Optimism, Inc.: Will Wokeness Finally Cannibalize Itself?


By Victor Davis Hanson

Part 1: French Revolutionaries under the Guillotine

This week I offer a few historical hopeful examples of why and how mass hysterias arise, consume, and die off. And I think the same pattern will follow with the ‘Great Awokening/BLM/racialization of everything.’ 

As it cannibalizes its own, Woke LTD is exposed as a money-making machine for its elite BLM Marxist architects, and reveals the hypocrisies and careerist self-interests of its corporate and bicoastal elite tag-alongs.


George Jacques Danton was guillotined April 5, 1974 during the Reign of Terror

Part 1: Wokeness Really Will End

What fueled—and what ended—the Jacobin beheadings, the Hollywood blacklistings, and #MeToo, these flights of collective madness and score-settling? 

An original, resonant complaint often jumpstarted these movements: 

The  French Girondists could not stop rising food costs and seemed incompetent in war, so Jacobins took over with initial public support; 


In the late 1940s or early 1950s there were real communists inside the US government and major US institutions that were or had been pro-Soviet at a time when the Russians got the bomb, overran Eastern Europe, and their communist allies took over China.

Harvey Weinstein was a sexual ogre who for years used his leftwing virtue-signaling exemptions and insider power to seduce, coerce— and on occasions allegedly rape—young women with absolute impunity. 

So at first, like a prairie fire, all these combustions spread, as the voices of outraged pledged to end business as usual. 

But what then ended the rule of the outraged as they quickly became outrageous? 

Soon, the most radical took control, went on their accustomed power-jihads, and leveled accusations without proof that were to be synonymous with guilt. Original revolutionaries themselves were soon targeted as insufficiently revolutionary. Finally a sickened public collective concluded, “It can’t go on like this”. 

So the Jacobins absorbed, but also cannibalized, the radical Montagnards and Girondins. Erstwhile revolutionaries like Danton and Hébert were accused of being trimmers and were executed. A cultural proto-Marxism swept France, targeting the church, and all the traditions of the Ancient Regime, even to the extent of renaming the days and months of the year. 

Yet by early 1794 the nihilist Reign of Terror was devouring its own, until at least the Thermidors intervened and sent them to the guillotine as purveyors of nihilism. 

The ultimate antidote Napoleon was not far from the horizon.


Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won and The Case for Trump.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments