The Grotesque Naïveté of the “Woke”

2023-10-01

If you believe that “wokism” is a positive and progressive political movement, do you also believe that Islam is a religion of peace?

Sommaire en français Si vous croyez que le « wokisme » est un mouvement politique positif et progressiste, trouvez-vous également que l’islam est une religion de paix ?

There are people who support the anti-Enlightenment pseudo-left (i.e. “wokism”) because they like the word “woke,” because they consider it to have positive connotations, such as being aware of injustices and wanting to end them.

That is like supporting Christianity because many people use the word “Christian” as a synonym for good and kind. It is like supporting the powerful Polish “Law and Justice” party—a right-wing party, very pro-Catholic—because the name includes the word “justice” and we are all in favour of that, aren’t we, in particular social justice?

How dimwitted can a person be?

Has there ever been an elected politician who did not claim to advocate freedom, in one form or another? Does that mean they are all to be trusted as proponents of freedom and are all worthy of our support? Of course not. Many of them—perhaps most—are dissembling. We need to look more closely, of course.

It takes a certain dullness of mind for a person to support a movement simply because it claims to be “woke.” The anti-Enlightenment pseudo-left is a toxic, racist and fanatical cult which has corrupted the political left. It rejects universalism and discredits the left, thus strengthening the political right. It deserves our criticism, not our endorsement.

Toxic Ideologies

The anti-Enlightenment pseudo-left, or more succinctly the post-left, involves a complex mixture of dubious ideologies. The two most important of these are Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Gender Theory.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a pseudoscience which holds that:

  • Racial identity is the most important thing about a person. Forget personality, education, personal qualities, quirks and taste. Forget all other personal attributes.
  • Racism is ominipresent, unavoidable and cannot not be present in all situations;
  • Racism occurs only in one direction, i.e. whites are racist towards non-whites. Whites are always racist and non-whites never are.
  • White people cannot understand racism and must remain silent on the issue, always deferring to non-whites.
  • Any disparity between groups, especially racial groups, must be the result of racism or similar injustice. Any other contributing factor is rejected out of hand.

Critical Race Theory is an antiracist ideology in the same way that Islam is a religion of peace.

Like many pseudosciences, religions and ideologies, CRT is non falsifiable. For example, if one believes that racism is always present in any situation, it is a simple matter to label some innocuous behaviour as racist. CRT is a generator of guilt and paranoïa. It is a great boon to the political right, because it allows the right to dismiss the antiracist movement as insane, which it obviously has become since it adopted this ideology. Critical Race Theory is an antiracist ideology in the same way that Islam is a religion of peace.

Gender Theory is a pseudoscience which holds that:

  • Sex is a social construct and thus on a continuum, when in reality sex is a biological reality and it is binary, as the only sexes are male and female.
  • There exists in each individual an innate gender identity which takes precedence over the person’s sex which is considered assigned at birth, whereas only the individual can know their gender identity.

Gender identity is like the Christian soul: an ethereal entity which is unobservable.

Social constructivism is extremely damaging, as it leads to self-identification, so that a man may simply declare himself a woman (or vice versa) and demand access to women-only spaces and events. Lesbians are vilified for rejecting the sexual advances of men who identify as women. Gender identity is like the Christian soul: an ethereal entity which is unobservable. Thus, like CRT, the existence of gender identity is an unfalsifiable hypothesis. To posit its existence is the pretense used to justify applying so-called “sex-change” procedures to minors—puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sometimes even invasive surgeries including mastectomy and castration. When such procedures are applied to fully consenting adults, there is no problem. However, minors are too young to give informed consent to serious medical interventions whose necessity is very much in doubt.

The Best and the Worst of European Civilization

For the post-left, European culture is irremediably evil.

The Enlightenment is arguably the greatest achievement of European civilization, and that is precisely what the post-left rejects. The post-left is itself a product of European civilization, but it rejects Europeanness utterly, maintaining that everything about it is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. For the post-left, European culture is irremediably evil. The post-left—a.k.a. “wokism”—is thus arguably the worst possible product of European civilization. At its most extreme, i.e. as promoted by its most pious adherents, the post-left constitutes a masochistic, self-destructive, even suicidal (i.e. culturally suicidal) rejection of one’s own Europeanness—a.k.a. “whiteness.”


Next blog: The Long March of Emotional Blackmail

Fourteen Observations about Post-Leftism

a.k.a. “Wokism”

2023-01-06

The post-left, a.k.a. “wokism”, is a parasitic infection which is destroying the political left, if it has not done so already.

