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The Great Awokening is a political neologism used to describe an ongoing cultural revolution in Western countries, initially beginning in the United States, that began during the presidency of Barack Obama. More specifically, the term is given to the ongoing radicalization of left-wing politics in the Western world, most notably attributed towards younger white people, who are sometimes pejoratively described as social justice warriors, the regressive left, or the alt-left. The term derives from the word "Woke" and the Great Awakening, thus implying similarity to a new religious movement.
In general, the Western world has arguably become increasingly progressive since the 1960s, due to the introduction of socially liberal belief systems such as the sexual revolution, the abolition of anti-miscegenation laws, and mass immigration from the Third World into Western countries, which has contributed towards increasing levels of white guilt, mostly due to one-sided depictions of historical events such as the Holocaust, European colonialism, and the transatlantic slave trade, as well as censorship of dissenting views, but the term "Great Awokening" refers to a recent, rapid radicalization of mostly younger white liberals that began during the presidency of Barack Obama.
Political polarization has greatly increased in Western countries since the 2010s, starting most notably in the United States between voters of the Democratic Party and the rival Republican Party. This is largely due to the Democratic Party, a previously conservative-leaning party, which itself had moved towards the left initially starting in the 1890s and later doubled down by Franklin D. Roosevelt and his successors, moving even further to the left on several issues under Barack Obama, such as on racial discrimination, with Obama and other progressive Democrats becoming increasingly convinced that discrimination is the main barrier to African Americans getting ahead of White Americans. Democrats have also become increasingly convinced that the government must be more active on issues such as helping the "needy" (even if this increases debt) and "in world affairs".
Argued to be related to the increasing polarization, patriotism has sharply declined in the United States, especially among progressive white people and liberal-leaning non-white people. One example of the increasing radicalization is, after first having attacked Confederate monuments, increasing radically leftist attacks on American presidents who previously were viewed by older progressive mainstream historians as among the best presidents, but who stated at the time common but now less politically correct views on issues such as race, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson.
Criticisms and attacks on monuments and symbols are not limited to American monuments and/or symbols. Monuments to Christopher Columbus, Cecil Rhodes, Oliver Cromwell, Queen Victoria, and Winston Churchill, for example, have also notably been criticized, attacked, and have been vandalized as what extreme-left activists have described as symbols of "white supremacy". Even statues of people of color who stated now less politically correct views on some issues may be attacked, such as Mahatma Gandhi.
Americans have been stated to have become more polarized on many other aspects than just voting, such as regarding which organizations they participate in, what media they consume, and where they live. This is associated with the growth of various much more distinctly partisan organizations and media. At the same time, Americans have increasingly lost trust in various traditional authorities, such as the government.
A 2020 article stated that survey data showed a marked increase in the percentage who believed it would be justified for their own party to use violence to advance their political goals.
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The ongoing mass immigration from the Third World into Western countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, and the Netherlands is an argued main cause, with party voting increasingly following the racial divisions, and non-Whites favoring policies beneficial for themselves, such regarding spending on social services.
According to American race realist Jared Taylor, based on voting data up to the 2012 United States presidential election, "during the 1950s, both parties got at least 90 percent of their votes from whites in national elections. Now, nearly half of the voters for Democratic candidates are non-white, while the figure for Republicans has settled back down to about 10 percent. In the 1950s, almost half of all whites considered themselves Democrats; now, only 25 percent do. [...] the congressional elections of 2012. Fifty-nine percent of whites voted for Republican candidates while only 18 percent of non-whites did. The difference between those figures is huge: 41 percent. No other political divide comes close, not even the partisan difference between people who make over $100,000 as opposed to those who make less than $30,000. As the authors note: “The racial divide dwarfs divisions across class and other demographic characteristics that are supposedly central to the political arena.” This is true for elections without party labels: “Race outweighs all other demographic divides in nonpartisan local elections as well.” [...] Furthermore, it is non-whites–not whites–who vote along starkly racial lines. If 59 percent of whites voted Republican in the 2012 congressional elections it means 41 percent or so voted Democrat. But if only 18 percent of non-whites voted Republican it means more than 80 percent voted Democrat."
A 2018 study stated increasing polarization along racial lines. In the minds of Americans, Republican and Democrat were beginning to stand for White and non-White, while in Britain, for example, Conservatives and Labour were beginning to stand for similar values. Class, religion, and ideology were less important than race.
However, as of 2019, White Americans who still identified as Democrats had also become radicalized, as well as Europeans who continued to support liberal parties, such as Labour in the UK. On some issues, opinions had even moved to the left of where (liberal) African-American and Hispanic opinions were. One explanation is that less radical Whites who had earlier been Democrats had become Republicans, leaving behind the more radical Whites. Other possible explanations include an increasing "purity spiral" among white liberals, who possibly feel a need to "virtue signal" even more than non-white progressives, for reasons such as their supposed white guilt and white privilege.
Other proposed causes, not necessarily incompatible with virtue signalling, include the increasing influence of social media, radicalization of mainstream media sources such as The New York Times and The Guardian, in turn mirrored in influential websites such as Wikipedia, and/or "SJW converged" organizations cynically promoting racial and other "diversity" issues in order divert progressives from the economic issues they faced following the 2008 financial crisis, which was the primary factor behind the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Another contributing cause may be increasing censorship of right-wing views, causing echo chamber effects and progressives being increasingly unaware of the existence of dissenting views and factual arguments. A good example being censorship of pro-white views, such as those espoused by members of the alt-right movement.
