When They Come for You — Some Helpful Tips
You know that Maoist struggle sessions are coming, and if you’re reading Evolution News sympathetically, you likely have a seat reserved for you, and it’ll be under a spotlight. You may not be interested in Critical Theory, but Critical Theory is interested in you. In universities and workplaces across the country folks are being asked to take a knee (at least figuratively) to the Frankfurt School and its heirs, and jobs and careers will depend on genuflection. Of course, you can grovel, but that might not work anyway (they feed more voraciously when they smell blood), or you can defy the totalitarians openly, thereby keeping your soul but probably not your job.
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, authors of the upcoming anti-wokeness book Cynical Theories, have an essay on the topic: “How to talk to your employers about anti-racism.” It’s a good essay, and their book promises to be a good book (I’ve pre-ordered it). They give a lot of advice, and they seem to have some legal savvy, although I don’t have the expertise to speak to that. Please read the essay — they offer a systematic approach to safeguarding your sanity, your dignity, and hopefully your job in these times, and they give a nice synopsis of (not nice) Critical Theory.
Tactics and Strategies
They advocate specific tactics and strategies designed to deny your interrogators traction and to insulate yourself as much as possible from cancellation…
…by making it clear that the Critical Social Justice framework is based on a very specific underlying ideology that firstly, their employer may not wish to tie to his or her business, and, secondly, that enforcing it on non-believers is a clear breach of freedom of belief (which might even be legally actionable). Therefore, we have developed a comprehensive letter template that people can pick and choose bits from and adapt to their own specific situation. The letter needs to address both principles and practicalities and whatever the situation, there are two main points it is important to establish.  That you are familiar with the main tenets of Critical Social Justice (CSJ). You are coming from a place of knowledge, not ignorance;  That you fully support racial, gender, and LGBT equality. You are coming from a place of egalitarian principles, not bigotry.
They go into a lot of detail, and overall, I think it’s good advice.
My own perspective is similar, but I won’t spend much energy proving that I am “coming from a place of egalitarian principles, not bigotry.” Where I’m “coming from” is my business, not that of some woke thug. As Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn observes, the fundamental goal of totalitarian coercion is to force you to censor yourself, and emphatic protestations using Critical Theory terminology to show that you are really on the same page as the Maoists — you just know how to do their ideology better than they do — is already a pretty serious level of capitulation. My resolve is this: I will not participate in lies. I will not repeat lies, and I will not remain in the presence of people telling lies. This approach has its risks, but it seriously undercuts totalitarian tactics without requiring an aggressive response on my part. I can go about my business, without playing a part in lies.
The Deeper Wisdom
One bit of advice Pluckrose and Lindsay give strikes me as a very good idea. They suggest:
You can… ask your employer if they really intend to compel you and many of their employees to pretend to believe things that you do not believe to be either true or ethical. It is probably better not to ask this directly and combatively but to raise them as requests for reassurance which you are confident your employer will provide. That said, slipping in the legally concerning phrases “compelled speech,” “hostile working environment,” and “list-making” might get their attention, as these will indicate potential legal exposure due to decisions being made in haste and without proper consideration of the ramifications.
I think the deeper wisdom in this — and it’s an approach I will use — is to raise implicit objections in the form of questions. “What do you know about Critical Theory?” “How does using a Marxist/Freudian analysis of society advance justice and well-being?” “Do you believe that explaining social dynamics as essentially power relationships really promotes peace and cooperation in our university/workplace?” “What are the consequences for students/faculty/employees who have different perspectives?” “Does ‘Diversity’ also mean diversity of opinion?”
Woke Thugs and Darwinist Thugs
This strategy could be effective in dealing with the Darwinian totalitarians we’ve encountered over the past several decades. Woke thugs, like Darwinist thugs, abhor having to explain themselves. As a tactic, asking questions of interrogators (rather than making assertions) forces them to commit to (or deny) the core tenets of their ideology, which is generally not pretty and not something they care to do, in detail. It also allows you to raise salient points to the interrogator and to the public without exposing yourself to cancellation due to your own assertions — you really haven’t asserted anything. You’re just asking, and you find it hard to understand why they have such trouble giving credible answers.
There is no doubt that this will heat things up, but for me it seems the most effective way to resist. We still have laws and a Constitution, and we’re not sending dissidents to gulags yet. Make the interrogators explain themselves, and document it if possible. It will make it clear to our interlocutors that we will not lie, but we want to know exactly what they mean, and we sure do have a lot of questions.