Yes, wokeness drove people to Trump. But will it decrease under Biden?

I was deeply disturbed to read that James Lindsay, who styled himself a liberal, was so incensed at wokeness that he declared he was voting for Trump. I called this “cutting off his nose to spite his face.” But according to this new Atlantic article by Yascha Mounk, Lindsay’s not the only one who did some proboscis-snipping (click on screenshot below to read).

The list of shame:A number of influential commentators who firmly opposed Donald Trump in 2016 recently announced their intention to vote for him in 2020. Nearly all of them, including James Lindsay, Danielle Pletka, and Ben Shapiro, blamed illiberalism on the left. As Shapiro said on his popular show, he is planning to vote for Trump because “Democrats have lost their fucking minds.”

Well, for Shapiro and Pietka it may just be the hens coming home to roost, but not Lindsay, and probably not for Dave Rubin, who I thought was a progressive (and a libertarian). Rubin issued this disturbing tweet a few days ago. Is he, like Lindsay, so fed up with wokeness that he’s going to the Dark Side? Or was he always a secret Republican?

Helen Pluckrose exposed the folly of voting for Trump if you’re a liberal out of mere disdain for extreme Leftism, and so does Mounk in his piece. I needn’t reprise his litany of Trump’s perfidies, missteps, and outright stupidity, which leads him to agree with Pluckrose:

But the fact is that Trump presents a much greater danger to key constitutional values, and does more than anyone else to lend apparent credibility to extreme forms of protest as well as an unremittingly negative appraisal of America. Voting for Trump to stem the rising tide of illiberalism is about as pure an example of cutting off your nose to spite your face as political life can afford.

Hey! I used that metaphor first!

Mounk then singles out two aspects of Trumpism that have played on the fears of non-extremist liberals, making them almost as fearful of the extreme Left as of Trump:

Many of the most worrying tendencies on the left stem from two intellectual mistakes. The first is to focus so tightly on the country’s flaws that its strengths become invisible, and its institutions dispensable. The second is to believe that the right poses such an imminent danger that any form of resistance against it is justifiable, even if it involves violence.

Trump, of course, disagrees with both of these mistakes. But because he is genuinely dangerous and extraordinarily polarizing, he makes it much harder for establishment institutions, as well as moderate voices on the left, to hold their ground against these fallacies.

It’s still easy, I think, to hold your ground against “justifiable violence,” especially because nearly all Americans oppose it. I agree with Mounk about the two factors playing into violent and destructive protest from the Left. Where I disagree is his soothing assurances that a Biden victory will disempower rather than empower the extreme Left and the “antifa types”:

. . . . a Biden victory would make it easier, not harder, to push back against antifa types who think engaging in violent tactics to resist the Trump administration is justifiable. So long as citizens can contest political injustice at the ballot box, there can be no excuse for burning down government buildings. But Trump’s penchant for cruelty is the best possible recruitment tool for those who want to fight fire with even more fire. When the sense of terror that Trump has understandably instilled in many citizens begins to ebb, so too will the misguided hesitance of many Americans to criticize violent extremists pretending to fight for a noble cause.

But violence, looting, and rioting aren’t the main things I worry about. I worry about Wokeness. And yes, while Trump has leveraged Wokeness to his advantage, I am not at all sure that a Biden victory will stop the rot spreading rightwards from the extreme Left. Biden has disavowed violence, but, malleable as he is, can he resist the pressures of the Authoritarian Left, with the fear that he might be called a racist? I’m not at all sure, though Mounk gives a somewhat mixed message here:

Far from moving to the right on key social and cultural issues such as immigration, race relations, and same-sex marriage, however, Americans—especially white Americans—have moved to the left. The proportions of voters who believe that immigrants are good for the country, that members of ethnic minorities suffer from significant discrimination, and that everyone should enjoy the right to marry have all gone up. Scholars have found that this counterreaction to Trump is no outlier: More often than not, public opinion moves against the president.

