We got through this one!

Hit the like button above and leave a comment if the mood strikes you. Please consider subscribing if you haven't already.

Feel free to use the comments section to suggest other books for future FbF Book Club entries.

Expand full comment

Excellent series on a topic which is certainly pertinent to our time.

Expand full comment

"Many have written on how “wokeness” is little more than a watered-down Christianity minus both Christ and forgiveness."

Then "Many" are confused and misguided!

"Woke" is a horrible term, failing to carry any truth about the attitude the term attempts to define.

"Politically Correct Progressivism" (PC-Prog) is a more descriptive, and true, term for the set of beliefs to which "Woke" people adhere.

Those beliefs have no connection, nor resemblance, to Christianity.

The PC-Prog belief system is simple and monolithic. It is based purely on hatred. There are 6 core justifications for their hatred of Normal-Americans:

PC Progs believe:

America is a:

1. Racist,

2. Sexist,

3. Homophobic,

4. Capitalist,

5. Imperialist,

6. Xenophobic...


With the Action Corollary:

"And it must be changed."

Look at any PC-Prog ("Woke") position, and it will match one of the beliefs, or the corollary.

While there are martyrs, and saints, and devils galore in the PC-Prog belief system and in the implementation of the beliefs and corollary, which could, if you squint, look like Christianity; any comparison to Christianity is horribly strained.

PC-Prog beliefs are minus much, much more, compared to Christian beliefs, than Christ and forgiveness.

Expand full comment

It is all the same doctrine. It is progressivism. It's older than you or anyone you know who is still alive.

Expand full comment

I tend to think of Woke as a postmodern stew of previous egalitarian religions/ideologies: a definite base of Marxism, with a splash of punitive Puritanism, seasoned with a few dashes of Bolshevism and Jacobinism. Makes for a potent yet toxic meal!

Expand full comment

"...egalitarian religions/ideologies..."


PC-Progs are totally driven by hatred! Nothing egalitarian, or "awake" about their beliefs whatsoever.

They hate Normal-American culture, and Normal-Americans. They believe that Normal America is racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, capitalistic, imperialist, and must be changed. Their entire belief system is driven by hate.

"Changed" means anything from poked and prodded to total annihilation.

While Marxists designed this hatred, and spread it via covert influence operations, PC-Progism is not based on Marxism/Communism/Socialism, or any other "egalitarian" theory or belief.

A totalitarian, hate-based belief system, ready to destroy Normals and Normal culture.

Expand full comment

yes they do hate and want to destroy, but in their minds it's for egalitarian goals and for a utopian egalitarian future where we all have the same healthy levels of self-esteem after esteem has been redistributed from top to bottom, and where all prior stigmas are reversed so those who used to suffer now get to inflict suffering. (hey, im just describing not condoning)

and remember, everyone from Rousseau to Marx to Lenin were almost entirely motivated by hatred but hid it under egalitarian pretenses.

Expand full comment

"...but in their minds it's for egalitarian goals and for a utopian egalitarian future where we all have the same healthy levels of self-esteem...."

Maybe that's in YOUR mind?

In the PC-Prog belief system, and in the minds of its practitioners, Normals must be DESTROYED. Non-Normals are hailed as superior manifestations of PC-Prog beliefs--see Pride, George Floyd, transgender, destruction of Normal religion, abortion, etc. Normals are not allowed a shred of self-esteem--they must hate themselves. Non-Normals, conversely, are expected to celebrate and shout about their non-Normality (see Pride, rap music, abortion celebrations, etc.).

Nothing "egalitarian" whatsoever. Pure unadulterated hatred and drive to destroy.

Marxism, communism, and their antecedents are only tangentially related to PC-Progism. The Comintern's covert influence agents created the PC-Prog belief system, and ran influence operations to inject it into our culture. But they were all slaughtered, and their system collapsed. But the PC-Prog seeds they planted grew like kudzu. Their understanding of human nature, and the payload they created were so powerful. Their legacy is evident today.

Expand full comment

I am not entirely convinced that we really need to focus so much on the ideas that form the self-understanding of woke. Woke types are not that literate. They do not read Marx or Lenin, still less Calvin. There really is not much mental activity going on amongst them.

I think it is better to be ruthlessly Nietzschean and focus on matters physiological. Woke is an incoherent body of thought animated by social, sexual and reproductive failure (pretty evident from the pink-haired women at the BLM riots) and by anxieties engendered by a society that offers diminishing opportunities for security and status. Under-socialised people, destabilised by social media and consumed by anxiety disorders become SJWs. Envy for the sexual and reproductive success of others plays a huge role in the politics of the education sector (the great petri dish of all things woke) while the radicalism of the woke is explicable given mass downward social mobility and the increasing desperation for remaining opportunities. Most woke slobs would be yuppies of the most obnoxious kind if they had a chance.

Expand full comment

"...we [do not] really need to focus so much on the ideas that form the self-understanding of woke."

