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Leading historian warns of ‘fake religion’ of woke culture

So-called woke culture is a fake religion that can have deadly consequences, a leading historian said.

Hoover Institution fellow Niall Ferguson, a Scottish author and historian, appeared on Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s podcast “Tucker Carlson Today,” where he explained why the political left does not focus on the economy much anymore compared to the past.

Niall Ferguson

“The people on the left didn’t really want to have a conversation about economics, because they had lost their arguments in the 1980s; they really hadn’t been able to make the case for socialism successfully,” Ferguson said. “And the conclusion was that there was more money to be made, or more power to be gained, by exploiting identity politics and emphasizing cultural, racial, gender differences.”

Later in the podcast, Ferguson warned that Western society does not yet “fully realize, although it’s becoming more and more clear, that wokeism, is in fact, a religion.”

“It’s not a secular political ideology… it’s not really about economics,” he said. “It is about salvation, membership of the elect of the woke. It’s about persecuting heretics. It’s about elaborate rituals of speech that can only be pursued by the believers. It’s rather cultlike, Matt Yglesias is not somebody I usually agree with, but he called it the Great Awokening. This was a very astute observation. So we are dealing not just with the decay of traditional religion but far worse, the rise of new fake religions, political religions. and one thing that’s very clear from the 20th century is that when people take their religious feelings and they apply them to political ideologies, terrible things can happen.”

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Ferguson compared woke culture to previous dangerous ideologies.

“Central to what made communism so deadly was it’s ultimately a religion, Marx is ultimately a prophet and Marxism is a kind of religion,” he said. “The same was true of Nazism. The most ardent Nazis thought of Hitler and explicitly called him a redeemer of the German nation. So we’ve got to be very careful of political religions. Politics is not something that you should approach with a religious impulse. If you start feeling religiously about politics, take a lie down, you know, have some sleep, take a long walk and try again, because politics should not be imbued with religious sentiment.”