The fundamental aspect of a “moral worldview,” to say nothing of an avowed “biblical worldview,” is differentiation with implied or explicit “good” being on one side of the divide and “evil” being on that other side of that divide. Perhaps it is considered a careful and tempered starting point to speak to the masses in terms of morality rather than divine commands, but I am ambivalent about this. The justification for speaking to them in terms of morality is that it gets that pesky “religion” aspect out of the way, often implying that religion inserts unneeded divisiveness.
Leading scholars, however, among ethicists of the non-religious sort understand that there must be some immutable ground outside the vicissitudes of this world for mores to have any chance of being ascribed “objectivity.” This has led to some scholars looking to a reawakening of a neo-platonic ideals, “the good, the true, and the beautiful” as a way to have that abstract, immutable ground for such objective morality. Careful thought about “ideals” reveals that “ideals” have no will, no intent to do anything. Without intent or will, ideals are, if real at all, immovable “abstracts” that can do nothing and influence our world in no way.
The point: only persons can “intend” or “will” anything.
Objective morality, therefore, must issue from a person. If morality is to be objective, it must come to humanity from the “outside” or beyond this world: its source must be transcendent. Only a transcendent person can “intend” to have morality come into this world from a realm or “abstract dimension” beyond. All attempts to craft a so-called ‘objective morality’ without a person at its source will fail. Such a conclusion leads to only two other options: (1) morality is not objective and morality is whatever humans want to make it or (2) there is a transcendent person who has communicated moral duties, obligations, and virtues.
Ergo, there is no “the universe” or “force” or anything else impersonal setting a moral standard by which humanity is judged. The question is which person is determining the moral framework humans should adopt and follow. The vaunted ‘inclusivity’ pushed through every major avenue—corporations, news media, universities, and churches—implies some person out there emphasizing its importance. Which person is it? Is it a transcendent person or is it a this-worldly person? If it is someone in this world, then their point of view is subjectively biased; if it is someone in this world, morality is whatever this person determines. From this point of view, the quest for controlling the morality of this world is to control more of the influence mechanisms than anyone else. Enter corporations, news media, universities, and churches.
The basic morality of ‘inclusivity’ is that everyone should be included simply based on his/her existence. Differences do not matter. Historically, societies follow what is called ‘moral inclusivity.’ A test to find out if someone is a disciple of ‘moral inclusivity’ versus ‘inclusivity’ is to affirm some moral standard by which a person should be excluded. If Martin Luther King Jr. 60 years ago culturally established that demographic differences should not be penalized in society but only moral ones—a man should be judged based on his character—why then this ‘inclusivity’ messaging? Pay attention to the positive side of the ‘inclusivity’ messaging too, likely started with “affirmative action.” If high performance, showing someone to be dedicated, hard-working, disciplined, and consistent (moral qualities) is not how ‘inclusivity’ judges someone’s advancement in society (or job, or what have you), then we have another tell-tell sign. This type of ‘inclusivity’ discards ‘moral inclusivity’ and replaces it with an ‘inclusivity’ based on what exactly? To know this, we would need to find the this-worldly person or persons and ask them. To return to what I said earlier, we can at least say that this ‘inclusivity’ includes someone simply because he or she exists. The only real transgression I can see in this system from those pushing the inclusivity cultural messaging is to disagree with its ‘inclusivity’ mandate, at least that is what they want us to think. If you do, you are the moral monster, or “canceled.”
Insidious indeed is the ‘inclusivity’ messaging because of how much it borrows from the precept that all persons deserve dignity because they are made in the Image of God. Its persuasive power thrives on the ambiguity of the phrase “deserve dignity.” What else is obvious is that those pushing the “inclusivity” messaging have no foundation if this touted ‘inclusivity’ is based on a concept like the Imago Dei. Perhaps more embarrassing is that Christians fall into this messaging’s influence while being blind to the clear confusion between “giving dignity” and “excellence.” I’ve touch on a few different ideas in this paragraph that need more unpacking.
My claim that the inclusivity messaging borrows from the doctrine of the Image of God asks the question of what gives each individual human dignity? A more calculated way of asking might go like this: what ascribes dignity to each individual person that is not subject to the vicissitudes of the times and culture?
If the foundation of the claim, “Each person has dignity,” comes from within this world, this claim is fashioned, constituted, or formed within the various relativities within this world.
We then go further and postulate how this dignity is constituted from within the world. What would be the force, entity, or controlling party, deciding that persons have dignity and in what way and to what degree? We come face to face with a very uncomfortable destination; would not this group also have to decide what is entailed in the word ‘dignity?’ Many Westerners, even of the conservative flavor, fail to know the controlling pressure the Bible has on all its culture. The idea that every single person can say, “I exist,” and therefore should be treated as having inherent value, is pulled from the transcendent value provided by the doctrine of the Imago Dei. If the Bible does not define ‘dignity’ and how ‘dignity’ should be played out in the world, then who will decide this? I believe the obvious answer is whoever controls the bulk of social media messaging. Who are those people? What are their morals? Do they believe in dignity? Does much in the media realm, digital world, or capitalist corporations suggest they put a high premium on human dignity? I need not answer the question of how ‘dignity’ constructed within this world could somehow take on immutable status: indeed I am incredulous towards such happening. That job is for those who wish to defend it. My contention is simply that the entire notion of ‘inclusivity’ is based on the idea that each person has inherent value. Further, I contend that ‘inclusivity’ as peddled in Western society now (2023) confuses dignity with excellence. The boat has been unmoored from its historic dock, and now floats adrift.
