Explaining Academia V: Sacred Science

Sacred Science. The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.

We’re getting to the heart of what makes the American college campus such a perfect SJW boot camp.  The previous four items dealt with behavior; this one concerns ideology.  And Leftism, SJWism, Maoism, Leninism, whatever you want to call it (they’re all basically the same thing) is an ideology.  It’s got an underlying philosophy that is consistent with itself.*  It’s even got a kernel of truth to it, as all successful ideologies do.

No, really.  We’ve observed here many times that just about every item on the Left’s agenda has some small basis in fact.  It’s a form of Gem reasoning, combined with a clown nose on/ clown nose off rhetorical strategy, that turns obvious (indeed, often trite) observations about human behavior into SJW dogma.  Like so: We’d all agree, I think, that if you kicked a nice, impeccably PC Millennial American through a stargate and set him up as an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, in no time he’d start strutting around like a god on earth.  Similarly, take a pharaoh, reverse-stargate him onto a modern American college campus, and pretty soon he and his nose ring would be down at the daily protest whining about safe spaces.**

Thus “proving” the Lefty dogma item of your choice: There’s no such thing as race, ____ is a social construction, blah blah blah.

Or not, of course, since everyone recognizes that behavior changes with social circumstances.  Move to Boston, and you’ll watch a lot of Red Sox games.  Move to the UK, and you’ll gain at least some appreciation for cricket.  But watch this: By “valorizing” the game of cricket, by linking it to the “tropes” of Whiteness and power, the Victorian cricket players who ran the Raj in the 19th century made “knowledge of cricket” into one of the behavior norms for aspiring members of the ruling caste — a conscious strategy, in other words, to co-opt the native middle class, who might otherwise realize their own indispensability to the Raj and conspire to overthrow it.  So successful was this tactic that cricket is the national sport of India to this day.

I used cricket because no Americans care about it, so the trick is obvious — of course the babus would learn to appreciate cricket, since that was their social group.  The pitch (or field or whatever you play cricket on) was the only place they could meet as equals and put aside all those race, class, and cultural divisions that separated them.  Playing cricket together was an attempt at social bonding, not some nefarious plot to Anglicize the natives.  But you sure can make it look underhanded, especially if you replace “cricket” with “speaking English,” “Christianity,” etc.  There’s an entire prestigious field of Cultural Studies called Subaltern Studies that is pretty much nothing but this.  Though they don’t know it — since, you know, they don’t read anything but Game of Thrones and Harry Potter — it’s where our SJWs get all that stuff about the raw authenticity of the colored man.

See what I mean?  Take an obvious observation about human behavior, sacralize it by assigning Whitey some nefarious motive, lay it out with 50 cent words that you have to memorize to pass the test, and soon enough you’ve got the One True Ring that explains everything.  And since to understand is to excuse, now you’ve got a license to riot every time your pwecious widdle feewings get bruised….

 

 

*Except in the Great Mystery that all successful religions have.  Christianity’s, of course, is “how can a God also be a man?”  Leftism’s is: “Man’s social being determines his consciousness… yet I, a man, have so far transcended my social being that I can say verily unto you, no man’s consciousness can transcend his social being.”

**Not really relevant, but the combination of pharaohs and SJWs reminds me of a fun old joke from the USSR:  A mummy, obviously a pharaoh, is discovered in the desert, but nobody can figure out who he is.  It becomes a matter of national pride, and all the Western nations have a crack at it, but Americans, British, French, they all fail to identify the mummy.  In desperation they turn to a team of Soviet Egyptologists, who go into the room where the mummy is stored.  Half an hour later they come out and make their pronouncement:  “It’s Ramses XXVI.”  “How did you figure it out?” the entire scientific community asks.  “He confessed of his own accord, the bastard!”

Explaining Academia IV: Confession

Part 3 here.

