Liberals explain why liberals tired of wokeness shouldn’t vote for Trump

The other day I criticized James Lindsay—who’s done excellent work against the Illiberal Left and also coauthored the essential book Cynical Theories with Helen Pluckrose—for deciding to vote for Trump. His decision was, as far as I understand, a reaction to fulminating Wokeness, perhaps a considered response, but an ill-considered and maladaptive one. Others have criticized Lindsay’s view as well, one of them being Pluckrose herself, who, while arguing that voting for Trump as a concerned Leftist was a big mistake, was careful not to name her collaborator. 

Now Pluckrose has apparently collected 14 critics of Social Justice Wokeness who second her view at Areo (she’s the editor of the site). And a stellar cast it is, too. I’ll put the names below, and perhaps a few excerpts, but they all say pretty much the same thing, though in different ways: DO NOT VOTE FOR TRUMP, even if you hate Wokeness or Critical Theory or Social Justice with capital letters.

Participants (their words are indented, and for most of these I’ve used only excerpts):

Helen Pluckrose.

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.

Steve Pinker

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

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.

Conor Friedersdorf

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

. . . 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?

Walter Olson

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

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?

. . . 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

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

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.

Cathy Young

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.

Tom Nichols

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

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

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

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.

Note that many of the critics argue that Trump has exacerbated Wokeism, based on the fact that it’s increased since 2016. While that might be true, we must remember that we have no control experiment: Wokeism might well have increased without Trump, though perhaps not as much. (Remember, it’s increased in Canada, too, and the PM there is not a Trump).

I don’t think that getting rid of Trump is a particularly good way to get rid of Wokeism under the assumption that he inspired most of it, nor am I convinced that Biden is the cure. We need to get rid of Trump because he’s continuously degraded American democracy and truth with his authoritarianism, because he’s unhinged and unstable, and because he’s continued to divide the American people, as well as having lied repeatedly and exacerbated the pandemic.  He is a godawful President (and person), and an embarrassment to the country.

Wokeism will persist even when Biden’s elected; in fact, I can’t imagine it decreasing palpably. Do you think the New York Times will suddenly become respectable again, or college campuses settle down during a Biden presidency? I doubt it. We need to keep fighting it on its own terms: demanding evidence, refusing to take anecdotes or lived experience for data, and standing up for reason even under the possibility that you’ll be called a bigot.

But yes, the writers are correct in their main claim: voting for Trump because you think his election will cure Wokeism is a futile effort. And Wokeism, right now, is a long way from the biggest problems that face America.

h/t: Daniel

68 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    sub

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    If Lindsay had not said that, would there be such a strong response like this?

    I think even more now, Lindsay’s Tw337 was a carefully placed move for the better. Not a conspiracy theory (though I’d like to see proof of his ballot), not a good ‘ol hoax, but a Gordium Knot solution which might just get certain people who are sick of Wokeness to snap out of it and go a step further.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I can’t imagine how anyone could think that any movement, woke or crazy is any justification for voting for Trump. And I do not think Biden becoming president will have any affect on the wokes. I still do not understand how nearly 40 percent of the country joined this Trump cult. That may be something for the experts to study and tell us about.

    • Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Just listen to Trump voters speak in the many focus groups and you’ll easily see what the problem is. They live in a misinformation bubble. Even when truth gets inside, they have a hard time telling it from the fake stuff. The “both sides do it” point of view is quite prevalent. They also have no idea how bad Trump really is because they don’t know enough about how things are supposed to work and how Trump has warped it. The sad part is that none of this is going to get fixed any time soon.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        You are trying to say in a very nice way, these people are stupid and or clueless. I was just reading about 5 or 6 thousand of them who stood out in the cold freezing temps at the Omaha airport to listen to this guy yesterday. They had to take buses to the area he was located and then wait for two or more hours for buses to pick them up and return to their cars. And what did then get out of this….nothing. They got nothing and were glad to get it.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Replying to this but commenting in general:

          Social skills – I think this is a major factor in the cult of personality which is Trump … maybe in general? But social skills – plus paranoia, fear, self-worth anxiety, cynicism….

        • Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that was pretty bad but those people were the truly lost in going to a Trump super-spreader event. I’m talking about the regular folk in Red states. They are certainly stupid and clueless but I assume that this has always been true for a large part of the electorate and crosses the partisan divide. After all, roughly half the people have an IQ of less than 100, have lives to live, and don’t follow politics closely. I treat this as simply a part of the human condition.

