The First Step to Winning the Culture War
Woke ideology has made deep inroads into our culture and permeated nearly every institution. This is because people have been hoodwinked by words, as opposed to the wide-ranging adoption of far-left ideology.
Here are two examples regarding the word “Equity”:
1) In the last philosophy department meeting I attended at Portland State University, faculty members wanted to infuse the word “equity” in every aspect of the department, including its mission statement and webpage. During the meeting, I asked what my colleagues meant by “equity,” and nobody had a coherent response. One full time faculty member said, “‘fairness,’ it’s in the dictionary,” to which I responded, “Then why don’t we use the word “fairness?”
As an interesting aside, nobody—in a philosophy department—asked me, “What do you mean by that?” or “Please explain your objection.” Without discussion, institutionalizing the word “equity” was put to a vote, and I was the sole dissenter.
2) In Biden and Trump’s September 29, 2020 Presidential debate, Biden said:
“It’s about equity and equality. It’s about decency. It’s about the Constitution. And we have never walked away from trying to require, acquire equity for everyone, equality for the whole of America. But we’ve never accomplished it, but we’ve never walked away from it like he has done.”
Equity and equality are not the same things; in fact, they’re opposites. The former means equal outcomes and the latter equal opportunities. Yet the current President of the United States did not—and does not—understand the difference. Consequently, he’s instituting a suite of equity-based policies that favor outcomes over opportunities.
Words like “equity,” “diversity,” “inclusion,” “belonging,” and “safetyism,” sound great, but they don’t mean what people think they mean. Consequently, people from all walks of life are pushing ideological agendas based on nonstandard usage of terms (e.g., racism as prejudice plus power).
In other words, we’re implementing policies based on words that sound good but don’t do what most people think they’ll do because they don’t mean what most people think they mean.
The First Step Toward a Solution: A Common Vocabulary
To win the culture war, a top priority is to clarify the meanings of words woke people use. When a woke person says, “houseless,” exactly what do they mean? Here’s the translation of “houseless” into everyday, plain language: “The system is responsible for people not having houses.” Note how “houseless” is different from “homeless,” which is descriptive and does not assign blame. Once the meaning of key terms is clarified, it will be much more difficult to dupe people and institutionalize policies based upon positive-sounding words.
This Wednesday, I’ll be launching a new series, “Woke in Plain English.” (Earlier this year I released Responding to Social Justice: A Cheat Sheet for Policy Makers.)
I’ve created dozens of 60-second videos that live up to the title—they translate words woke people use into plain language. Only when we know the particular meaning of these words and how they are being used will we understand the consequences of policies based upon woke terminology.
The first video will come out Wednesday, October 13th, 2021, and new videos will be regularly released thereafter.
And that’s the first step to gain ground in the culture war.
Here’s how you can help: share the videos with people who are struggling to make sense of what’s happening in our society. Feel free to ask questions and share your experiences with woke terminology here or in any venue where you think you can make a difference.
Let those with eyes see that the forces that have set us apart would also set us against each other. Thank you Dr. Boghossian for your steadfast refusal to accentuate false differences and exaggerate those that are minor. The program to DIS-able America and make every person dependent on the State will fail. Never before has it been so clearly exposed.
Delighted to welcome your sane voice to Substack, Peter, and I am grateful for your efforts to expose doublethink, academese, and the enemies of reason over the years!
You are another admirable example of someone standing up to the illiberal ethos that has infected academic institutions—like Dr. Julie Ponesse, whom I cited as an example of courageous dissent in my last piece, Letter to a Colluder: Stop Enabling Tyranny (https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/letter-to-a-colluder-stop-enabling).
I look forward to your future contributions and am grateful to have you as an ally in the resistance to authoritarianism!