People will always disagree on who to vote for. People may have all kinds of reasons for choosing a particular candidate—but they almost never deliberately choose badly because they are evil, hateful or want to make the world a worse place. Most people want a fairer society and better outcomes for themselves and their fellow humans. They just differ on how to achieve this. Much of this difference seems to have to do with their moral foundations, which are largely innate, although they may change slightly with age. An individual’s basic moral intuitions—whether they are more conservative or more liberal—are unlikely to be very malleable or open to change. Nevertheless, we know that people do change their minds about which political parties best fit their moral intuitions and practical goals because right-wing and left-wing parties have been elected by the same citizenry at different times.
We are currently living in very strange times. Some influential belief systems on the left do not sit at all well with typically liberal values, while some dominant currents on the right are anathema to traditional conservatives. The worldview known as (Critical) Social Justice or wokeism seems clearly illiberal to many traditional liberals who value tolerance, universalism, individualism and freedom of belief and speech. Similarly, the post-truth populism epitomised by Donald Trump is a travesty to many traditional conservatives who value consistency and conscientiousness and seek a leader worthy of their respect.
This collection of statements from vocal critics of Critical Social Justice who believe that a vote for Donald Trump is a mistake is not intended to convince die-hard Trumpists. It is an appeal to reluctant Trump voters and to those who remain undecided. It is specifically addressed to people who value science, reason, tolerance and individual liberty but fear Critical Social Justice’s assaults on these so much that they see Trump as the only solution. These are people who fear that a vote for the Democrats will enable a cultural revolution that will harm all Americans—people who want to make America a better place for everyone and believe that voting Trump will at least prevent it from becoming a worse one.
The contributors below think this position is misguided. We come from all over the political spectrum and disagree with each other on many things. However, we are united in believing that a vote for Trump will not make America great.
Steven Pinker—Cognitive Psychologist, Linguist, Author of Enlightenment Now
For those who are alarmed (like me) at the encroachment of the regressive, illiberal, anti-Enlightenment “Critical Theory” and “Social Justice” identitarianism in our institutions, voting for Trump is about the worst thing you could do.
First, the opposite of illiberalism is not necessarily liberalism. Trump is worse: 20,000 lies, “post-truth” epistemology, demonizing fact-checked media coverage that doesn’t flatter him as “fake news” and “enemies of the people,” blowing off and suppressing science, and more. The bedrock of Enlightenment liberalism is the disinterested search for truth, and Trump has repeatedly bombed it with bunker-busters.
Second, he perpetrates measurable harm: tens of thousands of avoidable Covid deaths, increases in deadly pollution from mindless scything of regulations, harmful delays on climate change action, more.
Third, he signals contempt for Enlightenment norms and institutions like democracy, free trade and organizations for international cooperation, while raising the prestige of the world’s most loathsome tyrants.
And if you think supporting Trump is in practice a tactical corrective to encroachments of the illiberal hard left, answer this question: have the encroachments gotten better or worse during the Trump years? We need an invigorated, robust and inclusive movement for rational, evidence-based, humanistic progress, not a deeper division between two versions of anti-intellectual authoritarianism.
Thomas Chatterton Williams—Writer, Author of Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race
For the past four years, our democracy at home and prestige in the world have been under assault. We are faced now with a twin crisis: on the one hand, Donald Trump, a reality TV charlatan at best, is president; on the other hand, an extraordinarily censorious woke backlash has gained momentum to oppose him. Our academic, cultural and media institutions that are supposed to be guardians of liberal norms and values are increasingly captured. From both the right and the left, a climate of punitive censoriousness stifles the center.
It is tempting but misguided to believe that either the populist right or the woke left can achieve a total victory. On the contrary, the two feed off of and exacerbate each other. A vote for Trump, despite his anti-Critical Race Theory bluster, is in fact a vote to empower the worst progressive excesses. A vote to strengthen the besieged center, however dissatisfying to either extreme, is the only way forward for Americans of good will searching for ways to overcome the crippling polarization that plagues us.