          I place more blame on the bubble itself. The free, and sometimes profitable, dissemination of false information is relatively new, at least at the scale it is occuring now. I’m a fan of free speech but only as the right to hold an opinion. Telling lies is a fish of a different color.

        • Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          “… these people are stupid and or clueless …”

          That, actually, is the wrong answer. It’s just not sense to label 45% of a nation “stupid or clueless”. I’m willing to bet that if you ranked all Americans by knowledge and intelligence, it would not be simply that the top half votes blue and the bottom half red.

          As you’ve just admitted, you don’t understand Trump supporters. And yet, understanding something is a necessary part of opposing it effectively. I would never vote Trump myself, but I could give a good account of why many Americans do.

          • Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            * not 45% of the nation. 46.1 (voted Trump) × 55.7 (turnout) = 25.6% Americans voted Trump

            • phoffman56
              Posted October 28, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

              You presumably mean 25.6% of eligible voters. About ¼ of the actual population is something around 80 million, so about 20 million more than he got, IIRC. Surely there are not near 90 million counted as part of the population but are not actually Americans (i.e. in reality, USians!) Less than 1 in 5 of the actual population of US voted for him.

              Still almost beyond belief to me. One must conclude that a majority of adult male ‘white’ USians are racists, IMO.

              • Posted October 28, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

                Well, “turnout” is about voters who can vote. I don’t think they’re all “racist”.

                Trump has an omnidirectional message, and whatever sticks in each bubble gets amplified. Right now, my American progressive friends sound more like a Fox News audience, in a constant state of panic and alertness which is often not justified. The Benghazi story keeps dragging on, year after year, the damning e-mails lead nowhere and, nope, he’s still not locked up and isn’t taking away your guns. Republicans have a different agenda and it is highly successful.

                I noted here probably years ago that Trump produces outrageous headlines practically every week, no exaggeration, and yet very little (or near zero) has come from it. He’s foremost an instinctive snakeoil salesman. He has a few standard tricks and keeps repeating them. He will say that whatever is his, his followers, base, America. That’s always fine, great, nice and so on. You can ask him a loaded question and he shoots that gun, but is this really his well-thought idea? Have people even listened once to his utterances that often are not even coherent?

                Meanwhile, he enables the Republicans push their agenda through while you are distracted, handouts for the rich, massive deregulation, trade wars, and their massive takeover of courts is working very well for them. Even tanking the economy once in a while.

                Lastly, consider Trump is losing white voters, but gains blacks and hispanics, according to fivethirtyeight.
                https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-is-losing-ground-with-white-voters-but-gaining-among-black-and-hispanic-americans/

              • GBJames
                Posted October 29, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

                “Meanwhile, he enables the Republicans push their agenda through while you are distracted…”

                Which of us liberals do you imagine are unaware of the catastrophic consequences of the Republican agenda that have been implemented during the tRump years? How precisely do you think we should have prevented the packing of the Federal courts by right wing extremists, for example?

                I am baffled by your thought that American progressives/liberals are somehow exaggerating the nature of the tRump regime.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 28, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

            The only thing we need to understand is Trump and I think the majority may have finally figured that out. He is what we are voting against. As for those who vote for him…I’ll let you figure that one out.

      • Posted October 29, 2020 at 1:26 am | Permalink

        Yes, Paul. I’ve noticed many of the cultists just go down the Fox/Breitbart/OAN /Sinclair /Trump checklist (and they’re all on the same page) as responses to issues – “though I’m sure some are nice people” (hehehe).

        There was a study out some time ago about how isolated that bubble actually is using a heat map of red/blue internet media consumption.

        D.A., J.D., NYC
        https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/10/photos-of-readers-93/

  4. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    There is one further argument. The US needs a rational center-Right party, comparable to the old Christian Democrats in northern Europe, Moderaterna in Sweden, or Gaullists of the Chirac type in France. This will be
    facilitated if rational conservatives of the Lincoln Project variety regain control of the Republican Party—after Trump and the entire GOP he controls at present receives a stinging defeat in the presidential and all downticket elections in 2020.

    • GBJames
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that will happen. The Republican Party is largely comprised of extremist religious QAnon-soaked cultists. The Lincoln Project folk will never find a home there. They know this. I think they will simply become the conservative wing of the Democratic Party.

