Steve Pinker talks with Helen Pluckrose for Counterweight

July 11, 2021 • 8:45 am

You all know Steve Pinker, and surely nearly all of you have heard of Helen Pluckrose, who not only participated in the “Grievance Studies Affair“, but coauthored with James Lindsay the book Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity and has now founded the humanist but anti-woke organization Counterweight.

Here Helen has an eight-minute interview with Steve Pinker. (Note that there’s a photo of Cape Cod in the background, where Steve and Rebecca repair to their second home.) It’s mostly about wokeness and how to combat it.


h/t: Paul

6 thoughts on “Steve Pinker talks with Helen Pluckrose for Counterweight

  1. ‘Competitive denunciation’—that absolutely nails it. Terrific interview!

    My guess is, the best remedy for this is lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit. Organizations such as FIRE and AFA are the people who are going to put the Woketariat out of business, if anyone can, by punishing them through lawfare. They’ve done that already in some high-profile cases and I’m looking forward to plenty more of the same.

      1. He’s analyzing a subcultural pattern of behavior, driven by certain incentives and leading to certain horrifically dysfunctional consequences, that tends to reinforce itself. He’s not reporting neighbors to the Stasi, which is what ‘denunciation’ means in societies built around networks of informers. You see no difference between the two activities?

  2. Pinker recognizes that societal forces exist that we don’t really understand, wherein people blame and accuse before they themselves are blamed and accused, and organizations get “sucked into this self-destructive vortex.” Examples he gave were the Chinese Cultural Revolution, European witch hunts, McCarthyism in the 50’s, Stalinism. He says that it has to be identified and resisted by arguments and countermeasures to fight back against bullying, intimidating, silencing, punishment.

    The trouble is this: how does one engage logically with nonsense? For example, there is this university professor:

    “It’s not correct that there is such a thing as biological sex. I’m an historian of medicine and I can unpack that at great length if you want…so that’s a very popular misconception…Cisnormative is basically the very popular idea and assumption that most people probably have, and definitely that our structures convey, that there is such a thing as male and female, that they connect to being a girl or a boy, or a man or a woman…sometimes also referred to as a gender binary…Cisnormativity is basically that everyone assumes that there is male and female and so very little is actually looked at to understand what’s actually the case…For over 50 years scientists have shown that that’s not true and yet our social systems haven’t been able to find a way to address the level of complexity that people actually experience.” See the first two minutes here:


    Or what is to be said when “whiteness” is said to be the scourge of our land and whiteness is identified with self-reliance, with objective, rational linear thinking, with the notion that hard work is the key to success, and that people should be polite, delay gratification and plan for the future. This was displayed on a poster at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which took it down in response to the publicity. They didn’t repudiate it or say that it was mistaken, but just that it didn’t contribute to a “productive conversation” about racial issues. As many sources show, this is the “whiteness” which is to be expunged from our country. But arguing against this by means of “objective, rational liner thinking” is to engage in “whiteness,” the very activity that has caused so much harm. How would an argument proceed?

    1. I used the link formulation recommended in DA Roolz:


      in order to avoid embedding the video directly but it still did so. I substituted the actual URL beginning with “https://” for “LinkText”. Is that not correct?

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