Sommaire en français La post-gauche, alias le « wokisme », est une infection parasitaire qui est en train de détruire la gauche politique, si ce n’est déjà fait. (Ce blogue est disponible en français : Quatorze observations à propos de la post-gauche.)

  1. So-called “wokism” is real. You are allowed to dislike the label, but you are not allowed to deny the existence of the phenomenon. It is not some fiction invented by the political right. Many people who considered themselves to be on the political left self-defined as “woke” long before the right ever heard of the term.
  2. The mix of ideologies which constitute wokism is complex, but the common underlying doctrine can be identified clearly. The “woke”—although they claim to be on the left—have rejected Enlightenment values, values which constitute the very definition of the political left. Thus, they have betrayed the left. I call them the anti-Enlightenment pseudo-left or the post-left.
  3. Enlightenment values, such as reason, tolerance, freedom, progress, universalism, human rights and secularism, have become widely accepted in Western societies—or were until the recent growth of the post-left. Today even moderate right-wingers generally accept such values. Thus, on some issues—such as secularism, objectivity, freedom of expression—the post-left take positions to the right of moderate conservatives such as Jordan Peterson or Mathieu Bock-Côté.
  4. …criticism of the post-left comes from across the entire political spectrum, from the left, including Marxists, from the centre and from the right.

  5. As post-leftists fail to respect values such as objectivity, they often play fast and loose with the truth if lying will advance their agenda. One of their biggest lies is that “wokism” is some moral panic invented by the political right. See (1) above. In fact, criticism of the post-left comes from across the entire political spectrum, from the left, including Marxists, from the centre and from the right.
  6. Although the philosophical origins of the post-left include important contributions from French postmodernists and German post-Marxists, the post-left is principally an American phenomenon. It was in the USA that postmodernism was first applied to political activism. Furthermore, the history of slavery and extreme anti-black racism in that country has resulted in placing the concepts of race and racism at the centre of the post-left’s preoccupations. This prioritization of racism, especially anti-black racism, is understandable and indeed legitimate given the history of the USA. However, the post-left does a very bad job of fighting racism even in the USA. And its effects are even worse when exported to other countries whose history—in particular the history of racism—is very different from that of the USA. Resisting the post-left is necessary in order to oppose the creeping Americanization of everything.
  7. Neoracists point out that MLK himself advocated affirmative action, which is true, but they conveniently forget to mention that he intended it to be a temporary measure…

  8. At the core of post-left activism is, therefore, neoracism, an ideology which claims to be anti-racist but which does more to inflame racism than to fight it. Neoracists reject the colour-blindness goal famously declared by Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) and instead promote colour-consciousness, i.e. positive discrimination. Neoracists point out that MLK himself advocated affirmative action, which is true, but they conveniently forget to mention that he intended it to be a temporary measure—perhaps several decades—whose purpose was to achieve a colour-blind future in which his four children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” The goal of neoracists, on the contrary, is so-called “equity” which requires equality of outcomes (not just equality of opportunity), meaning that the racial mix in a profession must match the racial mix in the general population. This is practically impossible to achieve, even with the most draconian social engineering. So in practice, neoracists propose no conclusion, just an obsession for racial identity ad æternum.
  9. In abandoning the Enlightenment, the post-left demonizes European civilization and Europeans.

  10. Post-leftists are often accused of being anti-white, even though their ideology is very popular among “whites.” The accusation is certainly valid, but it is important to understand that the real object of neoracist hostility is Europeanness. The Enlightenment was arguably the greatest achievement of European civilization. In abandoning the Enlightenment, the post-left demonizes European civilization and Europeans.
  11. Influenced by postmodernism and cultural relativism, post-leftists reject universalism and see the world as a collection of groups, each with its own interests and “truth,” often irreconcilable with those of other groups. Thus, group interests and feelings (real or presumed) take precedence over objectivity, leading to the over-valuation of emotion and the social censorship of words or images deemed to be “offensive” to a group perceived to be a target of injustice. A recent example is an art history instructor at a Minnesota university who was dismissed without due process for the sin of teaching art history—by using a medieval painting of Muhammad in a lesson. The university president declared that “respect for the observant Muslim students in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom.” This is a consummate example of social censorship motivated by post-leftist ideology.
  12. …they tend to see each minority as monolithic, failing to consider the great variations which may occur within each group.