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        If the current Republican Part badly loses a few elections in a row, starting next week
        (hopefully), that might facilitate a reform.
        No guarantees, to be sure. However, once upon a time there were Republicans of the kind represented (in the Us Senate) by Javits, Chafee, Weicker, Jeffords, Hatfield. So that is at least possible—or was. The question of why/how the GOP moved the way it has in the last generation is still unclear.

        • GBJames
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          Well, it isn’t all that unclear. The political Right determined to take advantage of the Civil Rights legislation of the 60’s by appealing to southern racists and to conservative religious communities. They nurtured the idea that “the media” were liberal institutions, that they were biased, and so the funded right wing talk radio hosts and built the Fox News “Fair and Balanced” propaganda machines. The Orange Menace just took advantage of this environment.

          The Never-Trump Republicans who became Lincoln Project supporters helped build the monster they are now fighting against. But they won’t be able to take it back. Something new might be built after the cultists have been sufficiently marginalized but that will probably not happen for a generation. Those liberal Republicans you mention were purged from the party decades ago. They ain’t coming back. At least that’s how it looks to me.

          • Jon Gallant
            Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

            Yes, it may take a generation for a reformed
            GOP (or its equivalent) to take shape. But the complete transformation of the GOP also took a generation. It began, as you point out, with Nixon’s southern strategy in the 1960s. But it took until 2001 for the last liberal Republican to become extinct (that was Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont). Perhaps a generation of election defeats, beginning next week, will do the trick. I concede that there are no guarantees, but democratic (small d) politics can facilitate change. In Sweden, the old Rightwing Party (Högerpartiet held out against the SocDem welfare state until 1969, when it finally turned Moderate
            and renamed itself accordingly.

            • GBJames
              Posted October 28, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

              I had hoped that the defeat of McCain/Palin by Obama would begin the recovery of the Republican Party from it’s history of coddling extremists. It didn’t happen. They moved further to the Tea Party edge. After losing again in 2012 the Party even recognized that they needed a change for long term success when they did their Autopsy Report after Romney lost in 2012. But then they went even further into the Land of the Insane. I don’t expect a loss to Biden/Harris will cause a recovery. Instead, I expect more and more QAnon candidates in reliably Red districts. Eventually it will burn out. Maybe.

              • Posted October 28, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

                No, I thought it was pretty clear that McCain was the dying dinosaur of the party and Palin was the future, though not her personally. Yes, expect more QAnon-style politicians from the right. On the other hand, I do think at least some of the electorate have now realized what a Trump-like candidate really means. And, if they forget, their missing relatives and friends due to COVID will perhaps remind them. My hope is that they will develop a taste for competent government. I have no fear that Biden will be a big improvement over Trump but that’s a low bar. I fear that a Biden administration will continue the protectionist and anti-globalization programs started under Trump.

  5. merilee
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    🐾🐾

  6. Mark Jones
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    As you say, it’s difficult to know what is causing extreme wokeism, but it’s not implausible that it is a reaction to the political swing to the extreme right in both the US and the UK, represented more lately by Trump and Johnson, but presaged for years by Reagan, Thatcher and Bush.

    The neoliberal project has been *much* more successful in recent years than the far left project – I mean, the only non neo-liberal Government in Britain in 40 years was New Labour, which was hardly left-wing at all, if you compare it to, for example, Atlee’s Government. For this reason I cannot take seriously claims of a woke takeover of either country. The Overton Window has moved too far right for that and it will stay there for some time, given the state of the respective fourth estates.

    So I agree with just about every comment here, but particularly with Katie Herzog’s. Wokeism is the itching of a scratch. If you want the itching to stop, don’t scratch yourself more!

    • Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      “… it is a reaction to the political swing to the extreme right in both the US and the UK, represented more lately by Trump and Johnson, …”

      This is another comment that fails to understand reality. Boris Johnson is not “extreme right” by any stretch of the imagination. He always has been centre-left of the Tory party, and thus centre-right overall (which makes him centre-left in US terms).

      It would be very hard to point to any policies of Johnson that are “extreme right”.

      (Brexit does not count, unless you also think that Norway and Switzerland are “extreme right” countries.)

      Now, I don’t think that Johnson is that good or competent a PM, but his instincts are moderate and centrist. (I mean, come on, he was twice elected Mayor of London by an electorate that had elected Red Ken.)

