Menu

Wokeness threatens the rule of law

James Lindsay

October 1, 2020

Listen to Top 5 on Spotify or Apple, or watch on YouTube.

Hosts

No items found.

Here are two important ideas that currently exist in fundamental opposition to one another: “Reasonableness” and “Wokeness.”

In advanced legal systems, we depend upon the concept of “reasonableness” and specifically a standard known as the “reasonable-person standard.” This simply asks: what would be reasonable in, or what would a reasonable person make of, a given situation?

On the other hand, the “applied postmodern” ideologies that we refer to as “Wokeness” or “Critical Social Justice Theory” posit a concept of radical subjectivism and socialization into power-laden biases. In this worldview, there is no such thing as a “reasonable person,” and nothing can be considered “reasonable,” because the very application of “reason” is a mere application of whatever is accepted by the dominant power structure at hand. No one is reasonable because everyone is biased; there are only people who speak into dominant discourses or who resist them.

These ideas are wholly incompatible with one another. It is not possible to rely upon a standard of reasonableness or to defer to a hypothetical reasonable person if no such thing is believed to exist. Even worse, the reasonableness principle is wholly undermined by the further notion that any semblance of or consensus about what is reasonable is an application of the very sort of oppressive politics that our laws and courts in free countries are supposed to guard their citizens against. As these “critical constructivist” ideas, as they’re formally known, rise in prominence in our culture, they therefore present a significant threat to the very rule of law that makes liberal societies like ours possible — to say nothing of securing equal rights for all citizens.

News should be fun

Get the Roca Rundown delivered to your inbox each morning:

Thank you! Let's ride the Roca Wave!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

It should be enough, then, to point out merely that the Woke ideology is both gaining significant amounts of power on nearly all levels — social, cultural, institutional, and legal — and is wholly inimical to the legal foundations of a free, liberal society filled with citizens who are equal under and before the law. In fact, just pointing this out should constitute an emergency for all classically and traditionally liberal-minded people, left, right, and center. The fact of the problem, however, raises an even darker specter that needs to be reckoned with as well: what would the Woke replace reasonableness and the reasonable-person standard with, if they gained enough means to do so?

The answer, as it always is with the Woke, is power that suits them and disenfranchises those who disagree with them. In place of reason, we would be given Critical Theories, mostly of identity, and our legal structure would have to be reorganized around these new principles. Their focus would be systems of power, as the Critical Theories of Identity, like Critical Race Theory (recently banned from the federal government by a Trump executive order, for all the right reasons), have identified them. They would begin with assumptions like that our system is white supremacist, heteronomative and homophobic, patriarchal, cisnormative and transphobic, and so on. Our entire legal landscape would be reinterpreted under the assumptions that these unjust applications of systemic power are permanent so long as the system lasts, and therefore need constant redress.

These critical principles would redefine our legal system and thus our society not only in a way that regards equality as suspect, but also in a way that deems it an explicit tool of oppression. This is the mindset we encounter when we read Ibram X. Kendi, writing as he did in his bestselling book, How To Be an Antiracist, “The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.” It is also the mindset behind California’s Proposition 16, which seeks to remove anti-discrimination language from its state constitution.

These critical principles would also include the idea that the only people who make any sense are those who have a credible claim upon having experienced systemic oppression, again, as the Critical Theories of Identity have identified. In place of a “reasonable person,” then, the legal system would corrupt itself around the notion of the aggrieved person, where the only authentic expressions of grievance are those that match the outdated claims of Woke Critical Theorists.

Under these assumptions, our legal system will corrupt itself into an identity politics-based replica of the worst failures of history, those in which some ruling capital-P Party becomes the basis for the law and its standards. That is, these assumptions aren’t just wholly incompatible with the idea of a free and liberal society, they are the guarantor of its replacement by a totalitarian ideology and Party designed to be favored by it. In this case, that party is the Critical Theorists of Identity, and under its rule, the madness and naked caprice of this passing summer will be but a warm-up act that presages a completely new Iron Rule of Woke Law.

I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for reason and taking the side of anyone who still supports it.

