Programming Note: Mark Steyn will be on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News tonight at 8:00pm EDT. He will also be on Australian television Thursday evening, joining Chris Kenny on Sky News Thursday at 5:00pm AEST (that's 3:00am EDT Thursday morning for North Americans).
Now here's our latest guest column from Tal Bachman...
You've probably heard the Jessica Krug story by now. For years, the George Washington University history professor described herself as an "Afro-Puerto Rican" from the Bronx, even regularly mining her "lived experience" as an oppressed minority for her academic writings.
In reality, Krug was a Jewish lady from suburban Kansas City. Her ruse fell apart last week after a few actual Afro Latina professors—evidently possessing Nazi-level jewdar—confronted Krug and threatened to expose her true demographic identity. Krug decided to preempt her exposure by confessing her racial appropriation in a blog post, resigning her tenured professorship, and disappearing from public view.
There's a lot to be said about this incident, and much has been said already. But I think the most important part of this story has been overlooked. It is what Krug's written confession reveals about the nature of Woke theology; what it might feel like, emotionally and psychologically, to actually believe in it; and what its growth would mean for society.
Krug's short confession is chilling and compelling. Entitled "Truth, and the Anti-Black Violence of My Lies", it reads, above all, like a suicide note—and that's because it is a suicide note: it acknowledges the imminent end of a self, with no replacement self in view.
In so many words, True Believer Krug reveals that for her sins, Wokism now requires her effective death.
For her, there can be no absolution within this one true religion. She stands irredeemably guilty of "violence" against the gods most sacred (that is, black people) by lying to them, "using and abusing their identities and cultures", stealing from them, "gaslighting" them, seeking belonging with them, practicing her own form of "colonialism" against them, and deceiving them into relationships with her when she "deserves neither trust nor caring".
She is "unethical and immoral". She is a coward. She is a "culture leech". She has "moved wrong in every way for years". Her actions prove she is "anti-black", which, she says, means her life no longer has inherent value. While she longs to repair her now-broken relationships, she believes that's impossible, and moreover, doesn't believe she "deserves the grace or kindness to do so". She would never even dare "ask for or expect forgiveness".
It turns out, her actual sins aren't even the worst of it. Now shorn of her Afro-Puerto Rican shield, Krug reveals the fundamental meaning of her re-acknowledged non-blackness: "a threat at best, and a death sentence at worst" to all people of color. Her impossible task now is to "figure out how to be a person that I don't believe should exist".
Krug concludes by somberly and decisively sentencing herself: "I should absolutely be cancelled...You should absolutely cancel me, and I absolutely cancel myself."
It's tempting to dismiss this note, and the years-long ruse which led to it, as evidence of mental illness. Krug herself concludes mental illness is the best explanation for her behavior.
I think that's too easy. After all, accepting the premises of Wokism doesn't require "mental illness". It only requires growing up believing what most teachers, professors, and political "experts" ("experts" like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, that is) in media tell you, or what your news feed curators send to your phone every morning. It only requires what Wittgenstein once called a "one-sided diet of examples", along with being human.
And once, as a non-black person, you've accepted the premises of Wokism—one of which is the intrinsic immorality of non-blackness—only the purest logic (not mental illness) would begin to push you toward what we might call racial evolution: that is, toward full negrification, to whatever extent possible, or to say the same thing, toward moral redemption.
Put another way, how could a growing procession of desperate Jessica Krugs not materialize, when our current Thought Pontiffs (yeah, I just made that up) have declared ex cathedra that one's intrinsic moral worth is inversely proportional to one's non-blackness? A bit of bronzer here, a bit of curl-enhancer there; a bit of black dialect, ghetto head-bobbing, hip-hop blasting, and rote indignation thrown in; and voila!—you've just become a better person. Certainly, if you're Dr. Krug, you've suddenly exchanged the moral stain of being a well-heeled, well-spoken, suburban Jewish girl who's never known a moment's deprivation her entire life, for the moral purification that only comes from blackness. What joyous relief she must have felt.
And so I ask: Sure, racial imposture looks crazy on the surface, but when you look more closely, where, really is the "mental illness" in any of this? All we need is the innocent adoption of false premises, combined with logic, conviction, and normal human longings for goodness, approval, belonging, meaning, worth, and identity. Put that all together, and you're inevitably going to get Jess La Bombera (Krug's Afro-Puerto Rican alias), or before her, Rachel Dolezal, or inevitably, many more like them in the future. No mental illness required—only humanity acting in good faith within a certain moral matrix.
That said, this is all terribly perverse, of course, and not least because while leftists are still Twitter-stomping Krug for her devotion-fueled racial thievery, Krug's confession itself suggests that, underneath it all, she's probably a decent person. She not only apologized; she cancelled herself. She became Wokism's first auto-martyr, executed by her own hand out of misguided devotion to the world's most destructive religion. At least Islam can—after a fashion—build civilizations. I might not want to live in any of them. I might view them as intolerably repressive and incompatible with my conception of freedom. But at least they exist.
But Wokism is another thing altogether. A fully "Woke civilization" can't exist for any length of time; the phrase itself is a contradiction-in-terms. Wokism is the ultimate intolerator; therefore, it must not be tolerated. It is the ultimate destroyer; therefore, it must be destroyed.
And while we're pushing for that, I say we send a rescue team out to find the devastated, true-believing Jessica before she actually does kill herself. We might save her life. We might even be able to talk some sense into her.
And along the way, we'd deprive Wokism of a martyr it just doesn't deserve.
Mark Steyn Club members can let Tal Bachman know what they think in the comments section. Commenting privileges are just one of many perks that come along with Mark Steyn Club membership, including access to members-only events, Steyn Store discounts and an all-access pass to SteynOnline's audio, video and written content. Let Tal know what you think in person by joining him and Mark's other special guests, including the unrelated Michele Bachmann, Ann McElhinney, Phelim McAleer and Douglas Murray, aboard next year's Mediterranean Mark Steyn Cruise.