The Dogmatism of the Post-Left

Exclusion & Refusal to Debate


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.


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.