A recent email to me from a frequent correspondent right after the SVB/Signature bank failures criticized some conservative news sources for blaming the banks’ problems on being “woke.” And he asked what does being woke even mean? He wrote:
“Being ‘woke’ doesn’t mean anything except to right wingers and boomers. And no bank fails because of being ‘woke.’ They failed because of basic poor asset-liability management due to no supervision and being able to borrow billions from short-term depositors who needed to burn cash quickly as tech start-ups and then investing those deposits in long dated bonds.
“Stop trying to make culture wars the center of every issue.”
While I originally agreed with him about using the term “woke” to describe banking practices and regulation, further reporting has modified my conclusion—see below. More globally, I do think “woke” is an important term which applies to many actions and policies which are literally destroying the nation we inherited from all previous generations of Americans.
I’ll return to the banks in a minute, but first let me address the question of what do I, at least, mean by the term “woke”?
Vivek Ramaswamy, in his book Woke, Inc., at a very high level says this:
“Basically, being woke means obsessing about race, gender and sexual orientation. Maybe climate change too. That’s the best definition I can give. Today more and more people are becoming woke, even though generations of civil rights leaders have taught us not to focus on race or gender. And now capitalism is trying to stay woke too.
“Once corporations discovered wokeness, the inevitable happened: they used it to make money.”
He then goes on to describe the unholy marriage between the activists who used to attack corporate America as the Occupy Wall Street Movement on one side of that marriage bargain, and the corporations themselves on the other. The bargain they struck is that the activists will stop directly attacking big money and corporations if the businesses themselves will embrace and push their activist agenda. That is essentially what has happened, and now corporate America is obsessed with promoting and enforcing these ideas on employees, vendors, investors—everyone.
I think his definition is accurate, but it is too general to be of much help in actually understanding the woke lies, dressed as nice sounding truths, that are being pushed on us in our schools, universities, corporations and even our military.
A good source for seeing how wokeism works out in practice is, interestingly enough, the WOKEMINSTER.COM website created by alumni and parents to show its impact at my alma mater, The Westminster Schools, in Atlanta. It looks to me like the people involved in that website went to great lengths to report carefully and accurately the sometimes subtle but very important differences between wokeism and, because Westminster still advertises itself as a Christian preparatory school, God’s revealed truth. Those of you with children in Christian preparatory schools across the country, please pay close attention to what is going on.
If you’re interested, read through the site’s Mission Statement at OUR MISSION | WOKEMINSTER, and then scroll down to the bottom left, where you will find six specific categories in which the school’s leadership has succumbed to the siren-song promulgated by the progressive activists in the National Association of Independent Schools. If you click on each of those in turn, you will see examples which were apparently taken from the school and its advisors.
To see how a generation of woke teaching in our schools has now infected two really important institutions, there are two excellent OpEd articles from the WSJ which I hope you are able read in full.
The first is on DEI in the Military, and the bottom line is this: ANYTHING that undermines a meritocracy in the military will lead to disaster. Whether wealth and position in 19th century European armies, or some DEI quality today, if the followers in any military unit ever think that their leader is not the best at what he or she does, and is instead less capable, but placed in charge only because of some DEI trait, then they will understandably stop following. Mutiny and/or loss of fighting ability inevitably follow.
And the same shedding of experience and competence is accelerating in all American corporations and institutions. We all know older men who have great difficulty, even with years of experience, finding a job. One friend, apparently now unemployable, said that his condition is known as “stale, pale and male.” And those of you with sons in expensive education programs also take note—employers and graduate schools don’t care anymore. Hopefully he will start his own business. Please don’t go into Education Debt—no amount of either can change your age, skin color or gender. You’ll just have to deal with the discrimination, which is illegal but nevertheless encouraged for the greater cause of DEI worship and supremacy.
The second WSJ piece is on Law Schools, where the Rule of Law and Equal Justice are about finished, and will be buried by the current generation of law students. We’re seeing it today. The only alternative to Rule of Law is some form of tyranny. Whether for Blacks under Jim Crow, or for Russians today. That is our nation’s fate unless we quickly turn back to Equal Protection, Free Speech, and an independent Press.
A little closer to home, and broader than education, if you’d like to sample some of what I’ve written on this subject, take a look at Racist Purgatory or Personal Redemption? and A Challenge To Woke Progressives.
Returning to the trigger issue for this discussion, the contributors to bank failures which I would lump in with wokeism are 1) questionable loans to companies with little real chance of repayment, only because those companies fit some part of the woke agenda; and 2) if the banks’ regulators were obsessed with woke issues rather than with financial integrity. It now appears that both, in fact, did impact these recent failures. See this NY Post article for all the misplaced, dangerous woke priorities.
And I’m not quite sure whether this bank video is woke or stupid or both.
The specific woke issues for these banks and their regulators created a perfect storm when they were layered onto the nation’s failed financial policies in general, which, in my mind, should simply be called stupid, nonsensical, or impossible, like:
- Cheap money and low interest rates will go on forever, but even if that changes, it will have no real impact on the economy or banks.
- After shutting down much of the economy over Covid and then helicoptering trillions of dollars of cash to everyone, any resulting inflation will only be transitory.
- It’s always safe and best for all banks to hold long term government bonds.
- The wealthy, powerful cronies who got the requirements changed under Trump, and the wealthy, powerful cronies who got the VC firms bailed out under Biden deserve those bailouts, while the rest of us don’t.
- National Debt of $32 Trillion at 5% interest now costs $1.5 Trillion to service every year, before any spending on Defense, Social Security, Medicare, Education…anything, but don’t worry—nothing can go wrong.
While wokeism did not create these policies, it seems inevitable that wokeism perpetuates this kind of stupidity, not just in banking, but in all our industries and institutions, because everyone must think exactly the same.
“Two legs bad, four legs good.”
We simply must wake up to what all this woke crap is producing—ill-conceived, dangerous policies, with even more power to the woke powerful, who increasingly set all the rules, and cancel whomever dares to disagree.