The virus of wokeness

Dave Rubin joins Brendan O’Neill to discuss where the left went wrong.


Dave Rubin, host of the Rubin Report and author of Don’t Burn This Book, joins spiked’s editor for the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show. They discuss the left’s slide into authoritarianism and why believing in free speech does not make you a Nazi.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Delia Scales

6th June 2020 at 11:01 am

Excellent interview. And how telling that people who once used to be ‘the old left’ and have promoted free speech for decades, are now being labeled by the ‘new left’ as being facist, ignorant Nazies. Thanks Spiked, another good podcast.

Ava Tar

5th June 2020 at 5:52 pm

Brendan, you do choose fantastic guests for your podcasts: always well worth a listen.

I heard Dave Rubin earlier this year and realised he had undergone a very constructive change of mind – more balanced in his overall views. But I had a few questions about the overall discussion:

1. Neither of you seem to have considered that the mess we live in has been created by the human mind. Both of you agreed on how things should change for the better but in doing so you are still elevating the human mind to the position of being able to sort out the mess it has created in the first place without acknowledging its severe weakness. And in positing your ideas to improve things you are merely saying that your minds are better than other people’s; how can any of us claim that?

2. Dave Rubin has had a change of mind; it is a characteristic of being human. But if we can ‘change our mind’ how can we possibly rely on the deductions of the human mind to create a changed society if in the future we may change it again, who knows how?

3. Both contributors are naturalists believing that material existence is the only existence around. But if that is not true (and they cannot demonstrate definitively that their view is true) then it is possible that the human mind can be influenced by forces which are not seen. This is one explanation for the manifestation of evil in human decisions. If it is true it makes the human mind even more unreliable as the final source of enlightenment. After all, if we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that we use our minds and their logic to serve our self-interests as a priority and if that is antithetical to human flourishing then we shall still never question its conclusions.

James Hunt

3rd June 2020 at 1:51 pm

Dave Rubin is boring and a disgrace. His book is the lamest book I have ever even encountered. I wonder how much Brendan O’Neill had to be bribed to do this lame podcast with him.

Graham Southern

3rd June 2020 at 3:27 pm

You read it then?

James Hunt

3rd June 2020 at 5:30 pm

The title alone is incredibly tedious. Dave Rubin is an unfortunate midwit who has been promoted artificially by the neocon media to give the illusion of real push-back to their agenda and has had no original input into anything.

Brandy Cluster

5th June 2020 at 6:11 am

Oh yes, anybody who challenges the shallow-as-a–pond dogma of the regressive Left is sure to be wrong in the head. Except that they’re not!!

Brandy Cluster

10th June 2020 at 1:20 am

Yes, it’s pretty confronting when your pet ideology is actually authoritarianism the world has seen many thousands of times before.

Dodgy Geezer

17th June 2020 at 2:02 pm

“The title alone is incredibly tedious….”

How anyone can watch a play entitled ‘The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’ I really don’t know…

john Coldwell

3rd June 2020 at 12:07 pm

Brendan – Totally agree re free speech. BUT. Free speech should sometimes come with a warning. During lockdown the missus and I started watching Game of Thrones. We’re at the end of series 3. And Dave Rubin goes and gives away the ending!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

L Strange

3rd June 2020 at 9:52 am

Good chat.

Dominic Straiton

2nd June 2020 at 8:23 pm

What did the the Romans ever give us apart from ……you know the drill…. but apart from that they showed us that you can have a multi racial society, but you cannot have a multi cultural one. Humans are far to tribal for that. The left never have a clue what they are doing and their dumb ideas always lead to mass murder. Much better to submit to the ideas of a free people under the law (Crown). Cant be beaten.Ever.

Colin Winter

2nd June 2020 at 6:11 pm

When did Brits start using the word “Woke’, what happens if most adults in the U.K. never use the word and what exactly does it mean?

As an example, a 27 year old Spiked fan could call his 54 year old mum a “sad woke cow” and his mum could be like: “What are you wittering on about now, you unattractive, unmarried thicko?” and the son might have real difficulty explaining why his mum is a “sad woke cow”. His dad might then weigh in: “you really are thick as mince, lad.’

Remember Spiked readers: just because your father swears blind that your mum is “a nagging, evil cow ” it doesn’t mean she actually is.

Words matter, yeah?

I grew up in a “dysfunctional family” except it wasn’t that dysfunctional. I have witnessed my mum and dad use words to cause each other pain and observed how both manage to be very inaccurate when accusing the other of something. Passion voids reason. O level generation schooling and poverty = maybe a man who rarely reads and is ill equipped to properly pass coherent and articulate judgements on the woman he has been happily married to for 55 years. Maybe some days he just wakes up in a bad mood and wants to bad mouth his wife . And vice versa.

Tell me, Spiked readers, what did you once say, back in the 20th century, that an 18 year old thicko from Worthing couldn’t this very evening dismiss as “you and your stupid woke crap”.?

I can well remember the anger when Eastenders showed its first gay kiss – which Spiked readers were woke back in the day, and happy to defend it?

Spiked readers, many if you will be moaning about “woke cows” and “the woke brigade” for the rest of your lives, just as people who wrote to BBC Ceefax to complain about same sex couples in soaps back in the day are much older now and still moaning about something or other.

People love a good moan, yeah?

Define woke, if you like and if you can, but you’ll never stop “it”, just as you’ll never stop married couples calling each other nasty names while their kids watch in horror.

If you don’t fancy a proper job, you could maybe turn talking/moaning/fretting about “woke” into a career with a website, blog, YouTube channel and twitter feed.

Paul Donaldson

2nd June 2020 at 10:39 pm



3rd June 2020 at 12:02 am

BON has turned ‘wokeness’ (whatever the heck that means) and its destruction into his life’s work.

anna livia fleischschleifer

3rd June 2020 at 6:14 pm

What godforsaken parallel universe you live in? The phrase “woke” was straighfacedly broadcast by various gutterpress publications such as the Guardian etc. until fairly recently until they came to realise that it’s a slur by any sane standard.
As for the “27 year old” and his “mum”, it may have completely eluded you that it’s the 27-and-below year olds who are typically susceptible to wokery and not their mothers, due to the defunct education system.
For the record, i’m a middle-aged mother. I find wokery more repulsive than projectile diarrhoea,

“Define woke” – the term “woke” originated from american bliks who cannot grasp even the most basic English. Hope this helps.

Ad Dam

6th June 2020 at 12:38 pm

I grew up in a “dysfunctional family”

Yeah no shit? Probably best you keep your ramblings and hate to yourself.


2nd June 2020 at 4:59 pm

‘Wokeness’ is just something BON invented to keep himself in employment. He seems pretty obsessed with it.

Constantine Sotiriou

2nd June 2020 at 6:08 pm

Waiting for a Brendan O’Neill article to show up to nit pick every single day is also quite obsessive and frankly a waste of your time unless you’re being paid to do it?


3rd June 2020 at 12:01 am

Clearly, I don’t do that, so your reply was a complete waste of time.

Graham Southern

3rd June 2020 at 3:42 pm

Zenobia, you come across that way. Why do you spend so much time on a site you clearly dislike?

steve moxon

2nd June 2020 at 7:50 pm

How to make enemies of every ordinary person in the land: make the utterly ridiculous claim that the hatred against them that is ‘identity politics’ / ‘PC’ doesn’t exist.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.