‘Counterweight – Keeping the Lights on for Liberalism.’
Counterweight is a liberal humanist organisation which values individualism, universalism, viewpoint diversity, and the free exchange of ideas while defending science, reason and rigorous, empirical approaches to knowledge production and addressing issues of justice and equality. Counterweight has been set up to focus specifically on Critical Social Justice (CSJ) as a threat to all of those values but opposes authoritarianism and censorship consistently. We do not support attempts to ban CSJ ideas which people must have the right to hold as a matter of freedom of belief (but not to force on anyone else).
Members of Counterweight and users of our services come from all over the political spectrum and have a variety of cultural, ethical, religious and philosophical views. They do not need to identify as liberal humanists. We do, however, expect them to support equal freedoms, rights and opportunities for all humans under the law and the equal value of all humans regardless of their race, gender, sexuality or any other identity category.
We define liberalism as a non-partisan conflict resolution mechanism, not a political ideology. Liberalism is a system that makes use of the sheer diversity of
human thought and the plurality of views that exist on almost every subject imaginable to encourage civil, reasoned debate for the purposes of advancing knowledge, finding common ground and making reasonable accommodations for divergent viewpoints
Liberalism is not the solution to disagreement, but it does enable the societal conditions where resolutions can be achieved without recourse to violence or authoritarianism. As such, we believe that principled people from across the political spectrum have a vested interest in protecting the foundations of liberal society.
Humanism, Individualism and Universalism
We centre human well-being and tolerant co-existence in our work, and believe our shared humanity transcends shallow political and ideological divides and identity groupings.
We reject ideologies that seek to diminish individual agency and the rich diversity of human thought through homogenizing group categorization and the idea that knowledge or values are determined by identity.
We oppose erroneous and unethical prejudices like racism, sexism and homophobia, which violate values of universal human dignity and equality. We reject fatalistic explanations of the continued existence of prejudice that hold that everybody is unavoidably socialised into white supremacist, patriarchal or homophobic beliefs. We believe that individuals can choose not to hold bigoted views and we seek to defend and advance the moral consensus that they should be expected to do so.
We contend that remaining injustices in our societies should be addressed seriously and conscientiously using the most rigorous scientifical, empirical and rational methods at our disposal. This entails being able to investigate all potential causes of social disparities including those which contravene the social constructionist views of Critical Social Justice without fear of cancellation or censorship.
. To continue building a community and creating a groundswell of people who feel confident that they understand CSJ and can oppose it in principled ways.
. To build bigger supportive networks within specific spheres of work and connect them under the Counterweight umbrella.
. To rejuvenate a sense of liberalism and a confidence in defending it.
. To continue monitoring and critiquing CSJ scholarship and decrease its prestige.
. To facilitate the production of both scholarly and popular writing that critiques Critical Race Theory and other theories around identity and advocates more liberal forms of opposition to prejudice and discrimination. We are particularly keen to encourage those by intellectuals and journalists from racial, ethnic or sexual minority groups who are most personally impacted by these theories.