Counterweight: A new liberal but anti-Woke site

January 25, 2021 • 10:15 am

Helen Pluckrose and her associates have just started a new site that will appeal to many here, especially those who may get in trouble for criticizing the Woke.  It’s called “Counterweight“, and its motto is “Weighing in for liberalism.” I suppose its name comes from the fact that it counters the narrative of Wokeness and Critical Theory (remember, Pluckrose was one of the two authors of Cynical Theories, a must-read book), and because it remains a liberal site, dedicated to civility and humane values—but not to the tenets of Critical Theory! Their methods of combat appear to include Politeness but Firmness.

Click on screenshot to go to the site:

Counterweight exists for two reasons. First, to help those who are in trouble with the Offense Culture, who are getting canceled, and who need advice, assistance, lawyers and other professionals, and so on. In addition, they’re putting out material to counteract “Authoritarian Critical Social Justice” (the theory that I refer to as “Wokeness”).  They have pretty impressive resources already.

Here’s their mission statement:

The leadership team is here, the academic affiliates are here (I’m one of them, and honored to join the impressive crew, which includes Steve Pinker, Sam Harris, Sarah Haider (btw, Haider just started a subscription Substack site, some of whose content is free), Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Alan Sokal, and others), and there are nine partner organizations, including Letters, Areo Magazine, the Free Speech Union, and Critical Discourses.

Further, there’s a YouTube channel, which already has six videos, including this introductory one:

Finally, you can follow Counterweight on Twitter and Facebook.

Helen is extremely dedicated—an anti-Woke force of nature—and I have high hope for the organization. At least start following them on social media, and be aware that the organization exists.

21 thoughts on “Counterweight: A new liberal but anti-Woke site

  1. Thank you Dr. Coyne. Seems like a perfect place for me. Am following them on Facebook and YouTube and hope I can help them as a retired lawyer.

  2. An excellent idea. However, hopefully Pluckrose’s co-author James Lindsay won’t be involved in the site, since he can no longer pretend to be anything other than what he is: a far-right Trump-voter whose credibility is rapidly approaching zero. (Check his recent Twitter feed for ample proof of his descent, about which Pluckrose has expressed dismay…)

    1. Wow. This is the kind of thinking Counterweight is intended to fight. Even if you’re correct that Lindsay is a supporter of Trump, why does that mean his opinions on CRT have no credibility?

    2. Both Helen and James are fighting back against critical theories on two different fronts. I heard/ read both of their reasons for voting for Biden vs Trump, and I agreed with Lindsay.

      I’ve become very concerned with the growing extremism on the right, especially among those that have taken very strong anti feminist views, as well as have expressed “white racial preservation” sentiments. It has some pretty strong earmarks of being the reversal, or bad interpretation, of critical theories surrounding race and sex.

      Traditional liberals have had to contend with the more progressive left for years. I think something similar can be seen with conservatives vs some of the more extreme right individuals. I can’t quite categorize them as “alt right”, however. They are definitely pro America and traditional thinking to a fault, but their beliefs are broader than that. Alt Right exists, but in comparison to the MAGA/ patriotic/ “new conservatism”, I’d say it only makes up a tiny fraction. (Much like how Antifa would be a poor assessment of all progressives)

      I lean right, I voted for Trump. I have friends and family who lean left, and voted for Biden. I don’t think Lindsay, or other individuals who voted Trump and expressed positive view points on Trump, are “alt right”, or Q. I don’t think my friends and family, who have expressed a few more progressive beliefs, or other liberals, are the same as “Antifa”.

      We currently don’t have liberals vs conservatives. We have liberals vs WOKE vs conservatives vs MAGA. Then, further broken down, there’s the WOKE vs MAGA vs violent activists/ protesters within each group.

      This makes things considerably more complicated, and I, for one, am interested in any insight as well as nuanced views to this, regardless of political affiliation.

    3. Far right” and “trump voter” arent synonyms. Pluckrose is not non partisan. Nor is heteridox academy or Fire. If they can’t)won’t help Sarah Baraash they are no use to anyone.

    4. JL insults people who have insulted him or his intelligence, and he’s VERY up-front about it, openly admitting, almost bragging, that when he’s on Twitter he plays rough with attackers. Woe betide those careless critics of his who are unprepared for push back and blow back; they get nothing they don’t ask for and fully deserve. I also sympathize with his reason for voting for Trump because Biden and the DNC make it easy.

      Do you dislike @GadSaad for the same reason? Dr. Saad is just as harsh with his unreasoning critics – if not even more harsh.

      1. Helen was his firend and she threw.him under the bus. He didn’t abandon her, or any classical liberal principle; she abandoned him.

  3. One of the best things to come out of 2021 so far. Congrats on making it to the academic affiliate team, Dr. Coyne!

  4. My only difference of opinion is that this is portrayed as Classical Liberalism against “Critical Theory”, or more generally, of the center left against the far left. The particular variants of “Critical Theory” are not the only representatives of the left, as opposed to the center left. I agree with many of the criticisms they are leveling against “wokeness” (for lack of a better word) but I don’t necessarily agree that Liberalism is the answer, or at least not the only answer. And actually, the roots of much of what is today called “Critical Theory” is not on the left at all, but on the right. I think it was Walter Benjamin who called it “right wing epistemology with left wing values”. Anthony Giddens, whom some might also classify as a Critical Theorist, or at leas as a kind of Critical Theorist was an early critic of Foucault for what he viewed as Foucault’s exaggerations and essentially conservative tendencies. The difference for Giddens was in basing “leftism” or whatever you want to call it on Marx (the old left) or Nietszche (the post-modern left). I think this aspect of the debate should be acknowledged. I’m not wiling to let the post-modern left have a monopoly on the term.

    1. I get the *strong* impression that CG is one of a very large number of extra-lightweights for whom trolling people of vastly greater stature is pretty much their only shot at getting the kind of attention that they appear to need. The ‘Dr’ in her byline and the assurance that she’s an ‘Orwell understander’ kind of give the game away. Something very pathetic about people who operate like that…

    2. I don’t care about fleas like this. I see she called me out for advertising Counterweight without saying I was one of their academic advisors; a supposed conflict of interest. But I said that very clearly in the post. Whoever she is, she can’t read a post before she goes after it. Just a flea who sucks a little blood and converts it into hate.

      1. Thanks, Ceiling Cat. She is a mosquito. But she also appears to be obsessed with Pinker and has tweeted that she has tried to leave comments here on Weit, but that they didn’t get past your review.

        She routinely harasses McWhorter and anyone she thinks supports Pinker. Pinker appears to have blocked her, and she has whipped up outrage claiming blocks are ‘bullying’. In reality, she appears to actually bully the person she thinks is responsible for the blocks.

        She will likely try leaving more derogatory comments against you or Pinker in the future here on Weit. I don’t know whether or not she’ll use an alias. But she spent her time yesterday mocking you and is very likely to try to attack you for anything you post that supports Pinker. She is highly snarky. Wrote yesterday that the comments she tried leaving on Weit were ‘gentle’. She claims you block for ideas.

        Of course, it is all attention seeking and sadistic.

        I’m only telling you because her behavior is persistent on Twitter: she’ll likely keep trying to plant crap on Weit. I know you deal with a lot of this kind of thing. So for whatever this intel is worth.

  5. Congratulations and well done, sir. You’re in the best company – the board reads like my fantasy dinner party invite list. I’ll ask them if they need a hacked out retired attorney like me! “Lionel Hutz reporting for duty, Helen. Doctor Nick will be along shortly.”

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