Psychology behind wokeism

Adherents of Wokeism tend to exhibit certain psychological characteristics in common.

Self-reports

  • Keri Smith: On Leaving the SJW Cult and Finding Myself

    I have been wondering why more people on the left are not speaking up against violence, in favor of free exchange of ideas and dialogue, in favor of compassion. But I know why. I was in the cult. Part of it is that you are a true believer, and part of it is that you are fearful of being called an apostate — in being trashed as a sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, fascist, white supremacist nazi.

  • Barrett Wilson: I Was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me

    Every time I would call someone racist or sexist, I would get a rush. That rush would then be reaffirmed and sustained by the stars, hearts, and thumbs-up that constitute the nickels and dimes of social media validation. The people giving me these stars, hearts, and thumbs-up were engaging in their own cynical game: A fear of being targeted by the mob induces us to signal publicly that we are part of it.

  • Sad Radicles

    When I became an anarchist I was 18, depressed, anxious, and ready to save the world. […] Radical communities select for particular personality types. […] They attract hurt people, looking for an explanation for the pain they’ve endured.

  • A Bit of Vineeto

    While at university I checked out all the political solutions to society’s problems that troubled me at the time. There were the liberals, the greens, the socialists, the communists and the ultra-left, all with their various concepts and ideals. As I worked through their pompous words, statements and interpretations I found that none of it made much sense. None of their solutions seemed to me to be really applicable, as they were often too theoretical and not practical at all. [..] Women claimed to be better than men but would still fight exactly the same petty power battles between each other as men did. And if lesbianism was supposed to be the solution, I saw that it still had jealousy, competition, dependency and all the other problems of heterosexual relationships. […] And despite female liberation I hadn’t resolved the issue of authority. Beneath it all I was still relying on male authority for comparison, orientation and approval, while rebelling against it at the same time.

    • More by Vineeto

      As a pacifist I conveniently overlooked not only my own aggravation and annoyance, the conflicts and disputes that invariably occur in my everyday life and in my personal relationships but I also turned a blind eye to the fact that I, without a second thought, am completely reliant upon the army of the country I am living in and the local armed police to keep me safe. Nowadays I clearly see the hypocrisy inherent in the ideology of pacifism. This hypocrisy is also evident in the eagerness of pacifists to lay the blame for the lack of peace on earth on others. For a long time I also firmly believed that it is only ‘the bad guys’ – such as corrupt politicians and greedy capitalists – who are responsible for all the wars, genocides and democides on the planet.

  • “I feel somewhat resentful that I missed out on a pre-packaged identity/meaning/worldview combo. wake up, open twitter, take a cheap shot at the acceptable targets, signal the proper signals, gain free clout for existing. any interpersonal conflict can be solved by playing victim and accusing the other person of some kind of -ism, no need to take responsibility for anything. must be a nice life.”

General themes

  • From How did American “wokeness” jump from elite schools to everyday life?,

    In a book entitled “The Coddling of the American Mind”, Mr Lukianoff and a social psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, posit that overprotective parenting in the shadow of the war on terrorism and the great recession led to “safetyism”, a belief that safety, including emotional safety, trumps all other practical and moral concerns. Its bounds grew to require disinviting disfavoured campus speakers (see chart 1), protesting about disagreeable readings and regulating the speech of fellow students.

  • Human Nature and Morality as a Weapon

    People enjoy using morality as a weapon to undercut competitors and bolster their own reputations.

    People are resourceful. If you disarm them of their old moral weapons, they will find new ones. They will launch new taboos so that they can accuse others of violating them.

    [..] People enjoy using morality as a weapon to undercut competitors and bolster their own reputations.

    People are resourceful. If you disarm them of their old moral weapons, they will find new ones. They will launch new taboos so that they can accuse others of violating them.

  • “narcissistic grandiosity does not intensify aggressive behavior…narcissistic vulnerability (but not grandiosity) as a key source of narcissistic rage…an explosive mix of mistrust, anger, and shame…vulnerable narcissism fuels hostility and anger”. From his newsletter,

    In short, vulnerable narcissism is a consistent and powerful predictor of aggression, anger, angry rumination, hostility, shame, and mistrust. Vulnerable narcissism appears to be more likely to lead to violence than grandiose narcissism.

    As the researchers put it, these findings “consistently reveal narcissistic vulnerability to be a driver of narcissistic rage, an explosive mix of mistrust, anger, and rumination that results in lashing out at those who stand in the way.”

    We should be at least as wary of the “hidden” narcissists among us as we are of the grandiose ones.

    and,

    The Austrian-American psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut wrote, “the narcissistically injured cannot rest until he has blotted out a vaguely experienced offender who dared to oppose him, to disagree with him, or to outshine him.”

  • “Study: Left-wing authoritarians share key psychological traits with far right”

    The psychological study of authoritarianism goes back to the 1930s, as social scientists tried to understand the psychological processes that made people more inclined to support the rise of fascism in Europe. The resulting Fascism Scale, developed to measure the strength of individuals’ support for far-right ideology, helped spawn the field of political psychology.

    “As I began investigating the topic of authoritarianism, I found it puzzling that psychology researchers had almost exclusively looked at the concept from the perspective of the far right,” Costello says. “That makes it’s difficult to truly understand the psychology of authoritarianism and the conditions that can lead to its spread in a society.”

    For the current paper, the researchers developed a conceptual framework for left-wing authoritarianism, created measures for it, and then refined these measures after testing their validity through a series of studies across five community samples.

  • Hollywood’s New Rules (via Balaji)

    “Best way to defend yourself against the woke is to out-woke everyone, including the woke,” one writer said. Suddenly, every conversation with every agent or head of content started with: Is anyone BIPOC attached to this?

  • Social class

    “Mastering intricacies of gender and race relations discourse and behavior has become a marker for belonging to the cosmopolitan class, in a similar way that tastes for classical music & art were markers of bourgeois culture in the 19th and 20th centuries” https://twitter.com/robkhenderson/status/1316142750740492288

Links to this page
  • Wokeism

    Speaking of ‘the illusion of change by activism’: what I have noticed, whilst pottering around the world-wide-web, is that those of a sinistral statist ideology (such as your ‘marxism/ postmodernism/ feminism’ wording is suggestive of) are apparently extracting meaning and/or purpose from busying themselves in the redressment of systemic cultural ‘wrongs’, via the heavy hand of state compulsion*, through retaining tight control of ‘the public narrative’ – having long-ago seized the high moral ground of minority-group injustice (as per your ‘fighting for the rights of the vulnerable classes’ words) – on a yet-to-be-demonstrated premiss that an equitable society can be legislated into existence (i.e., imposed on all citizens at the point of state-owned/ state-controlled guns), in a ‘majority-rules’ society, on a ‘minorities-rule’ basis. —ref