Moral disarmament of the West by woke

In a crowded function room in the Sydney CBD, British writer, author & commentator, BRENDAN O’NEILL, described the unfunny side of woke as an attack on Western society: its moral disarmament. He was here as a guest of the Centre for Independent Studies.

We’re in February 2022, the same week that Russia was invading Ukraine. But in security services, we’re having a really high level discussion about pronouns and the importance of using people’s preferred pronouns. Whether it be he or she sees, whatever it might be Britain security services, and it’s really important to use the right pronouns because otherwise members of the military who identify as non binary or whatever might feel deeply offended.

This literally was taking place in the week that Russia was invading Ukraine at the same time, but in security services, we’re discussing the problem of white privilege and the importance of members of the Security Services and the military forces more broadly, in terms of acknowledging their white privilege and admitting that they enjoy white privilege.

It gets even worse: the security services in the week that Russia was invading Ukraine, were talking about the problem of gendered language and invite advising against using words like manpower and even words like strong and grip. Because these are male pattern, language terms that could cause upset amongst female members of the Security Services and more fragile members of the Security Services.

privilege, pronouns & Putin

If you put this in a satire people would accuse you of going too far. You know, Russia is sweeping across Europe and Britain security services saying don’t say the word strength, don’t say the word grip. You might offend someone. So you have this strong man moving into Europe, trying to conquer one of the largest countries in Europe. Their strong man throwing his weight around while the British military forces are saying don’t use the word strength as a snapshot of our times, it is really extraordinary.

And then a few months later, while Putin was really making inroads into Ukraine, the Navy the British Navy had a discussion about Neo pronouns. So this goes even a step further than pronouns. These are the new pronouns where people basically invent their own pronouns and the Navy said that you should always use the pronoun someone wants you to use even if it doesn’t make sense to you.

A few months after that the head of the British Army said that you should avoid using masculine naming conventions including words like blokes and guys, so he said that if you go into a meeting, say alright guys, how’s it going? That could be offensive to some people.

Also, you shouldn’t use the word guardsman you shouldn’t use the word rifle man. Apparently, these are deeply offensive terms. And you think, think back a couple of years earlier than all of this. And I remember the time that the British Army put up a poster saying we want to recruit snowflakes. That is literally what the poster said it had an image of a young man looking a bit fragile. And he said, We want to recruit snowflakes. And he said, basically, the argument was snowflakes play a very important role in our society. They’re very sensitive, they’re emotionally open, and we want to be a more sensitive, sensitive and an emotionally open force. And therefore we want you in our ranks at all this together, and what you have is a situation where military forces around the world re arming themselves invading countries or threatening to invade countries in the case of China and Taiwan or carrying out horrendous attacks like the seventh of October pogrom in Israel.

All of these strange and curious and horrible military actions are taking place. And the British military is concerning itself with what language to use, why you should avoid talking about strength and why you should always use the right pronouns.

Brendan O’Neill

I think it’s a snapshot of one of the key problems we face today, which is the moral disarmament of the West.

Now, we often talk about whether we are sufficiently prepared in terms of military strength or standing up to the various threats around the world. But I think the key problem we face today is not necessarily military disarmament. or physical disarmament or not having the right equipment to fight wars, should they come our way, but moral disarmament, the pushing aside of the core values and core ideas that once held our societies together and the embrace of a woke ideology that is incredibly damaging, I think, to the confidence of our institutions and the confidence of the people in our societies.

I think there is a tendency to see wokeness as a joke, and you know, we tend to think of it as the ideological exuberance of young kids on campuses. blue haired kids, are a bunch of idiots who grow out of it eventually.

But I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that weakness is an incredibly serious threat to our societies. It is fundamentally the process, as I say, a moral disarmament where we are stripping away the values and the virtues that wants to define who we are as a society and as a people and in the process of laying ourselves open to the threats that we should actually be talking about encountering.