Having the playbook of the opponent is extremely useful in winning a battle. Understanding the enemy, its strategy and tactics, is crucial to conquering them.

The power of PC-Progism is exactly that the foot soldiers do NOT need to be aware, or educated, or catechized (or at least any more than they receive in the three conveyor belts of our culture: K-12 and college education/academia, the media, and Hollywood). There's no requirement for "literacy", other than knowing hate for the Normals, on 6 issues.

Under-socialized? The entire reason for the success of PC-Prog is that it was created and promulgated as a SOCIAL binder. If you're a PC-Prog believer, you're cool, in, with-it, accepted, get dates, get hired, etc. PC-Progs are HYPER-socialized. The driving motivator of their acceptance of the hate-creed is acceptance into the "cool kids club."

Focusing on the actual belief system (even though it's never spelling out in 6 points to PC-Prog foot soldiers, they all know the 6 points, and the action corollary) is like having your Super Bowl opponent's playbook before the game starts.

Expand full comment

Winning is the one thing that the anti-woke are not going to accomplish...at least if recent experience is any indication.

Understanding the enemy is essential. I agree. But the beliefs of the woke are less important than the underlying forces forming their antipathies (pls note I am not saying their beliefs are not worth looking at or that their self-understanding is irrelevant). As Nietzsche wrote, ideas are just shadows of our feelings. For example, the ludicrous, confected, radicalism of BLM's leaders owes little to any strand of Marxism or any other kind of political theory, it owes everything to the feelings of shame at being confronted by the achievements of Western peoples and resentment and envy of the prosperity of market-dominant non-blacks.

The woke are undersocialised because the traditional forms of socialisation (intact traditional families) have largely been replaced by social media. The declining incidence of participation in communal activities compounds this. The hysterical tone of woke rhetoric and morbid hypersensitivities so evident in recent years are close to inconceivable without the negative effects of failed socialisation, in my opinion. I may be wrong, of course. The longing for connection, for inclusion in the cool kids club and the immersion in collective affect is as strong as it is, and as morbid, because of the atomisation and anomie of ineffective or, in some instances, near total lack of, traditional socialisation. At least that is my take.

Expand full comment

It may be worthwhile to browse my book: Willing Accomplices-- www.willingaccomplices.com

I began with the research question: Why do "liberals" hate Normal America?

And I found the answer. Their hatred is not accidental. The belief system that became PC-Progism (and there is nothing "woke," or "liberal," or "progressive," or "democratic" about it) was created and promulgated by the Comintern genius, Willi Muenzenberg.

Expand full comment

Yes, and no.

Progressivism is the foundation on which Politically Correct Progressivism was built. However, PC-Prog is NOT Progressivism. The "PC" part of PC-Prog is the key. Don't get hung up on the "Prog" part.

Teddy Roosevelt was the leader of the Progressive Party. He was an unrepentant celebrator of WASP Manifest Destiny, and imperialist advocate of spreading Anglo-Saxon culture, Christianity, capitalism, heterosexual family values, the whole package of traditional American values.

In the PC-Prog belief system Teddy Roosevelt is a white, Christian, heterosexual, capitalist, imperialist. He is a prototype as a symbol of everything the PC-Progs hate. As such, PC-Progs removed Roosevelt's statue from the American Museum of Natural History.

"Theodore Roosevelt statue removed from American Museum of Natural History"


The beauty of tagging them with the "Progressive" label, combined with "PC" is shining a light on the action corollary--"Progressive" implies "change," which, for PC-Progs, is hate-filled destruction. Again, see Teddy's statue.

Expand full comment

I think it essential to look at the political economy angle and at history. Teddy R. was a great man (no doubt about that) and a visionary. The Progressives were interested in reforming liberal capitalism in order to serve the Republic. The hatred shown for Teddy R's memory is a classic case of the Oedipal tendency of American culture.

The current form of PC (CRT etc etc) is an adaptation developed and applied much later when a selfish, criminalised, elite decided to use race-baiting to manage the masses in an America being transformed. They picked up the PC strand established by radicals and deployed it. My understanding is that a weakened strand of Marxism was previously injected into the official narrative by the Kirner Commission (which was composed of Cold Warriors). The early CIA certainly had a lot of ex-radicals near the top.

Expand full comment

"The current form of PC (CRT etc etc) is an adaptation developed and applied much later when a selfish, criminalised, elite decided to use race-baiting to manage the masses in an America being transformed."

Not sure what time period you're referring to here, but it appears to be relatively recent? All such manifestations are rooted in Muenzenberg's operations, see below.

The fact is that the strategy and tactics you refer to ("race-baiting") were conceived of, developed, and deployed by, in the USA, by the Comintern's covert influence genius, Muenzenberg. He deployed a massive operation, using Willing Accomplices, that created an inter-meshed network of PC-Prog organizations that made hating Normal-America "cool" and created the template of forming social organizations to spread the PC-Prog beliefs.

