Trying to debate woke activists has proven hopeless. They dismiss opposing arguments—because they believe all such arguments are oppressive.
Since the killing of George Floyd, Legal Insurrection has reported numerous examples of individuals who were fired, smeared, or bullied for speaking out. This happened to them not because they made bigoted remarks, but because they voiced ideas contrary to the woke social justice narrative.
The question is why is this happening? People on opposite sides of many issues respectfully disagree with each other all the time; they don’t resort to thuggish tactics in order to silence the other side. But for woke activists, silencing their adversaries is routine. There must be something about social justice ideology that leads to this kind of behavior. What is it?
I answer this question in “A Woke New World,” the feature article in the summer issue of The Objective Standard. A long-form article, “A Woke New World” is a detailed critique of the woke social justice movement and the toxic ideology on which this movement rests.
The first thing to understand about this movement is that it rejects the basic values of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King called for the equal rights of minorities, and he dreamed of a day when black people would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
In contrast to MLK, as I argue in the article, social justice activists don’t want to end discrimination. They don’t want people judged only on the basis of merit and character. They don’t want to replace racial strife with racial harmony. They don’t seek reform, progress, or justice; they seek subversion, disruption, and collective, identity-based retribution. . . . Social justice activists want individuals purged for questioning BLM, purged for defending law enforcement, purged for saying “all lives matter,” purged for supporting peaceful protests over riots. They call for abolishing the police. They defend rioting and looting (or commit it themselves). They block, harass, and shut down speakers. They reflexively slander their adversaries as racists, fascists, Nazis, misogynists, or white supremacists.
And they despise America.
The central premise of social justice ideology is that oppression — in the form of racism, sexism, and the like—is literally everywhere, not just in the past, but in the present. It’s embedded not only in our laws and institutions, but in science and in our language. This ideology also holds that the social world is divided into oppressor groups and oppressed groups. Men, white people, heterosexuals, and cis-gender people are oppressors; women, racial minorities, gay people, and transgender people are oppressed. An individual’s actions, in this view, are irrelevant. A straight, white male is an oppressor simply because he is a straight, white male.
In order to combat oppression, social justice scholars and activists seek to disrupt, demonize, and dismantle “whiteness.” A recent example starkly demonstrates what this means in practice. George Davison, the principal of Grace Church School in New York City, admitted, “We’re demonizing white people for being born. . . . We are using language that makes them feel ‘less than,’ for nothing that they are personally responsible for.” We are attempting “to link anybody who’s white to the perpetuation of white supremacy.”
Trying to debate woke activists has proven hopeless. They have no interest in debating. They believe that any disagreement with their ideology is disingenuous. They dismiss opposing arguments—because they believe all such arguments are oppressive. As I sum up:
Social justice scholarship is an elaborate academic con game. As we have seen, if a white male disagrees with any of it, he’s “fragile,” “willfully ignorant,” or blinded by his “privilege.” Conversely, if a black lesbian disagrees with any of it, she has “internalized” her oppression, and her voice is not “authentic.” If you say, “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” social justice scholars translate this into “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.” These scholars dishonestly interpret everything as oppressive, and no facts can refute this because, in their view, any evidence or rational arguments to the contrary are also oppressive. . . . The woke social justice ideology is bigotry masquerading as antiracism. In the name of fighting antiblack, antifemale prejudice, this ideology foments antiwhite male prejudice. Vilifying “whiteness” is not the antidote to antiblack racism. Vilifying masculinity is not the antidote to misogyny. More discrimination is not the antidote to discrimination.
In order to fight this irrational, destructive, anti-American movement, we must first understand its basic premises and why they are wrong. A Woke New World is a good place to start. Read the entire article here.
Michael Dahlen is the author of Ending Big Government: The Essential Case for Capitalism and Freedom.DONATE
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