Who are we?
Counterweight is an organisation that helps individuals resist the imposition of Critical Social Justice (CSJ) on their day to day lives. Our primary focus is on directing individuals who have fallen foul of the ideology to the resources, advice and guidance their specific problems require.
However, we also offer a refuge for casualties of the culture wars and a supportive, non-partisan community that connects like-minded people with others in their fields of work. This has two main benefits:
1)The formation of mutually supportive teams and action groups. Our community has already organically created networks of parents, teachers, psychologists, social workers, technicians, academics and employees of institutions of art and culture who are devising practical ways to protect their professions and support each other.
2)A groundswell of knowledgeable opposition to authoritarian Critical Social Justice. As our community grows, we intend to continue producing an increasing number of educational resources and facilitating discussions that will familiarise our members with the concepts and workings of CSJ, thus equipping them with the means to confidently speak out against it.
Why was Counterweight formed?
Following the death of George Floyd and the BLM protests, new policies and training programmes based on Critical Social Justice ideology suddenly began to be introduced into workplaces, universities and schools.
Many people who found CSJ at odds with their own principles spoke out against this and were formally censured, disciplined or fired for voicing their conscientious objections to the new orthodoxy. Many more self-censored for fear of such consequences.
Thousands of such individuals began to seek help and advice from people who had spoken publicly about the threat to liberal societies posed by Critical Social Justice. We created a Discord server so that we could triage the incoming appeals, prioritise people facing immediate danger of disciplinary action and provide practical information, support and resources to people with less urgent problems.
Individuals can most effectively resist authoritarian impositions of Critical Social Justice beliefs when they thoroughly understand CSJ and can confidently articulate their principled opposition.
Counterweight helps people understand the theoretical basis of CSJ ideology and provides a space where liberalminded people from across the political spectrum can network and engage in civic discourse.
Helen is Counterweight’s founder and programme leader. She is a liberal humanist who believes it is essential that society maintains a secular liberal democracy that values the Marketplace of Ideas as an individual freedom and a way for advancing knowledge and making moral progress. These values include the protection of freedom of belief, conscience and speech and an expectation that truth claims will be evidenced, arguments will be reasoned, ethics will be applied consistently to everyone and anybody can challenge anything. With an academic background in late medieval/early modern women’s religious writing, Helen focuses mostly on the Critical Social Justice activism-scholarship coming out of fields of cultural and identity studies and negatively impacting wider culture and society.
Carrie is Counterweight’s project coordinator. As a liberal humanist, Carrie is concerned about the corrosive impact of Critical Social Justice ideology on freedom of conscience and individual wellbeing. Raised by ardent bibliophile’s, she deplores the culture of book banning and cancellation that characterises our public discourse and hopes the Counterweight community will be a haven for the free exchange of ideas. Carrie uses her background in citizens advice services to support people caught up in the culture wars.
Kevin is Counterweight’s technology coordinator and head moderator of the Counterweight Discord server. Kevin is ardently opposed to much of the ideology coming out of Critical Social Justice Theory because of its common disregard for epistemic objectivity and scientific values, its embrace of equivocation fallacy, and its illiberal consequences. Kevin uses his background in information technology to support the staff at Counterweight.
Harriet is Counterweight’s Media Content Manager. As a writer, musician, and content creator, Harriet wholeheartedly supports free speech, and has been concerned about the suppressive impact of Critical Social Justice ideology for some time. As such, she joined the Counterweight community when woke ideology began infiltrating her workplace. She has since used her passion for open and honest discourse to create resources for those who are struggling against Critical Social Justice ideology in their organisations. As we move forward, Harriet would like to discover alternative solutions to social justice issues to help individuals to build more compassionate, understanding, and unified workplaces.
Isobel is Counterweight’s Media Content Coordinator. As a philosophy student with a passion for reason, evidence and objectivity, Isobel is concerned with the current social justice movement’s deviation from these values. She has utilised her love of writing and interest in taking apart fallacious arguments to create resources that help individuals to understand the many problems with critical social theory. Isobel realises there are still many ways our society could be improved, but firmly believes that the ability to progress is predicated upon open conversation, empathy, and an orientation towards evidence-based approaches.
