Oxford Union debates whether wokeness has gone too far (videos)

January 14, 2023 • 12:20 pm

Last November 18 the Oxford Union debated the proposition, “This House Believes Woke Culture Has Gone Too Far.” The page with all the YouTube videos—eight of them—is here, and I’ll put them below because I run an accommodating website.

The Union has a page summarizing the debate, and gives the result:

. . . the Union voted last night 89-60 in favour of the motion “This House believes woke culture has gone too far.”

On his website, James Lindsay, who was put on the side arguing that woke culture has NOT gone too far, gives his account of the debate and says this:

I don’t intend to give a blow-by-blow summary of the debate. I encourage people to watch my part and the others for that (four speakers argued for ten minutes each, alternating sides). Instead, I want to summarize my argument and what I was doing with it and draw out a couple of important other points. My argument was simple: taken on its own terms, “Woke culture” has not gone too far because it cannot go too far.

Here you go, all eight presentations in order. Why couldn’t they just post a single video?

h/t:  Enrico

14 thoughts on “Oxford Union debates whether wokeness has gone too far (videos)

  1. For those of us who live well apart from academe, the Oxford Union is a gem. Thank you for the conection to this debate and by extension to Cambridge Union debate on right to offend.

  2. Will try and watch later.

    Toby Young’s father is often credited with creating the word “meritocracy” (he meant it as a negative term).

    Benjamin Butterworth is perhaps best known for the “Buttergasp” meme, which originated with his reaction to the suggestion that people aren’t “born in the wrong body”: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4TvaOI5DAYQ

  3. Reminds me of an old History Orals question: Some people feel that Marx and Freud went too far. How far would you go?

    1. If anyone thinks Freud went too far, it’s almost certainly because of their arrested development in the anal psychosocial stage, or at least unexplored Oedipal or Electra complex.

      Or possibly it’s because Freud not only went too far, he went in the wrong direction. 🙂

    2. Some people feel that Marx and Freud went too far.

      Margaret Dumont’s recurring character felt that Groucho, Chico, and Harpo went too far.

  4. Among the talks I watched, I thought the best by far was by Konstantin Kisin. Looking him up, I find that he comes from the galaxy that experienced the Lysenkovshchina, that
    cultural ancestor of DEI, and has relatives in Ukraine. No wonder he understands what the spread of wokery in the west portends. Incidentally, Theodosius Dobzhansky grew up in the Ukraine, and was a graduate of the University of Kiev.

  5. Thank you for your hard work. With regard to your question re why many rather than one video. There’s a better chance of people watching at least some of the debate.as many of us are busy and also the current generations attention span is limited at times.

    1. Agree … end up watching four in the end. Would not have watched any otherwise.

      Incidentally … if the speaker is on the left as you watch, they are speaking for the motion.

  6. It should be mentioned that James Lindsay was assigned to the Pro-Woke side by mistake, but embraced the opportunity. The man is a very gifted troll, plus he has the patience to wade through endless layers of malicious bullshit to identify and explain the roots of woke ideology.

  7. It looks like their organizational strategy is to post individual videos of speakers and then offer those sequences as playlists, though it doesn’t appear they’ve done a playlist for this debate yet.

  8. To be frank, it was a pretty one-sided debate. Those opposing the motion didn’t really seem to understand what was being suggested, and it was extremely well explained by Toby Young in separating the objectives of the Woke (which can be admirable) from the methods (which are Putinesque). Frankly, anyone who listened to his speech and Konstantin Kisin’s and particularly if they understood Kisin’s experience, would have struggled to oppose the motion based on the fact that the responses were weak. But that is not really a criticism of the motion’s opponents per se; it was more a consequence of there not really being a competent argument that retains the values of the Enlightenment and Western civilisation.

    By the way, who was the idiotic Irish woman ranting on about the British Empire operating today in Northern Ireland? She was dealt with comfortably by Toby Young who resorted to that so un-woke approach of stating facts.

    And on the issues of climate change and the need to focus on technological advances, as I have been saying for more than _20_ years, that’s where we need to move the position forward, and the arguments of the Greta Thunbergs look increasingly idiotic. Some of us have accepted climate change for many years, we don’t need to be told about it. What we don’t want is Sgt Jones (‘Don’t panic) and Private Fraser (“We’re doomed”) but we need Blackadder (“I’ve got a cunning plan”).

    1. I feel sorry for anyone that buys into the scam of man made global warming. Just as millions of people are seeing how the government has lied about the vaccines they have lied about many other things. Why was no debate allowed about vaccines? Why was no debate allowed for warming? Because there are massive problems that will not stand the light of day.

      1. Oh, an ignorant denialist has shown up! No debate allowed about global warming or vaccines? I’ve seen plenty of debate. Mr. Griffin, you are an ignorant fool and, given your failure to acknowledge good data, I am kicking you off this site.

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