James Lindsay

James is a bestselling author, mathematician, and internet thought leader.

The Daily Sizzle

@RideTheNews

The Sizzle breaks down the day's hottest topics in politics, culture, and society. Follow RocaNews @RideTheNews to get all Roca updates as they happen.

James Lindsay

James is a bestselling author, mathematician, and internet thought leader.

Also listen to

News should be fun

Get the Roca Rundown delivered to your inbox each morning:

Thank you! Let's ride the Roca Wave!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Roca Podcasts

Wokeness threatens the rule of law

James Lindsay

October 1, 2020

Here are two important ideas that currently exist in fundamental opposition to one another: “Reasonableness” and “Wokeness.”

In advanced legal systems, we depend upon the concept of “reasonableness” and specifically a standard known as the “reasonable-person standard.” This simply asks: what would be reasonable in, or what would a reasonable person make of, a given situation?

On the other hand, the “applied postmodern” ideologies that we refer to as “Wokeness” or “Critical Social Justice Theory” posit a concept of radical subjectivism and socialization into power-laden biases. In this worldview, there is no such thing as a “reasonable person,” and nothing can be considered “reasonable,” because the very application of “reason” is a mere application of whatever is accepted by the dominant power structure at hand. No one is reasonable because everyone is biased; there are only people who speak into dominant discourses or who resist them.

These ideas are wholly incompatible with one another. It is not possible to rely upon a standard of reasonableness or to defer to a hypothetical reasonable person if no such thing is believed to exist. Even worse, the reasonableness principle is wholly undermined by the further notion that any semblance of or consensus about what is reasonable is an application of the very sort of oppressive politics that our laws and courts in free countries are supposed to guard their citizens against. As these “critical constructivist” ideas, as they’re formally known, rise in prominence in our culture, they therefore present a significant threat to the very rule of law that makes liberal societies like ours possible — to say nothing of securing equal rights for all citizens.

News should be fun

Get the Roca Rundown delivered to your inbox each morning:

Thank you! Let's ride the Roca Wave!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

It should be enough, then, to point out merely that the Woke ideology is both gaining significant amounts of power on nearly all levels — social, cultural, institutional, and legal — and is wholly inimical to the legal foundations of a free, liberal society filled with citizens who are equal under and before the law. In fact, just pointing this out should constitute an emergency for all classically and traditionally liberal-minded people, left, right, and center. The fact of the problem, however, raises an even darker specter that needs to be reckoned with as well: what would the Woke replace reasonableness and the reasonable-person standard with, if they gained enough means to do so?

The answer, as it always is with the Woke, is power that suits them and disenfranchises those who disagree with them. In place of reason, we would be given Critical Theories, mostly of identity, and our legal structure would have to be reorganized around these new principles. Their focus would be systems of power, as the Critical Theories of Identity, like Critical Race Theory (recently banned from the federal government by a Trump executive order, for all the right reasons), have identified them. They would begin with assumptions like that our system is white supremacist, heteronomative and homophobic, patriarchal, cisnormative and transphobic, and so on. Our entire legal landscape would be reinterpreted under the assumptions that these unjust applications of systemic power are permanent so long as the system lasts, and therefore need constant redress.

These critical principles would redefine our legal system and thus our society not only in a way that regards equality as suspect, but also in a way that deems it an explicit tool of oppression. This is the mindset we encounter when we read Ibram X. Kendi, writing as he did in his bestselling book, How To Be an Antiracist, “The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.” It is also the mindset behind California’s Proposition 16, which seeks to remove anti-discrimination language from its state constitution.

These critical principles would also include the idea that the only people who make any sense are those who have a credible claim upon having experienced systemic oppression, again, as the Critical Theories of Identity have identified. In place of a “reasonable person,” then, the legal system would corrupt itself around the notion of the aggrieved person, where the only authentic expressions of grievance are those that match the outdated claims of Woke Critical Theorists.