      • Max Blancke
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        “Boris Johnson is not “extreme right” by any stretch of the imagination.”

        That is a matter of perspective, which is part of the issue. From the perspective of the woke, almost everyone is an extreme-right fascist.
        And there are always people even further left to accuse even them of fascism.
        Even if you are farther left than they are, you might still find yourself denounced as such over some minor disagreement about dogma or personal slight.

        The big problem is that we are letting Bolshevik extremists decide who is or is not the far right. Then their pronouncements are repeated uncritically over and over until they become seen as truth.

        I keep encountering people who honestly believe that Trump is antisemitic. Openly so. Of course, they cannot recall or find particular actions or statements by him to back up that view, but everyone keeps saying it, so it must be true.

        Similarly, Boris Johnson is an impediment to the UK becoming a socialist utopia, so he must therefore be extreme right.

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted October 29, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

          Like Trump, Boris Johnson is a narcissist who is primarily interested in his own success (albeit to a less preposterous degree than Trump). He does not show evidence of holding strong political convictions (famously he wrote two diametrically opposed op-eds about Brexit one pro and the other anti before deciding to cast his lot with the Brexit campaign and publishing the pro version). He saw alliance with the more right wing members of his party as his route to the top and consequently has allowed these people to become dominant and to manoeuvre more moderate voices out of the party (or at least out of Parliament).

      • aljones909
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        As you say, Johnson may be incompetent but his instincts align pretty well with the policies of previous Labour governments. I suppose that makes him far-right to any present day Labour activists.

  7. Curtis
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    When Jefferson’s name was removed from my children’s school, I decided that I would not vote for any Democrats this election.

    I am planning to vote for Jo Jorgensen. There is one woke action, that I half expected, that would have made me vote for Trump but it has not occurred.

    • GBJames
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Well, that’s pretty illogical. But I guess you showed them!

      • Curtis
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        What is illogical about voting against people and a party who support (or at least tolerate) what I consider a very harmful practice? Oregon is going woke crazy and none of the Democrats statewide or in my district have opposed it. If they did, they would get my vote. Before gay marriage was legal, I voted against every Republican for the same reason.

        I will not support odious candidates like the QAnon wacko running for senate or Trump and I will not do anything to support odious wokeness.

        • Mark
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          There are more serious issues at stake than “odious (giggle) wokeness.”

          • Curtis
            Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            Have you looked at Portland lately? Perhaps wokeness is not the exactly proper word but Portland is becoming ungovernable. There are nightly protests which often turn into riots. The state and city are run by Democrats who are scared to speak against the mob. I do not want this spreading to my city when the university students return in numbers.

            I have lived in Oregon for most of the last 25 years and I am registered as a Democrat because they were the party of gay rights and other civil liberties but things have changed. I can have honest conversations with my conservative friends but I am very circumspect with progressives. I self censor some much that I have basically lost my freedom of speech.

            Education, wildfire and freedom are my hot topics in Oregon elections. The progressive are failing in all three. The Jefferson school was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

            • GBJames
              Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

              “Have you looked at Portland lately?”

              Have you looked at the United States lately?

            • Mark
              Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              “Perhaps wokeness is not the exactly proper word”

              Right! So don’t make this into a false equivalency. Looting and rioting isn’t wokeness.

              • Curtis
                Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

                I said “The state and city are run by Democrats who are scared to speak against the mob.” IMO, refusing to condemn and prevent rioting for fear of being canceled is part of wokeness.

                If you have better word, please let me know and I will use it.

              • Mark
                Posted October 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

                Explain what “fear of being canceled” is and how it “is part of wokeness.”

            • Posted October 28, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

              I also have lived in either Oregon or Washington for at least that long, and prior to that in California. You may be living near Corvallis or Eugene (or Portland?)I’m very familiar with those areas having lived near them all.

              I question the value of blaming all Democrats for conditions in Portland, or anywhere else in the state or the country. As you are no doubt well aware, the populous parts of Oregon skew Democrat whereas all the rest is largely Republican. Presumably, the full spectrum of political beliefs have the ability to express and live their beliefs with opportunity to change and make changes.