Muenzenberg's first operations, which were highly successful, to implant and spread hate-Normal-America beliefs were:

1. the Scottsboro Boys (PC-Prog belief point: "America is racist."), and,

2. Sacco & Vanzetti (PC-Prog belief point: "America is xenophobic.").

All the "grass roots" organizations that sprung up to support the defendants in those two cases were Muenzenberg fronts. His genius for covert influence smeared the charges of America is racist and xenophobic around the world. That was the first time such charges had ever been made. And the first time that such operational tactics applied. This was the template. What you describe as "the current form of PC…much later…to…manage the masses…." is just the full blooming of the operation to destroy American culture--90 years after the seeds were planted, the vine is in full blossom.

Willing Accomplices parade for the Scottsboro Boys (thanks to Muenzenberg's operational genius):


The success of those operations laid the groundwork for Muenzenberg's network to flood the country with a plethora of "high-minded" covert influence networks designed to destroy Normal-America. He specifically targeted the three transmission belts of American culture: education/academia, the media, and Hollywood.

Expand full comment

The woke/Christian connection may seem oblique, but it is real. Woke is a morbid development of liberal thought unconstrained by traditional or inherited culture (which is not valued or transmitted by the infotainment and education industries that shape the minds of the young). And liberal thought is very much a product of Christian culture. Nothing like liberal thought emerged outside of the modern Latin West and would be inconceivable without the legacy of Christian ideas about the self, ethics etc.

So while woke is not directly derived from Christianity, it is a second order or indirect product of a once Christian culture.

One might even say that woke is a lot like classical Satanism, which is a parody or inversion of medieval Catholicism and makes absolutely no sense to anyone who was not raised a Christian. Woke also parodies or inverts liberal thinking and is incompatible with Christianity, but nonetheless arose out of a cultural context shaped at every level by Christian teaching and experience.

To put it another way, woke is Christianity without a belief in forgiveness, reconciliation, salvation or charity. But it retains the ancient belief 'nulla salvatio extra ecclesiam' (no salvation outside of the church), as well an insistence on the priority of belief, the existence of evil and, above all, it retains an Augustinian sense of the world as depraved and mankind as fallen. In many ways woke revives the psychologies of both the pagan and Christian Gnostics who saw the world as evil, as a demon-haunted hell in which humanity is molested by malefic forces. The fondness for transhumanism and gender fluidity (especially the normalisation of gender dysphoria) reanimates the Gnostic contempt for the flesh and the fantasy of an escape from all things physical. The sense of existential menace invoked by the SJWs etc recalls Gnosticism in a very eerie and disturbing way.

Expand full comment

That's a pretty tortuous and tortured rationalization of the analogy. Those comparisons are valid for virtually any spiritual belief system.

Yes, PC-Progism is a spiritual belief system that exploits the fundamental human need for the dichotomy: yin/yang, good/evil, cool/uncool.

So does Christianity. But so does every other spiritual belief system--from paganism to Shintoism.

PC-Progism's dichotomy is simple: Normal-Americans and their culture are bad. Non-Normal is good.

There's nothing more there. There's no savior. There's no redemption. There's nothing but hatred and a call to destruction.

PC-Progism is a spiritual belief system built on 6 points, with an action corollary. That's all there is to it.

America was built by Anglo-Saxon Protestants. We have a strong historical foundation in Christianity. The self-abasing character of Christianity (turn the other cheek, sackcloth and ashes, penance, etc, etc) did facilitate the introduction of PC-Prog beliefs (which, when practiced by Anglo-Saxon Protestants are a parody of Christian self-abasement, purely self-hatred, but when practiced by non-WASPs are pure hatred and self-celebration) into our culture.

Thus, America's foundation of self-abasing Christianity did contribute to the spread of PC-Progism. But the PC-Prog belief system has nothing to do with Christianity, any more than any other spiritual belief system.

Expand full comment

We'll have to agree to disagree, but you are spot on about the shift in the narrative from WASP self-hatred (which feeds into the pronounced Oedipal quality to American culture) to pure hatred. There is an injustice (and considerable absurdity) about non Yankees or non-WASPs taking advantage of the legacy of successful and productive institutions while rubbishing the people who established that legacy in the first place.

Expand full comment

great comment, with much to think about...

I recently re-read Paradise Lost (cannot recommend highly enough) and it def crossed my mind that there are some deep similarities bw Satan, the Arch Adversary, and the modern SJW...motivated by spite and driven to bitter rage at being excluded from holiness and happiness, determined to destroy the joy and beauty he will never be able to partake in.

also, in re gnosticism, the modern Gender movement is deeply gnostic, especially in its rejection of our given physical form and its belief in a deeper more authentic Self aka soul separate from the body.


