How can Christians love their neighbors (especially members of family and church) who are falling into the progressive ideology of so-called wokism? Noelle Mering helps you respond to progressive ideology in her new book, Awake, Not Woke. Noelle Mering is a Fellow at Washington DC based think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center where she co-directs the Theology of Home Project. She is an editor for Theology of Home, co-author of the Theology of Home book series, and the author of Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology. She studied philosophy and theatre at Westmont College in California and did graduate work in philosophy at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Noelle and her husband live in Southern California with their six children.
Mering joins Doug Stuart to discuss her work in navigating the intricacies of and foundations for the social implications of woke / progressive ideology. They discuss the characteristics of the woke movement, what it means to be woke, the role of language and why the pronoun issue is so central to change. Mering also explains some of the more philosophical foundations including Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's influence on Karl Marx, and why it cannot be denied that wokism is a cultural twist on Marxism (ie. Cultural Marxism). Mering also explains why this isn't movement isn't actually new, but has been hidden in plain sight through a generational lag. The apparent ubiquity of woke ideology because the fruit of seeds planted decades ago.
Mering also offers quite a bit of helpful perspective when interacting with well-intentioned people falling for this ideology vs the "militant true believers" of wokism, as well as the fact this really is, at its core, a deeper spiritual battle concerning our religious beliefs, meta narratives that inform our lives and provide meaning, and why capitulation is no longer an option. Mering brings some clarity of terms like "whiteness" and "white supremacy" and that these things have very little to do with skin color.
If you've had questions about these ideas, this is a great episode which parses out the very Christian idea of love of neighbor and walking along the suffering, while not giving into the destructive ideologies that are attacking our society at its very roots.
Main Points of Discussion:
01:50 What does it mean to be “woke?”
03:08 What the characteristics of the woke movement?
05:52 The role of language and power dynamics in the woke movement
09:50 More than a culture war: Attack on truth and meaning
14:20 What are the philosophical origins of the woke movement?
16:17 How do we parse out working out knowledge from the danger of the philosophical foundations?
19:24 Are popular Marxists/Socialists not phased by mortality under communism because it’s “just progress?”
20:55 How does Hegel influence Karl Marx?
24:25 Generational lag and the ubiquity of the seeds of woke ideology
29:22 The difference between well-intentioned people and the militant true believers: how Christianity has fallen victim.
35:26 Tolerance is thrown out the window; it’s about division
39:08 Whiteness; white supremacy - doesn’t have to do with skin color
42:08 Is there a vantage point that “intersectionality” does provide?
47:23 Beyond the sexual revolution in the woke movement and “funneling” children into sexuality; “innocence perpetuate hierarchy.”
52:11 Is there hope in fighting against this?
In this episode, Doug Stuart interviews former public school teacher, Angela Harders. Harders is author of the book, "Tales of a Toxic Teacher: Exposing the Cycles of Abuse Within Our Schools". Harders discusses her dreams and intentions when she first began teaching, and how quickly those dreams were squelched by the public school system. Many teachers like her share similar experiences, and Harders is calling out the public education, not as "broken" but as operating as it's designed.
People who become teachers usually do so because they envision a better world for kids through their education. But reality soon rears its head "within the first 5 minutes" of starting a job as a teacher. Harders explains how the public education system churns out traumatized kids and pass them through to be "society's problems." Not only is the system abusive, but the impact of the abuse cultivates kids who become abusive themselves. Harders, a public school teacher for 12 years, even describes how the zeros she gave one continually absent student were mysteriously changed to 60% (just passing) without her knowledge or consent.
Harders rebuffs the tired criticism that public education is "broken." It's not, she says, it operates as expected. Which is to say that it's intended to create submissive, compliant, factory-worker-type followers, ready for employment and trained to never question assigned authority. The complaints, however, that teachers are not given adequate supplies or leeway to be a creative teacher is all true. She had to get creative with her field trips so that students could make some tangible connection to otherwise foreign ideas that even we might take for granted. For example, she describes taking her students to a baseball game so they could understand the assigned reading which involved baseball. Hardships for students abound, but so also do hardships for teachers. As a Spanish teacher, one student asked her why he should care about learning Spanish when he was expected to die by the time he was 18.