              I’m assuming you know the history of both Portland and Oregon in re equality for people of all colors. From the beginning of the state, blacks were not legally permitted to live there. Portland (and other Oregon cities) has excluded blacks to limited areas of cities. They have “redlined” as well to accomplish that. Even during WWII when people streamed to Portland, Oregon from all over the country to work in the shipyards, Blacks were restricted to where they were permitted to live in Vanport as well as Portland. When the war ended, Blacks living in Vanport had difficulties finding places they were permitted to live in Portland so a great many of them continued to live in Vanport. When the Vanport flood occurred later, Blacks were the ones predominantly flooded out.

            • Posted October 28, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

              To continue the diatribe:

              We must have been watching or reading different news media as we saw different
              actions in Portland. I saw protesters (after the murder of George Floyd) expressing the need for change in how Blacks are treated all over the country by police departments. I saw far right militia types come to further rile things up. Then, Trump sent in the even more militarized feds. Harmful weaponry was used against protestors, newspeople and medical support people by the police, militia and feds. I saw mothers, military veterans and others put their bodies out front to try to provide support and safety to protesters. I saw illegal activity used against protestors by the police and the feds.

              Violence increased after the Boogaloo Boys (or whichever militias) and the federales entered the scene.

              Portland police have been observed and tracked for a long time by civil agencies as desperately needing change. “Defunding” of police here, and elsewhere in the country, really means removing some of the funds (that militarize, protect and prevent legal actions against police), to be used instead, for social service issues police are called out on but are unprepared to handle.

              It does no good to blame one side against another without awareness of the complicity on both sides. We will all have to work together to solve this problem. Stop the inequities and deaths.

            • Posted October 29, 2020 at 1:33 am | Permalink

              Portland does seem to be pretty bananas – I listen to Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying’s podcast who have described it. Keep in mind Bret and Heather are pretty firm leftist: they’re appalled.

              HOWEVER… and this comes from New Jack City, “Hymietown”, the Big Apple, the Big One…. I don’t think Portland is very representative.
              I think it is an exception, a localized infection.

              D.A., NYC
              https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/10/photos-of-readers-93/

        • GBJames
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          Your “both sides” world view makes you politically impotent. You should be voting for the candidates who you are most likely to be able to sway to your view when issues arise. Instead you’re just making yourself feel better by refusing to get your hands dirty.

          • Curtis
            Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            I vote for the candidate who I think will do the best job if elected regardless of party. If that makes you consider me impotent, so be it. I think it makes me principled.

            If the Democrats (or Republicans) want my vote, they can earn it by nominating a good (or at least mediocre) candidate.

            • GBJames
              Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

              It isn’t me “considering” you politically impotent. You are politically impotent when you waste your vote as you describe. Someone is going to actually win the position and that person is who you will live with. If nobody with a realistic shot at the job is worthy of your consideration you’ve just thrown away what little influence you have. But I guess if it makes you feel good, that’s what counts. Eh?

              • Posted October 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

                If Trump wins the election, I will half blame you for it. I would blame you more if you voted for Trump but you would still bear some blame for voting for someone you know can’t win.

        • Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          Changing the name of school is harmful?

          Is it more harmful, do you think, than putting children in cages? Dismantling environmental protections? Denying climate change? Trying to extort politics famous from foreign heads of state? Undermining efforts to control a pandemic?

          I beg of you, please re-examine your priorities.

          • sugould
            Posted October 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

            +1

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          In a two party system, voting third party is not just throwing your vote away, it is supporting the party you like least. There is no way around that.
          Now if you cannot make up your mind what you like least: a moderate who tries not to alienate the odious woke too much, or the madman (QAnon wacko) in office now, I fear we do not see eye to eye there.

    • Keith
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      With any luck, your severed nose can at least be donated to a compatible foster face 😉

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      When Jefferson’s name was removed from my children’s school, I decided that I would not vote for any Democrats this election.

      Wow, Curtis. That sounds like a swell reason to vote out the local schoolboard. But petulance as a basis for selecting among candidates for national office seems a strategy ill-suited to serve the commonweal.

      • Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        The school board, not the president or any political party is what determined the name change.

        It’s appears to be an example of conflating a local problem to a national (unrelated) one.

      • Curtis
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Education, wildfire and freedom are my hot topics in Oregon elections. The progressives are failing in all three. The Jefferson school was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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

          That’s fine for elections to decide who runs Oregon, but this is an election to decide who runs the country. You can vote different ways at the local and National level. Don’t forget that Trump’s solution to forest fires was to rake the ground.

  8. Mark
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m sick and tired of hearing about “wokeness.”

    This election is about one thing, and one thing only – Trump and his enablers.