Well, that’s okay. The country, which is nearly half Trump supporters, could stand a move to the Left, particularly in the areas Mounk mentions. But Mounk then says “no worries” because of this:

Those who worry about illiberalism on the left should take this pattern to heart. According to commentators such as Shapiro, progressives already hold power in universities and the mainstream media, in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. If they also capture Congress and the White House, they would gain virtually unified control of American politics and culture. But fears of a Biden presidency leading to a woke takeover misunderstand the way public opinion moves in America. Because Trump’s ample failings have given the most misguided claims of the far left a superficial veneer of plausibility, Trump himself has been the far left’s biggest ally. And if the Biden administration does overreach on key cultural issues, that will likely set the stage for a course correction—a cascade back to moderation.

I’m not at all sure that “overreaching on cultural issues” will trigger a “course correction”. Why would it on the Left when the Authoritarian Left already knows how to hijack the entire movement—just play the racism and bigotry card against those more toward the center. Plus the Authoritarian Left already controls the liberal media in the U.S. and nearly all the universities, where students regularly get indoctrinated with “illiberalism on the left.” How will that indoctrination go away?

To my mind, this tendency might only get worse should the Democrats capture both houses of Congress and the Presidency. So yes, although I worried a lot about how Wokeness would empower Trump, I worry—to a lesser degree—that it will empower Biden as well, not as a counterreaction, but as a justification for the most vociferous segment of the Left to grab even more power. The fears of being called a racist and of being cast into perdition on social media or in the popular mind—these are very powerful psychological forces. But I hope I’m wrong.

Still, regardless of any nascent Wokeism in Biden, there’s no doubt about Mounk’s conclusion

If you want to combat illiberalism, casting a vote for Donald Trump is the worst possible thing you can do.

Sadly, neither Rubin nor Lindsay seems to realize this simple truth.

82 Comments

  1. Ann German
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    These people are channeling Bannon’s tear-it-all-down nihilism. “Wokeness” is their excuse, but they are simply ego-maniacal and seeking attention. I don’t intend to give them any.

  2. Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Biden by a short head but winning the election going away. Democracy prevails. My fervent hope.

  3. darrelle
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I differ with you on Rubin. He never seemed to be progressive to me. Never genuine either.

    • Sebastian
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Same here—I had never paid much attention to him but from what I saw, I’m surprised anybody is surprised at his Trump vote. Same goes for Shapiro.

    • Historian
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      On this I agree with you. Rubin is a libertarian, who feels most comfortable opposing Democrats since they believe that government has a role in helping people. By definition, libertarians believe that the presence of government in national life should be greatly restricted since it impinges on their warped view of individual freedom.

      • Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        I think this tracks with Libertarians’ real view, if you can really get it out of them:

      • darrelle
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

        [John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-American Economist, “Stop the Madness,” Interview with Rupert Cornwell, Toronto Globe and Mail (6 July 2002)]

        It think it works just as well for a certain range of the libertarian spectrum.

        • Historian
          Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          The Washington Post posted today an article entitled “Former U.S. attorneys — all Republicans — back Biden, saying Trump threatens ‘the rule of law.’” But, Rubin and his ilk are crapping in their pants over the Woke. Rubin is a right-wing fraud, nothing else.

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republican-us-attorneys-back-biden/2020/10/27/c1b55702-17fd-11eb-befb-8864259bd2d8_story.html

        • Curtis
          Posted October 27, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          It’s not that simple. Sometimes libertarian deregulation is much better for the working class.

          I had a Facebook acquaintance who wanted to be a hairdresser but it required 6 months of schooling which she could not afford. She ended getting a government loan to go to school to become a hairdresser. School for 6 months followed by student debt was the leftist solution.

          The libertarians solution would have been to let a hair salon train her – immediate employment without any debt.

          This type of occupational licensing hurts the poor disproportionately. It makes sense for doctors and lawyers but not for hairdressers, manicurists, personal trainers, etc.

          • Gingerbaker
            Posted October 27, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            School for 6 months was probably the hairdresser’s position as well. I’ll bet the organization that hairdressers belong to believes in certification standards. Hairdressers go to Cosmetology schools and earn their degrees.

