May 4, 2022

Are the “Woke Social Justice Warriors” Jihadists?

Last week I wrote about how “Woke” and “Jihad” are erroneously interpreted by those folks who claim to be in both conditions. This week, I’m taking a deeper look at how this affects society with another author’s help.

Author Nassim Nicolas Taleb, in his book Antifragile, makes the point that for systems to grow, they need to be antifragile. Being antifragile equates to being in a normal state of disarray and change—or chaotic. The reason is simple. Systems in chaos or disarray can stabilize themselves if given the opportunity because they learn by correcting themselves.

Our society is such a system. If it was allowed to normalize itself, it could naturally resolve and stabilize itself. But no!

The trouble starts when we attempt to intervene. This is sometimes called social engineering, and it usually makes the normal corrective processes go into a kind of hibernation and contributes to continued chaos and disarray. (Think lying manipulative politicians and talk show hosts here.)

Taleb explains two kinds of intervention that work against the system correcting itself. And although the names he uses don’t sound familiar, you will recognize them. These interventions can come from “Fragilistas” (the extreme “Woke” among us) and “Non-stakeholders” (Millionaire TV and radio talk show hosts)

An example of the Fragilista is the hypersensitive political correctness police. This is the person whose sensitivities are always on the lookout for micro-aggressions. For example, some of them call themselves “woke” and take it on themselves to determine what’s in the heart of other people when they make some verbal comment they consider a faux pas—their reflexive response is “cancel that S.O.B.” This is seen as a particular sickness of the left but seems to be equally distributed both on the left and the right. The point is that it’s an equal opportunity disease.

And then there’s the “non-stake holder.” This is the “lets you and him fight” type of person. An example of the “non-stake holder” is the hyper-critic of an alleged social wrong committed against “the people” in another place. They don’t know the whole story because they’re not directly involved in the situation. Political pundits make millions of dollars being non-stakeholder interventionists. But, of course, they’re not the actual interventionists because they don’t do anything but inflame the passions and biases of gullible, low-information people. Then they, the low-information gullible people, take the actions that cause the system to remain in chaos and disarray.

On a personal level, I can tell you that in my experience, I don’t learn much when everything is smooth and flowing. But when the proverbial “sxxx hits the fan,” my learning takes a quantum leap. We don’t learn until we need to know and turmoil in our lives provides our best learning opportunities.

Of course, this has two requirements. First, we question our certainties and be open to new information. Second, we expand our access to new and different sources of information that we may have shunned in the past.

As I wrote last week, sadly, the “woke political correctness police,” called SJWs or Social Justice Warriors, are going the route so well described by Eric Hoffer, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” In a country like ours, which has so many rackets, it would seem that we would learn enough to make progress toward a more stable society. But that would require the legions of newly “woke” warriors to refocus their wokeness from the actions of others to their own inner demons. (By the way, we all have inner demons)

If we’re to enjoy the full power of our inborn intellect, we need to awaken to our own mental obstacles, and that work is the work of a lifetime. I can only speak for myself, but I don’t have enough cognitive bandwidth to fix anyone but me. And even that has been a lifelong challenge.

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