The old gods were declared demons, shrines and temples were quickly converted into churches, and the revelry of the classical world was being replaced with the solemn, humorless confessions of St. Augustine and St. Jerome.

A last-ditch attempt to turn the tide was made by emperor Julian (361-363). The bearded pagan had dismissed Christian teachers from all state-funded public schools and attempted to restore the glories of Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius. However, his reign came to an end as sudden and quick as the Persian spear that pierced his side. His reforms were all rolled back.

Was Trump our Julian? Is the tide of Wokery now irreversible? Are we doomed to live in humorless dark ages filled with the harrowing croaks of feminists and diversity officers? Well, every analogy has its limits. Wokery is deeply embedded within the American power structure now; however, it is not very popular amongst the American people. A new, more effective Julian may yet still rise and lead us in a restoration of the ancient glories of our civilization.

Emperor Julian, bearded in the style of the ancients.