If you’re invited to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner, and his daughter shows up and starts talking about America’s genocide of Native Americans, what do you say? Or if you’re in a discussion of classical education with other parents from your neighborhood and someone comments that classical education has a curriculum that lacks diversity and flirts with white privilege, how do you respond?
It sounds like a trivial occasion, but it’s really not. It happens too often not to be important. Woke attitudes have spread too widely for conservatives to avoid it. Not long ago, talk of “privilege,” “patriarchy,” and “transphobia” would have puzzled most Americans. Now, it echoes everywhere, in public and private and professional life.
It’s a social matter, a crossroads. “Do I speak my mind and annoy the present company? Or just nod and move on?”
It’s a losing game. Save your breath—don’t try to argue, don’t defend. The wokester is strong on belief and weak on knowledge, no matter how much she thinks she knows the real history of things. To be woke is precisely this claim of superior knowledge, a keener awareness than that of those still un-woke, asleep in their illusions of, say American greatness.
Instead of challenging the wokester’s knowledge, let’s go with the wokester’s knowledge and draw it out. Let her school us, let her show us her certainty and let’s accept her duty to instruct the ignorant. She wants to be a pedagogue; we shall accept the position of pupil.
In truth, wokeness doesn’t appeal to her intelligence and never did. It flattered her ego. Now, faced with questions directly related to what she has just stated, the certitude crumbles and the ego collapses. You have asked her for knowledge, and she hasn’t replied. She can’t.
You’ve won. It’s time to hum a few bars of Beethoven, mouth some words of Polonius, praise the dimensions of Greek columns, and detail what the Comanches did to their neighbors, and see if she’s ready to listen.