Jennifer Friend is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in the Washington D.C. area. Jennifer has been concerned for several years about the negative impact of CRT and CSJ on mental health, individual liberty and freedom of speech. She began volunteering for Counterweight after a troubling experience with CRT in her workplace. Jennifer is a highly motivated opponent of CRT and CSJ and is committed to supporting people who have been harmed by this ideology.
Critical Therapy Antidote is an organisation that has been set up to support all of those with an interest in therapy who are concerned by the negative impact of Critical Social Justice theories on society. It provides resources and information as well as hosting a platform for different viewpoints on how the therapy field is responding to this new ideology. It has an associated network, which is explicitly apolitical and heterodox, for people in the psychology, talking therapies and mental health fields.
Areo, named after Milton’s speech in defence of freedom of speech, Areopagitica, publishes thoughtful essays from a variety of perspectives compatible with broadly liberal and humanist values. It places particular priority on evidence and reason-centered pieces. Our contributors are intellectually, professionally and ideologically diverse and include liberals, conservatives, socialists, libertarians, atheists and religious believers. As much as possible, Areo aims to avoid polarizing tribalistic stances and prioritizes intellectual balance, charity, honesty and rigor.
New Discourses is both a media site and an educational resource. We are particularly concerned with the current attempt by the movement sometimes called Critical Social Justice to control the discourses of our society. This movement does this largely through using heavy-handed, even bullying tactics, many of which only make sense in the Age of the Internet. Many don’t realize, however, that it also does this through having changed the meanings of many words themselves. New Discourses hopes among its missions to elucidate the ways by which the Critical Social Justice movement is attempting to and succeeding at defining and controlling our discourses on their terms. Our objective is to give you the tools you need to understand what’s going on around you in the world and talk about it effectively.
The Moral Courage Project, founded by Irshad Manji, teaches people how to engage about polarizing issues without shaming or cancelling each other. In that spirit, the Moral Courage Method:
○ Starts with our common humanity, not a common enemy
○ treats human beings as dynamic and ever-evolving, not as static categories or as items to be labeled
○ emphasizes individuality, since everyone has a unique backstory even when they belong to certain groups;
○ defines diversity to include diversity of viewpoint, so that listening is as much a leadership skill as speaking
○ works for social change by dissolving us-against-them paradigms, replacing them with relationships that build a culture of curiosity and caring, not a culture of compliance
○ views all people as having some power; it takes moral courage to speak truth to the power of one’s own ego and thus recognize there there’s something to learn from one’s Other.
Moral Courage doesn’t play the zero-sum game of warring ideologues. Instead, Moral Courage changes the game altogether, upending the way diversity and inclusion are practiced. Learn more here or contact Irshad Manji via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letter is a platform for civil conversation and productive debate. We believe that thoughtful, good faith dialogue is how ideas develop, spread, and take effect—our mission is to advance the quality and impact of conversation.
The Free Speech Union is a non-partisan, mass-membership public interest body that stands up for the speech rights of its members.
Don’t Divide Us came together in response to an open letter published in the Spectator shortly after the BLM protests in Britain last summer. The founding statement is here. We are a group of people from a wide range of professions and political backgrounds who share a common belief in universalism and humanism. Our website provides a range of material and resources for educators as well as the interested reader who wishes to think more widely and deeply about the divisive effects of today’s form of race-based identity politics.’
TRIGGERnometry is an online show and podcast dedicated to “honest conversations with fascinating people.” Hosted by two comedians, the show seeks to discuss difficult and controversial issues in a calm, rational and humorous way.
Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, philosopher, and author of five New York Times best sellers. His work covers a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, political polarization, rationality—but generally focuses on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live. His books include The End of Faith, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, and Waking Up. Sam hosts the popular Making Sense podcast and is also the creator of the Waking Up app, which offers a modern, rational approach to the practice of meditation and an ongoing exploration of what it means to live a good life. Sam holds a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and founder of the AHA Foundation. She served as a Member of the Dutch Parliament from 2003 to 2006. While in Parliament, she focused on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society, and on defending the rights of Muslim women.
