The Origins of Woke as an Explanation, and a Roadmap
Best of luck with the new book! I look forward to reading it. Particularly if it contains concrete solutions. I also have distain for left-wing lies about race and sex and what they’ve done to society.
The left and Biden admin have done a good job hiding their ultimate goal by manipulating language. For example, the word 'equity'. Most people don't realize or care that woke/DEI/ESG is a war against straight (Christian) white men. If you think this is conspiratorial, look at the definition of 'marginalized communities'. It's everyone except heterosexual white men. The sad thing is that it may be too late to turn the ship around. At least in our lifetime. I'm hopeful you can make a difference. Thank you!
I appreciate the effort to outline the relatively simple things legislators and administrators can do to change the regs & laws. This gets neglected too often. People tend to curse the system rather than roll up their sleeves and getting at doing the work to change things.
I pre-ordered and am excited to read it. Re: ideas:
“I take issue with those who put too much stress on the world of ideas — laws and regulations were created by legislators, judges, and bureaucrats, and they set off changes in the ways institutions were regulated by government, which included more internal self-regulation.”
You make it sound like civil rights law are akin to path dependency (e.g. the QWERTY keyboard). No doubt some bureaucrats engage in self-justifying behavior but the fact that the civil rights bureaucracy exists in the first place is partially traceable to pre-woke ideas (Boas, et al.) that began to overturn the Darwinian paradigm over 100 years ago and accelerated under the New Left.
Congratulations on the book. I preordered it about 6 weeks ago so looking forward to reading it soon.
I probably think there’s a straighter line between philosophers’ ideas and wokeness than you do, mainly because the “aggressive activists” you mentioned were usually radical Marxists steeped in ideas, and if normie libs felt it was necessary to placate them, then they had at least some power.
But your overall point of unintended consequences and seemingly benign regulations bringing us here is a good one. And you’re moving the ball significantly down the field in criticizing civil rights law, which normie conservatives have been afraid of doing since the 1960s, so your courage is appreciated. As much as I like Rufo, it’s easier to criticize academics from 50+ years ago than civil rights, which as a term still retains positive connotations.
It’s important to hammer away at it and expose some of its myths so I hope your book goes a long way.
I feel like I'd have a hard time being convinced of this thesis but you've convinced me that there's a chance you could convince me of it.
I ordered your book because of the coordinated hit job on your career/personality by the left and Michael Lind. I hate when people attack people instead of their ideas. You are one hell of a jerk at times but at least you are intellectually honest and argue your positions without caring if they are "socially correct." I vehemently disagree with you many times but you are a fresh voice and a courageous one.
Your book "...takes a different approach" Here's another different approach:
Almost all the people who have become influential in reshaping our Western culture over the last 50 years have been through a leftist academia sheep-dip. And most people - intellectually-speaking - are sheep. Tertiary education - tragically - tends to make them more so despite our dream of education as a liberating thing.
On a tangent: your book is probably a great read. But my way to stay sane is to eschew book-length non-fiction in favour of really good novels (which, somewhat surprisingly, are still plentiful).
This is bound to be an interesting book, whether or not the author hits the bulls-eye 100% of the time. At a bare minimum, it will greatly enhance the discussion about the origins of 'wokeness': right now, we're at a primitive level of discussion, blaming it all on a conspiracy of globalists who evidently want to destroy their own labor force, or on this or that obscure long-dead Marxoid social theorist.
I've pre-ordered the book, and, from reading Richard's column here, have enough confidence that it will make for some good arguments to have started urging 35K 'followers' on Twitter to get it (but, as we know, "liberals read, conservatives watch TV"), and will 'storm the plan' next week on a few dozen online forums with the same message.
Yes, the title will limit the audience, and we can expect a MASSIVE smear campaign against it, but it's exactly those people who are already anti-woke that need to be reached first. You don't get 'woke' by rational arguments and you won't become 'unwoke' by rational arguments (for the most part).
My worry: politics -- as opposed to writing startling columns that challenge some of our unexamined assumptions -- involves compromises, patience, doing things in stages, making alliances: things many conservatives associate with being a 'RINO'.
But we need to master these arts of political action. Maybe Richard's next book -- although it would clearly run against his emotional grain -- will be the conservatives' equivalent of Lenin's 'LEFT-WING' COMMUNISM, AN INFANTILE DISORDER, written a few years after the Revolution to teach his followers how to politically maneuver and act with their cerebral cortexes, not their amygdalas.