Hopefully we have pulled back the curtain a bit on what is happening. “Inclusivity” as it is sold borrows from the historic doctrine of the Imago Dei, but those pushing “inclusivity” intend to establish a new morality to replace the historic one built around the Imago Dei, even as it is restated in the United States’ Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights . . . .” Why do I allege that “inclusivity” as peddled is a new morality? Advancement in society, on teams, in work, etc., has historically occurred due to what we might term ‘moral meritocracy.’ This advancement happens when someone follows the rules of the moral meritocracy, and we talk about that colloquially as “he/she is a success” or “she/he is excellent.” Unfortunately, Westerns often confuse “accumulation of material (money, wealth)” with the notion of success or excellence. Westerns rightly understand “freedom” as the goal of life, but how they think they can have it is wrong: they suppose money/wealth brings freedom. I am digressing on this matter, so let’s return to the argument. Moral meritocracy is built on (1) following commandments of morality roughly sketched out in the Bible, and (2) consistently living with discipline (hard work, self-control, patience, regularity, dedication, loyalty). The first, (1), provides the basis for someone to get and remain on the playing field. The second, (2), is the fuel of someone’s advancement to become a success or excellent.
Those who have written extensively on these matters often state that a free and fair society provides a citizen “with the opportunity for success,” it does not guarantee that success or ensure a certain “successful outcome.” What establishes a citizen’s success is “self-determination” or “self-constructed destiny.” Simply put, a free and fair society provides equality of opportunity, but discriminates outcomes based on some set of rules. I’ve argued in the last paragraph that these rules used to be “moral meritocracy.” What is the new set of rules associated with “inclusivity?” Although “wokism” is amorphous when trying to speak about it in a summary sort of way, we will call the new set of rules “wokism” in terms of our analysis of what is replacing (1) and (2) as discussed in the last paragraph.
We are in danger of inaccurately describing Western society as already having displaced (1) and (2), so let’s qualify the discussion hereafter by noting that we are presently in the transition period. We do not know the outcome of this “transition” period, but we do know that we are in the heat of the ideological battle that will lead towards moral meritocracy or into wokism. What’s humorous about wokism is that it is sold as “progressive” when really it is a pre-modern moral and societal structure based on pre-Christian times. I am question begging at this point, asserting what I hope to demonstrate, so let’s get into it.
Inherent value as a fundamental human right is something strange to the ancient world; Friedrich Nietzche, who was an ardent enemy of all things Christian—often ascribed responsibility for the 19th century’s Death of God movement—often bewailed how Christianity’s values displaced and annihilated the “values” of the ancient world. More specifically, Nietzche found the “will to power” and the virtues of strength, honor, valor, triumph, and domination, as praiseworthy, but Christianity, through the notion of the Almighty being sacrificed for the weakest, obliterated this “ancient world set of morals” and effectively inverted them: the weak should be protected, dishonor is not something to be avoided, triumph might only come through loss, and domination was shallowed up in love. What is perspicuous is that the ancient world’s mores were not a far cry from the norms of the animal kingdom.
Notably, this ancient world’s morality seems to be reducible to “exertion of power over another.” The general message of the Gospel, especially spelled out in Philippians, is that power is reinterpreted as “exertion to beneficially elevate another.” This is as succinct as I can make it: what morality, then, does wokism offer as a displacement for morality-as-roughly-outlined-in-the-Bible? Inclusivity distilled of any traditional morality from the Bible has what effects on society? What are the rules of the playing field (the field being US society)? If it is not some morality built from the Bible, from what will it be built? If being excluded from society has been based on some strong set of sexual restrictions, familial fidelity, and the 10 commandments, what are we left with if we remove those as the rules of the playing field? What formative effects does the 10 commandments have on society? They dictate that God should be at the center and centrally important; they uphold some measure of labor laws from people being overworked in the society; they elevate the importance of continuous family integrity; they fight against the destabilizing effects of murder, covetousness, deceit, and theft; lastly but importantly, they establish the critical mindset of ascribing sacred space and a place to practice holiness.
There is a final feature of the cultural war between traditional moral inclusivity and this so-called new woke inclusivity that I’ve left unstated but implied. Namely, the unwritten rules are built from persons’ behaviors and not what they say. What woke inclusivity claims and says is that every person should be accepted in the same measure regardless of traditional moral norms—this relies on the premise that each person has dignity because of being made in the image of God. What woke inclusivity does and how it behaves is to shame, ostracize, exclude, and punish those who believe in traditional moral norms as an adjudicator of societal acceptance. We are now ready to conclude this little jaunt through the US culture war.
Woke inclusivity displaces traditional moral inclusivity with a feigned moral agnosticism built on the back of excluding those who disagree with the woke ideological matrix. Wokism as cast in terms of social justice in America castigates those who disagree with those practicing sexual deviance (this is one category, but it is arguably the most important). Describing any sexual behavior as “sexual deviance” is disallowed too in wokism: even the pedophiles are being pushed as “minor attracted persons.” All culture war grows from terminology change, we must not forget. Wokism feigns its stance as “accept everyone” to attempt to look morally neutral (or agnostic) when really Wokism advances and celebrates sexual deviance. Therefore, it is not that woke inclusivity intends to accept everyone; woke inclusivity is trying to set up a moral framework where sexual deviance is the “new moral norm” and where this “new moral norm” punishes those who hold to traditional values—i.e., cancel culture.