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The Counterweight Handbook

Helen Pluckrose

Over the last several years, organisations and institutions throughout the West – both public and private – have adopted comprehensive diversity and inclusion policies and new forms of employee and student training on antiracism, unconscious bias, gender diversity, cultural sensitivity and other related topics. The stated goals of these programs are often reasonable if not noble – to create a more welcoming space and inclusive environment for all. But such training, when based on the activist ideology known as Critical Social Justice, crosses a clear line when participants are required to affirm beliefs they do not hold. The mildest questions about or objections to common teachings in the sessions – that all white people are racists, that all underrepresented minorities are oppressed or useful tools of the majority, that sex and gender differences have no biological basis – are regularly met with pat commands: ‘Educate yourself,’ ‘Do the work,’ ‘Listen and learn.’

At work, raises, promotions and even future employment may well depend on nodding approval during such training. At school, grades, nominations and awards may be contingent upon active agreement with these ideological beliefs. When faced with such a predicament – between silent submission and risky if ethical opposition – what is a person to do?

The Counterweight Handbook provides individuals with a practical and easily navigable guide to understanding and addressing the issues that are likely to arise when this activist ideology is implemented in their organisation or institution. It also teaches them what to do when they are being expected to affirm their commitment to beliefs they simply do not hold, undergo training in an illiberal ideology they cannot support, or submit themselves to antiscientific testing and retraining of their ‘unconscious’ minds. It is for everyone who wishes to push back against the hostile work and educational environments such training inevitably creates – or who fears being fired, censored or cancelled for their deeply held beliefs and principled convictions.

First published:
May 3, 2022

Category:
JB

Author

Helen Pluckrose

Helen Pluckrose is a liberal political and cultural writer and speaker. She is the editor of Areo Magazine and the author of many popular essays on postmodernism, critical theory, liberalism, secularism, and feminism. A participant in the Grievance Studies Affair probe, which highlighted problems in social justice scholarship, she is today an exile from the humanities, where she researched late medieval and early modern religious writing by and for women. She lives in England and can be found on Twitter @HPluckrose.

James Lindsay

James Lindsay is a mathematician with a background in physics and founder of New Discourses (newdiscourses.com). He is interested in the psychology of religion, authoritarianism, and extremism. His books include Everybody Is Wrong about God, Life in Light of Death, and How to Have Impossible Conversations. His essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Philosophers’ Magazine, Scientific American, and Time. He led the Grievance Studies Affair probe that made international headlines in 2018, including the front page of the New York Times. He lives in Tennessee and can be found on Twitter @ConceptualJames.