UPDATE: Helen Pluckrose, Lindsay’s partner in crime, is more sensible. Here’s from a piece she wrote on Letter urging people to vote for Biden:
The left cannot be made more liberal by people going right. If that were likely to happen, we would have seen the Social Justice movement diminish in power and influence during the last four years of the Trump presidency. Instead it has gained steam and become a dominant illiberal force in society. The hypothesis that the left will come to its senses and ditch the identity politics and general wokery if the population, especially its traditional working class base, surges right has been disproven. Instead, CSJ has become both more dogmatic and more mainstream in response to this development.
Biden is a moderate liberal, not a radical Social Justice activist. He lacks the charisma and rhetorical power of Obama but his platform is very similar. The lip-service he has paid to identity politics is regrettable but he has condemned the violent riots. His presidency would have to deal with the extremism problem giving him the chance to push the Social Justice left back with liberal leftism. That is the only way it can be pushed back. The left can only be fixed by the left and liberal leftists need to stay put and do that.
Most importantly, there is the rest of Democratic platform compared to the Republican platform. Do you want a minimum wage and progressive taxes? Do you want universal healthcare and a strong welfare safety net? Do you think effective action on climate change and Covid management are important? Do you want to protect same sex marriage and women’s access to reproductive healthcare and abortion? What about effective gun control, reform of the prison system & abolition of the death penalty? Do you want to protect undocumented migrants and give them a safe pathway to legal citizenship? If you do, you are a liberal leftist and the liberal left needs you to stay put and fight for this.
Please vote Democrat next month.
Yours in friendship,
Helen Pluckrose (A British liberal leftie who declines to stay in her lane)
P.S. No, I won’t be denouncing any of my friends who think differently and neither should you
Well, I disagree about the P.S. We can denounce bad decisions, but we needn’t cancel people. (As I said in the comments, my last line about Lindsay was a joke. I will continue to post about things he writes if I like them, but I have to say that he’s made a serious error in judgment.) We cannot hate the Woke so much that we run into the arms of the Right.
I always assumed that James Lindsay, co-author with Helen Pluckrose of the very good book Cynical Theories, and one of the three perpetrators of the Grievance Studies Affair, criticized the Left for the same reasons I did: I don’t want my side to engage in illiberal, foolish, and counterproductive activities, and especially don’t want those activities to drive centrists into the arms of Trump.
Now Lindsay, whom I thought was a classical liberal, has issued this tweet.
Frankly going to unhappily vote Republican, including Trump, until the left walks this shit all the way back. pic.twitter.com/XGcKMmL49L
— James Lindsay, thankful (@ConceptualJames) October 20, 2020
I don’t know what prompted this, but I don’t think most members of the American Left want to abolish the Constitution. And because one branch of the Left is behaving in an authoritarian and illiberal manner, Lindsay is going to vote for TRUMP??????? Has he considered what four more years of a Trump administration would be like compared to a Biden administration? Does he think it would be better, or is he simply sending some kind of petulant signal to the regular Left? And what does it mean to say that he’s “unhappily voting Republican, including Trump.” Unhappily? Why is he voting at all?
My father taught me the phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face,” and I looked it up right now. Wikipedia says it means this:
“Cutting off the nose to spite the face” is an expression to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem: “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face” is a warning against acting out of pique, or against pursuing revenge in a way that would damage oneself more than the object of one’s anger.
This is exactly what Lindsay is doing, and, to be sure, it’s going to damage himself more than Trump. He hasn’t considered how voting for a narcissistic madman out of pique towards the Left will not put him in good stead with the reasonable part of the Left. As my friend the philosopher Maarten Boudry told me, “It’s almost like a reverse form of anti-Woke ‘virtue signaling’: ‘Look at me, I hate the Woke so much, I’d even vote for Trump!'”
As for me, I’m both appalled and revolted. [I’ve removed the last line I had here since Lindsay seems to think it was a death threat. It wasn’t: as I’ve explained twice, it was a joke. I wouldn’t hurt anybody or wish them harm.]