People with superior political opinions know your mind better than you do
It is one thing to tell people what they ought to believe; quite another to tell them what they do believe.
That, however, is the special privilege of the woke Left. It would seem that their superior political opinions come with psychic powers and, as a result, they know your mind better than you do.
For instance, here from last night is Owen Jones’ reaction to the furore surrounding the suspension of Howard Beckett by the Labour Party:
The reason why Beckett, a senior union official who sits on the Labour National Executive Committee, was suspended is on record — he tweeted that Priti Patel should be deported (he later apologised, but cancel culture doesn’t accept apologies). But despite this obvious explanation, Jones thought himself able to discern what was really on the Labour leadership’s heart
Another example came earlier this week from Labour MP, Nadia Whittome — who tweeted the following in response to an article by Tony Blair in a Left-wing journal:
When Tony Blair rails against the “woke left” in his @NewStatesman article, he means young people.
Our generation won't put up with injustice. We demand deep, fundamental change – for the working class in all our diversity.
Whether he likes it or not, we're the future.
— Nadia Whittome MP (@NadiaWhittomeMP) May 12, 2021
But there’s nothing in the article to suggest that Blair did mean young people and everything to suggest that he meant the woke Left. It’s true that some young people are woke, but they wouldn’t have got those ideas if it weren’t for the older people spreading them through the media, schools, universities, political parties and other institutions. It strikes me as more likely that Blair was criticising a defined ideology that he clearly disagrees with rather than the idealism of the young.
But then what do I know? I’m not a mind reader.
Meanwhile in America, it appears that the psychic abilities of US Left-wingers are far ahead of their British counterparts. Last Sunday (which is Mothers’ Day in the US) Elizabeth Bruenig of the New York Times wrote a piece about her experience of young motherhood. Relatable, you might think; inspiring even. But such are the finely-tuned antennae of the woke that they were able to detect a disturbing reactionary subtext.
It was nonsense of course, as Mary Harrington explains here. But the episode serves as another example of the way that the woke Left attacks people for things that they haven’t actually said.
But perhaps I’m guilty of the same thing — using three unconnected instances to make a generalisation about the mindset of an entire political movement. Except that the tendency to make assumptions about what other people *really* think is characteristic — arguably definitive — of the language and methodology of wokeness; for instance, concepts like unconscious bias, undeclared privilege and internalised misogyny/racism/homophobia.
The contemporary Left is sometimes accused of dodging — and sometimes suppressing — debate. But then if they already know what their opponents think, what would be the point?