Helen Pluckrose—Editor of Areo, Co-Author of Cynical Theories
There are few people who have done more than me to try to persuade people to regard Critical Social Justice ideas rooted in postmodern ideas about knowledge, power and language as a serious threat to secular liberal democracies. I truly believe that these ideas already have far too much unwarranted cultural prestige and are causing significant damage to the humanities and the political left as well as infiltrating mainstream media, art, culture, history, schools and the corporate world.
However, one of the greatest dangers of Critical Social Justice is that its authoritarian lunacy drives left-leaning centrists to the right—and not towards a sober and ethical conservatism. People who value evidence-based epistemology and consistently liberal ethics can be found on the left, right and centre: these are the people we need to represent us right now. Instead, too many people who claim to prize liberal values are planning to vote for a populist, anti-intellectual president whose rejection of science, reason, truth and liberalism has been amply demonstrated over the last four years.
We cannot push back against irrationalism and illiberalism on the left by embracing irrationalism and illiberalism on the right. We cannot beat the postmodern Social Justice and alternative ways of knowing of the left with the postmodern post-truth and alternative facts of the right. Trump is not the solution for anyone who values science and reason and wants to protect a liberal society that defends freedom of belief and speech and viewpoint diversity as well as rigorous scholarship and consistently ethical activism for genuine racial, gender & LGBT equality. I urge American citizens to vote for the moderate Democrat, Joe Biden, and hold him to his promise to be the president for all Americans.
Conor Friedersdorf—Staff Writer at the Atlantic, founder of The Best of Journalism
During the last four years, I’ve repeatedly critiqued instances of illiberalism and identitarianism on the left. On every occasion, my efforts to reach my fellow Americans and to persuade them to rein in excesses on the left was made more difficult and impeded by the fact that the leader of America’s right-leaning coalition is himself flagrantly illiberal and prone to indulging in white identity politics. President Trump seems to bring out the worst in people. I expect that once he leaves office, whether in 2021 or 2025, both the Republican and Democratic coalitions will improve.
Irshad Manji—Author of Don’t Label Me: How to Do Diversity Without Inflaming the Culture Wars and The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith
Anti-woke Americans: You’re entitled to vote for whomever you damn well please. Including, of course, Donald Trump. I can assure you, though, that supporting the identitarian-in-chief won’t help people like me who fight against identity politics in the trenches. I speak from hard experience. For years, I traveled the world calling for Muslims to reform ourselves; to condemn religious terrorism, to denounce antisemitism, to embrace the full equality of women, to tolerate—if not accept—queer people and, in so doing, to live up to the best that the Qur’an teaches.
Waging this struggle during the George W. Bush years made every day an exercise in tightrope-walking. The president who declared that “you’re either with us or with the terrorists” left precious little space for independent thinking. No wonder I got mauled by both extremes—on the one hand, Bush-haters who accused me of siding with a warmonger and, on the other hand, Islam-haters who thought they were doing me a favor by voting for Bush.
In the same way, any president who tells white supremacists to stand by rather than stand down will never have the credibility to crush identity politics—no matter how much he claims to despise the critical race crowd. Let me repeat: in the jihad against wokeism, you’re free to cast your lot with Trump. And if you do, kindly ask yourself: are you in this crusade to solve the problem or to prolong it? If this mission didn’t exist, do you know who you’d be? Is it possible that these politics are the source of your identity?
Thank you for thinking.
Walter Olson—Author and Commentator on US Law
I’d call Trumpism the evil twin of the worst social justice zealotry, except that both twins are evil. Trump sees all relations in terms of power, dominance, resentment and submission, rather than persuasion. His signature move is to delegitimize and trash every institution and person that stands between him and power. He speaks and acts as if facts, history and scientific truths were purely contingent, infinitely malleable, and in the end a matter of the say-so of the strong-willed. Sound familiar? He changes his line often and always denies that it has changed.
He presents the press as the enemy of the people, the democratic process as fixed, and civic hope as the delusion of the ever-exploited sucker class.
Sure, you can find some differences. He’s frankly anti-intellectual rather than dressing up his contempt for the mind in obscurantist jargon. Since he plays to his base, his assaults on free thought are more likely to take the form of what Alex Nowrasteh has called patriotic correctness, rather than political correctness.
If you expect all this to end in street brawling between rival political gangs, you’ll get that too. Donald Trump does his best to recruit a bully corps on his own side, but he’s an even better recruiter for the bullies on the other side.
