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CIA & The Woke Totalitarian Generation

Unnamed intersectional agent in CIA recruitment video

You have to watch this. You really do. It’s jaw-dropping. It’s a new CIA recruitment ad:

She is an unnamed Latina Millennial who says she has been “diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder,” and is “cisgender.” She goes on to say, “I am intersectional, but my existence is not a box-checking exercise,” and that she had doubts about her place at the agency, but then decided she would refuse “to internalize misguided, patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.”

Here’s one in which a CIA librarian talks about how awesome it is that he can talk about being gay at work, and how affirming the CIA is:

Here’s a clip from a blind woman talking about how she feared rejection when she applied at the CIA, but it’s such a caring and inclusive employer that it all worked out. A still from her video:

She doesn’t mention she’s gay, or pro-LGBT, but the agency wants to make sure you know that she can advertise that at work.

Here’s a testimonial from a black female Millennial who says how important it was that an “ally” at the agency stood up for her. She loves working at CIA because, she says, there are people there committed to “holding CIA accountable for the diversity and inclusion that it champions.”

What’s going on here? The CIA has gone woke? Seems like it. As absurd as it is, this tells us something about the kind of people the CIA wants to recruit. Notice how important identity is to these people. The Latina has no problem advertising her mental problems, which is fine, I guess, but why would the CIA want to emphasize that being mentally ill is no barrier to success at the agency? I mean, I’m grateful that the agency recognizes that non-neurotypical people can still contribute, but it’s a very strange thing to feature in a recruitment ad. I suppose they must recognize that a lot of Millennials are nervous wrecks. But honestly, is it a good idea to telegraph to the world that the CIA is administered by people with anxiety disorders? It is telling that the agency touts this woman’s trauma as part of her identity.

I recall a conversation I had once with a European friend who did graduate work at Harvard. He said the thing that impressed him the most about the students there was how emotionally and psychologically fragile these American elites are — even as they have no doubt at all that they are meant to run the world. This anxious cisgender intersectional Latina CIA officer strikes me as an embodiment of what he’s talking about.

If I were a non-woke person, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the CIA seeking employment. The CIA seems to have discovered what Woke Capitalists have done: if you co-opt the cultural left, you no longer have to worry about them. But personnel, inevitably, is policy. Now we will have the US intelligence agency working to advance wokeness overseas. The agency might want to put out feelers to Donovan Barnes, a Georgetown undergraduate student of Arabic who opines in the campus newspaper that language students have a responsibility to make Arabic woke. Excerpt:

While the current gender-neutral standard in Arabic may have its flaws, the standard remains an option for nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people. The push for gender inclusivity in Arabic is ongoing, and the Georgetown community must facilitate the conversation on gender inclusivity within Arabic courses. Deviation from the norm would certainly raise some traditionalist eyebrows, however, and not in a curious, eager-to-accommodate way.

Arabic has historical and contemporary ties with Islam and religious tradition, and it may be challenging to deviate from the language’s norms. Nonetheless, Arabic speakers whose gender identities do not align with the norms of the language should not have to compromise their identity. They deserve representation.

Acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in Arabic-speaking countries is low. Many countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen have laws forbidding LGBTQ+ behavior. Societal acceptance of all gender identities is an ongoing battle, but creating gender-inclusive pronouns in all languages is a significant step in achieving equality. A 2019 study showed an increase in support for the LGBTQ+ community when language included gender-neutral options. A more inclusive society begins with more inclusive language. Encouraging language exploration would uplift the LGBTQ+ community and contribute to a safer, more inclusive environment for the community.

Institutions of higher learning like Georgetown can and should be at the forefront of this gender-inclusive conversation. Instructors can encourage student experimentation and the eventual standardization of gender-neutral language and pronouns in Arabic courses. Students can help their LGBTQ+ peers feel included and valid through language exploration. Organizations like the Georgetown University Press — a university-affiliated publisher of books and journals — can include gender-neutral language in their Arabic education materials. Students, instructors and publications can set the precedent for all others to follow.

Cultural imperialism, woke-style. He’ll fit in well at the new CIA.

But seriously, the CIA might find a recruitment boon among the Snitchiest Generation:

And:

This is the generation that Woke Capitalism has learned to exploit. From Live Not By Lies:

The embrace of aggressive social progressivism by big business is one of the most underappreciated stories of the last two decades. Critics call it “woke capitalism,” a snarky theft of the left-wing slang term indicating progressive enlightenment. Woke capitalism is now the most transformative agent within the religion of social justice, because it unites progressive ideology with the most potent force in American life: consumerism and making money.

In his 2018 letter to investors, Larry Fink, CEO of the global investment company BlackRock, said that corporate social responsibility is now part of the cost of doing business.

“Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” Fink wrote. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.”

Poll results about consumer expectations back Fink up. Millennials and Generation Z customers are especially prone to seeing their consumer expenditures as part of creating a socially conscious personal brand identity. For many companies, then, signaling progressive virtues to consumers is a smart business move in the same way that signaling all-American patriotism would have been to corporations in the 1950s.

But what counts as a “positive contribution to society”? Corporations like to brand themselves as being in favor of a predictable constellation of causes, all of them guiding stars of the progressive cosmos. Woke capitalist branding harnesses the unmatched propaganda resources of the advertising industry to send the message, both explicitly and implicitly: the beliefs of social conservatives and religious traditionalists are obstacles to the social good.