Enormous congratulations are in order. If it is forgivable to minorly derail such a thread, I'd like to note that Jesse Merriam's account of the "canonization" of Brown vs Board of Education is very much related, and surely complementary to Mr. Hanania's important book:
The tough thing for me (a leftist) is dealing with my frustration that so many people in my (now former) tribe absolutely don’t accept concepts like critical thinking, civil discourse, understanding how tribalism erodes your ability to accept truth/reality, etc.
What ultimately released me from a grudging detente with them is the realization that many on my side believe that even talking about hypothetical accountability and oversight of their policies, words, and actions is racist/misogynist etc.
I was once told by a guy who could no longer dismiss my point about something, after I patiently reiterated how small our disagreement really was, and how he’d misunderstood what I had said, over and over, that I “could have found a better thing to spend my time on than disagreeing with a POC”
In other words, just disagreeing with him when he was wrong made me an asshole.
We never accepted that bullshit from the right, and we shouldn’t accept it from our own side.
"We can understand the motivations of the people behind mandate x; they were usually normie liberals rather than Marxist radicals, often just trying to please some aggressive activists."
So close, but yet so far. The single most important question in politics, is why do normie liberals *consistently* implement the demands of aggressive far left activists. Any plausible answer to this questions will lead to realise that the next President can abolish Woke by 'eliminating the mandate to do x is pretty straightforward, and he can also throw out y and z while he’s at it, without much of a political cost' is totally delusional.
Most ‘woke’ institutions seem to go well above and beyond what would be useful to avert the hammer of civil rights law, and the intensity and frequency of wokeness, as we’ve seen in the last few years, waxes and wanes dramatically even over short time periods when the law remains unchanged, so the more or less monocausal explanation you present seems like a reach. You often seem to disdain social scientists pretense of doing quantitative (‘real scientific’ research) but do you actually try to show, analytically, that being more woke reduces a company or nonprofit’s probability of being hit with a civil rights law suit? There are certain logistic regressions like this that need to be done for this thesis to rise above being a just-so story.
The way all this happened reminds me of how Orthodox Jews have strange codes about what yiy can and can't do in the sabbath. It isn't like they necessarily believe you can't take an elevator or some other silly think in the sabbath - they just aren't sure so they err on the side of caution. There were real attempts in the South to dodge reasonable civil right law with bullshit substitute metrics designed to defacto discriminate but then the effort to address this took on a life and logic far beyond the narrow obvious instances and then institutions engage in simple error management theory along with some ideological concept creep to get out of hand.
“We can understand the motivations of the people behind mandate x; they were usually normie liberals rather than Marxist radicals, often just trying to please some aggressive activists.”
Why do “liberals” bother pleasing these activists? Perhaps because there is significant ethnic overlap between the radicals and liberals in terms of co-ethnics who obsess over the status of minorities.
Hey Richard, I'm not on Twitter, so I'm dropping this here. You tweeted this: https://twitter.com/RichardHanania/status/1708913886576136432 about dictatorships misreporting GDP. However, it looks like you inadvertently misrepresented the source slightly. It (or at least the part that isn't paywalled) doesn't say that "Per capita GDP in dictatorships might be *half* of official numbers," but rather that "GDP *growth*" might be half of official numbers.
Incidentally, your Ukraine trolling made it onto the front page of reddit, and none of the comments seemed to recognize that it was satire: https://www.reddit.com/r/WhitePeopleTwitter/comments/16xu0nr/tell_me_you_got_no_brain/.
The post was subsequently deleted for some reason.
Your case for reading one book is absurd. No one should just read one particular book. People should read as widely as time allows. People should acquaint themselves with other books that have been written on the same subject, and books that disagree with one's pre-conceptions.
“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.” ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Specifically with reference to your book, I'd like to know how yours differs from Christopher Caldwell's The Age of Entitlement, James Burnham's The Managerial Elite, and Dwight Waldo's The Administrative State. Since I don't have all the time in the world and also, I'm stupid, I'd appreciate someone smarter to digest this in a good review.
Anyone who makes a case for reading only one book is not a thinker, he is a salesman, and I'm suspicious of him.