At some point it stops making sense to ask who’s chasing whom: it’s the same carousel with the same horses. The only answer is to jump off altogether. Get a president who’s not like this.
Sarah Haider—Writer and Co-Founder of Ex-Muslims of North America
For the better part of this last decade, I’ve been working to persuade others to uphold liberal values. Since the election of Donald Trump, this work has been considerably more difficult. Trump approaches the presidency like a TV show, stoking fires and picking fights. He and his supporters revel in his ability to trigger the left. Is it any surprise that it has worked?
Extremism begets extremism, and insanity begets insanity. We have lived through four years of this radicalization cascade. Yes, Trump really has exposed hypocrisy and illiberalism hiding in all corners of society, and if this was all he did then perhaps things would not be so dire. But Trump has also created illiberalism where it was not there.
It is not clear how we can begin to repair the damage. But surely the first step must be to stop the man throwing kerosene at the flames.
Paul Graham—Programmer and Startup Investor
Don’t vote for Trump just because you despise the increasing political correctness of the Democrats. Political correctness is a problem, but Trump is a worse one. He’s not even an authentic conservative. He only has one guiding principle, and it’s clear what that is.
Matt McManus—Professor of Political Science, Author of The Rise of Postmodern Conservatism
While I take a far softer line on critical theory than many of my colleagues here, I can recognize that many people don’t like it. They associate it with academic wokism or radicalism and may well see it as a serious threat to liberal individualism and meritocracy. Some may even see postmodern radicalism as a threat to reason and science themselves. Fine. We can have those debates later. But there is no responsible liberal argument for voting in a wannabe despot who treats facts like an inconvenience and whose enablers claim that “truth isn’t truth.” Trump embodies all that is worst about the postmodern epoch and is far past his sell-by date.
In 2016, Trump rode a wave of resentment and anger to inaugurate an era of postmodern conservatism in the United States and much of the world. He was propelled by animosity towards some of the most vulnerable people in the world and their leftist “elitist” allies in the media, politics and academia. Since then his efforts to dissociate from reality have brought a hefty dose of it crashing into our lives. More Americans have died of COVID-19 than perished in the First World War and Vietnam War combined—and there is plenty more tragedy on the way. We’ve entered another period of global economic downturn a mere decade after the last one, meaning that millions risk falling into poverty or worse unless the situation improves. Even American democracy seems under threat from the rising tide of authoritarian bluster and conspiracy theorizing. Time to cancel this reality TV dumpster fire.
Cathy Young—Writer at Reason and Arc Digital
On the eve of the 2016 election, I wrote an article for conservative online magazine the Federalist (before it went full Trumpist), entitled “Why Electing Donald Trump Could Make Political Correctness Worse.” The subtitle said, “We could see further polarization and entrenchment from an increasingly militant cultural left versus an increasingly nasty and brutish Trumpian right.” I wish I didn’t qualify for an accurate predictions award, if there were one.
Now we’re seeing people make the same argument: vote for Trump to defeat the hordes of wokeness.
Unlike many left of center people, I see wokeness as a serious problem. I’m very concerned about its takeover of much of the mainstream media and its grip on large segments of the Democratic Party. While I don’t think Joe Biden is an extremist, he certainly pays lip service to aspects of woke ideology, whether on systemic racism or transgender issues.
But to look to Trump for deliverance, as some opponents of the woke left are doing (again!), is a massive mistake. It’s not just that Trump is bad on other issues: he’s bad for the anti-woke cause, at least if you’re anti-woke because you support the classical liberal principles of individual autonomy, freedom of expression and reason.
First of all, you can’t with a straight face invoke Trump as a champion of an individualism that transcends racial and other identities when his own message is heavy on xenophobic, almost overtly racist identity politics (see his recent attack on left-wing Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar, which focused on her background as a Somali refugee). And free expression? This is the guy who would jail protesters for burning the American flag.