The US military is woking up, as we know. Now the CIA is woking up as a champion of “diversity and inclusion,” and angst-ridden intersectionality. You can be sure that the FBI and NSA are doing so, or soon will be. We are now in the process of uniting American military and intelligence power to progressive social causes. Gosh, what could go wrong?

UPDATE: A reader who is in a position to know what he’s talking about — I’ll leave it at that — tells me that this is exactly the kind of strategy that Woke Capital has been pursuing, but adapted to the intelligence field. The idea is that if the CIA emphasizes cultural progressivism, the Left won’t care about the security state growing. And, my source says, the CIA is just mirroring the recruiting strategy of prestige colleges.

The source says conservatives should give up this false and outdated idea that the intelligence services are naturally conservative. They aren’t. The leadership class is completely woke, and selects for people who adhere to cultural progressivism. They really do believe it, and don’t want the status quo challenged.
My source said that it’s no surprise that our people can’t understand actual foreign societies and cultures. They are far too committed to viewing the world through the lens of critical theory and adjacent ideologies. And the GOP says nothing about it, because either their national security experts agree, or they’re listening to marketing people who say that “diversity and inclusion” is the only way to appeal to Millennials.

The key point, said my source, is that the committed woke are very active and have massive cultural influence. We can expect more CIA intelligence failures, based on the inability of many of its woke analysts and officers to understand the world as it is, as opposed to the world as they wish it were.

I was out in an open-air bar last night in Budapest, a place frequented by foreigners. The place, Szimpla Kert, has a reputation as a cool, innovative place — it opened in the ruins of a factory — and I wanted to see what it was all about. I ended up having a conversation with a western European who moved to Budapest for business. He said that the difference between what Hungary really is, versus what people in western Europe believe it is, is massive. He described his former colleagues in elite circles of his previous industry as being completely hysterical about Viktor Orban. They think he’s a devil, and that Hungary is semi-fascist. He’s been living here for a couple of years, and said it’s total propaganda — but that EU types and other European elites really do believe it, and act as if it were true.

I had earlier met an American Jewish academic who is here doing research, who told me that he was startled to discover that the common view back in US academic circles that Viktor Orban and the Fidesz Party traffick in antisemitism is nonsense. It’s 100 percent because he criticizes George Soros. The US Jewish professor recalled a conversation he had with a Hungarian rabbi, who told him that Jews here feel quite safe. If you want to go to a country where Jews are terrified of antisemitic violence, France is the place, and the antisemites are French Muslims. But this is not something we can talk about comfortably. It’s much easier to vilify Orban, who is facing down a culturally progressive, billionaire Jewish globalist who is spending a fortune to try to change Hungary to fit his own vision of how the world ought to be — a vision that goes hand in glove with how the Eurocratic elites think the world ought to be.

There are reasons to find fault with Viktor Orban’s governance, but the idea that he has turned his country into a right-wing autocracy is just nuts. There is an actual election next year, one that Fidesz might lose. I’ve heard a few Fidesz supporters talking about what they will do if this happens, and they have to go into opposition. I have heard exactly no one talking about suspending the election if Orban loses. If he and his party were autocrats, they would be speaking that way. Remember how when the Hungarian parliament gave Orban emergency powers to deal with Covid, our media freaked out and said ah ha! now we see the fascism in the Hungarian system! We didn’t hear much from them after the crisis abated, and the parliament rescinded his emergency powers. When the crisis flared again, they gave him those powers back. I’m not sure where things stand now, but look, all of Europe is under strict lockdown now — but Hungary is now opening up again. I went to Orthodox Easter services on Sunday, and into an open-air bar last night. Now restaurants are allowed to serve people inside, provided the customers can prove that they’ve been vaccinated.

In the bar last night, my European interlocutor said, “The reason we are able to drink in this bar tonight, and people in other EU countries can’t, is because of Viktor Orban. He looks after his own people. He saw how the EU was screwing around, and said to hell with it, we’ll get vaccines from the Russians.”

Look, I’ve only been in this country for two weeks, so God knows I’m no expert. Still, it is really something to be here on the ground, and to see with your own eyes how different the reality is from what we read about in the US media. My bar interlocutor said to me that his Hungarian experience has been a real education for him in the prejudices of business, academic, media, and governing elites of western Europe — and how unreliable their analysis is. Similarly, I would not be surprised if woke US intelligence really does think Orban is some sort of fascist, and is working to undermine the government. It’s the cultural conservatism of the Visegrad countries that the US and western European elites hate the most. How likely do you think the woke CIA analysts are to get an accurate read on a country whose democratically elected leadership they regard as backwards bigots? This class of person can’t even understand their own country beyond the deep blue bubble. You think they understand Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic?

Keep in mind the CIA’s new recruiting campaign seems to be recruiting in the same way that US media companies recruit. Nobody in newsroom management ever thinks about viewpoint diversity. Ever. Nobody ever thinks that prioritizing “diversity” over actual ability hurts the mission of the organization. You’re a bigot if you even suggest such a thing.

And it shows.

If the culture inside the CIA is anything like the culture inside newsrooms in that way, then we are in real trouble.

UPDATE.2: This is funny:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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