James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian are two of the three people responsible for the Grievance Studies hoax in which they, along with Helen Pluckrose, wrote and submitted a number of absurd papers to social justice journals in order to point out that standards at the journals were lacking. Lindsay and Boghossian have recently published a book they co-authored titled “How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide” which they are promoting through appearances. This week the duo appeared on a YouTube show called “Triggernometry” where they discussed the current trends in social justice ideology for about an hour.
One of the points in the interview which caught my attention was their response to the question ‘Why now?’ James Lindsay made an interesting argument about why SJW ideology, which has existed in academic settings for decades, suddenly went viral among activists in the past few years. This theory, which he attributes to filmmaker Mike Nayma, is that a “crisis of control” on the left, prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement, led to the rapid adoption of SJW ideology, particularly in reaction to the initial (false) stories about the Ferguson shooting. How he gets there is a bit jarring as he seems to presume a deep well of racism on the right which triggered the left’s crisis, but it’s still an interesting theory.
Lindsay began by discussing the “substitution hypothesis” which is the concept that SJW ideology is actually a substitute for religion. He doesn’t dismiss the idea but he does downplay it (a bit too quickly in my opinion). However he then offers his own substitute hypothesis: