The beginning of an answer can be found in the fact that wokeness makes me feel like I’m attending Sunday school in a denomination and parish I never chose to join. I just turn on the radio or open the paper or scroll through Twitter — and the next thing I know, a finger-wagging do-gooder with institutional power behind him is delivering a sermon, showing me The Way, calling on me to repent, encouraging me to be born again in the moral light.
Why is this antagonizing? Two main reasons.
First, there’s the speed of ostensible moral change. In a recent New York Times piece, we learn that Broadway shows are taking advantage of the pandemic pause in performances to make changes to scripts and staging in order to eliminate scenes or gestures that now supposedly offend moral sensibilities. As James Monroe Inglehart, who plays Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton, puts it, “We used to say a show was frozen, but the show is never frozen now…. The shows are evolving, and they will evolve as the world evolves.”…
That’s where the second source of antagonism comes in. As the article about changes on Broadway also notes, those choosing to make alterations to shows “are responding to pressure from artists emboldened by last year’s protests, as well as a heated social media culture in which any form of criticism can easily be amplified.” So … activists insist on the change, backed up by likeminded social media mobs. That’s it? That’s the authoritative, trustworthy process by which our common moral world purportedly “evolves” over time?