Expand full comment

Re-reading Paradise Lost...you have my deepest respect. I am in agreement in Dr Johnson on PL ('no man ever wished it longer' or words to that effect).

The worry with Gnosticism isn't merely the parallels with the transhumanist and woke bullshit. It is the normalisation of Gnostic themes in the wider culture and the quasi-Gnostic character of the emergent popular psychologies shaped by digital technology.

As we can see from the woke and those who get their cues from them, social media is now curating a sense of menace on a mass scale. The medium is the message too: the dematerialised experience on offer from the digital world is perfect for conveying Gnostic ideas while simultaneously stimulating a sensibility that is receptive to them or that reinforces them.

We are heading for a catastrophe when teenagers unconsciously adopt perspectives previously only seen in late Hellenistic cosmologies and demonologies. People who instinctively feel threatened or disgusted by the created world are at the very least at risk of serious mental illness. Woke is a secular parody of Gnosticism or a gateway belief system to the conviction that we are subject to constant molestation by evil.

The great historical and cultural value of Biblical belief was that it released us all from the sense of being menaced by the created world. The re-enchantment of the Western mind by ideology is a step backwards.

Expand full comment

I will now turn to new interviews after pausing them for several months.

Expand full comment
Jun 27, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

As a practicing Catholic I’ve often thought of the question of Christianity’s future in the West through the lens of St. Augustine’s North Africa. These were Christian lands until they simply weren’t. There’s nothing special about the West that makes it impossible for that to happen here. Some would argue it already has. There’s nothing Christian about mainstream Western culture. Christianity’s future probably lies in the global South and possibly in a reinvigorated Orthodox Russia.

There are flavors of Christianity in the West that seem to have life. Traditional Catholicism was attracting many disaffected souls and will continue to, in spite of the best efforts of Pope Francis and his henchmen. There are conservative Protestant churches that seem to produce big families. I know less about Orthodoxy in the West, but it seems to have the same draw that Trad Catholicism does, with its beautiful liturgy and tradition. I suppose the question is what can these nascent movements expect for the future? Persecution to the point of extinction? Society wide revival? Toleration as a minority in a society that is at least functional and healthy, if not exactly Christian?

One thing that the last few years has made clear is that religion isn’t going anywhere. The religious sense is strong in people. See the BLM “services” of June of 2020 complete with litanies and genuflections. Jonathan Pageau calls this the re-enchantment of society. “The world you were raised to survive in no longer exists.”

Expand full comment

Historically the majority of Christians lived in North Africa, Western, Central and South Asia until the middle ages. Europe only became the surviving bastion of Christianity quite late.

Islam finished Christianity off in North Africa (outside of Egypt) with only Malta left to the faith. Tammerlane devastated the world of Oriental Christianity. Christianity is flourishing underground in China right now. When the mullahs fall in Iran you will see plenty of conversions there too. They (the mullahs) fear the attraction of Christianity to people disillusioned by the shariah.

Ypu are spot on about BLM. There has been a distinct revival of African neo-paganism in America, especially in the mid-Atlantic states. The Yoruba pantheon plays a role in the beliefs of quite a few BLM leaders. The libations of water and the insistence on 'say their name' (invocations of the dead) at the demonstrations are cult practices. Quite a few hardline African-American evangelicals dislike BLM for this very reason.

Papa Doc Duvalier (the archetypal Trad statesman) would have laughed at the sight of American grifters pretending to commune with the gods. He established voodoo as the State Shinto of Haiti (or an authentically Afro-Caribbean alternative to Anglicanism, if you prefer) and had a fair bit of success keeping his people content, at least compared to his successors.

Expand full comment

But Papa Doc and Baby Doc were in power for decades, BLM is already done.

You see?

And in all probability the current and past practitioners of Voodoo believe more than 90% of the Woke.

I can agree that Christianity is Toast, buts that’s because Men are not men in the West, are slaves to the women, who elect Pimps and Eunuchs because ALL WOMEN are Libertarians by core nature.

So yeah this part is ending, but there’s no successor.

Expand full comment

You are right, of course. Papa Doc was a serious and successful politician and compares well to the Dem clowns or the organisers of BLM. For my money, he also knew a hell of a lot more about traditional values than the buffoons of Conservatism Inc. There is a great deal of grim humour in considering how Haiti was a successful alternative to Panem-on-the-Potomac. The wannabe global over-lords should have ditched the Kennedy School of Government or Georgetown and studied instead at the feet of the gangsters and thugs of the Caribbean instead. One can only laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Expand full comment

I found this series really great because it is a view/perspective from a time period that is foreign to many but instills the notion that humanity and societies, despite the latest trends and technologies, all share the same human nature (a thought often lost to many who want to believe that this time its different). Perhaps its ego protection or perhaps people don't want the specter of determinism clouding their concept of agency but some things that exist in the human genome are fundamental and do not eradicate with spoken words. Anyway, I think this was really captivating and I appreciate greatly the time and effort that you put into this as both the material and your own perspective provided valuable insight.