Probably the most famous commie brainwashing tactic is the struggle session.  Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution raised this to an art form:

Panchen_Lama_during_the_struggle_(thamzing)_session_1964

Lifton’s Totalism and the Psychology of Thought Reform focuses on the subjects of struggle sessions — POWs who have their personalities broken down and rebuilt, like the Manchurian Candidate.  And while that’s certainly effective, it’s inefficient to individually “struggle” each thoughtcriminal.  Thus, the struggle session’s goal isn’t to break down the individual target (although that’s great if it happens); it’s to reinforce orthodoxy in the group doing the struggling.  Our innate need for consistency — or fear of cognitive dissonance, however you want to see it — all but guarantees that if we hurl abuse at someone in the name of a cause, we’ll come to believe in that cause ourselves.

There’s an entire genre of reeducation camp lit that has endless examples.  Note that they’re almost entirely Asian — since the gulag system was an essential part of the Soviet economy, they pretty much dropped the “reform” part of reform-through-labor.  The Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese kept it, though, and refined it on both their own people and captured American personnel.  If you have a strong stomach, check out The Aquariums of Pyongyang, Prisoner of Maoor any one of many American POW memoirs from Vietnam (e.g. Five Years to Freedom).  The common thread is that these men survived being “struggled” with their personalities intact, despite horrific abuse.  Their fellow prisoners, however, often did not.

This is why college kids are always on the lookout for new witches to burn, new offenses to punish.  It’s certainly not to make the campus “safer,” “more inclusive,” or whatever else they say their motives are.  Check this out, for instance.  I can guarantee you that an Evergreen College professor named Weinstein is as liberal as they come, and his college president agrees with the protestors in every particular.  And yet, in true Red Guard style, they threaten the prof’s life and even force the President to put his arms down while speaking to them.  There’s not a dime’s worth of difference, ideologically, between anyone in that room… and yet, physical violence is threatened by screaming-mad Maolings.  They’re not struggling President Bridges, as he already agrees with them.  He can’t “confess” to any counterrevolutionary crimes, because he hasn’t committed any.  The point of his “confession” — and he will confess to something, if only “holding his arms out in a racist manner” — is to reinforce the protestors’ orthodoxy.

It doesn’t take much.  Often a campus-wide email blast, even a tangential one, is enough.  If you haven’t been on campus lately, you probably don’t know that every college in America has at least one, and usually several, LGBTQWhatever clubs, promoting “safe spaces,” “take back the night” marches, and “awareness,” endless “awareness.”  Trust me, y’all — everyone on campus is as “aware” of this madness as it’s possible to be, and actionable “hate” incidents are so rare that the ones that happen are invariably pulled off by grievance groups themselves.  These clubs’ point isn’t to actually do anything, in other words — by simply spreading the word, by emailing the entire .edu address book with yet another “awareness week,” they’re conducting a low-level struggle session.  Police your thoughts, these emails say, or we’ll do it for you.  (If you actually go to one of these events, you’ll see the same six people over and over and over; only their hair colors and piercing configurations change).

Explaining Academia: Mystical Manipulation

Part I here.

Mystical Manipulation. The manipulation of experiences that appears spontaneous but is, in fact, planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority, spiritual advancement, or some exceptional talent or insight that sets the leader and/or group apart from humanity, and that allows reinterpretation of historical events, scripture, and other experiences. Coincidences and happenstance oddities are interpreted as omens or prophecies.

Here’s a fairy tale: 30-ish A.D, Roman authorities in Palestine execute yet another in a long line of rabble-rousing, apocalypse-preaching mystics.  But this time they botch the job somehow, because reports quickly begin to circulate that the guru is still alive.  His followers, though, insist that the mystic actually raised himself from the dead — as he said he would — thus fulfilling all the prophecies about him and proving all his claims.

