Andrew Sullivan is hopeful that Helen Pluckrose’s and James Lindsay’s new book, Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender and Identity, will help to expose the intellectual bankruptcy and ethical folly of so-called “critical theory” and its deformed off-spring “wokeness.” Here’s his conclusion:
The rhetorical trap of critical theory is that it has coopted the cause of inclusion and forced liberals onto the defensive. But liberals have nothing to be defensive about. What’s so encouraging about this book is that it has confidence in its own arguments, and is as dedicated to actual social justice, achieved through liberal means, as it is scornful of the postmodern ideologues who have coopted and corrupted otherwise noble causes.
This is very good news—even better to see it as the Number 1 Amazon best-seller in philosophy long before its publication date later in August. The intellectual fight back against wokeness has now begun in earnest. Let’s do this.
Historical data seems powerless to dent progressive nostalgia for the New Deal’s fictitious triumph of economic revival through job creation. And, now, this nostalgia has seeped into climate policy: Democrats advocate a Green New Deal, invoking the now-talismanic phrase first publicly spoken by Roosevelt 88 years ago when accepting his party’s presidential nomination.
Since 2017, however, most congressional Republicans have indulged an even older nostalgia. Channeling the ghost of President William McKinley, they have acquiesced in the current president’s protectionism. This policy of government picking economic winners and losers does not just pose a danger of becoming crony capitalism, it always and everywhere is crony capitalism.
“[T]he orders sanctioning TikTok and WeChat reek of capricious economic nationalism wrapped in a gossamer‐thin security rationale. They are comically hypocritical, dangerous to free expression, and a ruinous attack on the open global digital market the United States used to champion so vigorously.” – so concludes Julian Sanchez.