Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The Problems with Anti-Wokeness

By Richard Hanania

Those opposed to the social revolution need to understand how we got here, and present an alternative vision.

In American Affairs, I review Woke, Inc., by Vivek Ramaswamy. I find him an interesting and compelling figure, but I think that his critique of wokeness and solutions to it demonstrate the larger problem with anti-wokeness as a political program.

One of Ramaswamy’s main proposals is expanding civil rights law to cover political beliefs. He argues that this can be done without passing new legislation and relies on the kind of creative legal argumentation usually associated with those on the left who advocate for a “Living Constitution.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA) already bans dis­crimination based on religion. Relying on Bostock v. Clayton County (2020), the Supreme Court decision that wrote gender theory into federal law, Ramaswamy argues that if an employee can’t be fired for opposing gay marriage on religious grounds, a different person who has the exact same views, minus the religious beliefs, must have similar pro­tections. Otherwise, the law would give fewer protections to an indi­vidual based on the fact that they are secular, which is impermissible under the CRA. Similarly, Ramaswamy recommends that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) define wokeness as a religion, in which case an employer can’t force such beliefs onto work­ers.

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