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