October 2, 2012

Speaking of the anti-intellectual malpractice, malfeasance, and maladictions of “intellectuals”

— And yes, we were — try this on for size:  David Thompson, expanding on a Theodore Dalrymple essay, ends his post this way:

The eliminationist zeal of much leftist rhetoric has been noted here more than once. Some of you will have seen this recent pantomime of activism – invoking “free speech” as a right to silence others – and its censorious consequences. Apparently, when the subways “belong to the 99%” no-one will be offended. Because controversy will not be allowed and then, hey, we’ll be happy. Some readers may remember the experiments in thought correction at Delaware University, where an acclaimed and coercive programme of “social justice education” was described by its proponents as a “treatment” – one intended to “leave a mental footprint on [students’] consciousness.” Others may recall Tufts University’s perversely named Islamic Awareness Week, which led to institutional censorship and denial of reality, with factual statements – none of which were challenged – being outlawed as “harassment.”

And let’s not forget the equally progressive efforts to shape young minds at Queen’s University, which decided that students’ private lunchtime discussions were in need of monitoring by hired eavesdroppers called “dialogue facilitators.” Eavesdroppers whose uninvited “interventions” would “encourage discussion of social justice issues” and “issues of social identity, power and privilege,” as defined by them and whether welcome or not. “Positive spaces and mindsets” would of course be created. If that doesn’t sound sufficiently creepy and absurd, take five minutes to read how this “facilitation” was supposed to happen. Then ask yourself how you might respond to such monitoring and linguistic intervention. And note that, when challenged on their intentions, these champions of “social justice” were all too willing to lie. For the greater good, no doubt.

This rickety barge is kept afloat by the kindness of strangers.

The inversion of language — a considered and intentional borrowing of notions amenable to Enlightenment values and important to their defense and upkeep that are then deconstructed or resignified to mean (or perform like) their referential and conventional opposites — is part of an intentional effort to affect and institutionalize a leftist epistemology, replacing that epistemology born from the age of reason and carried through by those thinkers who informed our Founding, the very set of kernel assumptions that provide for and protect a free, autonomous people against the designs of Utopian masterminds bent on “benevolent” tyranny.  “Fairness” is thus recast as result-oriented, with outcomes the operable variable where opportunity once stood.  “Tolerance” is recast as state-approved free speech, with “intolerance,” as determined by the government and the predominant populist culture, created as a new form of speech — hate speech — which new category of speech rests outside of the realm of protected speech; in such a way, the First Amendment, designed to protect unpopular speech and create an atmosphere wherein a marketplace of ideas sorted the wheat from the chaff, is completely subverted, replaced by a paradigm in which the wheat and chaff are both predetermined, and the chaff, being unhelpful to the necessary and righteous collection of wheat — to feed the “proper” thinking of citizen / subjects — is simply discarded before it need be dealt with.  For our own good!

Again:  it is not “fundamentally unserious,” as some of the less “puristy” GOP opinion leaders have argued, to understand precisely how it is that language is put to work informing the very way you come to believe what it is you come to believe.  To the contrary, it’s vital.

And yet many on the right simply ignore it, preferring to rage against a media that (from my perspective) cannot possibly act any differently than it does; as well as rage against an ever-expanding leftism that (again from my perspective) is inexorably and inevitably poised, at the institutionalized level, to devour the Enlightenment assertions and assumptions that provide the justifications for our “natural rights” and liberties.

Language is the key.  And a fierce anti-intellectualism — tied to a sophistic antifoundationalism that has become the de facto “philosophy” of the contemporary academic left — is now considered the height of intellectualism, providing the markers for who has adopted the proper philosophical mindset to usher in the coming socialist / liberal fascist Utopia.

A major battle needs to take place on that field.  But sadly, very few on “our” side are capable of waging such a battle, or are even interested in doing so.  They don’t know what they don’t know, and frankly, ranting, or closely analyzing polls seems to sell better from a traffic perspective.

Until one day, losing more slowly becomes lost entirely.

We have the tools to win.  What we lack is the will truly to fight.  Too bad, so sad.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:17pm

Comments (20)

  1. JG, have you experience with this? I noticed it years ago but it didn’t bubble to the surface with enough force to put a label on it.

    I find it a particularly insidious and annoying way — in that it’s employed in the most sanctimonious ways; such as the entire NPR network — to, having sold the progg product via academe and press monopoly, saturate those channels with tainted content and then loop the inertia of all this consumption back to the input to reinforce the narrative. The sheeple nod and they nod and they make judgements based on thin air.

    Like I linked to Prager in another thread today, this is tantamount to religion. And religious zeal and intolerance we know from history is habitually employed by the left to swing left into oblivion.