            • Curtis
              Posted October 27, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

              Certainly the hairdressers organization and schools believe in certification but this hairdresser sounded livid. No salary for 6 months* is really tough for a poor person plus debt and no job guarantee.

              I will also tell you a secret, my whole family used to get our haircut by an illegal barber. He took the classes but failed his test and then had to move to another state for family reasons. He ended up being a nurses aide. I think it was easier to get that certification.

              * – I might also be misremembering the time. The national average is over a year and in Nevada it 18 months of schooling plus 18 months of apprenticeship. 3 years to become a barber!!

              https://ij.org/report/license-work-2/ltw-occupation-profiles/ltw2-barber/

              • Posted October 29, 2020 at 12:58 am | Permalink

                My now deceased mother-in-law was a beautician who had to go to school for licensing in the ’30s and maintained it annually for the rest of her life, whether she worked as a beautician or not. If/when needed, she was ready.

                I also had a friend who was a very well known (and loved) barber in my town who learned his
                original skills in the Navy. I’m sure he took additional formal training as needed.

          • Filippo
            Posted October 27, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            “This type of occupational licensing hurts the poor disproportionately. It makes sense for doctors and lawyers but not for hairdressers, manicurists, personal trainers, etc.”

            I gather that it still holds true that entertainers, politicians, and many starting their own small businesses (not subject to state-directed subject matter certifications, like lawn services/landscapers, or RV parks or land developers – though there are rqmnts they be insured, bonded) are not so constrained. (Though of course they have to somehow know or have learned what they do, and do it well.)

            IIRC, in the opera world for a good many years any singer aspiring to sing at the Metropolitan Opera has to run the Metropolitan’s gauntlet of local/district competitions, and I gather is expected to have acquired at least a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. I gather that Enrico Caruso would not stand a chance nowadays. I’d like to think there is still room for the autodidact.

      • Niklas
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        I think Rubin was genuin when he first left TYT and started Rubin Report. At least that was my assesment. However, I think he, like many other content creators, was corrupted by YouTube algorithms, pushing him (willingly) to be a reflection of SJWs. Same goes for Tim Pool and many other prominent YouTubers. I rarely watch Rubin anymore, and I’m not surprised he’s voting Trump.

        I’m sad to see Lindsey voting Trump though, but happy that Pluckrose still advices Liberals against this course of action.

    • just josh
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Rubin may have some liberal opinions in principle, but I’ve never seen him actually advance them at the expense of any conservative talking point. More than that though, he, like Ben Shapiro, just seems fundamentally glib and dishonest.

    • pablo
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I subscribed early on but it didn’t take long to figure out that posing as a disaffected liberal was his schtick. He’s also not particularly bright or interesting.

    • Rik G
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Dave Rubin likes to call himself a “classic liberal”, but he has recently bragged that he is good buddies with Eric Trump, and had Candice Owens read a chapter of his book for the audio version. He asks puffball questions of right wingers and provides straw man caricatures of arguments from the left. He may have once been more of a liberal, but he seems to have abandoned that a few years back.

      • Filippo
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        “Dave Rubin . . . had Candice Owens read a chapter of his book for the audio version . . . asks puffball questions of right wingers . . . .”

        He certainly asked Owens puffball questions in a podcast I recently listened to. She declines to follow best-practices mask protocols. She justifies her decision not to by her “gut instinct” (which I presume is another “way of knowing” and “lived experience” usually associated, I gather, with the Woke). Up till now I’ve reasonably gathered that Rubin subscribes to scientific rationality and evidence-gathering. Maybe he does, but did not push back at her because, I speculate, he did not want to rile not a few of his (financial) supporters.

        • Rik G
          Posted October 27, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Check out this clip where Rubin interviews his husband and they share jolly memories of meeting President Trump. He also mentions the times he was on Tucker Carlson’s show, as well as Glen Beck’s.

          https://youtu.be/xkzJ4mKnr9A

  4. Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Wokeness overdrive is no excuse for embracing outright fascism. They can say that’s what drove them to it all the like, but there is little evidence a more moderate left win politics would satisfy these guys.

