Elon Musk tells Bill Maher that the woke mind virus has infiltrated schools and teachers are indoctrinating American youth

"The amount of indoctrination that's happening in schools and universities is, I think, far beyond what parents realize."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY

It's been a few years since Elon Musk first injected the phrase "woke mind virus" into American discourse. He spoke about it in an interview with Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon in 2021, saying that it was "arguably one of the biggest threats to modern civilization." He brought it up in regards to Netflix tanking with subscribers in 2022, and on Friday night, late night talk-show host Bill Maher asked him what he meant by the phrase.

"Woke mind virus," Maher said, quoting Musk, "how did it start, was it bats? Did it escape from a lab? What is your assessment, because it's fairly recent. How did it start and why?"

Musk replied to the clip, saying "to a shocking degree."

"I was trying to figure out where it's coming from," Musk said to Maher thoughtfully. "I think it's actually been a long time brewing in that it's I think it's been going on for a while. The amount of indoctrination that's happening in schools and universities is, I think, far beyond what parents realize.

"I came to realize this somewhat late. The experience that we had in high school and college is not the experience that kids today are having, and hasn't been for, I don't know, for 10 years, maybe 20 years," Musk said.

"Aren't parents themselves also a big part of the problem?" Maher interjected. But for Musk, father to many children himself, who has come to see the current educational models first hand, parents are as much caught up in the system of woke education as their kids. And it's hard to break free and find alternative schools with teachers who have not succumbed to the "woke mind virus" themselves.

"I think, well, I suppose in some cases that parents are a bit—but I think the parents are just generally not aware of what their kids are being taught, or what they're not being taught," he said.

"They're letting the kids think that they're equal," Maher said. But for Musk, it's not parental attitudes that are driving the indoctrination into children, but the schools.

Many states have requirements that teachers must have masters degrees in education, and the universities that educate teachers primarily fall under the model of instructing teachers to teach social emotional learning, critical race and gender theory, and a US history based on grievance and victimization instead of historical facts about the culture, the economy, political and military history of the nation.

"Yeah, let me give you an example that a farmer told me," Musk said, bringing up a failure in American education that many parents are likely familiar with, "his daughters go to college and go to high school in the Bay Area. And he was asking them like, 'So who are the first few presidents of the United States?' They could name Washington. 'So what do you know about him?'

"'He was a slave owner,'" the girls replied to their dad, who went on to ask "'What else?'"

"Right," Maher said, catching on to the dilemma. 

"Like, okay, that's– maybe you should know more than that," Musk said.

"And that is the woke mind virus exactly," Maher said.

American parents were mostly unaware of what was happening in schools until the pandemic hit, schools shut down, and education switched to virtual learning. This left kids sitting home on laptops while classroom content was streamed in, and parents, many for the first time, got to see what was really going on in schools.

Critical race theory spilled into homes, along with critical gender theory, both of which paint American history with the broad brush of racism, sexism, and eventually, transphobia. Critical race theory teaches students to look at every historical and literary event through the lens of race and racism, as though outrage at the nation's past sin of slavery is the only perspective through which to understand history and culture.

Critical gender theory does something similar, leaning into critical race theory, but also holding up past gender stereotypes as problematic, all the while leaning into them to justify transgender ideology. Meanwhile, facts and dates are left to the wayside.

Parents were shocked to find that white students and black students were being segregated in the name of anti-racism, while children as young as kindergarten were being told they may have been born in the wrong body.

Since that time, the educational system has essentially doubled down on this approach, and elevated something called social emotional learning to the foreground of education. This method takes concepts of equity and grievance feelings and brings them into the core of every discipline, from math to history to ELA.

Musk, in buying Twitter, has attempted to do his part to curb the forces of indoctrination in American society. In 2021, he explained to Dillon that "Wokeness wants to make comedy illegal. Do we want a humorless society that is simply rife with condemnation, and hate? At its heart, wokeness is divisive, exclusionary and hateful. It basically gives mean people a shield to be cruel, armored in false virtue."


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