Under these assumptions, our legal system will corrupt itself into an identity politics-based replica of the worst failures of history, those in which some ruling capital-P Party becomes the basis for the law and its standards. That is, these assumptions aren’t just wholly incompatible with the idea of a free and liberal society, they are the guarantor of its replacement by a totalitarian ideology and Party designed to be favored by it. In this case, that party is the Critical Theorists of Identity, and under its rule, the madness and naked caprice of this passing summer will be but a warm-up act that presages a completely new Iron Rule of Woke Law.

I don’t know about you, but I’m voting for reason and taking the side of anyone who still supports it.

Roca Rundown

Roca's daily newsletter: fast, fun, and informative.

Today is a bad day to be a restaurant in Los Angeles

Today's Carney Cover

Starting on Wednesday, Los Angeles is forcing all restaurants to shut down to curb the spread of Covid. The ban includes outdoor dining. This move could prove the final nail in the coffins of struggling LA restaurants.  

Stop hating the news! Forward the Rundown to friends.

Click here to sign up for the Roca Rundown!

The new iOS emojis are fire.

Usually an iOS update means that Tim Cook and Apple are trying to crash your old iPhone so that you have to buy the new one. But Apple has completely redeemed itself with the below batch of new emojis in its latest iOS update. Here are some of the more notable ones:


First of all, we would like to commend the Italian-American community for surviving without that "finger-pinching" emoji on the top row until now. This new emoji is like the Rosetta Stone for Italian-Americans. It has unlocked a world of meaning.

Also, that wooly mammoth emoji will really come in handy! Impossible to have a normal conversation without it. And the fondue one – is that what the red one with the cross is? – is all you need to invite your Hinge date to the Melting Pot.

Politics

With the strong vaccine results from Pfizer and Moderna, the timeline for reaching herd immunity is becoming clear. The top scientist for "Operation Warp Speed" said that the first Americans should be immunized on December 11 and that we could reach herd immunity by May!

Back of the line, Brits! Initial results were released for the leading British vaccine candidate, produced by AstraZeneca and Oxford. The vaccine proved 60-90% effective, depending on how it was administered. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s are both 95% effective.


Chris Christie called Trump's legal team "a national embarrassment" for their failure to present compelling evidence to support their voter fraud allegations. He's a confidant to Trump and two-time Trump voter, but he joins the Republican leaders condemning Trump's post-election fight.

See more political news on Roca

Business

Guitar Center filed for bankruptcy. Sure, the Dow Jones may not rise and fall on the back of Guitar Center, but it is the largest retailer of musical instruments and equipment in the country. Covid proved the final blow and jeopardizes the future of its 300 stores across the country.

One of the all-time great frauds, Elizabeth Holmes (below), is requesting that the jurors for her trial aren't allowed to hear about her luxurious lifestyle while she was CEO of Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes became the youngest self-made woman billionaire through her fraudulent message that Theranos could detect diseases through one or two drops of blood. Long story short, it couldn't.

See more business news on Roca

Culture

The American Music Awards (AMAs) got STEAMY last night. Taylor Swift won her third consecutive Artist of the Year award, though she was not in attendance. Her absence was largely unnoticed as J-Lo and Megan Thee Stallion stole the show with their risqué performances.

A Florida man won the internet -- dominated the internet, really -- by saving a puppy from the mouth of an alligator while smoking a cigar. He didn't drop the cigar for the entire video. As Roca contributor Siraj Hashmi tweeted, this man (below) needs a medal of honor and a statue.

See more culture news on Roca

Sports

Joe Burrow's season ended yesterday with a gruesome knee injury that has been diagnosed as a torn ACL. The first pick of the 2020 draft and top ROTY contender went down in the 3rd q. Get better, Joe! We know you'll be back in no time.

Trailing the Raiders 31-28 with 30 seconds to go, Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a 22-yard score. As magical as Mahomes is, it was his first-ever go-ahead TD pass with 2 minutes or less left in the game.

See more sports news on Roca

Roca's Latest

The month’s hottest Netflix show is all about the queen – and it isn’t The Crown! Caroline Bryant reviewed the Queen’s Gambit, a thrilling show about chess, life, and addiction that she thinks beats the hype.