    • Type Logician
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      More likely, it would get their mouths watering. Look what happened e.g. to the Mensheviks…

    • davelenny
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      “…outright fascism…” Really?

      And if we’re going to make dodgy historical references, didn’t the Bolsheviks defeat the Mensheviks?

      • davelenny
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Oops! Perhaps I’ve misunderstood dwd’s comment. Are the fascists Antifa or Trump supporters? Who are ‘these guys’ -Rubin et al or uber-wokesters?

        And Type Logician had already made the Menshevik comparison. Doh!

      • Type Logicians
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, davelenny, that was *exactly* the point. Try rereading what danielwalldammit wrote and then solve for X in the proportion

        X:Mensheviks :: hyperwoke:’soft’-liberals.

        • Type Logician
          Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          @davelenny—sorry, only saw your followup after I sent that last post.

      • Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        II meant what I said.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Without getting into whether I am cutting off my nose, I think Biden supporters need to go deeper. Do you think Harris will be able to hold back the deluge? I’d bet money that, one way or another, she’ll be finishing his first term.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      You kind of like conspiracy theory I’ll bet.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Whatever respect I had for any of these folks, it’s long gone now. Surprising stupidity. Maybe people who spend all their waking hours on politics get stupid this way?

    • Posted October 27, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      About 1% of the tweets that either Rubin or Shapiro say is interesting. That’s a very low bar.

      Not sure about surprising stupid, but the ranks of Rubin and Shapiro are certainly insecure and fearful of things that are easily repudiating by good writing. I thought Rubin and Shapiro could actually write? Aren’t they supposed to be defenders of free speech?

      The woke would drive Hitchens mad, but he would see plainly that a vote for Trump is kindle for the woke.

  7. Max Blancke
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “The proportions of voters who believe that immigrants are good for the country…”

    That statement illustrates a key issue. Conservatives especially find it maddening that it seems to be the default position to deny the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, or even the complications of bringing in large groups of refugees without also importing the issues that made them refugees in the first place.

    The assumption is that there are two types of Americans, those who embrace open borders, and hateful, racist xenophobes.

    “If you want to combat illiberalism, casting a vote for Donald Trump is the worst possible thing you can do.”

    When I see angry leftists smashing and burning stuff, I am not going to conclude that the best way to stop the violence is to give them more power, especially the full power and resources of the US government.
    We are already at the point where any resistance to the woke can cost you your job, or to see your business burned to the ground. Do you really think that you will be safer if the gal with the megaphone and the Molotov cocktail is given a cabinet position?

    • Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      In a word, yes.

      I think virtually anyone is safer that Trump.

      I hate the Woke sh!t. But I’m willing to bet that the Dems will steer a moderate path (and be hated for it, just like in the past).

      I suggest comparing the priorities of the 2009 congress and the 2017 congress.

      Or the Trump SCOTUS appointments to the Obama or Clinton appointments.

      What kind of country do you want? One of, for, and by the wealthy only? With no environmental protections? With a completely science-denying party in charge that wants make the USA a “Christian Nation”? With back-alley abortions and the consequent deaths? With a executive branch and with monarchical powers (SCOTUS support) to defy the congress? With lying sacks of sh!t like McConnell and Graham in charge?

      No thanks.

      (Not that I have a strong opinion 🙂 )

      • jezgrove
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Nicely put, jblilie!

    • Adam M.
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s certainly my reason for not supporting Biden. I won’t support any politician who supports open borders or blanket amnesty or welfare for illegal immigrants with no plan for how to avoid the next wave of illegal immigrants in the future. People who want to immigrate should do it legally, and politicians should not be abetting illegal immigration.

      That said, I can’t really bring myself to support Trump either. So, I guess it’ll be another protest vote.

      • ritaprangle
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Maybe you need to actually look at Biden’s positions on these issues, and don’t get your information on that from Fox News.

        • Adam M.
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          In Biden’s own words from the debate: “I will send to the desk immediately a bill that requires the access to citizenship for 11 million undocumented folks, number one. Number two, in the first 100 days of my administration, no one, no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America.”