  13. The post-left prides itself on defending minorities against injustices, but in reality they do a very poor job of doing that because their real action is to denigrate majorities. Furthermore, they tend to see each minority as monolithic, failing to consider the great variations which may occur within each group.
  14. During the era of European colonialism, Europeans considered themselves to be the centre of the universe, with the duty of civilizing the rest of the world. Today, the post-left continues to place European civilization at the centre of the universe, but now that centre is allegedly rotten, imposing all forms of oppression on everyone else. The latter attitude is just the flipside of the former. Both are Eurocentric. Both are false. Both are harmful extremes. For the post-left, Europeans (i.e. “whites”) are the evil majority which constantly persecutes various minorities. Persecution in the other direction or persecution of one non-white group by another (such as the Arabo-Muslim slave trade) is rarely if ever mentioned by the post-left.
  15. A post-leftist accusation of racism is practically irrefutable—like an unfalsifiable religious belief—because there is no clear post-leftist definition which can be used to determine objectively what is racist and what is not.

  16. Neoracism differs from classic racism in one major way: while classic racists exaggerate biological differences and thus attempt to establish a hierarchy of “races,” some superior to others, neoracists simply ignore and deny biology. Neoracists do not even attempt to define “race” or “racism” in any coherent way. This allows them to make accusations of racism at will, even in the most inappropriate contexts. A post-leftist accusation of racism is practically irrefutable—like an unfalsifiable religious belief—because there is no clear post-leftist definition which can be used to determine objectively what is racist and what is not. This habit is at its worst when post-leftists conflate racial identity with religious affiliation, thus giving themselves carte blanche to throw accusations of “racism” against anyone who criticizes the religion.
  17. Right-wingers often paint the entire political left with the brush of wokism in order to discredit the left in general and make themselves—the right—look better.

  18. Post-leftists tend to consider themselves to be the very incarnation of perfect virtue. But because they do such a shoddy job of defending traditional left-wing causes (such as antiracism, male-female equality, etc.), and because they arrogantly claim to be the left, the only left (as if the universalist left did not exist), they play into the hands of the political right and far-right. The egregious and sometimes insane behaviour of post-leftists brings the left into disrepute and thus comforts and strengthens the political right. Right-wingers often paint the entire political left with the brush of wokism in order to discredit the left in general and make themselves—the right—look better.
  19. The post-left is not a political party or a well-circumscribed group. It is rather a mentality, an ideology, a prejudice whose influence has spread throughout many of the institutions of society—governments, universities, activist groups, media, etc.—in the United States, Canada and several European countries. Different people display various degrees of adherence to this ideology. Many of those who have, to some greater or lesser extent, adopted the post-leftist mentality, perhaps even unconsciously, may be unaware of the origins of that ideology. These issues must be discussed publicly so that people may learn to resist the ideological infection which post-leftism represents. The word “infection” is indeed appropriate here. Post-leftism is a parasitic infection which is destroying the political left, if it has not done so already.
  20. The antidote to post-leftism is universalism, a core Enlightenment value. Indeed, it is the cure for both racism and neoracism.

Next blog: Trudeau Appoints Anti-Québécois Racist to Combat so-called ‘Islamophobia’

Book Launch Stillbirth

Blog Contents

Book Launch: Stillbirth
The Failure of Secularism in the English-Speaking World

How Anglo Ethnocentrism,
French Postmodernism and
Fashionable Nonsense have Neutralized Secularism
by David Rand — Foreword by Nina Sankari

Wednesday 18th January 2023 @ 6:00 pm
Librairie Le Port de tête
262 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est, Montréal

Métro Mont-Royal

The book is in English.
The launch event will be in French and English.
The book will be available at the bookstore
about a week previous to the launch event.

REGISTER
Further information about Stillbirth
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“Wokism” is Not a Moral Panic

2022-10-20

No, the “woke” phenomenon is not some moral panic invented by the political right.

Sommaire en français Non, la mouvance « woke » n’est pas une panique morale inventée par la droite. Ce blogue est disponible en français sous le titre Le « wokisme » n’est pas une panique morale.

For several years, terms such as “Social Justice Warrior” (“SJW”) and “woke” were used by many members of that movement themselves, to self-identify. Over time, the word “woke” became mainstream and, as critics of “wokism” began to use it negatively, the word acquired pejorative connotations. (It is important to note that these critics are of all political persuasions, from Marxists to the political centre to people on the right.)

Now some people even claim that “wokism” does not exist, that it is just a right-wing fantasy, a “moral panic” invented by the political right to denigrate the left. That allegation is false and dishonest. The “woke” themselves adopted the word long before anyone else. Not only is “wokism” a real phenomenon but, most importantly, it is ideologically distinct from the classical political left.

