6 days ago
Is the Left Woke? With Susan Neiman, Part 1
On Sunday, May 21, 2023, we welcomed Harvard-educated, American moral philosopher, cultural commentator, and essayist Susan Neiman. Dr. Neiman has written extensively on the juncture between Enlightenment moral philosophy, metaphysics, and politics, both for scholarly audiences and the general public. She is a lifelong leftist and socialist, and an unlikely critic of "woke-ism." She argues the tenets of the woke have become antithetical to the traditional values of the left. She currently lives in Germany, where she is the Director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. Neiman writes in her new book, Left Is Not Woke: "I am unwilling to cede the word 'left' or accept the binary suggestion that those who aren't woke must be reactionary. A left-wing critique of those who seem to share the same values might seem to be an instance of narcissism. But it's not small differences that separate me from those who are woke." She adds that the discourse around "woke-ism" is confusing. It evokes emotions that all progressive people share, such as empathy for those who are marginalized and indignation for the oppressed, but those emotions are "derailed by a range of theoretical assumptions that ultimately undermine them."