Wokeness has infiltrated every industry, from the military to media to philanthropy. It has succeeded in spite of a lack of public support. But according to Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson, there is a way to stop it.

The word was first printed in a 1962 New York Times essay and traditionally has meant “conscious” and “aware. “The Oxford Dictionary notes that the term originally meant well-informed, or up-to-date, but now chiefly means “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.”

Hanson told Fox News that wokeness, as we think of it today, has its roots in decades of critical theory coming from universities.

Today, it’s intertwined with cancel culture, critical race theory, and progressive activism – and it’s everywhere you look.

WHAT DOES ‘WOKE’ MEAN? 

The U.S. military has offered personal development classes focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, defended the teaching of critical race theory and other woke curriculum in military academies before the House Armed Services Committee.

The media has similarly come under fire for their activism, with New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones declaring that “all journalism is activism,” and CBS News reporter Kate Smith leaving the network and immediately declaring her advocacy for abortion rights.

School districts have faced public outcry over their teaching of critical race theory, leading many states to go so far as to ban the curriculum.

Even generosity is not immune. Naomi Schaefer Riley noted in an opinion in the Wall Street Journal that “nonprofits big and small have shifted their missions toward combatting “inequity” and “systematic racism,”  and according to Elise Westhoff, president of the Philanthropy Roundtable, “donors have faced intimidation and threats of violence simply for supporting causes they believe in.”

WHAT IS CRITICAL RACE THEORY?

Hanson said the push toward wokeness picked up speed during the Obama administration, when there was a “separation of race from class,” and a movement to lump all non-White ethnicities into one homogenous identity called “diversity.”

But it wasn’t until the last 18 months that wokeness reached a fever pitch.

“I think the perfect storm of COVID fears, locking down two-thirds of the population for 15 months, the self-induced recession, the Trump derangement syndrome, the George Floyd death, the 120 days of riots, the inactivity and inability to get people to meet one another, the crazy election, all of that was the spark or the fuse that lit the preexisting problems,” Hanson said.

For opponents of the societal push toward wokeness, Hanson said not all hope is lost – the majority of American’s don’t support it either.

“Whatever aspect that we look at in wokeness, whether it’s gender or race or immigration, transgenderism, it doesn’t have public support,” Hanson said.

Sixty-eight percent of American adults disapprove of the current administration’s handling of the southern border, where an open door policy has led to a massive influx of illegal immigrants into the country, according to Pew Research.

A Fox News poll further showed that, despite a raging debate in many communities over critical race theory being taught in school, nearly half of voters say they have never heard of it, and only a quarter of Americans are in favor of teaching it to U.S. students.

Another Pew Research study showed 73 percent of Americans say college admissions should not be based on race.

One thing is clear about the trend that has dominated much of academia, media, and corporate America: it does not stem from overwhelming grassroots support.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: LEFT’S ‘VAGUE’ CLAIMS THAT AMERICA IS INHERENTLY RACIST ‘ADJUDICATED’ BY ‘METRICS’

Hanson said that is because proponents of woke ideology are now in positions of leadership.

“Unlike the 60’s revolution, which were protesting outside the corporation or outside the New York Times or outside Hollywood, these people are inside,” Said Hanson. “They’ve taken over. So they run Hollywood, they run the NBA, they run the Major League Baseball, they run the NFL, they run Wall Street, they run Silicon Valley, they run the universities, they run the media.”

“They infiltrated these institutions and took them over,” he continued. “So that’s what explains why an agenda that has very little popular support continues to thrive.”

Mainstream media, Hanson noted, has fully bought into this ideology, and can’t be counted on to report on it fairly.

Outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post are now “fused with the woke mob,” he said.

NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES SAYS ‘ALL JOURNALISM IS ACTIVISM’

“They pick left-wing reporters so you can’t count on the media to stop the wokeness …or to report on its setbacks. They won’t do it.”

The left has succeeded in pushing this ideology into every facet of American life because they are organized, he continued, and opponents need to learn to fight fire with fire.

“[Republicans] are very polite, they don’t cancel people out, they don’t boycott, they don’t get angry and noisy. And I think that has to end,” Hanson said.

The people who oppose woke ideology are “half the country,” he continued. But they aren’t “organized like the left is.”

“So I think they have to use the same methodology to fight back, otherwise, they’re going to be steamrolled by a minority that doesn’t have popular support, that’s very much better organized and funded.”

Hanson said he can already see the public backlash against wokeism – the most notable examples being school board protests, and Eric Adams, a pro-law enforcement candidate, winning the Democratic mayoral primary in New York.

But on a larger scale, he said, it will take a “charismatic, effective candidate who doesn’t polarize people and says ‘look, we’re not going to throw away the traditions of the United States because of a bad year or a bankrupt theory.'”

“I think the Republicans are going to have a big midterm election,” Hanson predicted. “That’s what destroyed the Obama administration was the Tea Party pickup of 63 seats in 2010.”

“So, I think it can be stopped because there’s no public support for it.”