The public education system is also rife with structural problems, says Harder. The compulsory aspect coupled with the cultural tendency to think of school as glorified babysitting is traumatic. We've all heard the stories of the kids who cry for the parents on the first day (first week, really) of school. Being separated from their parents, at this age, is not normal, and shouldn't be normalized. And yet, it is. Harders challenges parents about the education paradigm by noting that the state usually spends about $15k per student. Would you pay $15k for an education experience like this? No, of course not. But Harders says, the cost is even higher than that. That cost being, the unravelling of the social structure designed for raising the next generation: the family.
Harders, a divorce from an abusive marriage, also discovered the hallmarks of abusive relationships are all found within the public school system, and that system often creates what is known as a trauma bond. Where the abused ardently defends their abuser and excuses the abuse. So Harders left the public school system and now promotes unschooling, or what she calls Peaceful Worldschooling. She emphasizes the need to de-school, which means to take active steps to undo the damage done by the public education system. Peaceful worldschooling fits hand in glove with concepts like peaceful or gentle parenting, self-directed or interest-based learning, and using real life as a guiding "curriculum" to ignite the interests and passions of children. Indeed, making manifest the dream she and most teachers have going into this career field.
Listen to all this and more right here.
Main Points of Discussion:
03:12 Tales of a Toxic Teacher by Angela Harders
04:47 How quickly did you come to realize were a toxic teacher?
09:22 Public education is not broken
10:34 How did you overcome the design of public education?
12:15 Hardships of students; hardships of teachers
18:03 Structural problems built into the system
23:52 Connections to abuse
28:25 Leave-school, De-school, Un-school (Peaceful Worldschool)
34:16 State education compliance
40:46 Ahhh! Won't my kid just play video games all day?!
44:10 Concluding Thoughts
In this episode, Kerry Baldwin guest hosts and interviews Melissa Broudo. Broudo is the co-founder and co-director of the Sharmus Outlaw Advocacy and Rights (SOAR) Institute. She has been part of the sex-worker-rights and harm-reduction movements since the late 1990s, co-founding SOAR to further policy, advocacy, and capacity-building efforts that support the rights of sex workers and survivors of human trafficking.
Can Christians support decriminalizing prostitution?
Our knee-jerk response may be an automatic, "no, of course not!". Yet, many (not all) reasons favoring decriminalizing prostitution are towards ends that Christians do desire, namely, mitigating human trafficking, focusing and improving civil governance on actual acts of aggression, and making it easy to leave the profession when someone wants to. Broudo highlights some key distinctions of terms including the differences between sex work, prostitution, and trafficking, as well as the important distinction between decriminalization and legalization.
Many Christian organizations seeking to rescue victims of sex trafficking are enticed by something called the Nordic Model - where only the demand side of the sex trade criminalized. Meaning, only the purchase of sex legally prohibited, not the sale of it. Broudo touches on a number of problems stemming from actions taken by law enforcement in the name of "rescue." Other problems include government violations of personal data, encryption, freedom of Internet platforms, and the like that we discuss.
Baldwin and Broudo also touch on concepts such as bodily autonomy and agency and even how our disagreements on abortion might be set aside on our more common ground related to the concerns raised about women and sex more generally. Portions of our interview were cut out for the sake of time, but included information about the successes of decriminalization in New Zealand and (formerly) in Rhode Island.
Is there a connection between stigma of prostitution and purity culture? Baldwin and Broudo discuss the manner in which the state (both judicial and law enforcement) handle rape cases for women (prostitutes or not) the feminist mentality that all women are essentially victims, and finally the connection to some beliefs held by Evangelical purity culture types.
Rape is the one violent crime in the United States where a judge will consider whether a woman "invited" the violence against her. Law enforcement has historically ignored crimes against prostitutes using the acronym NHI to indicate "no humans involved." Radical feminists, who oppose decriminalization or legalization, view all sex work as exploitative and disregard the possibility a woman would consciously and voluntarily do this kind of work as a profession.
Christian teaching emphasizes that we not confuse or complicate our speech - that we let our ‘yes’ simply mean ‘yes’, and our ‘no’ mean ‘no’. (Matt 5:37) But are young girls and women taught how to say 'no' and is that 'no' honored by our culture?
We close with a brief discussion on economics and why the Nordic model fails on that front. If you've had questions about issue and have wanted an honest response from a Christian perspective, you'll find this interview both informative and challenging. We also address some tough questions raised by thoughtful Christians against decriminalization.