          So, blanket amnesty for the estimated 11 million existing illegal immigrants, and anyone who comes illegally here can stay (unless they are subsequently convicted of a felony), which is de facto open borders.

          • Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            A “path to citizenship” is not “blanket amnesty”. Instead, it reflects the fact that our lax immigration laws over many years have created a serious problem which needs fixing in a humane manner. I trust Biden to come up with a plan that advantages the US while not advocating the deportation of 11 million people who largely contribute to American society and its economy. His plan will be scrutinized, of course, but it’s a move in the right direction.

  8. ploubere
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    The choice of Biden, and every previous democratic presidential candidate, is itself evidence that the Left is better at keeping its extremists in check than the Right. I don’t foresee the woke gaining traction in politics.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      All of them put together couldn’t damage the country as much as McConnell has.

  9. JMark
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone determined what percent of the left could be considered woke? As a pure guess I’d say 25% of us; any other opinions?

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      The “Woke” would seem to be anybody to the left of whoever is passing judgment.

      • Posted October 27, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Pretty much. To be fair, there IS a cluster in a multi-issue political space that can usefully be called “woke”, but its boundaries are damn fuzzy. And the usefulness of the term evaporates when it becomes a way to treat a loose alliance as a monolith, and its most extreme members as representative.

        • ladyatheist
          Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

          Any derogatory epithet is useless.

  10. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Rubin seems to be a libertarian, but I don’t see the logic that leads to voting for tRump (or not voting). Does he seriously think that a tRump presidency would intrude less in his life than a Biden presidency? tRump wants to controlling everything, including suppressing his critics. With tRump and the Republicans in charge, he would find the rich criminal class controlling both his life and freedom.

  11. phoffman56
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    So it seems Lindsay and Rubin would have voted for Hitler back in the 1930s because of disdain for the far left in Germany.

    As it is, they say they’ll vote for continuation of policies re Covid which are killing USians at a rate of about 400,000 per year. We’ll see that’s a good estimate when the statistically expected versus actual deaths are known. To be generous maybe 150,000 would still have happened with a moderately decent regime. So that leaves about ¼ million per year which can be charged quite justifiably against Mass Murderer donald and his regime and enablers. Maybe a vaccine will make a big difference in coming years(more likely in less conspiracy-soaked anti-science countries). But it could be (4 years x ¼), or a cool million, murdered. Not quite Hitler in numbers or in overtly evil intentions, but that’s what being pissed off at the woke leads these idiots to.

    Oh, I forgot: very hard to quantify, but the additional deaths due to climate change of our descendants in the coming century would likely make the million look puny.

    As I said, unless it’s some kind of a sick joke by Lindsay, he’s causing mathematicians a hell of a lot of embarrassment, at least those who can get their heads out of the clouds and pay attention to this stuff.

    As I said 4 years ago, it might be an idea for those voting to dump Drumpf to cool it re dwelling on Biden/Harris potential faults for the next week or so. The feeling it can’t make much difference is just as dumb as the feeling by the near 50% of voters who can’t be bothered to vote.

  12. ladyatheist
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    This cohort is miniscule in comparison to those who were driven to Trump by racism, xenophobia, sexism, and Christianity.

    I think we can dismiss whatever they say.

  13. GBJames
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Seems to me that people should realize that the “woeness scale” is orthogonal to the “liberal/conservative” scale. There is much in common between extreme wokeness and today’s Republican cult.

  14. Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Anyone short of Satan (if there is a Satan) is better then Trump. He is truly a despicable human being!

  15. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    You have just had four years of a dysfunctional corrupt crook running the country into the ground and these guys are worried about the far left. Morons….

    • Dick Veldkamp
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Biden-T: it’s no contest really. Or it shouldn’t be.

      And it wouldn’t be but for an extremely unfair election system.

      (A view from Europe.)

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Seriously!

      I had a Facebook friend who was gung-ho Bernie on the basis of health care. I asked her about the Supreme Court and she said that was a “wedge issue,” and shouldn’t be a reason to vote for Clinton. She voted for Jill Stein. Fortunately, she lives in Indiana, so she has the luxury of guiltless smug self-congratulatory purity.