So leave aside for one second the military; let’s also talk about the Church, the Church of England. This very old, established institution recently had a discussion on using gender neutral pronouns for God. Apparently, it’s really bad to refer to God as he and you should instead refer to him as them. I’m sorry. Sorry, God. Apparently, they /them is a preferable. This was a serious discussion of the General Synod in the Church of England, using gender neutral pronouns in order to have more inclusive language. In order to avoid male naming conventions.

Even God cannot escape the ravages of political correctness. Even he has to be laid waste to by the juggernaut of, quote, ideology. Think about also what the Church of England did after the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter riots that followed. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said, US white Christians must repent of our prejudice. This kind of demand for an exorcism of the apparently Original Sin of racism that infects the Church of England. And to that end, the Archbishop said that all 12,500 parish churches of the Church of England and all 42 cathedrals would be scoured for any mention of slavery and colonialism.

And all of it would be purged; any statute or bust or painting anything that had any link whatsoever to the wrongs of British history. He said it will all have to come down. It’s like the French revolutionaries going into churches and tearing them apart. Although this time the church is doing it to itself.

We see the same thing in museums; the Natural History Museum recently published an article asking all natural history museums inherently racist, and of course its answer to that question was yes. We often say this is the Natural History Museum in London, one of the greatest museums in the world. They said we have our origins in colonialism and the glorification of empire. And we must ask for forgiveness for this fact.

The Natural History Museum has also considered taking down its Darwin exhibitions, and maybe even removing the famous statue of Darwin at the entrance to the museum. Because the ship on which Darwin famously sailed to the Galapagos Islands was a colonial ship. Therefore, he is linked to colonialism. Therefore he is evil. cast him out, bin him, cover him up, hide him away. Even the greatest science scientist ever, arguably, cannot escape the ravages of political correctness. And the juggernaut of wokeness.

Other museums have completely taken down whole exhibitions that they think are problematic. So the Wellcome Collection in London which is a superb museum devoted to the history of medicine. It took down its whole exhibition about the history of health because it promotes a version of medical history that is based on racist, sexist, ableist theories and language. So the whole thing is gone. No one will ever see this again.

The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, really superb museum, removed the shrunken heads that it used to exhibit. It had the shrunken heads from the ancient peoples of Ecuador and Peru, had been there for 80 years and they were on display all the time. They were without question the most fascinating exhibit in the Pitt Rivers museum. Who doesn’t want to see a shrunken head from some ancient tribe; they are absolutely fascinating documents of the past. They’re gone now. They’re in the storage room gathering dust, because apparently it is inappropriate for the largely white owners of the Pitt Rivers Museum to exhibit such an ancient artifact from long gone people.

Other museums have just completely shut themselves down. The Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada, Canada, closed itself, the whole museum, and it said it was doing so in the service of decolonization. So it was decolonizing itself out of existence. And it was replaced by a safer, more inclusive Provincial Museum that would show different things to the art museum that just closed itself down. This new museum, by the way, cost $789 million to build.

That’s how insane our elites have become when they are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on these public performances of self flagellation, which is essentially what we’re talking about. Everything these days, everything from the past or the great things from the past are being reimagined as problematic, racist, overly male, overly white, and they are being purged from our society.

So let’s go beyond the military, the church and the museums and let’s look at other aspects of culture. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is now frequently described as racist. There is a new movement of music critics in the United States in particular, that say Beethoven’s Fifth is a symbol of white male superiority and important so there is a movement to stop playing this symphony so much because it is too white.

Shakespeare is racist. Now, of course, I’m sure we all know that by now. The Guardian recently published an article with a headline, I’m not saying Shakespeare is an anti black racist, but …. we’ll cliffhanger there, but you can guess what the Guardian’s answer was to that question. The New Oxford Shakespeare collection of his plays – this is a New Oxford collection – so pretty official, pretty legitimate, opened with a chapter asking ‘Is Shakespeare racist? And the answer, of course is yes, he’s racist. We know that now.

That’s how this is treated. Opera is racist. Naturally. The New York Times recently stated that opera can no longer ignore its race problem; apparently it’s too white. It’s has too many white people on stage, too many white people in the audience and that’s a terrible thing.