So what is “wokism” anyway? It is a social movement that claims to be left-wing and prides itself on fighting for social justice and against various prejudices, especially racism. But the philosophical underpinnings of the “woke” phenomenon are strongly influenced by postmodernism and by the rejection of Enlightenment values, in particular the rejection of universalism. Its rejection of the Enlightenment represents the abandonment of the greatest achievement of European civilization.

Consequently, this movement does a very bad job of defending the minorities with which it is obsessed. The “woke” end up inflaming racism as much as fighting against it. To put it succinctly, the movement is neo-racist. I call it the post-left or the anti-Enlightenment pseudo-left.

The “woke” have the nasty habit of launching accusations of “fascism” against anyone who disagrees with them. This is very ironic—and hypocritical—because the “woke” and the far right have something very significant in common: they both reject Enlightenment values.

The excesses and follies of the “woke” are a real gift for the political right, because the latter uses them to denigrate the entire left, as if the being “woke” were synonymous with being on the political left. But this is false, because the real left is universalist.

For a more detailed presentation of “wokism,” see:


Other Links

  • Le wokisme, ce recul déguisé en progrès (“Wokism, this regress disguised as progress”), Marc Simard, Libre Média, 2022-10-08.
    “In fact, interbreeding is a threat to wokism, whose worldview is deeply rooted in racial affiliation. Racial mixing is the nemesis of the woke.”
  • The Cancer of Wokeism, Kareem Muhssin, Alliance of Former Muslims (Ireland), 2021-01-02.
    “If we want to defeat racism, then we must get over our obsession with race. We must stop seeing each other as victims or oppressors, and recognise that we are individuals with agency. We must stop looking for racism where it doesn’t exist, and start focusing on issues of substance.”

Next blog: Pauline Marois : Prix international de la laïcité 2022

The Dogmatism of the Post-Left

Exclusion & Refusal to Debate

2022-05-28

How the dogmatism of the post-left leads to exclusionary behaviour and undermines the possibility of reasoned debate.

Sommaire en français Comment le dogmatisme de la post-gauche conduit à des comportements d’exclusion et sape la possibilité d’un débat raisonné.

I use the term “post-leftism” or “anti-Enlightenment pseudo-leftism” to refer to the political stance which has come to be known colloquially as the “woke.” The post-leftist mentality is a toxic soup of dubious ideologies such as intersectionality, cultural relativism, postmodernism, post-Marxism, neoracism, Islamolatry, etc. The post-leftist obsession with personal identities, its abandonment of universalism and especially its essentialization (i.e. racialization) of religious affiliation render it antisecular.

Post-leftists have a bad habit of combining a reasonable idea with a very unreasonable one, with disastrous consequences. But because one ingredient is reasonable, the habit gets far more respect than it deserves. Here are two examples of this.

(1) So-called “cancel culture” refers to people losing their jobs, reputation or even freedom because of some seriously bad behaviour. The cancellation itself is not the problem, because some people have indeed behaved badly enough that they deserve such consequences. One example that comes to mind is Bill Cosby who was guilty of many instances of sexual assault.

The problem is that some people get cancelled in circumstances which are dubious or downright unjustified. For example, James Damore was fired from Google for expressing the opinion that the lower number of women in certain software jobs may not be due entirely to discrimination, but may be caused partly by women’s preferences. He suggested, in a well written document, that there may be multiple causes of the observed lower female representation. That suggestion was evidently considered heretical by his employers and coworkers. Damore was dismissed from his job for expressing a perfectly reasonable opinion, with which one may disagree, but which certainly did not justify job loss.

(2) When two parties are in extreme disagreement, one side may refuse to engage in debate with the other. Sometimes a refusal to debate may be justified. For example, some scientists who occasionally engage in public debates have decided not to debate with creationists. They argue that such debates would be waste of their time and energy, because creationists typically do not debate in good faith. Furthermore, debating with them would only serve to legitimate the creationists’ point of view, lending then an air of scientific credibility which they do not deserve. Another example would be the refusal to debate with Nazis or neo-Nazis, because such a debate would probably be futile and risk legitimizing extremist views.

However, that is not how the most pious post-leftists apply this idea: rather, they simply treat anyone who disagrees with them as beyond the pale, unworthy of reasoned adversarial debate. Thus, they reject anyone and everyone as possible participants in a debate. The result is that such post-leftists simply hurl egregious insults such as racist, xenophobe, fascist, Nazi, etc., rather than formulate arguments.