      Her husband recently died from cancer. I’m really glad I de-friended her in 2016. I want to ask her about the Supreme Court again after they overturn the ACA.

      • Mike
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:31 am | Permalink

        Whatever your former friend might have said or done, dunking on her by connecting ACB and the ACA to her husband’s cancer seems needlessly cruel.

        • Posted October 28, 2020 at 5:05 am | Permalink

          I hope I’m nt putting words into ladyatheist’s mouth but:

          Facebook friend, not friend. You can’t just “defriend” a real friend (I tried it once but, over time, our differences seemed more and more trivial and we are back to being friends again).

          • Posted October 28, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

            “You can’t just “defriend” a real friend”

            Unfortunately, I have seen this done. But that probably says something about the original relationship between the two people (I was not one of them).

            • Posted October 28, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

              Exactly, if you can end a friendship just by pressing a button on Facebook, it was never a real friendship.

          • Mike
            Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Potatoe, potahto, it’s still dunking on a dead person’s grieving family.

  16. Posted October 27, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    “…Dave Rubin, who I thought was a progressive…”

    That would be Dave-“Jesus was around a lot of Muslims”-Rubin, wouldn’t it.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Pletka and Shapiro are hard rightwingers who’ve been wrong about nearly every policy issue they’ve ever put their minds to.

    Lindsay and Rubin are as a tiny trickle compared to the gushing torrent of Republicans who’ve endorsed Joe Biden — former governors and senators and congressmen, former cabinet members, former national security officials, former senior administration officials, former RNC chairpersons, former congressional staffers, former presidential contenders (and their staffs and at least one’s widow), and retired military flag officers among them.

    This one should not be a difficult call for anyone not caught up in Trump’s cult.

  18. Posted October 27, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s ridiculous for anyone to support Trump. He has pretty much announced that he’s destroying US institutions though he wouldn’t characterize it as such. Wokeness may seem like it is everywhere but it really isn’t. As I’ve stated here before, it is going to fail as an antidote to racism. This is already happening with many Black leaders coming out against it. The smart ones understand that it is a trap as it gives them nothing in return but anger and division.

    Trump in office does enable Wokeism to an extent. Obviously he increases racism and division but his presence is used to justify the Woke’s “throw them all out” strategy. While Trump is in office, there will be little progress against systemic racism so Wokeness will be sold as the only strategy that has a chance. With Biden in office, real progress fighting racism is back in business and Wokeism won’t be the method.

    There is a big question though. Biden is clearly not going to come out against the Woke before the election as he needs their votes. So what will a President Biden and a Democratic Congress say about Wokeness? I doubt they’ll embrace it but will they move visibly away from it? Stay tuned.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      He will ignore them and let Kamala Harris handle them, or Nancy Pelosi.

  19. revelator60
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Areo has just published the article “Why 14 Critics of ‘Social Justice’ Think You Shouldn’t Vote Trump.”
    https://areomagazine.com/2020/10/27/why-fourteen-critics-of-social-justice-think-you-shouldnt-vote-for-trump/

    Among the 14 are Steven Pinker, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Helen Pluckrose, Conor Friedersdorf, Sarah Haider, and Alan Sokal.

    I’m grateful to all 14 for contributing to an article that needs to be widely shared all over the internet.

    • Historian
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for bringing this important article to our attention. If nothing else, people should read Pinker’s contribution. Here is the essence of his remarks:

      —————
      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.

      —————–

  20. pablo
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I unsubbec from New Discourses. Lindsay is just a smarter Dave Rubin.

  21. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    The classic case of “going over to the dark side” is David Horowitz. Born to Stalinist parents, he was co-editor of Ramparts and a
    hot-dog of the “New Left” in the fabled 60s.
    He was a white “ally” of the Black Panthers and close to Huey Newton for a time, exactly the Woke fashion of that period.