Teaching the canon is racist, apparently expecting students to read Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton, all of whom are white men. is racist. It is putting too much pressure on ethnic minority students to engage with so called white culture. And there are a whole swathe of decolonize movements on campuses in America and Britain and other parts of Europe.

And in Australia too, which wants to decolonize syllabuses in order to remove all these dead white males or these problematic authors at Yale University. The decolonize movement said ‘It is unacceptable that a Yale student considering English might only read white male authors,’ and the white male authors they were talking about were Shakespeare, Chaucer and Milton. That is my view. If you’re studying English at Yale, you should be reading Shakespeare and Milton as a bare minimum.


So I think we have to move beyond the idea that wokeness is just funny. I mean, it is funny. Let’s be honest about it, it is funny to watch these kids running around saying I’m bailing them and dyeing their hair, all sorts of strange colours and it isn’t music and political correctness gone mad. It is one of my favourite things to read about and look into and find the craziest stories out there. But it’s also more serious than that we are living through what can only be described as a process of decivilization, the unravelling of all the great gains of our societies or the great culture of our society and the problem of fixation on these things, as to male to white to old fashioned and not really appropriate or fitting to the modern era.

It’s a vast project of the undoing of civilization. That’s what we’re currently living through, even though at times it just looks to us like something funny and ridiculous and weird. But I think under the surface of that something really bad is happening. And I was thinking recently that if you think about two of the most popular movements among young people in particular, it really does tell you how much of a crisis our civilization is. So amongst young people, there are two very popular radical movements. Right now.

One is, as I’ve already mentioned, decolonization, the cleansing of history and the cleansing of syllabuses and the cleansing of museums of anything problematic from the past. So that decolonization on one side, and then the other movement popular amongst young of course, is the Green Movement.

Climate change alarmism, the hysterical idea that billions of people will surely die from the heat death of the planet, you know, the Greta Thunberg view of the world. St. Greta with her biblical prophecies about the end times that we will soon face.

If you look at those two movements, it’s really interesting because what they represent is a hatred for the past and a fear of the future. So that feeling of extraordinary and profound alienation from one’s own history, where you come to hate your own history, to hate the old authors, the old museums, the old churches, everything about your past you are encouraged and in some cases educated to hate.

And at the same time you fear the future, you dread what is coming down the road, you fear the heat death of billions of people, you behave like lots of teenagers these days. And you think you have no future. That’s a Greta Thunberg slogan, we have no future, you stole our future from us.

Just think about the consequences of a world in which the young in particular hate the past and fear the future. What that means is they live in a kind of limbo, a kind of limbo of now, the only thing that matters is right now, this kind of prison of present-ism, that they live in this purgatory of the present, but they are disconnected from the past and they live in utter dread of the future. That I think is a really terrible experience and it is absolutely anti civilization. Because civilization surely means understanding your past and trying to draw the gains of the past through to the future.

Civilization fundamentally is about feeling a connection with where your society comes from, and aspirations and optimism about where your society can go. It’s about being in a relationship with history and having dreams of the future. That is what civilization is; civilization is a sense of permanence, as what Kenneth Clark said in his great TV series from 1969 – I recommend you all watch it. It’s on YouTube. He said civilization is a sense of permanence. He said, ‘It seems to me that civilized man must feel that they belong somewhere in space and time that he consciously looks forward and consciously looks back.’

That is what a civilized man, a civilized woman is. Someone who has a feeling of permanence, a feeling of rootedness a knowledge of history, and hopes for the future. That has been completely robbed from the young in particular who now live in this permanent limbo of dread for what came before them, and dread at what might come later. And that is fundamentally the end of civilization. I think that’s the problem we face right now when we look at wokeness and we have that temptation to laugh at it and make fun of it. But under the surface, something very serious is happening when your military won’t even say words like strength and grip when your museums are hiding away artifacts. When Shakespeare has been added with loads of trigger warnings in case you get upset by his racist ideas.

When the universities are overrun by academics who teach kids to hate the history of the West, you can really see that this is far more than a bunch of kids drunk on their own self importance. These are the institutions of the Western cells, destroying themselves in order to appease what they view as the original sins of Western civilization. And that’s the current situation we find ourselves in.


