“Woke” is a Joke – How the Modern Left Rendered the Term Meaningless

March 20, 2023

“Woke” is yet another term/concept hijacked by Leftists in an attempt to associate itself inseparably with positive virtues via language modification. The benefit is in allowing them to avoid the actual practical arguments of our time by instead simply demonizing anyone that disagrees with their preferred ideological solutions to problems as unvirtuous by default. It is a nasty bit of sophistry and it has therefore come to be mocked by people that recognize its illogical foundations.

“Believe as I do, or you’re a bigot.” What a mature, logical sentiment.
Another example of assuming the truth of one’s preconceived conclusion in the premise. Also, if we were to adopt that line of reasoning, the same could simply be said about her and her apparent support for “wokeism.” But we should not do that because it bypasses the relevant argument.

Every Lefty site on the internet is regurgitating the exact same talking point trying to frame the term and association as, “We have empathy, they do not.” In reality, disagreement does not necessarily mean the other side is evil. This is a conversation killer and a society divider. How can people work together when half the population believes the other half lacks empathy by default? No one “side” has a monopoly on empathy and basic virtue. When the Left manipulated the term “woke” to have this meaning, they effectively killed it, making it instead a euphemism for themselves and thus opening it up to valid criticism as they well deserve.

The problem with the term has been well documented. This sort of response is a bit of projection on the Left’s part, as they never have much of a response to the criticism themselves.

So the next time someone calls themselves “woke,” ask them if they mean to say they recognize the general societal problems, and proposed solutions to those problems, identified by the ideological Left, especially regarding matters of “social justice.” I suspect they will answer in the affirmative one way or another most of the time. Whatever the case, by doing this you bypass the attempt to demonize and bring the debate into the realm of ideas where it belongs. Agreement at this point is certainly not necessary, but at least it sets up a situation where each side can argue from good intentions rather than a defensive position against supposed evil.

7 responses to ““Woke” is a Joke – How the Modern Left Rendered the Term Meaningless”

    • It is an attempt to bypass the arguments and claim empathy as exclusive to one ideological perspective. By implication anyone not adhering to that ideology is seen as lacking empathy, or wicked by default. Of course they often simply come out and directly call people much worse – Fascist, Nazi, Racist, etc. It all goes hand in hand but what is always missing is an honest discussion on whatever issue is being observed.


      • You’re right about the origin of wokeness. It was popularized by Black Lives Matter activists. I still use it in it’s original meaning. It’s a word connected with the Black intellectual tradition: Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. They are fundamental observations of power. The moral roots of these theories is equality. Anyone who follows Ayn Rand or any similar egoist philosophy, if they are honest will say they do not care about everyone. They want to protect the rights they care about, property and freedom from government interference.

        Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality recognize historic injustices impact the present. These theories do not threaten to make whites an underclass. Intersectionality recognizes that poor white people are victims of capitalist exploitation. The concept that they have an advantage offends white people who believe that they have earned everything that they have. They use this as an excuse to say that Black people are disenfranchised because of lack of effort rather than a system designed against them. The modern racism is colorblind racism. Refusing to agknowledge/dismantle privilege is either a self delusion of false equality or a support of it. Equality is the most basic foundation of morality. Supporting unequal systems violates the principle of equality. So, yes. It is accurate that people who are opposed to wokeness are unempathetic. If you think anything I said is wrong, either find a way to justify people who do not value equality as empathetic or argue that we live in a society free of any inequality.

        I’ll leave you with this: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice;”
        -Martin Luther King Jr.




      • I disagree the moral roots of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality is “equality” in any objective meaningful sense.

        Not sure why you brought up Ayn Rand specifically. Opposition to “wokeness” as am expression of Leftism surely extends far beyond anything they believe specifically.

        In your second paragraph, you state “equality is the most basic foundation of morality.” But the assumptions you are making and CRT/intersectionality specifically contradict all of this. Our system is based on the notion of equality of all rational beings. We do seek to make a system that respects the equality and rights of all. But we do not do this by creating a practical means that intentionally violates such principles and the rights of some in a hope to achieve some selfish end. It is wrong in itself and presents an inherent contradiction.

        You are concluding that people that are opposed to “wokeness” lack empathy because you are assuming the truth of your conclusion in your premises. Empathy is a basic feeling, a virtue that precludes practical matters. You cannot conclude that everyone opposed to your practical solution lacks empathy any more than I can conclude you lack empathy for not supporting mine.