Read it here

Throughout Trump’s presidency, his opponents have decried him as a uniquely dangerous threat to democracy, a fascist, a Nazi – you name it. If these people actually believed the things they said, wouldn’t it be their moral duty to stop him from getting elected at all costs? Thad Russell makes the argument here.

Read it here

Roca wishes you a pleasant, productive, and happy day.

As always, send your thoughts, feedback, and interesting stories to Max@RocaNews.com!

Thank you for reading the Roca Rundown!

Sign up for the Roca Rundown here!

Copyright © *2020* *RocaNews*, All rights reserved.

Contact us:
info@rocanews.com

November 20, 2020

Today's Carney Cover

The CDC strongly recommends virtual gatherings for Thanksgiving this year. For those who do gather in person, the CDC suggests eating outdoors and having guests bring their own food and utensils. Or if you just want to eat alone, see how Kevin did it in Home Alone!

Oh, Friday, you oasis in the weekday desert.

Yesterday we showed you a map of states by alcohol consumption. Today we bring you a map of states by coffee consumption. For all you data nerds reading this, we used Google search volume as a proxy for coffee consumption.


Only one state in the top ten, Vermont, lies east of the Mississippi River. We're not sure what Lewis & Clark did on their journey out west to ensure that its future inhabitants would be filling up Keurigs 24/7. Can anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest explain the coffee craze up there? Also, you gotta love that Hawaii clocks in at #1!

Happy Friday, Roca fam! The Roca wave grows every week, and we are honored to have you riding it with us.

Politics

Rudy Giuliani can't catch a break. Yesterday, he may have topped the recent Four Seasons Landscaping-hosted (instead of the Four Seasons Hotel) enthralling debacle with his reenactment of a scene from My Cousin Vinny. His hair appeared to melt down both sides of his face (see below).


Pushing back against Giuliani's case of mass voter fraud was Georgia's announcement yesterday that its vote recount re-affirmed Biden's win. But forget the pollsters, what would My Cousin Vinny have to say?  

‍Business

Remdesevir, the anti-viral drug that Trump took during his bout with Covid, is a no-go according to the WHO. The WHO is discouraging doctors from administering the drug to Covid patients, saying there is no proof it helps them. Gilead's stock (GILD), the maker of Remdesevir, is down 1.4% today.

Feds say that Venmo, Cash App, & other payment apps were used to launder enormous sums of money from the Payment Protection Program (PPP). A secret service agent specializing in money fraud told CNBC he's never seen this much fraud in his 28-year career.

Culture

TikTok star Charli D'Amelio might be the most famous 16-year-old in the world, but her goodwill just hit a major speed bump. The D'Amelio family's first YouTube dinner has caused MAJOR backlash. Charli and her sister Dixie acted snotty and entitled throughout, causing Charli to lose 1M followers in the last day. She subsequently cried during an Instagram Live, asking for sympathy.


With current global diet trends, 1.5B people are likely to be obese in 2050. God made a mistake in making the seventh day of creation a day of rest. Humans have taken rest and really run (sorry, wrong verb) with it.

Sports

Even an avid Warriors hater can't help but feel sorry for Klay Thompson. After sitting out last year from a torn ACL, Klay just tore his Achilles during a workout and will likely miss another season.



Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (7-3) bested the Cardinals (6-4) last night to stay atop the NFC West. Kyler had the ball to win at the end but he and DeAndre Hopkins, a newly minted 99 overall on Madden, couldn't summon last week's magic.

Roca's Latest

The best part about Thanksgiving – bringing families together – is also what makes it so stressful: You’ve got cousin Libby arguing with Uncle Johnny, and Grandma Norma screaming at toddler Joey. Thankfully, Roca’s Rachel Van Nes interviewed a professional conflict mediator, and emerged with the top 7 tips for navigating arguments and conflict around Thanksgiving.

Read it here

Roca wishes you a pleasant, productive, and happy day.

As always, send your thoughts, feedback, and interesting stories to Max@RocaNews.com!

Thank you for reading the Roca Rundown!

Sign up for the Roca Rundown here!