As for suggestions, I would say perhaps James Burnham or Bertrand de Jouvenel. These writers/thinkers are often overlooked in mainstream gov't programming but have recently been resuscitated in the current affairs because of their prescient predictability. It may be a little dry for those seeking an epic or some historical tale as their books are more analysis driven but if people want to forge a comprehensive understanding on what is going on and how power works both in the formal sense as well as the informal sense, I think it would provide some great utility. It would also be valuable to hear your take on the substance of their thesis and to what extent you may agree or disagree with their claims.

James Burnham - The Machiavellians (I think is the most important political analysis book I've ever written) and the Managerial Revolution (which puts to bed all the distinctions of liberalism, fascism, and communism which if one hasn't deduced from the title were all different forms of managerialism aka the total state)

Bertrand de Jouvenel - On Power

Oh and a final note for a pretty interesting and fun read that is not too long but offers some pretty good analysis from a man who is a comedian and not an academic, I would suggest Daylight Robbery by Dominic Frisby. It's a story about the history of taxation and he blends the background of taxes throughout history and their importance with understanding both religion (Christianity and the tale of Christ involved a tax story) as well as the taxation influence in the formation of the Magna Carta among other interesting anecdotes.


Expand full comment

Yes, Christianity has been exhausting itself since at least the Enlightenment. And now, as you know, we have a new dispensation forming around the its carcass called "wokeness".

And you my dear, Niccolo, are among the neo-Pagans as are many of your readers.

Remember, religions don't need gods, but they do need devils.......

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

I guess we wouldn't be here if we hadn't been thinking about the new religion and its relationship to the old religion(s), so here's my 2 cents:

If religion is formed by 1) some shared conception of the Sacred, plus 2) a community that forms around this conception of the Sacred (I get this from Durkheim), in the Woke/New Left dispensation what is sacred is sexual and ethnic minorities, their "lived experiences" and shared struggles, the pain they've endured by feeling marginalized, their heroic fight against discrimination followed by their triumph to achieve the Real or Authentic Self (which in America is considered or at least sold as the Greatest Good, the purpose of the hero's journey).

So if this were Christianity, the ethnic or sexual minority aka Protected Victim is Jesus, who died for our sins yet will rise in glory, but because Social Justice is as much therapeutic as it is political, any and every sexual and ethnic minority gets their turn on the cross, which is why so many people fight to be crowned King/Queen of Victims.

In my neighborhood on one block is a hardware store and on the corner is a Starbucks. At the hardware store they have a big American flag, are mostly older white men, and I assume they're Christians by their jewelry: so these people worship the older, traditional, pre-60s gods; but the Starbucks is staffed by "young women of color", it is festooned with Pride flags, BLM pins, and other familiar Social Justice slogans: this is what speaks to these young women, what they consider sacred, the feelings of the Victim (which in itself is very Christian), and this is partly because they don't "see themselves" in the old Gods (Jesus Jefferson Washington etc), and in the modern world of constant screens with constant commentary "seeing yourself" provides meaning, succor, and the essential eternal needs for community and external validation.

So I don't know what this says about the future, but for this current generation, especially if they are urban and non-white or non-straight, these are sacred beliefs they will most likely hold for the rest of their lives.

Expand full comment

Great post and spot on. The need for constant, unconditional, affirmation forms the affective driver for woke 'spirituality' and if they don't receive it they feel violated to the point of outrage. You see this with the pronoun bullshit: affirm my delusions (symptoms of dysphoria for some, mere pretensions for others) or I see you as an enemy. The need to see oneself reflected is a morbid response to a clinging sense of worthlessness and irrelevance (fully justified in most cases): surplus people, without any meaningful or dignified role in a productive society, are fabricating myths to make sense of things. The victim-worship is pure projection and transference from people consumed by self-pity who cannot conceive of virtue as anything other than being the wronged party. Woke is the identitarian movement of the drug-addled human dross who are asserting their dignity by demonising anyone and anything that reminds them of their intellectual ethical, social or physical inferiority.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

I'm not so sure. The plight of the queer black femme feeling invalidated seems like a big deal when you're young and working in Starbucks.

When life catches up with you you'll realise there are more problems in the world than intersectionsal marginalisation and some of them don't even have flags and official celebration months.

These problems are more particular to you and sharp and what's more you have to deal with them irl, largely alone - even when you haven't had a self care day in months.

Everyone grows up eventually, even if it takes 40 years

Expand full comment

I fully appreciate that being young and working at Starbucks (or being stuck in a dead-end future of any kind) has its drawbacks. Believe me, the young should feel angry at their economic and social raw deal.

However, mentally healthy people do not feel invalidated by the well-being or achievements of others and decent people do not feel existentially threatened by the intellectual autonomy of others as the woke do. The woke demand validation from everyone, all the time, and are aggressive and unbalanced if they do not get it. The confusion over validation and so-called safety is unconscionable. The demand for unearned 'respect' (obeisance) or apologies over microaggressions is thuggish.