    Then, his friend Betty Van Patter, who kept the Black Panther Party’s books, was brutally murdered. Horowitz believes the Panthers killed her, to prevent her from revealing financial tricks and tax evasion by the Party. After a decade of silence, Horowitz re-emerged as a Reagan conservative—and is
    now a full-on Trumpist. Let’s hope that James Lindsay is not going the same route. The excesses of the Woke haven’t (yet?) reached the level that led Horowitz to ricochet so far Rightward.

    • GBJames
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Horowitz is interesting. Or was interesting when he described the world of American Communists and the New Left during the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. Sadly he just dumped one extremist worldview and picked up another. He’s just a right wing whacko.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      … meanwhile the Republican party is chasing away its highest-ranking members.

  22. Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    the Authoritarian Left already knows how to hijack the entire movement—just play the racism and bigotry card against those more toward the center.

    That card will turn out to be a deuce of clubs once the dire threat of 4 more Trump years is gone. When you don’t need to pacify the would-be autocrats on “your side” to avoid continued active autocracy from the other side, you stop pacifying them.

  23. Steve Gerrard
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Even though there is Godwin’s Law, this old quote from Andrew R. Moxon, aka @JuliusGoat, seems to me fitting:

    Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party, not because they hated Jews, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed.

    That word is “Nazi.” Nobody cares about their motives any more.

    • ladyatheist
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      + + + + + +

  24. kelskye
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m utterly perplexed by those who think voting Trump is going to stop the scourge of left wing authoritarianism, seeing as a) it’s mainly a cultural phenomenon, and b) it’s partly in response to the political power exhibited by right-wing authoritarianism.

    The only way I see it is that it’s performative – it’s saying the left isn’t worth voting for while those on the Left take up this cause. I can’t see what Trump (or any other politician) could do to quell the rise of left wing authoritarianism because it’s a cultural phenomenon rather than a political one, and those indicating their willingness to vote for the illiberal-on-nearly-every-other-issue Trump know that as well as I do.

    • Max Blancke
      Posted October 27, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      I don’t imagine anyone thinks it it will stop organically through voting for anyone.
      It is not a movement like women’s suffrage, where there is a defined and reasonable goal which can be achieved, then everyone goes back to their lives.
      The woke people have lots of unrealistic, vaguely defined and often contradictory goals.
      There is never going to be that one last object or person that once destroyed, will satisfy them.

      • kelskye
        Posted October 27, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        Moralists are always unhappy because reality is always more complex than ideas. People can never live up to ideals, so moralists will find much of humanity as unworthy.

        The point given as the reason to vote for Trump, however, is because of the need to stop the left-wing moralists. That’s what I find absurd for the reasons I gave above.

  25. Posted October 27, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Dave Rubin is a paleolibertarian (who often identify as “classical liberal” in public, or alternatively as “conservatives”) which is the default position of US libertarians and explains their seemingly puzzling loyalty to strongman authoritarians like Donald Trump or proximity to conservatism. Rubin is (uncontroversially) funded in part by Koch Brothers and has allied himself openly to people like Dennis Prager (a creationist). You’ll find the clips on YouTube where he’s lauded by Prager for being a useful idiot. He also appears on PragerU. Wikipedia gives a decent introduction to paleolibertarianism that holds it together…

    Rothbard reflected on the ability of paleolibertarians to engage in an “outreach to rednecks” founded on social conservatism and radical libertarianism. He cited former Senator Joseph McCarthy as a model for the new movement

    The paleolibertarian corner combines many seeming contradictions, like jews and antisemitism, libertarianism and traditional values, or liberalism with authoritarian strongmans. I think Rothbard captures it there, outreach to rednecks represents the stereotypical MAGA crowd, and McCarthy’s Red Scare is now called “neo-marxist postmodernists”.

    This corner also features the above mentioned high-pitched Gish Galloper Ben Shapiro, famous for his verbal diarrhoea and midget intellect. He sails as a conservative, but that’s of course prima facie nonsense when he endorses a lying, cheating, serial-adulterer.