Increasingly radical demands and methods, including rioting and violence, being rewarded by increasingly larger attempted appeasements may also contribute to the radicalization, the appeasements possibly working to some degree in the short-term, but possibly increasing the risk that at least as radical demands and methods will be used again in the future.
Still another possibly contributing cause, especially for the leadership, is "elite overproduction" by the higher education system creating “a large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable… denied access to elite positions” who may blame some form of discrimination on them not receiving the position and status that they feel that they are entitled to. They may also have high debt after their more or less practically useless, politically correct education.
Yet another proposed cause, again especially for the leadership, is increasing radicalization in the education system, possibly due to causes such as increasing affirmative action regarding teaching positions and increasing teaching of leftist pseudosciences such as anti-white Whiteness studies, with The New York Times described as being in the midst of a "civil war" between its traditional 1960s "New Left" progressive editors and younger, newly graduated from higher education, more extreme "woke" progressives.
Comparisons have been made to prior movements involving religious/leftist extremism, including (but not limited to) the more radical aspects of the counterculture of the 1960s and even some cases of Islamic terrorism. Alternatively, supporters have described this as "the third Reconstruction period".
Another proposed explanation is that "wokeness" has become a status/class marker/norm and a means by which higher status people may feel superior to lower status people and signal a shared superiority to other high status people. Possible contributing factors include ideological schooling during college education and this group of people having a migrating, cosmopolitan lifestyle where relationships with other, not infrequently multicultural, work colleagues are more important than neighborhood relationships.
Liberal democracy and polarization
Two-party systems, such as in the United States, are often claimed, as a main advantage, to be more stable than multi-party systems. However, this may depend on factors such there being low polarization and high social trust in the country, with a two-party system possibly risking increasing the polarization in a polarized society even further. A 2016 study on insurgencies and civil wars in multicultural Latin America (with multiculturalism tending to increase polarization and decrease social trust) stated that "two-party systems may polarize and lead to intense insurgency because they simplify the process of blame attribution, encourage the incumbent party to exclude its opponent from power positions, and motivate leaders to emphasize extreme ideological positions."
- Key takeaways on Americans’ growing partisan divide over political values http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/05/takeaways-on-americans-growing-partisan-divide-over-political-values/
- Patriotism Requires a White Majority https://www.amren.com/commentary/2018/07/patriotism-requires-a-white-majority/
- Patrick J. Buchanan: After Lee, It's Lincoln's Turn https://vdare.com/articles/patrick-j-buchanan-after-lee-it-s-lincoln-s-turn
- Portland Protesters Topple Statues of Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln in ‘Day of Rage’ https://www.amren.com/news/2020/10/portland-protesters-topple-statues-of-theodore-roosevelt-abraham-lincoln-in-day-of-rage/
- Princeton Will Drop President Woodrow Wilson and Rename School After Influential Black Finance Expert https://www.amren.com/news/2020/10/princeton-will-drop-president-woodrow-wilson-and-rename-school-after-influential-black-finance-expert/
- Portland Protesters Tear Down Statue of George Washington, Drape It with Burning US Flag https://www.amren.com/news/2020/06/portland-protesters-tear-down-statue-of-george-washington-drape-it-with-burning-us-flag/
- Statues of Former Presidents, Other Historical Monuments Vandalized in 4 States over Thanksgiving https://www.amren.com/news/2020/11/statues-of-former-presidents-other-historical-monuments-vandalized-in-4-states-over-thanksgiving/
- Self-Segregation https://www.amren.com/news/2009/04/self-segregatio/
- Americans Increasingly Believe Violence Is Justified If the Other Side Wins https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/10/01/political-violence-424157
- How race and religion have polarized American voters https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/01/20/how-race-and-religion-have-polarized-american-voters/
- Taming the White Beast https://www.amren.com/features/2016/03/taming-the-white-beast/
- Race is the Main Political Divide https://www.amren.com/commentary/2018/09/race-is-the-main-political-divide/
- The Great Awokening https://www.vox.com/2019/3/22/18259865/great-awokening-white-liberals-race-polling-trump-2020
- The Great Awokening Conspiracy Theory https://www.takimag.com/article/the-great-awokening-conspiracy-theory/
- We Are Ruled by Fools https://www.amren.com/videos/2020/06/we-are-ruled-by-fools/
- Why the rich are revolting https://unherd.com/2020/06/why-the-rich-are-revolting/
- NYT Writer Describes ‘Civil War’ Raging Within Company, Says One Side Believes In ‘Safetyism’ Over ‘Free Speech’ https://dailycaller.com/2020/06/05/new-york-times-bari-weiss-civil-war-op-ed-tom-cotton/
- The Next Great Awakening https://nationalpolicy.institute/2020/06/27/the-next-great-awakening/
- BLMania And The New Progressive Faith https://vdare.com/articles/blmania-and-the-new-progressive-faith
- http://www.occidentaldissent.com/2021/05/05/american-purpose-the-bitter-heartland/ American Purpose: The Bitter Heartland
- IT’S OFFICIAL (AGAIN): Leftists, Particularly Leftist Women, Are Nuts https://vdare.com/articles/it-s-official-again-leftists-particularly-leftist-women-are-nuts
- How Do Party Systems Shape Insurgency Levels? A Comparison of Four Nineteenth-Century Latin American Republics https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/social-science-history/article/how-do-party-systems-shape-insurgency-levels-a-comparison-of-four-nineteenthcentury-latin-american-republics/1D89E39A48F7FCC7AC426C0613B68898