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Define Woke: A Case Study of Wokam's Razor
Around a year ago I wrote an article conceptualizing the term Wokam’s Razor which I then summarized as:
Wokam's Razor: If an opposition authority presents itself to challenge a pre-existing consensus, shave off that authority to restore the state of 'expert consensus.’
In other words, Wokam’s Razor describes the tendency for people, particularly those on the Woke Left, to “shave off” information that does not conform to, align with, or otherwise validate their worldview. This behavioral trend is one I’ve observed on the Right (when shown polls highlighting the popularity of gay marriage) and the broader Left (when shown crime data), but is particularly strong amongst the Woke Left. To exemplify the Woke temptation to write off inconvenient information we can examine the “Define Woke” trend on Twitter as a case study on Wokam’s Razor.
Here’s how a typical conversation around “Define Woke” goes: a definition of Woke will be requested and then promptly ignored in service of the requestors’ pre-conceived worldview. Nina Turner, for example, requests a definition of Woke regularly as do other left-leaning individuals. Despite being provided a definition from Wilfred Reilly (shown below), Turner has effectively opted to ignore it to perpetuate the narrative that “Woke” lacks a proper definition in the context of its political and cultural usage.
Personally, I get asked to “Define Woke” around 3-5 times a week in my comments section - sometimes in an accusatory manner with the implication being I’m using a term without knowing what it means. I get asked to define the term Woke often enough that I’ve put my preferred definition from Wilfred Reilly into a meme so I don’t need to look it up each time the topic comes up.
The meme itself has been liked by Elon Musk and shared by Christopher Rufo which I think reasonably indicates some degree of understanding of what the term “Woke” implies when it is used. I don’t necessarily have an issue with the request to provide a definition for the word Woke - it’s perfectly reasonable and even necessary to define terms to ensure the participants of a conversation are on the same page. I do have an issue with taking the time to provide the definition only to realize the person who requested the information had zero intent of processing anything I said. From there, the conversation can devolve in various ways but usually in some manner relating to the below meme:
To summarize, the “Define Woke” trend fits a spammy use case study of Wokam’s Razor because it does the following:
Asks for information
“Shaves off” the information once it’s provided
I hope some of those seeking to “Define Woke” will read this article and reconsider their approach even if they might disagree. If you ask someone to “Define Woke” with the intention of ‘shaving it off’ ala Wokam’s Razor, then the concept in your mind will inevitably remain whatever definition you want your proxy enemies to hold since you’re ignoring how they perceive wokeness in favor of pre-conceived notions. By ignoring what your verbal sparring partner actually believes in favor of what you think they believe, the ability to reach a mutual understanding and get on the same page is lost.