Second, while Trump certainly didn’t create woke progressivism, he clearly enables and exacerbates it. This argument is sometimes misunderstood as, So you’re saying we shouldn’t fight back against woke leftism because fighting back makes leftists more extreme? No, not at all. I’m saying that when the President of the United States is practically a woke caricature of the evil white male—an entitled bully, who endorses police brutality, bashes minorities and flaunts his lack of human empathy—it pushes large numbers of people farther and farther to the left, lending credibility to the woke idea that America is a racist patriarchy.
No stopgap measure to slow down the onslaught of wokeness (such as limiting woke diversity training by federal agencies and contractors) is worth this.
Tom Nichols—Specialist in National Security, Author of The Death of Expertise
The cure for rage and irrationality is reason and thoughtfulness. To believe that someone like Trump is the necessary response to the excesses of the left is to exchange one form of illiberal authoritarianism for another. It is also to believe that there are no alternatives and that it is impossible for reasonable people to emerge as the dominant voice in a democracy. This is nothing more than sullen defeatism and I will never embrace the idea that the only answer to extremism is to poison ourselves with some political isomer of the same extremism. The center exists and it is healthier than we think it is—but it will only prevail over time if we have the courage to defend it.
Katie Herzog—Writer and Co-Host of the Podcast Blocked and Reported
Like a lot of people from across the political spectrum, I’m deeply concerned about recent trends on the left. Whatever you want to call it—cancel culture, wokeness, social justice ideology (or, as I prefer, social media justice ideology)—many seemingly progressive people and institutions have embraced draconian and intolerant dogmas. You’re more likely to hear some prominent conservatives defend free speech these days than the ACLU, and this troubles me immensely. It’s a bad sign when lawyers for the group that defended the rights of Nazis to speak are now calling for the cancelation of J. K. Rowling.
Some formerly Democratic voters have responded to these threats by turning right. This is a mistake.
There are plenty of reasons to oppose Donald Trump on performance alone. He has, as president, failed to deliver on almost all of his promises, from the good (bringing back American jobs) to the impractical and inhumane (building the wall and, of course, making Mexico pay for it). Aside from those in the top tax bracket, who saw hefty tax breaks thanks to Trump and the GOP, I’m willing to bet that most people are not better off than they were four years ago, and that’s not just the fault of the pandemic. It’s also the fault of Donald Trump. Trump has done nothing on climate change, on infrastructure, on health care and on an array of other forces that impact Americans’ daily lives. He cares about one person—himself—and he will do whatever it takes to preserve his own ego, power and money even if that means everyone else on the planet suffers.
And yet, performance, policy and personality are only a part of this equation, because if you’re concerned about the increasing illiberalization of the American left, the last person you should want to see in office is Donald Trump. Trump isn’t just a purveyor of cancel culture himself, he’s the spark that has made many of my fellow progressives forsake their commitment to truly liberal values—including vital civil liberties like the right to free expression, even, yes, for those we dislike or disagree with.
Wokeness spreads in Donald Trump’s wake. For every action he takes, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and if Donald Trump wins the election, this will be proof positive to many of today’s more illiberal activists that the United States is, at heart, too racist, too sexist, too problematic to remain intact. And their reaction to that will be to burn the whole thing down. Well, I don’t want to burn the whole thing down. I want progress—real progress. I want the US to live up to its promises, which is not possible under a Trump administration. If he wins, all we will get is more extremism on both sides, and I fear for the future of our nation, and for liberalism itself, should that come to pass. So I’m a single issue voter this time around, and that issue is getting Donald Trump out of office.
Iona Italia—Writer, Subeditor of Areo
Let’s set aside all other considerations and imagine that the only issue facing us is opposition to the illiberal, divisive, censorious, culturally philistine social movement that is woke Social Justice ideology, which I consider both damaging in itself and a distraction from the more important issues of economic hardship and environmental degradation. If, like me, you oppose wokery, the re-election of Donald Trump is the last thing you should hope for. First, wokeism is a cultural and social movement, not a party political one. It was not voted into power and cannot be voted out. To combat it, we will need to rally liberals and win over hearts and minds. We will need to reassure our fellow leftists that our opposition to wokery is not based on racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-immigrant jingoism or a self-centred disregard for the welfare of the less fortunate—that, in fact, it is not based on any of the values we associate with Donald Trump. To combat wokeism, we need to understand its appeal and propose better values to replace it. Trump is incapable of the first and unwilling to do the second. Four more years of Trump will only make this fight harder.
