I have a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies, but I’m not woke anymore. I write under a pseudonym because, if my colleagues were to find out about my criticisms of this field, I would be unable to find any employment in academia. That someone who critiques the axioms of a field of study feels compelled to write under an assumed name tells you everything you need to know about the authoritarianism underpinning this ideology.
I no longer believe that the fundamental ideas of Women’s Studies, and of Critical Social Justice more generally, describe reality; they are at best partial explanations — hyperbolic ideology, not fact-based analysis. I have seen this ideology up close and seen how it consumes and even destroys people, while dehumanizing anyone who dissents.
I’m sad to say it, but I believe that Critical Social Justice ideology — if not beaten in the war of ideas — will destroy the liberal foundation of American society. By liberal I mean principles including, but not limited to, constitutional republican government, equality under the law, due process, a commitment to reason and science, individual liberty, and freedom — of speech, of the press, and of religion.
Because Critical Social Justice ideology is now the dominant paradigm in American academia, it has flowed into all other major societal institutions, the media, and even corporations. Far from being counter-cultural, Critical Social Justice ideology is now the cultural mainstream. A diverse spectrum of liberals, libertarians, conservatives, and all others who, to put it bluntly, want the American constitution to continue to serve as the basis for our society have to team up to prevent this ideology from destroying our country.
How critical theory wins:
I became “woke” around 2003, so I have nearly two decades of experience with Critical Social Justice ideology. … The twentieth-century Western civilization course was taught by a very personable and funny women’s studies professor. I don’t think it is widely understood that first-generation college students, in general, don’t know the politics behind who becomes university professors. I naively assumed that professors are among the smartest people in the country, and I had no idea that the professoriate is heavily slanted to the ideological left.
I now understand that Critical Social Justice professors are evangelists for their faith and the university is their mission field. Their goal is to take young students — inexperienced, eager to succeed — unmoor them from any faith tradition they might have, even if it’s just American civics, and replace that with Critical Social Justice ideology. And, for the most part, these professors succeed. They are, on the whole, likable people — energetic, personable, and caring. …
Where it fails:
After a couple of years with this ideology as my guiding framework, I grew exhausted by feeling constant anger. I became tired of focusing on all the injustices of the world, not on what I had to be grateful for. It was a miserable, resentment-based life, and I felt helpless to solve the world’s problems. …
Discriminatory up the kazoo. Merit can take a hike.
Around this time, I became extremely disturbed when, while serving on a committee that gave writing awards, I was attacked by other committee members for judging on merit, for not taking into account skin color or gender.
Yet I don’t think I fully understand the authoritarian aspects of woke ideology until after Trump won the 2016 election. In late 2016 and early 2017, I witnessed shocking behavior from my colleagues, who began attacking Republicans, white people, conservatives, and Christians as oppressors. They attacked free speech, saying that some people did not deserve a platform because they were engaging in “hate speech.” I argued that there isn’t a clear definition of what constitutes hate speech; and that the constitution protects all speech, save for incitement to imminent lawless action. For saying this, I was attacked as stupid, a bad person, a “right-winger.” Early in Trump’s administration, one of my colleagues said that political violence was justified as a response to his “evil” policies. While I’m no fan of Trump, I oppose violence—a basic principle I thought that all Americans shared. It was in this context that I became disillusioned with the ideology in which I had been immersed for years. …
The end of western civilization? Once the left owns an institution, it is forever corrupted because leftists will only hire other leftists.
I decided to seek out and try to understand other points of view, so I read books by authors to whom I had never been exposed, such as F.A. Hayek, Ronald Bork, Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Sowell, and others. I began to read and listen to conservative, classically liberal, and libertarian thinkers — people whose ideas I had never encountered in all my years of so-called “higher” education. I listened with an open mind, and I didn’t see any hatred from these thinkers. On the contrary, I discovered carefully reasoned, evidence-based arguments that had much greater explanatory abilities than anything I’d read in the Critical Social Justice literature. …
It is an obvious fact that all civilizations must pass on their values to the young; if they do not, or if the young are taught different values, then the civilization cannot sustain itself. It is a great shame that an essential site for the transmission of civilizational values—academia—was lost decades ago. ….
Suffice it to say that our universities are so infected with Critical Social Justice ideology that they are probably not salvageable at this point. …
There is so little viewpoint diversity in academia that students don’t even realize that what they are being taught is an ideology, not factual analysis. As Niall Ferguson accurately put it, “North American academia is in the grip of a hideous mania, a cross between the early-modern witch craze and Mao’s Cultural Revolution, in which implacable zealots conduct grotesque show trials, innocent individuals have their reputations, careers and sanity destroyed, and everyone else cowers, terrified that they will be next to be ‘canceled.’”
The American public university system — especially humanities and social sciences — is a cancer on society, as it is teaching students to hate their country and its core values …
It only takes 4% to wreck it for everyone:
Those who are attempting to preserve an existing system — in this case preserving the classical liberal principles of American society — have a natural disadvantage when they encounter people, even a small group, who seek, with fanatical devotion, to dismantle that system and replace it with another social order.
Nassim Taleb makes this point well in his observation about minority rule: “It suffices for an intransigent minority…to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences.”
Liberals are committed to Enlightenment values of reasoned debate, pursuit of truth, the scientific method, fact-based analysis, and treating people as individuals, not as groups. In contrast, the woke view these Enlightenment values as a white supremacist project; wokeness advances primarily through underhanded tactics: histrionic open letters that accuse ideological opponents as traumatizing and even threatening the very existence of people of color, cancel culture, flash mobs, protests that sometimes devolve into riots, and so forth.
Liberals, in short, are bringing the proverbial knife to a gun fight.
Truth might not prevail in this struggle. Perhaps power politics will win out.