Disclaimer: As you can probably tell from the title, the following episode contains themes of a sexual nature. The Libertarian Christian Institute advocates and endorses a Christian sexual ethic, namely that sexual intimacy is a gift from God, to be enjoyed only within the bounds of heterosexual marriage. Our guest does not share this same view. However, this is an opportunity to discuss topics relevant to Christian libertarianism, that are also topics weighing heavy on minds of many Christians, to include sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and how our society and government treats women overall. As a consequence, this discussion may not suitable for everyone.
Main Points of Discussion:
02:23 Why should Christians care about decriminalizing sex work?
05:09 Definitions of terms: sex work, trafficking, prostitution
08:05 Why is it important to understand these distinctions?
10:15 Decriminalization vs legalization: what is the difference
13:47 EARN IT Act & SESTA/FOSTA
19:11 Do we know how many women/girls are trafficked vs how many voluntarily participate?
23:43 Legal-rights element from a libertarian perspective - self-ownership, non-aggression, bodily autonomy
32:49 Problems with the Nordic model
45:40 Tough questions from conservative Christians
1:02:07 Stigma: by the state, feminism, and purity culture (No humans involved)
1:19:47 Economics: why is it illegal to sell what a woman can give away for free?
1:29:30 Concluding thoughts
Case against the Nordic Model (criminalize demand only) https://decriminalizesex.work/equality-model/
Scandinavian Human Rights Lawyers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4j897YLVac
Contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Lloyd, a libertarian voluntaryist who's been promoting the liberty message for over 15 years, speaks about his new book, The Definitive Guide to Libertarian Voluntaryism. He provides an introductory explanation to this and other terms including the anarcho-distinctives: anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-communism/socialism, and why he prefers the term libertarian voluntaryism. Like many libertarians, Lloyd grounds his views in the libertarian principles of self-ownership and non-aggression, but seeks to add an additional layer in the voluntaryist element, namely, answering the question of how we make manifest consent and account for what he calls ethical apartheid.
Lloyd describes a more psychological understanding of how we got to this point with the state and civil governance. He identifies public schooling as a primary source of real, legitimate trauma in the lives of Americans, which results in very real problems in our decision making processes as we become adults. This underlying problem, Lloyd believes, explains why it usually takes a psychological shock to "wake people up" to the reality of what is happening with government and society today. Lloyd insists that we can't be "lukewarm" in our messaging; it's either the hot and energizing or cool and refreshing messaging that motives people to rethink things and take action toward different goals.
In addition to these foundational principles, Lloyd touches on some other topics important to libertarians: animal rights, environmentalism, and children's rights. While many of us have emotional attachments to our pets and other animals for any given number of reasons, Lloyd explains how an ethical system concerning human justice cannot meaningful translate to one upholding a category of animal rights. Certainly, this isn't to say that animals should be treated poorly, but that it doesn't fit into a framework of justice in consistent way. More broadly, problems arising from environmental concerns are best handled in terms of specifying particular property rights, rather than painting in broad strokes.
Lloyd also mentions children's rights. As a former juvenile defense attorney and government school teacher, Lloyd has a passion for children and the trauma, however unwittingly, they're put through as children and the impact that has on their adulthood. He's also sober-minded in approaching the relationship between parent's and children's rights, being careful to adhere consistently with the libertarian principles of self-ownership, non-aggression, and taking into account their developing capacity to meaningful consent. This includes regarding children as self-owners in their own right, not chattel property, but that their parents have the highest claim of guardianship, not the state.
Finally, Lloyd doesn't want to leave people hanging with the answer to "how do we get there?" How do we achieve a voluntaryist form of civil governance? He briefly explains his idea of not-for-profit government, and taxation is not the proper way to fund it.
Main Points of Discussion:
01:22 What is Libertarian Voluntaryism?
06:44 What are the foundational axioms of Libertarian Voluntarism?
10:36 How do we maximize the reach of our liberty message?
14:36 How radical do we have to be in our messaging as libertarians?
19:28 What about animal rights and the NAP?
25:04 Can a libertarian voluntarist be an environmentalist? If so, how?
29:36 Do we owe a duty of non-aggression to other humans yet to be born?
33:38 What about the children?
38:34 What is the not-for-profit government model?
41:12 Concluding Thoughts