Alan Sokal—Physicist, Co-Author of Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science
The other contributions to this forum have been so eloquent that it would be superfluous for me to repeat what they have said. So let me just add a personal recollection.
When Jean Bricmont and I wrote our book Fashionable Nonsense, back in 1998, one of our goals was to warn our friends on the American left not to be seduced by trendy postmodernist denigrations of truth, rationality, objectivity and science. We argued that these old-fashioned Enlightenment values were in fact the sturdiest grounds on which to fight for progressive causes—besides being worthy human ends in their own right—and we foresaw that postmodernism was a double-edged sword that could also be utilized by the reactionary right.
But not in my worst nightmares did I imagine an American president who would shout “fake news” and proffer “alternative facts” in response to any information, no matter how factually grounded, that displeased him; who would openly disdain science and scientists in the middle of an epidemic that has already killed 225,000 Americans and will likely kill many more; and whose idea of rational debate was to demonize his political opponents (or simply anyone who dared to disagree with him) with names worthy of a third-grade bully.
Let me be clear: I’m just as worried about the excesses of Critical Social Justice as you are. And I applaud Helen Pluckrose and Jim Lindsay for having written a book, Cynical Theories, that calmly dissects the anti-rational and anti-liberal ideology underlying it and argues, once again, for liberal values such as respect for viewpoint diversity and honest debate, and respect for evidence, reason and science. But do you seriously think that Trump gives a f*** about any of these values? And do you seriously think that four more years of Trump will help bring back liberal values on either left or right? On the contrary, the illiberal excesses of some sectors of the left were one factor (among many others) in driving the backlash that brought Trump to power; and the illiberal excesses of Trump and his Republican enablers—who stoke division and tribalism as a political strategy—are fueling illiberalism on the left.
To be honest, Biden wasn’t my preferred Democratic candidate; my sympathies were, rather, with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. But maybe four years of boring moderate Biden is just what our country needs right now: to restore some modicum of decency and rationality so that we can, in the future, debate serenely and rationally which economic, political and environmental reforms might be beneficial to our nation and our world.
Please help that happen, and vote for Biden.
Feeble arguments for voting “Biden” have been offered here. Could it be that the contributors (some of whom have done top-quality work on other occasions) are holding back? Unfortunately, I doubt it. First: A vote for the Democratic ticket (President/Vice President) is *not* a vote for Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. Most of what Joe Biden was no longer is. The man the party elders put on top of the ticket is way down the slope with irreversible dementia. If Democrats win the presidency: Joe Biden will be President in name after being inaugurated, but his duties, until he dies or is evacuated to a nursing home, will be to read off a few statements dictated by others, to sign orders written by others, and to sign bills written by others. Or Joe Biden will be inaugurated, he will be 25th Amendmented, and Kamala Harris will move into the Oval Office.… Read more »
Yeah, Ladyhawk, the media “redefined journalism”, all right, with their laughable slobbering all over the likes of Schiff & Mueller, and their minimal (and often deceitful) coverage of the devastating Horowitz Rept., and the IG’s subsequent testimony (as described by such respected experts on such matters as Dershowitz, Turley, Binney, & Greenwald, and popularized by such cutting-edge figures as Taibbi, Maté, Caitlin Johstone, & Jimmy Dore). Reading these 14 critics here, one wouldn’t imagine, that the Dems/ MSM had spent 3 years *obsessing* over Trump & Russia/ Ukraine, while minimizing the assaults on the *civil liberties* of, for starters, C. Page & Gen. Flynn, and ignoring the risks this orgy posed to *world peace* (as described by folks like Chomsky and C. Hedges. Nor would one imagine, that the MSM had spent at least 24 hours teeing off on a Minor (16-year) old, for his displaying a “punch-able smirk” while… Read more »
How disappointing to see so many of the 14 critics blindly repeat the smears of a media that promised in 2016 to “redefine journalism” and to refuse to cover the Trump phenomenon neutrally, as is their job. There are multiple video compilations available of all the times that Trump DID stand up to and disavow white supremacy, times that the media itself down-played the threat of Covid, and times that Democrats criticized Trump’s actions to halt its spread. And it is patently cynical to blame Trump for all the Covid deaths when it is a pandemic that clearly no country could control, and to claim that the current economic troubles resulting from shutdowns are due to his incompetence. Before the shutdowns, he did in fact benefit millions of Americans through his tax cuts (everyone got at least a doubling of their personal tax deductions, and parents benefited from the expanded… Read more »
As an Australian it seems to me that the biggest threat to American culture and the values of the Enlightenment comes from the “religious” right.
