46 episodes

Pursuing the light of objective truth in subjective darkness.

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Pursuing the light of objective truth in subjective darkness.

    The Virus of Critical Social Justice

    The Virus of Critical Social Justice

    The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 40

    It is not normally appropriate to liken one's ideological opponents to something like a virus, but what should we do when the people who hold that ideology liken themselves to viruses like HIV, Ebola, and SARS? This circumstance may seem strange and unlikely, but it is exactly what we encounter with Critical Social Justice. In 2016, two feminist scholars, Breanne Fahs and Michael Karger, both of Arizona State University, published a bizarre academic paper doing exactly that. They called this paper "Women's Studies as a Virus: Institutional Feminism, Affect, and the Projection of Danger" (https://www.hipatiapress.com/hpjournals/index.php/generos/article/view/1683), and in it, they (almost unbelievably) characterize viruses like those named above and also cancer as an ideal metaphor for what their ideology hopes to accomplish and how it should do it. This has to be seen (or heard) to be believed, so in this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay reads through the entire paper, offering his commentary as he goes. Join him to hear this unbelievable characterization of Critical Social Justice (that is, Woke) ideology in its own words.

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    • 2 hrs 1 min
    Why You Can Be Transgender But Not Transracial

    Why You Can Be Transgender But Not Transracial

    The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 39

    One of the more peculiar features of the Theory of Critical Social Justice for many people is why it is acceptable under Theory to be trangender but absolutely forbidden to be transracial. The short answer to this question, which is sometimes given (usually after someone steps on the landmine of thinking they can pull off a transracial argument or identity), is that Critical Race Theory and Queer Theory approach the issue of identity differently. This is correct on a superficial level but facile to the way that the overarching Critical Social Justice ideology thinks about power and its interaction with identity. Understood more deeply, both Theories are doing the same thing in different ways. In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay goes through all of this heavy Theoretical detail to explain why it is, from within Theory, that you can be transgender but not transracial. He then shifts to explain how and why these Theories likely developed the way that they did by investigating the proximate incentive structures that motivated their developments.

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    • 2 hrs 39 min
    A Summary of Neo-Marxism

    A Summary of Neo-Marxism

    The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 38

    At the heart of the "Woke" (Critical Social Justice) movement is the abuse of language, which is perpetrated in order to abuse power. Therefore, at the heart of the New Discourses project is a Critical Social Justice Encyclopedia, Translations from the Wokish (https://newdiscourses.com/translations-from-the-wokish/), that documents these abuses and helps to decode them so that everyday people won't be taken in by them. One of the projects taken up by James Lindsay and the New Discourses team with that Encyclopedia is to document the theoretical underpinnings of the Critical Social Justice ideology so that people can understand not just the words but also why they are given the particular distorted meanings they have.

    In line with that, and because it is the heart of the "Woke" (Critical Social Justice) movement is the concept of Neo-Marxism, which is the school of thought brought to the world by (communist) people like György Lukács, Antonio Gramsci (https://newdiscourses.com/2021/01/antonio-gramsci-cultural-marxism-wokeness-leninism/), Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse (https://newdiscourses.com/2021/01/how-not-to-resolve-the-paradox-of-tolerance/), and Angela Davis. It's almost impossible to understand the Woke ideology without understanding this precursor. In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, join James Lindsay as he reads through and adds nuance and detail to the relevant "neo-Marxism" entry (https://newdiscourses.com/tftw-neo-marxism/) in his Critical Social Justice Encyclopedia so that you can better understand where Wokeness comes from and how it thinks and operates.