She has written several books including Infidel (2007), Nomad: from Islam to America, a Personal Journey through the Clash of Civilizations (2010), Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now (2015) and The Challenge of Dawa (2017). Her next book Prey will be published by Harper Collins in February 2021. Prior to joining the Hoover Institution, she was a Fellow at the Belfer Center’s Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard University, and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
She received her Master’s degree in Political Science from Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. He grew up in Montreal and earned his BA from McGill and his PhD from Harvard. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has also taught at Stanford and MIT. He has won numerous prizes for his research, his teaching, and his nine books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, The Sense of Style, and Enlightenment Now. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Humanist of the Year, a recipient of nine honorary doctorates, and one of Foreign Policy’s “World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today.” He was Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and writes frequently for The New York Times, The Guardian, and other publications. His twelfth book, to be published in September, 2021, is called Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters
Alan Sokal is Professor of Mathematics at University College London and Professor Emeritus of Physics at New York University. He is co-author (with Jean Bricmont) of Intellectual Impostures: Postmodern Philosophers’ Abuse of Science (1998), and author of Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture (2008). Alan writes: ‘Whether my targets are the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the right, or the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes, my refrain is the same: clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence – especially inconvenient and unwanted evidence, evidence that challenges our preconceptions – are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century.’
Erec Smith is an associate professor of rhetoric at York College of Pennsylvania and a writing fellow for Heterodox Academy. Recent observations of contemporary social justice activism have taught Erec that much anti-racist activism is either the effect of pre-established disempowerment or the cause of further disempowerment of the very groups such activism is meant to benefit. His latest book, A Critique of Anti-Racism in Rhetoric and Composition: The Semblance of Empowerment, addresses this unfortunate characteristic of social justice.
Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Whiteshift: Immigration, Populism and the Future of White Majorities (Penguin/Abrams, 2018/19); Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth (Profile Books 2010), The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America: the decline of dominant ethnicity in the United States (Harvard 2004) and The Orange Order (Oxford 2007), among others. He is co-author of two reports on Academic Freedom in the UK (Policy Exchange, 2019, 2020) and of the report Changing Places: mapping the white British response to ethnic change (Demos 2014). He is co-editor, among others, of Political Demography (Oxford 2012) and editor of Rethinking Ethnicity: Majority Groups and Dominant Minorities (Routledge 2004). An editor of the journal Nations & Nationalism, he has written for the New York Times, Newsweek International, Foreign Affairs, New Statesman, National Review and Prospect and his work has been covered in major newspapers and magazines in the UK and US since 2007. He may be found on the web at www.sneps.net and on twitter at https://twitter.com/epkaufm.
Jonathan Church is an economist with two decades of experience working in the private and public sectors. His professional background is in antitrust, intellectual property, valuation, inflation, index number theory, statistics, and finance. In 2016, he began writing a weekly column for The Good Men Project, with a focus on current affairs, social justice, and masculinity. Outside of his day job and time with his daughter, he spends most of his remaining time as an independent scholar writing on economics, philosophy, and critical social justice. He has been published in Quillette, Areo Magazine, Arc Digital, The Agonist Journal, Merion West, The Good Men Project, Culturico, New Discourses, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Stoic, and The Federalist. His book, Reinventing Racism: Why ‘White Fragility’ Is the Wrong Way to Think about Racial Inequality, was published by Rowman and Littlefield in December 2020. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in economics and philosophy, and from Cornell University with an M.A in economics. He is also a CFA charter holder. Any time left over is spent exercising and playing chess.
Lee Jussim is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology, and Department Chair, at Rutgers University. He has published over 100 articles and six books, and is a founding member of Heterodox Academy. For the last 10 years, much of his scholarship has focused on exposing how ideological biases distort scholarship in the social sciences; over the last few years, this has blossomed into a full-fledged concern (and several articles) on academic suppression of ideas and research, outright censorship, and the threat to academic freedom coming from illiberal left professors within the academy (he has no doubt that the right can be just as illiberal as the left, and, historically, has been even more so; however, there are so few rightwing professors left in the academy that those left could not suppress a feather if they wanted to). He regularly writes essays for the lay public on issues related to psychology, academia, and creeping authoritarianism at places like Psychology Today and Quillette.