        You present me a false choice at the end. I reject your reasoning regarding equality and your practical solutions in an attempt to achieve it. I could go on for a long time about the true objectively-derived roots of the equality of rational beings concept, but I’ll just say you must start from first principles. CRT type people start from their subjective desires and reason backwards to justify it. Totally wrong. And that is hardly a way to define one’s possession of empathy and it if definitely not a way to rule out anyone else’s possession of it. As for a society free of inequality, of course we don’t have that. Nobody would argue that. But we cannot let perfection be the enemy of the good. We are on a journey towards a more moral society, we get there by abiding by just principles and making progress over time, not by getting distracted by theories that contradict moral imperatives and seek to gain mistsken short term goals at the expense of long term stability and progress.

        The MLK jr quote is not reflective of what I am saying. Justice is not merely the absence of conflict. But justice is also not movement in any direction based on perceived good intentions. I advocate for practical solutions based on objectively valid moral imperatives. We have gotten much further in our advancement as moral beings doing this than we have by following misguided hotheads. I actually have a recent article about MLK regarding people using and misusing his legacy for current gain. Check it out.


  1. Ok. You reject the premise that Intersectionality and Critical Race Theory are based in equality. You believe the goal of those theories is toward a selfish end. You suggest that I am using some motivated reasoning. Your solution is a continuation of the problem. You view justice as a violation of freedom. This is a contradiction because the injustice itself is a violation of freedom. Remedial measures need to be taken to restore justice. We wouldn’t let a murderer keep his freedom because they took someone else’s freedom away. Justice doesn’t necessarily mean retribution but it does mean taking privilege away from those who got it by violating other people’s freedom. Society is less free when injustice is not corrected. So am I ok with taking away people’s money that they got through exploitation, yes. When one person’s freedom interferes with another person’s freedom we are justified in taking away some freedom. So, yes it might seem like these theories take away freedom but they produce more free societies. If you think I am misunderstanding something, please explain how just principles lead to justice without taking away freedom.


    • “You view justice as a violation of freedom.” No. I view certain proposed solutions (in this case Leftist solutions and identity politics type solutions) as unjust coercion contrary to the rights of others. I also view them as impractical towards the goal of achieving both prosperity and justice while also threatening stability and long-term political union. I do not see those types of “solutions” as universalizable. I see them as divisive, immoral “for the greater good” ideas that do not treat people as an ends in themselves, but rather a means to an end. That is not justice, it is wrong in itself. We cannot achieve justice by being unjust in our actions. We achieve justice in these general matters by fixing the contradictions and rights-violating policies, and bringing more people into the mutual moral community and under the protection of valid law. Is it always perfect or instantaneous? No. But it is the only way it works without immoral action that is unjust in itself.

      A murderer has willfully violated the fundamental right to life of another. We therefore punish the murderer and make laws against murder in an attempt to bolster and protect the rights of others from infringement. But this presupposes an objective assessment of fundamental rights, a specific behavior that willfully violates said rights, and the practical solution to attempt to reestablish justice for violation. We would not be doing that if we commit to many of these Leftist ideas. We would be working backwards from the subjective goals (ends), assigning blame to specifified groups based on perceived victimization of others, and creating “rights” that necessitate coercive action by man-made authority to enforce. None of this requires any actual violation or willful action. Such a system cannot hold up for long.

      When you say “When one person’s freedom interferes with another person’s freedom we are justified in taking away some freedom” you are reiterating the basis for natural law, which is close to my position. But you are mistaken in the ultimate determination of what is appropriate exercise of freedom and how it may impact others. We cannot simply allow this to be determined by some biased subjective judge or a majority or mob rule. It must start from an objective logical source and be revealed through reason. Just principles that apply to all the rational beings in our mutual moral community then follow. It is the basis of fundamental inalienable rights. We do not “take away freedom” unless the behavior of a specific member of the mutual moral community willfully and directly acts in a manner that infringes upon the fundamental rights (or their derivatives) of another or acts in a manner that contradicts the mutual moral community or the rules that uphold it in itself. Justice is maintaining this mutual moral community and its stability. We often can determine what is unjust by attempting to universalize the maxim of acts to see if it creates inherent contradictions and/or treats people in a way that violates their rights to achieve selfish ends. Not all coercion is unjust, as we already determined, we use coercion to limit the freedom of everyone to wilfully act to violate the right to life of another. It is a logical necessity and the same right to life applies to all.


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