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    • 1 hr 16 min
    Hegel, Wokeness, and the Dialectical Faith of Leftism

    Hegel, Wokeness, and the Dialectical Faith of Leftism

    The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 37

    Is Critical Race Theory Marxist, as many insist, or is it not? What is the relationship between Marxism, neo-Marxism (Critical Theory), and Wokeness? All three criticize one another, and yet all three have a great deal obviously in common. Is there some common underlying thread between these clearly similar yet obviously different worldviews? The answer is yes, and by tracing back to one of the most influential speculative idealist philosophers of the early 19th century, namely George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, we can gain a great deal of insight into how these decidedly leftist movements—the Marxist Old Left, the neo-Marxist New Left, and the intersectional Woke Left—share at least one deeper philosophical architecture in common. From Hegel, the Left since his time has, wittingly and not, adopted several of the pillars of Hegelian philosophy, these including his statism, historicism, and, much more importantly, his dialectical approach and metaphysical worldview. In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay takes a long, deep dive into the ways that Hegel's philosophy is at the root of the entire "Dialectical Left" since, naming the dialectic the "operating system" of all activist Leftism since the early 1800s.

    In this episode, Lindsay takes considerable time explaining Hegel's view of dialectical thought and then reveals in many examples, reaching up to the present day, how consistently the dialectic appears as the functional underpinning of Leftism ever since, at the latest, the 1830s. He makes the case that Leftism since Hegel thinks dialectically, moves dialectically, and applies dialectical thought not just to its targets but to everything, including itself and even its own dialectic. He then switches gears and explains how the dialectic is central to Hegel's underlying Hermetic (or alchemical) worldview and explains his mystical metaphysics so that this long arc of Leftist activism can be understood as evolving denominations within a single religious faith. With this theoretical groundwork laid, he then tackles how Hegel's historicism and statism arise as key features of his philosophy, with both of these characterizing activist Leftism up to the present day. Join him for his longest and most in-depth discussion yet, taking on how Hegel is a key progenitor of communism, liberationism, and ultimately Wokeness, how this philosophy must be understood so that it can be countered, and why it should be thought of in the same way that Hegel thought of it: as a religion in its own right, with its own notion of deity, metaphysical commitments, soteriology, and eschatology.

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    • 3 hrs 49 min
    Bourgeois Overproduction and the Problem of the Fake Elite

    Bourgeois Overproduction and the Problem of the Fake Elite

    The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 36

    Elite overproduction is a concept that was forwarded by the anthropologist Peter Turchin to attempt to explain some part of why we face growing social instability in today's society. This is an insightful concept that deserves serious consideration in our present circumstances. It is characterized by a society engaging in practices, like sending too many people to college or for advanced degrees, that create conditions for potential elites to end up underemployed and underaccomplished in the existing socioeconomic power structure of society, and it breeds resentment in this class of people. Indeed, it generates a bourgeoisie, which in turn generates social instability due to the overproliferation of their values and, eventually, ressentiment. In this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay walks through the idea of elite overproduction to focus in on the operant problem that it leads to, bourgeois overproduction, and posits that this problem is the seat of the Woke menace and many of the large-scale ills that have arisen in similar form over the past few centuries in prosperous societies. He also discusses the ways in which the Marxian characterization of the bourgeoisie was imprecise in a way that led to identifying something akin to this problem while misdiagnosing its true foundations (or his own role in it). Join him for a detailed discussion of this phenomenon.

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    • 1 hr 10 min
    How to End Vaccine Hesitancy

    How to End Vaccine Hesitancy

    The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 35

    Not gonna lie, the title of this episode of the New Discourses Podcast is a bit of a bait-and-switch, so I hope it doesn't put you off. The thing is, there is a principled reason to be hesitant on the Covid-19 vaccine, and, far from positioning people as "anti-vaxxers" for holding that position, it is perfectly reasonable and needs articulation. Put simply, it's this: people should have to be convinced, not coerced or forced, into accepting a vaccine into their bodies, especially under the conditions presented by Covid-19 and its vaccine. That is, the argument for getting vaccinated needs to be made, not merely assumed, and neither coercion nor force makes that argument. On the contrary, in fact, they diminish the ability to make the argument and thus increase vaccine hesitancy. Join James Lindsay in this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, in which he tries to articulate that principled argument for vaccine hesitancy and thus also the path away from it, should our institutional authorities want to achieve it.

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    • 1 hr 3 min

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