  2. “fundamentally unserious” = blamed if I know what he’s talking about, and I’m sure as hell not going to display my ignorance by providing a cogent rebuttal.

  3. A major battle needs to take place on that field.

    It need not even be a major battle; any resistance at all would have a profound effect. A handful of people infiltrating the leftist media echo chamber could do all kinds of damage to their carefully constructed (and consequently fragile) narrative. One viral YouTube video deconstructing the deconstruction could sensitize a generation and jumpstart its deprogramming.

    The reason they move so energetically to marginalize and silence any dissent is because they know that their edifice cannot withstand any sort of serious scrutiny. The Emperor really is parading around stark naked, and so the courtiers are desperate to keep anyone from pointing it out and breaking the spell.

    It need not be a generations-long war, like the one the Left fought to debase the language and install themselves in positions of control. It need only be a wake-up call that’s too obvious and too loud to ignore. It’s really only a question of whether our neighbors wake up before the Gods of the Copybook Headings slap them across the face. If History serves, they’ll just bitch at us for nudging them, roll over, and go back to sleep ’til the house burns down around ’em. At least I’ll be able to look in the mirror and tell myself I tried.

  4. Wonder where Mona got that spray can of official NFL Color to squirt all over the joint? Maybe the real refs know.

    However that may be, “defend to the death” sure looks like it would entail something more than words — something more than dodging an official spray-can of NFL Pink, something bordering on a forearm shiver to the gob even.

  5. Good stuff, Squid.

  6. Squid’s onto it. Deconstruction, critical theory and all the claptrap which passes for Leftist foundational thinking is nothing but hall of mirrors. If everything is a ‘construct’, then so is everything they have to say. Turn the tables, I say.

    Because their murderous ideas ave left a mountain of corpses 100 million high, maybe we should decry everthing they say as an incitement and an affront to all those who’ve suffered under their bootheels. Something akin to white guilt should haunt every one of them for the support they’ve given — directly or indirectly — for these atrocities. The same sort of fear bien pensant Times readers and NPR listeners have of being thought racist.

  7. Further to Jeff’s post, ‘tolerance’ has morphed with increasing speed into an implied demand for “acceptance’, ‘approval’, ‘celebration’ , even ‘encouragement’.

    Failure to endorse approved thinking with sufficient zeal makes you an ‘against’ whomever or whatever is demanding acknowledgement (or genuflection). Just ask the Susan Komen Foundation or Chik-fil-A.

  8. Further to Jeff’s post, ‘tolerance’ has morphed with increasing speed into an implied demand for ‘acceptance’, ‘approval’, ‘celebration’ , even ‘encouragement’.

    It’s worse than that, because it’s a two-edged sword. Not only do they demand that you embrace that which formerly you needed only tolerate, but now they paint you as a full-throated supporter of any and every cause that you insist has a right to be heard and argued in good faith. Evidently, their vaunted liberal arts educations never mentioned Voltaire.

  9. We have the tools to win. What we lack is the will truly to fight.

    We have the tools, unfortunately, our fearless leader never saw a fight he couldn’t talk his way out of.

    (CBS News) Mitt Romney softened his stance on one of President Obama’s immigration directives allowing certain undocumented immigrant youth to stay in the U.S. legally.

    In an interview with The Denver Post Monday, Romney said he would not reverse an executive order issued by President Obama that would allow children of illegal immigrants to obtain a visa, permitting them to live and work in the U.S. legally for two years, if they meet certain criteria.

  10. And you know what? I’m kinda open to making some previsions for children of illegals that have grown up here. On an individual basis. Under a law Congress wrote and passed constitutionally.

    What really pisses me off is Romney is already shown he’s got no problem with Obama legislating via executive order. It appears Romney may find some use for such a maneuver during his presidency…

  11. JHoward, your link in the first comment immediately made me remember: “I can see Russia from my house”

  12. That’s not what he said, Lee. He didn’t say anything about the EO. He said visas already issued would not be yanked. CBS: Stupid or lying?

  13. When it’s CBS, the overlap is almost the entire Venn diagram.

  14. By golly you’re right! I’ll go ahead and call it a lie, unless Romney said something about continuing to issue the visa’s under the executive order, which wasn’t in a quote they gave.


  15. Squid:

    Let’s add ‘liberal arts educations’ to the list of words and phrases corroded beyond recognition by leftist newsspeak. ‘Cause they certainly never got the authentic version — you know, the one with all that dead-white-male-enlightenment-and-socratic-method patriarchal oppression stuff.


    No details, but I believe it’s Hannity.

  17. Yes, it’s Hannity. He says it’s from 2007.

  18. Media reaction to Obama’s other race speech: *Yawn.*