The best example was the Maoist sadism so evident in the Christakis affair at Yale (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiMVx2C5_Wg).

When you are young, everything feels overwhelming, every day feels like you are in an opera, it is intense and thrilling and the gradual diminution of this feeling as you age is sometimes heart-breaking, though at other times it feels like a relief. But building an identity around self-pity is disgusting. And as for feeling injured because of someone's opinions or defining speech as 'violence'...words fail me.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

I think partially what makes Soc Just so mimetically successful is that at its heart it is both an appeal to envy and resentment while at the same time providing a handy chart letting you know who is responsible and who can be justly hated and attacked.

Is there anything humans love more than being told their misery is valid, that it's someone else's fault, and that you get to scream and attack that white man (or any white man)...all in the name of Justice!

Social Justice takes the righteous anger of your traditional Lefty, swaps out class and wealth for Identity and esteem, adds the therapeutic element of the Personal is Political, and presents it as an Esalen encounter group where Women/Blacks/Gays get to shriek their pain and anger into the faces of their oppressors, whose only proper response is to nod along, cry and atone, and feel their pain. (Like that poor spineless Yale prof.)

And I think it's important to add that it is all so deeply quintessentially American. It rests on a foundation of desire, commodification, all-American shape-shifting and novelty worship, and is as much a product and status marker as a philosophy.

Expand full comment

Exactly!!!!! Could not agree more. Your last point is an insight of genuine brilliance. You have teased out precisely what I have been groping for. Many, many thanks.

The success of woke comes from the fact that it is culturally indigenous to the society in which it emerged. This confers an enormous advantage. It ensures that woke is perfectly adapted to the people it is poisoning.

If woke were nothing but an alien calque (as is suggested by those who are fixated on the Frankfurt School or so-called Marxism) it would be vastly less effective. Exotic evils are easy to recognise and reject. Domestic ones much less so. To use a medical analogy, it is the difference between an infectious agent and an endogenous cancer.

Once again, many thanks. Without diminishing Niccolo's role in any way, much of the worth of Substack comes from the quality of the dialogue the comments section makes possible.

Expand full comment

Hey thanks for the kind words and interesting ideas, I agree that Substack has some of the best most interesting writers but just as fun and edifying are the commenters, who are often super smart and teach u new words like 'calque'!

Just to continue for a second, i think the SJ religion is absolutely deeply American, and is sort of a cross bw "The Personal is Political" and "The Customer is Always Right"—and especially in re the Gender dogma, it is founded upon an idea so American it should be printed on our money: REALITY IS AN ILLUSION AND ILLUSION IS A REALITY.

But at the same time we don't want to leave out the French Mephistopheles who is the SJW's fave philosopher, the man who could fist 50 children on live TV and still never get cancelled.

Foucault chewed up some Nietzsche and spit it into the mouths of his acolytes like a mama bird, and they love him for "proving" that nothing exists but power, which is his patented nihilistic acid they bought in bulk to dissolve every Western idea and institution, from civics to Shakespeare.

"Hey, did you know that nothiing exists but power and oppression, and every written word, every poem and painting, every teacher and doctor and school and hospital, were just prisons in disguise where oppressors inscribed their power-knowledge onto the bodies of the marginalized? Foucault said so!"

Come to think of it, with his turtleneck and media presence, his pseudoradical poses and his echt-teenager's slogan "their is no truth but MY truth", he may just be the first great American of the 21st century.

Expand full comment

Substack is invaluable. The quality and variety of the content is a relief to the rubbish on offer elsewhere on the net, while the comments sections also attracts people with insight and their input adds value to the newsletters.

As for Michel F. I am not sure that I agree with you. There is plenty of evidence that he was getting well and truly fed up with his academic followers towards the end of his life and he repeatedly warned students that they were misreading him and that it was not all about power at all. I do not read French and have only done a couple of semesters worth of philosophy, but I have spent my adult life brushing up against people who refer to trendy ideas who have not got a clue about what they have been reading. The proportion of readers who pay sufficient attention to do justice to any text is small.

My own view is that Foucault was a daring essayist in philosophy who blended a variety of sources: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sade and a host of others. He asked bold questions. His answers were never intended as holy writ, they were interventions in urgent debates and investigations into matters that others ignored. He followed Nietzsche's advice and lived dangerously and was never a conformist. I am inclined to give him a break. As for the academic cottage industry that plunders his work: I consider almost all of them scum. That is my instinctive reaction and I have never had much reason to alter it.

Expand full comment

I have in my half century seen more post 60s cults than existed in Rome its entire history.

These aren’t serious people.

They’re flighty.

BLM is already done.


Save the Whales!

No Nukes!


Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

I came late to the party so I’m going to discourse on Roe v Wade instead.

