Lately, I have started to distinguish between “progressive liberalism” or New Deal liberalism, which has traditionally been the governing ideology of the Democratic Party since the FDR presidency and “woke progressivism,” which I see emerging as the “successor ideology” in the Joe Biden presidency.
Woke progressivism is distinct from “progressive liberalism” or New Deal liberalism. It is virulently anti-populist and illiberal. It is violent, censorious, collectivist, authoritarian, hierarchical, humorless and puritanical. It has its own racial pecking order with cishet White male Christians at the bottom of the woke progressive stack. It is rooted in critical social justice which is an amalgam of Freudianism, critical theory and postmodernism. These people are zealots and fanatics who have no inhibitions about imposing the “truth” of their cult leaders like Ibram X. Kendi on others. Traditional liberals are people who care about things like free speech, proper procedure and civil liberties and who prioritize the individual and his rights over the lynch mob. That’s not at all where these people are coming from or how they operate.
Wokeness is an emerging religion. Woke supremacy is a new religious orthodoxy with its own blasphemy laws, sins, martyrs, rituals and holy places. It might be hatching out of “progressive liberal” spaces and institutions like, say, the New York Times or Harvard University, but it is clearly taking over those spaces and transforming them into something much more sinister. Elite parents are afraid now that their kids are being catechized in Wokeism and transformed into little monsters.
Thomas Frank is also correct about what the Democratic Party has become over the past thirty years. It has become the party of the professional managerial class. It is also the downwardly mobile children of PMCs who are the most infected with Wokeism and who are the people who become Antifa.