Is anyone familiar with the book American Fascists The Christian Right and Its War on America?
That having been said check out two of his recent essays which are available on the Scheerpost website.
The Politics of Cultural Despair, and Trumps Barrett Nomination Another Step Toward Christian Fascism.
Re the behind the scenes political machinations of the “religious” right particularly that of the self-appointed Council For National Policy right check out the new book by Anne Nelson titled Shadow Network Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right – it is reviewed on the Bill Moyers website
I didn’t vote in 2016 and sympathize with anyone who doesn’t like Trump. I’ll certainly vote for him this time. I agree completely with Lindsay that a Biden administration will open the door for a full scale invasion of wokeness into every corner of the federal administrative state. Where I think people may go astray is thinking that Biden will be a kind of new Warren Harden elected to restore “Normalcy.” The public may think that’s what they’re choosing, but I doubt that’s what they’ll get. Biden has been in politics for a very long time. He has been liked (even Laura Ingraham on Fox says everyone “likes” Joe). He has a talent for getting elected. But nothing beyond that marked his career. Obama chose him for his ability to reach what was left of the FDR democrats. However, as I understand it, Biden was never an Obama insider –… Read more »
I was an outspoken Biden fan at the time of the Democratic Primary; which now seems like a bygone era. I liked him exactly because he was a moderate like myself. My thoughts of him started to change in June. I am among many now who live in a city where businesses, already shuttered and struggling, were burned and looted for utterly no reason. On Memorial Day, after three months of lock-down, my wife and kids set up for a pick-nick on our patio as we saw the National Guard trucks drive by. We tried to ignore the smoke and explosions (presumably fireworks) that evening as we dined on our small patio. I told my wife that I could imagine sitting in a Beirut Bistro circa 1982; the sounds and smells from a few blocks away shaking my assuredness that ‘normal’ was permanent. We watched the news ‘woke-wash’ the violence… Read more »
The anti-woke left are on a collusion course with reality. Admirably, they denounce identitarianism but still tacitly and/or explicitly support the PC ideas that grew into wokism. By this I mean the post-WWII consensus that led to the complete abandonment of freedom of association and adoption of PC anti-discrimination laws in an effort to produce a color blind society. Affirmative action and wokism were not inevitable but, given that scolding racists does not produce more black engineers, doctors, etc. remotely proportional to their population without attacks on merit and/or resorting to dubious explanations like “systemic racism”, “patriarchy”, etc., I’m not surprised that wokism has spun off from more tepid PC ideas.