Expand full comment

lol, nooooooooooooo

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

Like it was performative! Did you learn nothing from GG? I thought it was a good joke you parachuted the U.S. Constitution into that statue mumbo jumbo. So sad I missed that. I did read your comments.

Expand full comment

The strength and content of popular religious belief in the LPG era would be next to impossible to gauge from textual sources, since those are derived from elite sources. Archaeologists would be able to guess, but only to a degree, by comparing the material evidence (shrines devoted to the cult of the lares, votive offerings with dedications to the gods etc). Yet even here it is difficult, because the poor leave fewer lasting traces of their cult practices.

The future of Christianity is vastly complex and fully worthy of careful consideration in future newsletters. The Church has been in decline ever since they lost the ability to punish dissenters (the mullahs are keenly aware of this). This has escalated because of the depthless demoralisation and confusion that began with World War 1.

The content of Christianity can and will change. The great liberalisation of Catholicism in the mid twentieth century was an effect of US global success. The Vatican has been a US ally/client much as it has previously been one for the Carolingians and the Hapsburgs. This liberalisation is in marked contrast to the continuity in the Orthodox world (preeminently Russia).

Now that the US is weakening, it remains to be seen where it will all go. The centre of gravity for global Christianity is in the developing countries, especially Africa where the faith is booming, despite the predations of jihadists. A Christian revival of some sorts may happen in the West as migrants (legal and illegal) replace the sub-fertile indigenes.

Religious changes (mass conversions) take place when traditional forms of life are no longer adaptative and the values/beliefs associated with those firms seem senseless. Such conditions are now obvious across the West. It is possible we will see a pluralistic, fragmented and complex picture, with forms of neo-Christianity emerging and competing with Western Buddhism, New Age and occult-derived traditions as well as Islam. The infotainment industry looks pretty comfortable with the current (and significant) craze for witchcraft which is so popular with women.

I'd expect that some of the powers that be will welcome/sponsor a Christian revival (suitably engineered) to integrate Latin American and African migrants into the Western populations. How successful this might be is unclear.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

Perhaps this is too simplistic, but I don't think Christianity can thrive in affluent, prosperous societies, or at least where its practitioners enjoy easy living. But cheer up! Hard times are ahead! Maybe *very* hard times. And in desperate times, when all the material things that made life so easy and comfortable drop away, our thirst for God can no longer be suppressed. When our lives are hard and we rediscover that we need a community to survive, shared faith becomes vital again. The tricky part will be preventing the Faith from being captured by grifters and frauds who create institutions to vacuum money out of the believers. This is one thing that killed evangelicalism in the 90s-- the building of mega churches that consumed all the time and money of members and became just another Big Org to serve. Hard times will fix that too.

Expand full comment

It is not simplistic. You are obviously a sincere believer. Only a minority thirst for God and they do so regardless of the times. Difficulties and hardships will renew the church (and non-Christian denominations too) because they separate the sincere from those who are just using religion as a means to be respectable or successful. Shared faith is a social coagulant or ligature that adds value to peoples lives and can help heal an atomised or anomic society, or at least parts of it.

Expand full comment

There doesn't seem to be much question that Woke is a pseudo-religion filling a void left by the retreat of Christianity. I'm skeptical that it will have staying power, however. One of the functions of religion is emulation: the great world religions all have founder figures, who present an example to their followers that they are expected to aspire to; if that example is one that leads to virtue, the society that adopts the religion prospers. Woke encourages adherents to self-sterilize; it creates and exploits societal rifts; and its followers tend to spiral into mental illness, mediocrity, and ill health. Worship of the Broken leads inevitably in this direction, when the broken is worshipped not because it fixed itself, but specifically because it is broken.

In comparison to late antiquity, Woke may be more akin to one of the many mystery cults that flourished during that era. Mithraism and the cult of Osiris were very popular amongst the elite; similarly, Woke has its most enthusiastic converts amongst our own degenerate elite. Amongst the masses, many conform to elite tastes, as always; but many also chafe under it and despise it.

I'll not pronounce the death of Christianity just yet, but I suspect that it may well be exhausted in the West, and that the rise of Woke is mainly the latter opportunistically moving into an empty psychic niche. A competitor that offers a more compelling holistic vision of reality, and which spurs its members towards emulation of ideal forms and pro-social activities, could displace it.

Expand full comment

Woke as we see it now may not survive as it is too negative, but it may gain a degree of influence over the future by poisoning whatever comes next. I suspect that aspects of woke will get incorporated on a more permanent basis by existing faiths. You can see this already in some of the churches. The demonstration effect of woke practices (the anti-white animus, the demand for ritual affirmation, the irritability to the legacy of the past) could very easily prove useful to all sorts of villains. There is no shortage of these. At the very least woke will provide a rhetoric of contempt that will be used to legitimise rivalry with white Westerners as Europe gets partially absorbed culturally and ethnically with Africa and Western Asia and as North America settles down into something like Brazil or South Africa.

