On Wokeness, Anti-Wokeness and Intellectualism
Why we need to bring back sincere intellectuals
Welcome to TaraElla Report Post Woke, where we consciously aim to move beyond the woke vs anti-woke culture wars, and towards a post-woke model of culture and politics.
Today, I want to talk about why both the woke and anti-woke positions are insufficiently intellectual, and why a truly intellectual atmosphere is essential for a post-woke movement.
Let’s start with the woke position first. As we have previously established, wokeness is actually rooted in philosophy and theory that came out of academia. This is why, to some people, it has the veneer of being intellectual. However, since the woke theories are not products of unbiased discussion and debate, truly open-minded truth seeking, and a commitment to objectivity, I would have to say that they are not truly ‘intellectual’ in the traditional sense. Rather, I think they are more like activists’ wishes phrased in intellectual language. Indeed, one could argue that a worldview that fundamentally sees language, knowledge and discourse as products of power, and objectivity as nothing more than pretense, would actually be incompatible with being ‘intellectual’ in the traditional sense.
Given the intellectual deficiencies of wokeness, the anti-woke position could naturally have been built on a foundation of restoring the meaning of being an ‘intellectual’ in the traditional sense. And to some extent, the early anti-woke movement did go a bit in that direction. There was plenty of discussion about the values of the Enlightenment, why free speech is essential, and so on. But ultimately, the anti-woke movement came to be dominated by culture warriors, who had no patience for proper intellectual exploration and argumentation either. I believe this is why anti-woke intellectual projects like the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) ultimately ended up quite hollow and unattractive after a while. The same talking points are repeated again and again, and the discourse seems to not be very open to unexplored possibilities. To be honest, I think many IDW figures sound more like culture warriors than sincere intellectuals nowadays.
I believe an important part of moving beyond the woke vs anti-woke culture wars is to actually bring back sincere intellectualism. We need people who are dedicated to exploring the objective truth of the world, rather than just seeing the world as they wish, or worse, selectively picking and choosing facts to build a biased narrative to suit their political agenda. We need people who actually want to have open-minded discussions about the important issues, rather than just wanting their side to ‘win’ and their ‘enemies’ to lose. A sincere intellectual today should be able to easily tell that both the woke and anti-woke positions are unsound. Sadly, too many people can’t even see that right now.
She is also the author of the Moral Libertarian Horizon books, which argue that liberalism is still the most moral and effective value system for Western democracies in the 21st century.