Election update: The referees are still in the booth

After a wild night, this election could be far from over. When you checked your phone this morning, you probably did not expect to see so much gray on the electoral map. Seven critical swing states are still undecided: Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada, implying 94 up-for-grabs electoral votes. The current scoreboard has Trump at 213 delegates and Biden at 227. The stars are beginning to align in Biden's favor as Trump would need to win Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and one of the other four. Trump may pull out the first three, but that last state is increasingly unlikely to go his way as Dem-heavy mail-in ballots continue to tally up.

If you want a sense of the kind of 24 hours it's been, we put together the below chart on the trajectory of election odds from yesterday afternoon to today.


So who's gonna win? It's looking like Biden, but there is a lot of ball left to be played.


By the way, the polls were once again terribly wrong -- comically wrong. Let's take Ohio, for example. The Buckeye State was supposed to be a toss-up, slightly leaning in Trump's direction (polling averages showed him +1). He won the state by 8 points. We would hate to pick on a specific poll but Quinnipiac (morons!) had Biden +4 in their final Ohio poll this week making them 12 points off! 12!!

Politics

Let's talk about the Senate now. You may recall that the Dems were the favorite to seize control of the Senate, but instead the GOP will retain control after winning a couple upset races and closing out toss-ups. Of note: Lindsey Graham is beating his opponent Jaime Harrison (the most financially-backed Senate candidate in history) by 13 points, and Mitch McConnell won his seat easily.

The Democrats will retain the House.

Now back to the White House. How the hell did Trump defy the odds to make the race a nail-biter? Well, he grew his base substantially and also outperformed expectations among Hispanic voters.

See more political news on Roca

Business

Stock futures went nuts last night given all the election turbulence but the Dow is now up 2% as of 10:30 am.

Don't you hate it when one of the companies you financially backed delays its IPO? Well I'm sure you can relate to Alibaba founder Jack Ma then, who lost $3B due to the delayed IPO of financial services company Ant Group.

See more business news on Roca

Culture

Drake just landed his 21st No. 1 hit on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart, taking him past Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder for the most all-time.

Lil Wayne's endorsement of Trump may have boosted the president's momentum, but it certainly didn't help Weezy's love life. His model girlfriend, in fact, broke up with him because of it.

See more culture news on Roca

Sports

The Bucs activated Antonio Brown for Sunday night's game against the Saints. Get ready for the return of AB! This time with that Tom guy playing QB...

James Harden to the 76ers?! It may sound crazy, but sources with inside knowledge say that both parties are interested in a potential trade.

See more sports news on Roca

Roca's Latest

If you’re sick of the tension around the elections, read the special election day Roca HQ trends report. We report on our intern’s concern that Billy is not eating enough vegetables, Max Towey’s questionable habit of disappearing into the “content cave” for hours at a time, and Max Frost’s seemingly impossible mission to removed processed foods from his diet.

Read it here!

Also, Max Frost’s piece wrote about why he’s voting to decriminalize shrooms may have swung that vote: The measure passed in DC with over 70% of voters saying “YES!”

Read it here!

Roca wishes you a pleasant, productive, and happy day.

As always, send your thoughts, feedback, and interesting stories to Max@RocaNews.com!

Thank you for reading the Roca Rundown!

Sign up for the Roca Rundown here!

News should be fun

Get the full Roca Rundown delivered to your inbox each morning:

Thank you! Let's ride the Roca Wave!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

James Lindsay

James is a bestselling author, mathematician, and internet thought leader.

The Daily Sizzle

@RideTheNews

The Sizzle breaks down the day's hottest topics in politics, culture, and society. Follow RocaNews @RideTheNews to get all Roca updates as they happen.

James Lindsay

James is a bestselling author, mathematician, and internet thought leader.

Also read

News should be fun

Get the Roca Rundown delivered to your inbox each morning:

Thank you! Let's ride the Roca Wave!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Roca Rundown

Roca's daily newsletter: fast, fun, and informative.

Today is a bad day to be a restaurant in Los Angeles

Today's Carney Cover

Starting on Wednesday, Los Angeles is forcing all restaurants to shut down to curb the spread of Covid. The ban includes outdoor dining. This move could prove the final nail in the coffins of struggling LA restaurants.  