Even if woke peters out, it looks set to blast the coming decade the way the Cultural Revolution did in China. The historic function of woke may be that it helps kill off the weakened and compromised institutions (colleges above all). To be optimistic, it will also act as a foil to those who are developing alternatives, above all in education.

Expand full comment
Jun 29, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

The comparison to the mystery cults is spot on. During these periods of religious transition, once the old faith is spent, societies seem to try on different beliefs until they find one that fits. See e.g. the many protestant off shoots at the time of the reformation that eventually became protestantism. What's unique about our current situation is that this seems to be happening everywhere all at once, not just Christianity.

Expand full comment

John, your comment about a competitor for Christianity is enormously significant. The next wave of religious belief will surely compete on the grounds of what best helps individuals achieve excellence and what is most pro-social. You are 100% right about the function of religion and the dysfunctional character of woke at a personal and social level.

Would like to point out that the mystery cults were not a late development in the ancient world. The rites of Isis, Dionysus and Orpheus etc were an extension of beliefs and practices from the most remote antiquity and retained exceptionally archaic cult-practices. Some of the mystery cults were developed in Hellenistic times (especially the Persianising ones, like the cult of Mithras), but even they drew on established models that were vastly older.

The significance of the mystery cults is that they were kind of like Freemasonry, but with festivities and rituals incorporating elements of shamanism, drug-taking (entheogens, narcotics and cannabis), voodoo, fraternity initiations, sadomasochism and sex. The somatic effects of at least some of the rituals were designed to prime initiates for indoctrination. It was kind of like extreme life coaching using spooky stuff. A lot of what seemed crazy to previous generations now makes sense from the perspective of developments in neurochemistry.

The socio-political significance of the cults was that they created and maintained social capital amongst local elites. By definition, only those accepted by the mystagogues could join or attend.

By comparison, Christianity offered a watered down, devitalised and low-energy version of spirituality that was perfectly adapted for mass participation. The Church was relatively open. At least theoretically it had an open membership and demanded universal acceptance. The attraction of the Christian model for a regime or social order in crisis seems obvious, at least to me.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

This book was a pretty great selection. In the same vein of history books with relevance for our time, I think the trilogy of Chinese history books authored by Frank Dikotter might make a good selection. "Mao's Great Famine" is incredible, "The Tragedy of Liberation" was quite good, and I haven't yet read the third volume on the Cultural Revolution, but it could be even more topical than the first two.

I also highly recommend Lee Kuan Yew's autobiography "From Third World To First." A chapter-by-chapter examination of how Lee built up Singapore, the challenges he faced, and how he dealt with them could serve as excellent fodder for a book club.

Expand full comment

The autobio sounds interesting. Thanks.

Expand full comment
Jun 28, 2022Liked by Niccolo Soldo

Unrelated but seems right of your alley. Caveat is that I haven’t read it yet. https://peacediplomacy.org/2022/06/27/woke-imperium-the-coming-confluence-between-social-justice-and-neoconservatism/

Expand full comment

Yeah, caught that. I've been harping on this for over a decade now, and it seems that others are picking up on it too.

Expand full comment

Again you’re pasting The fall of Rome onto a decline, admittedly an extremely popular sport.

The Eternal City is Eternally falling.

Would you do this for The French or Russian Revolutions? Because the Woke are much closer in effects to the Jacobins or Bolsheviks than to either the Christians or the Visigoths .

Can we have a Woke Emperor Constantine calling a Woke Nicean Council thus stabilizing Woke before we pronounce Christianity and the West dead?

Has Christianity fallen?

Well MEN have fallen in the West regardless of sect or beliefs, or unbeliefs. Also we’re in the Libertarian Hellscape of everyone for themselves (and “their children” - 💩 cope, you’d be the same man without kids).

We’re a Libertarian Matriarchy , Woke if it were real would be a step up if it were constant and stable, its anything but- most mouth words they don’t believe and the platitudes change faster than even Orwell predicted.

Also they’re antichildren and eating all the money and seed corn from the future.

The Pagans were replaced by Christianity , the Woke are our very own Sea Peoples.

Expand full comment

I'd develop your point about libertarian matriarchy a bit further. We are libertarian in our political economy, matriarchal in family structure, proletarian in our culture and pseudo-radical in political rhetoric and propaganda. The perfect combination for a dystopia, a Longhouse version of a mental asylum run by predatory HMOs.

Expand full comment

We are Beltway libertarian in our political economy, state-archal in our family structure, proletarian...

There, Ifify.

Expand full comment

There’s one extant religion I respect because they earned it :


Sure, by ☠️🩸

But they are serious and the rest aren’t.

Expand full comment

Our God is Money, and Ayn Rand is her Prophet.

And the money is GONE

BEHOLD $600 Trillion in CDOs


Expand full comment