James Lindsay and Joe Rogan: Understanding wokeness as a cult

I’ve written about James Lindsay many times before. He’s probably best known for being one of three individuals who created a series of hoax academic papers, many of which were accepted for publication by supposedly serious journals catering to grievance studies. Last week Lindsay appeared on Joe Rogan’s show and spoke about a number of things including the similarity between wokeness and cults.

“That’s really the thing that gets me is how similar this is to religious, not just religious ideology like how rigid it is but also indoctrination, religious cults how they indoctrinate people,” Rogan said. He continued, “One of my friends Kurt Metzger, really funny guy who was a Jehovah’s Witness when he was younger. And so he’s really, really, really sensitive to this stuff. He’s like ‘I know where this is going. This is the same thing that I got when I was in the Jehovah’s Witnesses.’ This is cult s**t.”

Lindsay offered an example of how it works. “You and I could be talking about something like this and you could say something. I’m like ‘Don’t you think that’s a little bit racist?’…What are you going to say? You’re going to say yes or no. If you say yes now you’ve owned it, right? Now, you’re racist. And so I’m like ‘Do you interrogate your racism? Do you spend time working on that? You’re dragging people into it.”

Lindsay continued, “If you say no, I can say ‘But one of the symptoms of participation in systemic racism is an inability to see it if you’re white, it’s invisible to you and so maybe you need to look harder. It seems like you’re getting a little defensive.’ And then you start panicking.”

Lindsay then told the story of an Indian woman from Canada who was forced to sit through a “brown fragility training.” The trainers for the session explained that brown people are anti-black racists too and therefore help support white supremacy. After presenting this the trainers said they needed to interrogate the feelings that came up. In practice that meant going around the room and forcing each person to confess their anti-blackness in front of the group.

As Lindsay points out, there’s no way out of this trap. You either confess your guilt or you make yourself look more guilty because you’re unwilling to confess. “This is straight up cult indoctrination stuff,” he concludes.

Here’s the full clip. Below this is a bonus clip from the same interview.

In this one, Lindsay discusses one of the hoax papers he wrote about the topic of “fat bodybuilding” which some people consider a real thing.

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