Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Woke Is Old

By Bryan Caplan

One of the less charming features of the woke movement is its vocal age prejudice.  In conversation, believers have repeatedly appealed to my age and their youth to gain argumentative advantage.

I’m tempted, admittedly, to respond in kind.  In reality, the young have less insight on political and social issues than their elders.  The young themselves agree:



But per Dale Carnegie, I recognize the futility of insulting people into agreeing with me, however true and relevant the insults may be.  What I’d rather challenge, in this case, is the premise that the woke movement has even developed a novel, young worldview.

Yes, its intellectual decorations are novel.  Ten years ago, I never heard anyone talk about “microaggressions” or “privilege.”  The substance, however, is almost exactly what teachers, textbooks, and the media told me back in the 1980s.


Leave a Reply