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Jordan Petersen: Abandon Woke Now

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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“Truth is the handmaiden of love. Dialogue is the pathway to truth.”— Jordan Petersen

Nothing reveals desperation like the human need to reduce life to basic categories of blame. At times, it is necessary to condense complex subjects into simple ideas, but today’s wokeness is a phenomenon that we have already seen end in the horrific.


Jordan Petersen in a discussion of his new book, "Beyond Order, Twelve New Rules," advised “Allow yourself to think in more complex terms. It’s useful to reduce complex phenomena to their simpler elements. But is not useful to reduce it to the point of absurdity.”

Our modern struggle originates with two seminal thinkers, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, who simplified complex reality. Both attempted to reduce nuanced subjects to simple material phenomena. Wokeness is a combination of the two of them, and a culmination of their influence.

Marx wanted to explain away hierarchical functions in economics that result from competence or intelligence and replace them with political power. Freud wanted to explain human dynamics and psychological phenomena in terms of sex.

They boil down human motivation to a single dimension. While that makes for a compelling story, it is leading to cultural suicide. Marx’s revolution via mental tyranny explains everything but, in the end, helps nothing. Freud precipitated mass sexualization.

See Cardi B during the Grammy Awards.

Most things are not simple and require multi-variant approaches to reach rational conclusions. Take, for instance, the wage gap between men and women. There are many reasons and causes, not one. So what is gained by blaming this only on gender and power?


Blame allows one to identify an enemy wholesale like “the patriarchy” or “white privilege.” Once you can identify the enemy it makes you a victim and places you on the side of the righteous.

Oversimplification based on moral justification gains an audience.

You don't have to test your theories against others or even the real world. Before being woke that was accomplished in the academy or through journalism. Now it offers a quick unearned sense of moral superiority.

What is the cause of poverty, for example? Is it only systemic corruption? What about alcoholism, drug abuse, broken families, variation in intelligence, or conscientiousness, immigration, bad luck or timing, drive, education, and on it goes?

Poverty is not the result of one thing, and will never be completely resolved with easy answers, as Marx and later Stalin and Mao promised. Even Jesus himself who some claim was a proto Communist says in Matthew 26:11, “the poor you will always have with you.”  

Freud’s theory about the role of sex as the identifier of all neurosis or oppression is the woke’s sole indicator of identity. It makes things much easier than the idea of Martin Luther King Jr.’s character or the journey of personal meaning.

Life does not have homogenous categories of power or sex or pure conservative or all liberal. Ideology reveals crude and unsophisticated thinking. And most dangerous, it has no room for self-reflection.


Even more dangerous, cultish thinking allows the state to gain more control. Divide the people and unify the power. Then establish a moral woke tautology that claims those who doubt the justification of power lack moral integrity.

As Petersen suggests, “If you want to solve problems oversimplified solutions just get in the way.” Today, in the name of waking, there is blind spending, open borders, hiring for race and gender, and a growing menu of grievances.

As a result, in math class, we focus on anti-racism. Or in English literature, we teach gender inequality and often skip the readings of Petersen or Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World," or take heed of George Orwell’s "1984" that offers us this stark warning of woke thinking: “Asleep or awake, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or bed—no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters in your skull.”

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