I want to bring it to an end by just asking how bad this can get. And I think we’ve seen how bad it can get in the past six months since the seventh of October. Because what we’ve had since the mass problem of the seventh of October is younger generations taking the side of Hamas. And we have seen that especially on campuses; we used to think that education would be the great guard against the benighted ignorance is of the past. Apparently not. These are some of the most educated kids in the world, some of the most privileged kids in the world. And they’re out there every day chanting in favour of Hamas.

They were confronted with a clash between a democratic Jewish nation and an anti semitic army that had just carried out the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust. And they took the side of the latter. That’s the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in and if you look at what’s happening at Columbia University right now, where they set up a Gaza solidarity encampment and just look at the swiftness with which that turned from being a supposedly pro Palestine gathering, to being a hotbed of bigotry, the hotbed of open racism, the hotbed of hatred and contempt where Jews have been shouted out with a message for Israel, which it refers to as the scum of nations…

This is how dangerous the process of decivilization can be. Because if you educate the young to hate Western civilization, you drive them into the arms of civilization’s enemies, you drive them towards barbarism. And all they’re left with is the law of barbarism which they see as providing a kind of cheap, moral thrill in this awful, post civilizational limbo that they live in, when there is nothing else that really connects with them and when they’ve been alienated from everything in their own society.

What they look for is that cheap rush of something that feels real and positive and angry and they latch on to it, as they did with seventh of October. And if you educate the young and encourage the young and incite them to hate the West, you can’t then feign surprise when they take the sides of Hamas after it attacked the West in the shape of our key ally in the Middle East. So that’s how serious I think the moral rot of Western society has become.

I know this is a depressing message. So we can go back to laughing at some of the wokeness as well. I’m more than happy to do that. But at the same time, I do think we need a very serious reckoning with the process of decolonisation. And, more importantly than that, and all our defence of the great gains and wonders of Western society, in order that we might finally liberate the young from the limbo that they live in and make them see that our societies are far better than the regressive societies they are currently aligning with.

But in order to do that, we need a bit more confidence. A bit more courage. We need to stop hiding away artifacts, we need to stop censoring conventional language, we need to give the military a shake and to give the institutions a shake and we need to recover the universities from the stranglehold of wokness. And once we’ve done that, maybe finally we can liberate the young from the horrors that they currently live through. Thank you.

[Transcribed by  Edited by]


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One Response to Moral disarmament of the West by woke

  1. Pv says:

    Al Jolson , A Jewish man who painted his face black to sing. What a sin that would be today , yet in his day he was considered a wonderful artist. No insult intended used to mean no insult given . At least that’s how it was then. Far more innocent and far less complicated. Today I heard that people with dogs are racist. I’ve got a dog ! He’s an Italian Truffle dog. He must have suffered some racism ! He’s going to see a psychiatrist to see if he can live with the pain. It’s a strange title ‘woke’ infers that perhaps someone woke up . .. discovered things !! The opposite is true. Not listening to another point of view is ignorance. ! So much history of getting things wrong .. that’s humanity’s legacy. I believe that that we are still people who do things the same way over and over and expect a different result. Silly isn’t it. WW1 WW2 Korean War,Vietnam War, Iraq war, afghan war, the war of the roses , US civil War, 6 day war, napoleonic war,Spanish civil war, the war of 1810, the falklands war. , the war in Ukraine, the war of independence , the US Mexico war , the boxer rebellion , the Sino Japanese war, the French Revolution, the Russian revolution, the balkans war, the Zulu Wars , the Boer war, the Norman conquests , the Spanish armada , the Cold War, the French Revolution , …… I could go on and on and on , back to Rome , Greece and Egypt ,!!! What did any of them achieve. ? Some achieved Regime changes , others achieved nothing but death and destruction … yet here we are again . We get rid of one hostile regime only to see it replaced by another.

    Surely there is a War to end all Wars .. nut NO !! I hope you all see the relevance !

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