I’m a liberal late-comer to the anti-(un)Social (in)Justice Movement, I will admit. The existence of Trump has been a major distraction. I’ve been an anti-Trumper since he announced he was running for president and I heard his initial speech. I wouldn’t vote for Trump in a million years, but frankly, in the past few weeks, I’ve become quite alarmed about the SJM. My hope is that after Trump is sent packing in 2021 (or even if he isn’t), the millions of people who are alarmed by the depredations of the SJM, wherever on the political spectrum they may feel they belong, will put aside their considerable differences on other issues and work together to repel the very repellent Woke. The Wokies aren’t even ON the political spectrum. They’re off in fantasy land where nothing is real but race and oppression and minute demographic slicing and dicing, and they dream of… Read more »
Taleb is right, “intellectual” and “idiot” became synonyms
I have no intention of voting for Trump. But I’m sick of this phony argument that the Democrats bear no responsibility for the mess we’re in today. The Democrats brought the Critical Social Justice Warriors out of the woodwork both through their policies (Title IX expansions on college campuses)’ and their rhetoric (endless talk about identity-based “diversity” and sneering at “old white men” from the moment Obama got reelected.) Anybody who thinks that all these problems will go away just by getting Trump out of office is seriously deluding themselves. As long as the Democrats continue to embrace this as a major part of their platform I have no desire to vote for them or root for their victory. If you want to tell people not to vote for Trump, fine (though I’m getting sick of the apocalyptic scaremongering) but stop insulting readers’ intelligence by telling them the SJW ideology… Read more »
As a center-left person who is extremely conflicted about whom to vote for, precisely because I fear the juggernaut of wokeness (it threatens my career and professional field rather directly), I really appreciate that such luminaries as these have weighed in here. So I deliver the following criticism in the spirit of attempting to draw out a more convincing (to me) argument from these thinkers, who are people I respect and follow: Disappointingly to my eyes, too many of the criticisms of Trump stated here seem to be repeated uncritically from what I would consider the questionable click-bait sphere. I was surprised to read Maddow/Salon-ish rhetoric such as the 20,000 lies (some are real but many are statements taken out of context), or that wanting a physical barrier to illegal immigration is automatically racist, or that someone else as president would have resulted in fewer covid deaths (by what mechanism?).… Read more »
I’m voting Biden because I believe that it will be easier to defeat the toxic trends of the left without the distraction of Trump. Also, while it has long annoyed me how Republican presidents seem to be able to get away with the most astonishing lies, while Democratic presidents can’t get away with anything, now I see a path forward in exploiting this phenomenon to stymie the left wing agenda that has become the greater threat. Either Biden/Harris will have to reject woke, or let it be their albatross.
In short, I believe Pyrrhic Victory 2020 is our best hope. I just wish I could vote for Betsy DeVos for president. She’s been doing stellar work.
Btw, nearing the end of Cynical Theories. Thank you, Helen and James, for this book. Already bought another copy to send to my mom for Christmas.
I am not too sure. Trump will be as bad as he was the last four years. But Biden winning will give wokeism such an incredible boost, not just in the US but in the whole western world, that it will last at least ten more years until the sane left will get a shadow of a chance again. And as a cishet white male who is not part of the apex, I’m not sure if I’m willing to promote that future. But I live in Europe anyway.
Many of these scholars claim to be driven by reason and evidence…yet all I see here is a lot of unsupported opinions that amount to the good ole “orange man bad.” I mean how many of these posts use “but do you really think Trump cares about that..” as the primary thrust of their argument.
Honestly embarrassing for Helen and all the scholars who put this on…
“Trump is worse: 20,000 lies…” Right off the bat with mass media propaganda, verbatim. It’s mostly media lying about what Trump said. One well-known example: “He said Article II lets him do anything he wants. We has a fact-check!” Reality: they hacked off the part where he referred to who he can fire in his cabinet. Even without dissecting each one, just note that the media claimed 5000 lies in Trump’s first year, 10,000 lies after 2 yrs, 15,000 lies after 3… even a child could see that’s gimmickry, not fact-checking. “tens of thousands of avoidable covid19 deaths” How you figure? Maybe a time machine to tell Dr. Fauci not to encourage people to go to gyms and movies into March? Was it Trump who ordered nursing homes accept contagious residents? I missed the part of Joe Biden’s covid19 plan that builds giant quarantine facilities to house every infected person… Read more »
People do not have thoughts. Thoughts have people. Trump is one person. Alot of peoples fears regarding Trumps possible populist demagoguery still falls in the realm of speculation, woke is zero sum and totalitarian by default. I find this article to be very dissapointing. Do the writes of these opinion pieces know how compromised the career long politician (Biden) is, who has questionable business ties with China, Russia and Ukraine? Or do they know the reality that the media narrative that sensationalize Trump as this existential threat to democracy are the same outlets that fed us all a fake russian collusion narrative for several years, and that the source of the allegations was a russian agent (known to the FBI) that was hired by the opposition party and Biden was part of that opposition party? (1) Do they take into consideration big tech and the media working in unision to… Read more »
I had a nice long thought out reply and I accidentally deleted it. Ok, I am still on the fence. My problem with voting for Biden is not just is he strong enough to effect some measure of control over the progressive “woke “ wing of the party? The problem is getting Democrats ( except for people here to accept that sometimes the things the do or have done rub people the wrong way. Trump did not occur in a vacuum. I find it hard to convince Democrats, especially on SM, that they are not without ownership of the division in the country. I get told why am I voting against my own interests? I try to explain that they don’t know what my interests are, they don’t know what anybody else’s interest are. It is inconceivable to them that people think the government cannot or shouldn’t be all things… Read more »
In a perfect world, Trump would lose the election, but win Oregon.
