Year Zero: The roots of the woke revolution

Occurring in the most prosperous nation ever known, the woke insurrection has a self-indulgent inwardness that makes it susceptible to the most incongruous influences. This onslaught could be the first time in American history that commercial interests have helped drive a radical social revolution. It was the Left that used to rail against marketing strategies that sanctimoniously concealed the profit motive behind them. Now conservatives do that—just as generations of left-wing writers once accused big media of, in effect, producing “fake news,” a charge now made by the other side.

Maybe this reversal is not so surprising when you consider that, also for the first time in American history, the media are an engine behind social change, rather than being the relatively detached institution that reports on it. The New York Times’s 1619 Project, which attempted to prove that racism is fundamental to the American system, is a paradigmatic example: it was speculative, amateurish, inaccurate, and sloppily written activism presented, absurdly, as an objective journalistic investigation into the past.

The media-driven pattern of indignation, accusation, and condemnation is becoming tediously familiar. A group waits its turn in the queue for some singular event that the media insist is representative of its horrible circumstances in America. Then it leaps onto the social ladder and climbs a few rungs before reluctantly returning to the back of the line and waiting again while others grab their turn.