    Shapiro has tweeted February 12, 2015 “[e]volution is fully compatible with Biblical religion. […]”. In February 2019 he recommended the “great book” by creationist Stephen C. Meyer and endorses also other works by him. He says in a clip embedded here that he believes in intelligent design as a scientific theory. I am surprised that Ben Shapiro, a creationist, comes off fairly sympathetic here on this site (I suspect Jerry doesn’t know, otherwise Shapiro would be always tagged with well-deserved unflattering adjectives).

    In the PragerU video titled “Evolution: Bacteria to Beethoven” Stephen Meyer himself presents his intelligent design case to over two million viewers, just to round off this trio Prager-Rubin-Shapiro and to make clear what kind of “classical liberal” libertarianism or “conservativism” we are talking about.

    Lastly, James Lindsay and his New Discourses is also by “mere happenstance” associated with Koch, Prager and paleolibertarianism. I wrote about this in a comment here back in March. Lindsay is quite clearly moving in paleolibertarian circles for a quite a while. That’s why I do not find his statements surprising at all. I am surprised anybody is surprised. Clearly, the downplaying/hiding of paleolibertarianism and advertising oneself as “classical liberal” or “conservative”, or as a free thinker (like the Weinsteins) is effective to rope people into orbit of this appalling ideology that is very compatible with Trumpism.

    • Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:01 am | Permalink

      Maybe the professor isn’t appraised of what a poisonous little asshole Ben Shapiro is?

      A few minutes of listening to B.S.’s (hehe- hadn’t noticed that before) smarmy, obnoxious, fundamentalist religious right wing nut jobbery and general dicketry should cure him of that.
      Prof?

      all the best,

      D.A., NYC

    • darrelle
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      “This corner also features the above mentioned high-pitched Gish Galloper Ben Shapiro, famous for his verbal diarrhoea and midget intellect.

      Beautiful. My hat is off to you. (Actually I don’t wear hats, but still.)

  26. Blue
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    IS bashing wokeness / illiberalism an excuse ?
    An excuse one ( who KNOWS that the change is needed ) uses … …
    … … to get OUT of doing / working for the change
    that .truly. requires doing / the work thereof ?

    Blue

  27. Posted October 27, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m in Canada, so this election doesn’t necessarily affect me so much, but I can’t stand Trump. I found it conical that he had the chance from day one. He’s got three personality traits I can’t stand – he’s narcissistic, he’seemed misogynistic and an all around bigot. There are also rumors or pediphelia, and I really have a hard time disbelieving those. I may be biased, but i ts hard NOT to believe.

    WHY DOESN’T TRUMP LIKE DOGS? because they can stick their nose in any crotch and butt they feel like, and get away with it….

  28. Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    I agree prof – the whole nose/face cut thingie. I have an article about this out soon I’d like you to republish/tweet.

    Lindsey going over to the dark side took me back also – I think he has a monomaniacal focus on one thing (not unusual in math prodigies) that makes him not see the forest for the trees. So he votes for Trump, damn it. (sigh)

    Helen Pluckrose and Yasha M. put it best I think – and she is one of the sharpest knives in all the drawers on each side of the Atlantic. Follow her and her talks/work – she’s the greatest in my book.

    So that’s that, then. 🙂

    D.A., (writer/atty) NYC

  29. Hempenstein
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I suspect that some of these wokies receive care and feeding from R’s as useful idiots.

  30. Blue
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    not wokeism
    not illiberalism

    just angering

    for muck’s sake,
    this is friggin’ y2020

    and

    this, after all, is not religion /
    is not goddseyness / is not fiction

    this is S C I E N C E

    and

    just ¡ A N G E R I N G !

    https://msmagazine.com/2020/10/27/sex-discrimination-medical-research-cure-covid-19-coronavirus/?omhide=true&emci=68762a19-5719-eb11-96f5-00155d03bda0&emdi=e90f30dc-6b19-eb11-96f5-00155d03bda0&ceid=444068

    merely .insulting.
    Blue

    • Blue
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      IS bashing wokeness / illiberalism an excuse ?
      An excuse one ( who KNOWS that the CHANGE is needed ) uses … …
      … … to get OUT of doing / working for the
      C H A N G E that .truly. requires
      doing / the work thereof ?

      Blue


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