I respect all of you, very much. And thank you. I too detest Trump, including for all the reasons I have read here. That detestation began years ago, upon the first (and last) time someone showed me an episode of “The Apprentice”. But after reading the first few of you above (until I stopped for the following reason) I found those few displayed strong anti-Trump animus, but none any convincing even summary counter-program to contain and reverse Wokeness. Wokeness is, whatever else it may be, extremely destructive to individuals, organizations and society; this I have concluded from months of daily news and opinion review from media all along the political spectrum– especially, to my admiration and gratitude, Areo– and from considerable deeper research. In addition, have relevant direct personal experience. I have had an intermittent domestic civil & international human rights career beginning when I was 18. However, I was… Read more »
Lunacy. It took ONE early woke fanatic in Obama’s Department of Education to establish the horrific kangaroo court system on college campuses. Under Biden, THOUSANDS such woke fanatics will pour into bureaucratic positions of the national government. All the talk about Biden himself not being woke is irrelevant. He will do nothing to stop them. The rank and file of the DNC apparatus, from which government positions are filled, has been taken over by the woke religion every bit as fast as the rank and file of the adjacent news organizations like NYT and MSNBC. If you have any doubt that Biden will capitulate to his party’s woke staffers at every opportunity, consider the following which took place this year: 1) Trump’s Department of Education repealed the most illiberal and and anti-due-process aspect of the college kangaroo court system – the part forcing colleges to use a low standard of… Read more »
On another note, it’s really nice to see Alan Sokal back!
I just proposed “Intellectual Sweetness and Light Web” over on Twitter. https://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue/status/1321221869710835713
I don’t get how this woke cultural segment (still unsure of the magnitude or of it is just Twitter) is this much of a deciding factor. Willing to bet a VAST majority of voters could absolutely care less, truly “a distraction from the more important issues of economic hardship and environmental degradation”
All of this makes perfect sense, it seems. I totally understand what you are trying to do here. And I respect that, appreciate it, even. Long live the idea of the argument. But, in many cases, I believe that these attempts, as we can see them here, fall short. Because this is about so much more. There is so much more, to all of this, to everything that is involved here, and all that is at stake. And I wonder, have you really thought this through? I mean, really, really though. Because I am not convinced. Which, in my book, leads to an interesting question: Is this really about Trump? Did this really start with Trump? Did this really change with Trump? Is this really the deciding factor? Is your focus really on the right target? Does everyone of you really understand the realignment, the potential dynamics underlying all of… Read more »
I couldn’t believe it when I read that James Lindsay is voting for Trump because of wokies. Bernie Sanders is not woke, let alone Joe Biden. I wish you could vote, Helen, but I suppose you need to be able to vote against madness in the UK too – the disorder seems to have afflicted the entire English-speaking world except maybe South Africa. I am very glad to see so many familiar names here speaking up about this. My thanks to you all.
Thanks, that was a nice collection of reasonable voices.
OMG! My people! We need more of this. I love James Lindsey but he’s just wrong. And supporting Trump delegitimizes the fight against the anti-woke. I won’t go on & on since everyone here says it better than me but THANK YOU for this! We need more ANTI-MAGA / ANTI-WOKE convergence. Some people you might wanna’ add to this list? Sam Harris, Andrew Sullivan, The Fifth Column guys (Kmele Foster and company). Let’s grow this! Do we need a name? The Intellectual Grey Web? – IGW? (Okay, I’ll work on the branding.) Helen & Iona! You might remember me. I’m Yenrap Rellim the “Crossectionality” guy. Remember? I got kicked off of Twitter for calling Turmp a retard. (I was being literal!) Of course it was the woke who were offended by the word retard. Not that it was aimed at Trump. But some QAnon nut reported me. But whatever. I… Read more »
An interesting contrast to James Lindsay’s choice.