Stop hating the news! Forward the Rundown to friends.

Click here to sign up for the Roca Rundown!

The new iOS emojis are fire.

Usually an iOS update means that Tim Cook and Apple are trying to crash your old iPhone so that you have to buy the new one. But Apple has completely redeemed itself with the below batch of new emojis in its latest iOS update. Here are some of the more notable ones:


First of all, we would like to commend the Italian-American community for surviving without that "finger-pinching" emoji on the top row until now. This new emoji is like the Rosetta Stone for Italian-Americans. It has unlocked a world of meaning.

Also, that wooly mammoth emoji will really come in handy! Impossible to have a normal conversation without it. And the fondue one – is that what the red one with the cross is? – is all you need to invite your Hinge date to the Melting Pot.

Politics

With the strong vaccine results from Pfizer and Moderna, the timeline for reaching herd immunity is becoming clear. The top scientist for "Operation Warp Speed" said that the first Americans should be immunized on December 11 and that we could reach herd immunity by May!

Back of the line, Brits! Initial results were released for the leading British vaccine candidate, produced by AstraZeneca and Oxford. The vaccine proved 60-90% effective, depending on how it was administered. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s are both 95% effective.


Chris Christie called Trump's legal team "a national embarrassment" for their failure to present compelling evidence to support their voter fraud allegations. He's a confidant to Trump and two-time Trump voter, but he joins the Republican leaders condemning Trump's post-election fight.

See more political news on Roca

Business

Guitar Center filed for bankruptcy. Sure, the Dow Jones may not rise and fall on the back of Guitar Center, but it is the largest retailer of musical instruments and equipment in the country. Covid proved the final blow and jeopardizes the future of its 300 stores across the country.

One of the all-time great frauds, Elizabeth Holmes (below), is requesting that the jurors for her trial aren't allowed to hear about her luxurious lifestyle while she was CEO of Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes became the youngest self-made woman billionaire through her fraudulent message that Theranos could detect diseases through one or two drops of blood. Long story short, it couldn't.

See more business news on Roca

Culture

The American Music Awards (AMAs) got STEAMY last night. Taylor Swift won her third consecutive Artist of the Year award, though she was not in attendance. Her absence was largely unnoticed as J-Lo and Megan Thee Stallion stole the show with their risqué performances.

A Florida man won the internet -- dominated the internet, really -- by saving a puppy from the mouth of an alligator while smoking a cigar. He didn't drop the cigar for the entire video. As Roca contributor Siraj Hashmi tweeted, this man (below) needs a medal of honor and a statue.

See more culture news on Roca

Sports

Joe Burrow's season ended yesterday with a gruesome knee injury that has been diagnosed as a torn ACL. The first pick of the 2020 draft and top ROTY contender went down in the 3rd q. Get better, Joe! We know you'll be back in no time.

Trailing the Raiders 31-28 with 30 seconds to go, Patrick Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a 22-yard score. As magical as Mahomes is, it was his first-ever go-ahead TD pass with 2 minutes or less left in the game.

See more sports news on Roca

Roca's Latest

The month’s hottest Netflix show is all about the queen – and it isn’t The Crown! Caroline Bryant reviewed the Queen’s Gambit, a thrilling show about chess, life, and addiction that she thinks beats the hype.

Read it here

Throughout Trump’s presidency, his opponents have decried him as a uniquely dangerous threat to democracy, a fascist, a Nazi – you name it. If these people actually believed the things they said, wouldn’t it be their moral duty to stop him from getting elected at all costs? Thad Russell makes the argument here.

Read it here

Roca wishes you a pleasant, productive, and happy day.

As always, send your thoughts, feedback, and interesting stories to Max@RocaNews.com!

Thank you for reading the Roca Rundown!

Sign up for the Roca Rundown here!

Copyright © *2020* *RocaNews*, All rights reserved.

Contact us:
info@rocanews.com

News should be fun

Get the full Roca Rundown delivered to your inbox each morning:

Thank you! Let's ride the Roca Wave!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More articles by this author

Roca Podcasts