The situations described above have two things in common:

  • An initial reasonable idea (that negative consequences may be deserved; and that some debates are a waste of time) may, to a superficial observer, be enough to look like a justification. This gives post-leftists credibility which they do not deserve.
  • In both cases, that initial idea leads nevertheless to disastrous results because of post-leftists’ dogmatism and their Manichaean mentality, i.e. their attitude that anyone or everyone who disagrees with them is pure evil. This lack of nuance leads to cancelling some people who have done little or nothing wrong. And it also results in smaller disagreements being treated as major “sins.”

In the above text, I occasionally use religious terms such as “heretical” or “pious” or “evil” or “sin.” This is intentional. I consider the post-left—or at least the most pious members of that social movement—to be parareligious. That is, they practice an ideology which, although not a religion in the strict sense of the word (because there is no explicit supernatural aspect), nevertheless behave in a way similar to the religious. The “woke” claim to be fighting for social justice, but what they are really advocating is a form of tribalism.


Next blog: The Great Canadian Euphemism

What the “Woke” and the Political Right Have in Common

Quite a lot, in fact.

2021-10-28

The so-called “woke”—i.e. the anti-Enlightenment pseudo-left—have much in common with the political right.

Sommaire en français Les soi-disant “woke” — c’est-à-dire la pseudo-gauche anti-Lumières — ont beaucoup en commun avec la droite politique.

Recently the term “woke” has become widely used. It is no longer understood only by the few. More importantly, it is no longer a positive term but has instead become increasingly pejorative, as criticism of the woke mentality fuses from all sides, i.e. from different parts of the political spectrum.

What is the “woke” mentality? To be precise, I call it the anti-Enlightenment pseudo-left or, more succinctly, the post-left. It is a movement of persons who consider themselves to be on the left end of the political spectrum but who have largely abandoned Enlightenment values (which are left-wing values). Thus, they have left the left. I have analyzed “wokism” in some detail in my blog The “Woke” are Not the Political Left. The woke movement is based and sourced mainly in the USA and is very chauvinistically American. However, it is spreading thoughout many English- and French-speaking countries. One major aspect of wokism—postmodernism—is ultimately of French origin.

The political right is having a field day criticizing the woke—and their criticisms are more often valid than not. And the woke are responding by claiming that the denounciations of the woke mentality are just a product of the imaginations of right-wingers. Nonsense. On the contrary, criticism of the woke comes also from the political centre and from the political left—or what little is left of it.

The fact is that the “woke” and the political right have at least two major things in common:

  1. Firstly—and obviously—they both reject Enlightenment values to some extent. After all, rejection of such values constitutes the very definition of right-wing. So by abandoning those values, the “woke” have in that sense joined the political right, or even surpassed it on the right. In fact, moderate conservatives on the centre-right often defend Enlightenment values to some degree, thus making them more progressive than the woke! For example, conservatives such as Jordan Peterson and Gad Saad have more respect for reason and modernism than do many of the woke. So if you are very woke, then congratulations! you are to the right of those two.
  2. Secondly, both the “woke” and the political right consider that the woke represent the left. This is false, as already explained. The woke have abandoned left-wing values. But both groups cling to this convenient falsehood for their own selfish purposes:
    • the woke, out of arrogance, because they consider themselves the very incarnation of perfect virtue and everyone else to be beyond the pale; and
    • the political right, out of expediency, who paint the entire political left with the brush of wokism in order to discredit the left in general and make themselves—the right—look better.

Are You “Woke”?

Are you, dear reader, “woke”? The following criteria will help decide:

  • If you think that everyone who disagrees with you is a fascist, you are definitely woke.
  • If you think that anyone who asks for your definition of fascism is a fascist, you are definitely woke.
  • If you think that “All Lives Matter” is a racist statement, then you are woke.
  • If you think that lesbians must be pressured to have sex with trans-women—and if they refuse, you accuse them of transphobia—then you are not only woke, but in addition you are homophobic and misogynist.
  • If you fail to see that “Islamic feminist” is an oxymoron, then you are woke.
  • If you think that anyone who criticizes the hijab (or other Islamic veil) as a symbol of the subjugation of women is “Islamophobic” then you are certainly woke.
  • If you think that criticizing religion is “racist” then you are probably woke. And you are certainly anti-secular.
  • If you think that anyone who supports banning the niqab in public is a white supremacist, then you are definitely woke. And possibly brain-dead.
  • If you think that anyone who says that “Islam is not a race” is a racist, then you are certainly woke.
  • If you think that the very existence of the “woke” phenomenon is a myth (probably invented by right-wingers), then you are probably woke. At any rate, you are either an intellectual slob or in denial.

Of course the above list is not exhaustive.


Next blog: Parution du livre Identité, « race », liberté d’expression.