    I really don’t want Biden for POTUS, but he’s the only choice now.

    • EdwardM
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      ^this. A million times, this

      • Mark Jones
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        +1!

  9. revelator60
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I partially disagree with PCC—I think Biden’s election will to some degree reduce the Wokeness level.

    It’s true that Wokeness was a problem before Trump. Some would date 2015 as the year it went big, when many Americans decided to blame the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre instead of the murderers. To his great credit, President Obama was among the first prominent people to speak Wokeness, when he called out the growing fad for cancelling speakers at universities. But Wokism has certainly grown under Trump and is more powerful than it was in 2015.

    Why? Partly because Trump has increased polarization in this country. This encourages support for Wokeness, even among those uneasy about it, because Woke voices are among the most strident ones opposing Trump.

    Thankfully it is pretty much impossible for Biden to a more polarizing figure than Trump. His presidency promises to be a calmer, less ideological one. And when the level of national stress and hysteria is reduced the Woke will lose some appeal.

    Furthermore, part of the appeal of Wokism is its assertion that oppression is running rampant through our society. Trump’s presidency has been a boon for this notion—after all, the bad guys really are in charge now! But it will be harder to go into screaming fits about how fundamentally evil America is after Biden takes over. People are thirsting for a “normal,” “boring” presidency. And once again, a calmer nation is a less woke one.

    PCC is correct in saying the primary reasons to vote for Biden are not that he’ll reduce Wokeness. I think it will shrink under Biden but it won’t go away. That might not happen unless the US reverses the economic policies of the past 40+ years, which have created anxiety and restiveness among almost all classes and ideological groups.

    • Posted October 28, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for making those points so I don’t have to. Let me just add one: when prominent Democrats no longer need to coddle every last anti-Trump voter, they’ll no longer need to tolerate the Ctrl-left.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ve no doubt that to Ms. Pluckrose’s impressive assemblage of worthies we could add such other luminaries of the unwoke as Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan.

    • Posted October 29, 2020 at 1:38 am | Permalink

      HA! I thought that. Was Sam out to lunch or on vacation?
      It is soooo him!

      In primate societies the one who can assemble the best coalition is top of the hierarchy. I think our new Queen is named Helen.

      And a question: Does Pinkner ever sleep? DAMN that man is prodigious.

      D.A., NYC

  11. peepuk
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    If I hated woke people I would vote Trump just to see the woke faces if Trump wins. But I’m an egalitarian so I would vote Biden anyway (if I were an US-citizen).

    We also have in my county sometimes politicians with limited abilities, but you US-citizens have not much to choose from.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Maybe James Lindsay wants “just to see woke faces if Trump wins”. If so, he might be disappointed: the truly woke prefer to have Trump as their foil, but make basically the same noises regardless of who occupies the White House. In late 2016, the flamingly woke VP candidate of the Green Party wrote a piece explaining that the imminent fascism under Trump would be just an extension of Obama fascism. We thus look forward to the woke show continuing under Biden, independent of anything that happens in the real world.

  12. pablo
    Posted October 28, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Just want to plug Katie Herzog’s and Jesse Dongle’s podcast Blocked and Reported. It’s a lot of fun as well as informative.

    • pablo
      Posted October 28, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      LoL. Autocorrect changed Single to Dongle.

      • revelator60
        Posted October 28, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        I was about to say that “Jesse Dongle” sounds like a porn star!

        • merilee
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          And a male one at that…

        • merilee
          Posted October 28, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          And a male one at that…

  13. Posted October 28, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I could be wrong about this but, as a very old person who lived through times that I considered excessively restrictive of public expression of (especially political) belief, I think many people have just decided to now say whatever they think, whenever, wherever, regardless of nicety or truth. It’s important to be able to believe and express ones’ views openly. We supposedly still have the freedom to do that. We don’t have the freedom to restrict others’ beliefs or their expression of them. We have no right to enforce silence on the one hand or uniformity of belief on the other.

  14. kelskye
    Posted October 29, 2020 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Trump has been illiberal in so many ways over the last 4 years, and shows no tendency to embrace liberalism of any kind. Even the opposition to the illiberal wokeness is done out of a clash of beliefs with a rival illiberal view on sex and gender.

    I’m baffled at any liberal seeing Trump as upholding liberal values in this case. He’s not, and he’s not even pretending to.


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