Jordan is a psychology graduate and senior medical student at the University of Sydney. He has research interests in applied medicine, politics and personality, with a particular focus on moral psychology.
Mike Nayna is an Australian writer and filmmaker best known for his award-winning documentary short Digilante and his involvement in the Grievance Studies Affair. Mike’s work has featured on The Atlantic, ABC, SBS, and the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. With a strong focus on social media, internet communication, and contemporary activism, Mike is interested in how ideas move and why: “Universities were an ideological wet market through the 90’s. When critical theory met postmodernism it was a pangolin meets bat moment. “Theory” was now optimising for emotion & careerism in an overcrowded labour market. When it came into contact with social media it broke free.”
Colin Wright is an evolutionary biologist and Managing Editor at Quillette. He is an advisor for Atheists for Liberty, and is an academic advisor for the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM). He is a strong proponent of the separation of church and state, free speech, and ideology-free science. He writes about science, philosophy, academia, sex and gender, and Social Justice ideology, with bylines in The Wall Street Journal, Quillette, The Times, and The Australian. In his spare time he enjoys lifting weights and playing bass guitar.
Jerry Coyne is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. His scientific work is on the genetics of species formation, the problem raised discussed (but not solved) by Darwin in On the Origin of Species. Besides 125 scientific papers, Jerry c-wrote a scholarly book about his research area (Speciation, with H. Allen Orr) and two single-authored popular books, Why Evolution is True and Faith versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible. He’s also written over 160 popular articles and book reviews in places like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Slate, and The Nation. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the 2011 “Emperor Has No Clothes” Award from the Freedom from Religion Foundation as well as the 2015 Richard Dawkins Award from the Atheist Alliance of America. Coyne’s blog, Why Evolution is True, has 70,000 subscribers and discusses not only the latest research in evolutionary biology, but also a variety of unrelated issues, including philosophy, politics, food, and cats.
Ilana Redstone is a professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the founder of Diverse Perspectives Consulting. She is the co-author of the book (Oxford University Press) titled, “Unassailable Ideas: How Unwritten Rules and Social Media Shape Discourse in American Higher Education” and the creator of the “Beyond Bigots and Snowflakes” video series. More information about her work is available at diverseperspectivesconsulting.com.
Steven J. Lawrence is an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Benjamin Institute of Technology. He received his graduate training at the University of Massachusetts, Boston where he studied Educational Transformation, an emerging field that brings together the knowledge and skills of organizational change theory, leadership theory, dialogue and communication, and the capacity to integrate multiple perspectives, models and teaching strategies to reach students from all backgrounds. The training included the study of Critical Pedagogy within a Social Justice framework, which has enabled him to bring an integrative approach to “Deep Inclusion” in K-12 and higher education environments. In recent years, Steven has been raising awareness of the inter-group hostilities that have arisen due to the implementation of a particularly aggressive version of Critical Social Justice ideology into workplaces, secular non-profits, schools and colleges, and spiritual practice communities. Steven’s writings on the topic of ideological conditioning and related topics can be found at http://www.groundexperience.org/ and http://www.supportyourmission.com/.
Professor Kathleen Stock is an analytic philosopher with past research interests in the philosophy of fiction and imagination. Her book on these issues Only Imagine: Fiction, Interpretation and Imagination was published by Oxford University Press (September 2017). Kathleen’s main research focus at the moment is philosophical questions about sex, gender, and sexual orientation. Her public writing on these topics can be found here. Her book, Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism, is out in May 2021. In it, she argues against the content and consequences of ‘gender identity theory’, and in favour of a vision of feminism as exclusively for females
Dr. Debra Soh is a sex neuroscientist and the author of “The End of Gender: Debunking the Myths About Sex and Identity in Our Society.” As a journalist, she writes about the science and politics of human sexuality and gender, free speech, and censorship in academia. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, Playboy, the Globe and Mail, and many others. Visit her at DrDebraSoh.com.
Want to help us deliver principled and knowledgeable content on all things CSJ? Support Counterweight and gain access to exclusive content by becoming a patron.Become a Patron!