Most of that actually happened, as proven by sources any reasonable historian would accept.  The kicker is the guru’s followers’ claim, that the mystic actually did rise from the dead.  Because that claim is so implausible, we immediately discount it… but because his followers seem so damn sure, we start looking for alternatives: He was in a coma.  The Roman authorities thought he was dead when they took him off the cross, but he was still just barely alive, and recovered.  The disciples found a convincing lookalike.  Mass hysteria.  Whatever — we accept that something like the Resurrection actually happened, just not the thing itself.

Which is an at least superficially plausible account of Christianity’s origins, and, since the appeal of its message is obvious, is thus a superficially plausible account of Christianity’s subsequent career.  Most of us “know” lots of intellectual and cultural history that way — e.g. you probably memorized something like “the Romantic movement was a backlash against the Industrial Revolution” without thinking about it too much.  If you’re not a believer, Fox Mulder’s motto is good enough — they wanted to believe, so they did, on whatever grounds did the trick at the time.*

Here’s another fairy tale: in 1517, the Western world was being trampled under the two oppressive boots of The Church and Feudalism.  Combined, they stifled free thought, free expression, and, most importantly, the free movement of goods and gold.  So when Martin Luther posted up his famous Theses, merchants everywhere seized upon their revolutionary potential to overthrow both the Church and its enabler, Feudalism (remember, the Church owned up to half the land in most kingdoms).  From then on, money and reform went hand in hand — Capitalism created Protestantism; dialectically, Protestantism created Capitalism.

This, too, is a superficially plausible account of the origins of the Early Modern world.  To take one of endless examples, it seems pretty suspicious that the guys leading the charge to overthrow and execute Charles I — an old-school Divine Right monarch if ever there were one — just happened to be both Puritans and petit bourgeois.  See also the Huguenots, the Plymouth Colony, etc. — nobody drives a harder bargain than a guy who thinks we’re all damned to hell.

Again — superficially plausible.  Problem is, unlike Christianity, Marx’s whole schmear doesn’t rely on a physical impossibility (for those who went to college after about 1990, or who skipped class before, that whole Capitalism/Protestantism thing is Kapital 101).  Saying credo quia absurdum doesn’t get you any social cachet – this is the much likelier response, plus loads of crippling self doubt on a lot of sleepless nights.  Reducing the vast sweep of human thought to “the needs of Capital,” however, makes you sound smart, or at least college educated, to people who have been trained to regard polysyllabic gobbledygook as profundity — that is, any graduate of the American school system in the past 50 years.  And since nearly all of us forget, nearly always,  that correlation is not causation, the fact that lots of merchants were Puritans makes us behave as if the desire to make a buck caused Puritanism, or vice versa.  We ignore all the Puritans who weren’t merchants (the vast majority), all the merchants who weren’t Puritans (ditto), and all the angst Puritan merchants themselves had over their lifestyles (cf. Max Weber, above, and the Salem Witch Trials).  “Capital” doesn’t do anything, because it can’t — capital-C “Capital” is historians’ shorthand for the outcome of a lot of interrelated but autonomous processes, not some mysterious Force that arranges people like chess pieces to accomplish its mysterious designs.

Mystical manipulation, see?  Because Protestantism, the consolidation of national states, a rapid rise in literacy, the expansion of international trade, a revolution in military tactics, and a zillion other things were all happening at the same time, and because you need money for all of them, it not only doesn’t sound absurd to say “Capitalism” caused them all, it actually sounds correct.  And because of that, the guy who says it sounds like a genius.  And because of that, that guy’s disciples start furiously spinning their rationalization hamsters to come up with canon-consistent explanations for all the stuff the guru got wrong — which is to say, the vast majority of it.

And, of course, if you disagree with me, I’ll flunk your term paper.

 

 

*Not being an ancient historian or a Christian apologist, I’d be curious to know if there were any other resurrection claims in the ancient world.  If you assume Christianity is just a myth, James Frazier-style, then yeah, there’s Osiris, Orpheus returning from the underworld, etc.  But did anyone, anywhere, ever claim that about a man?  Christianity spread by word of mouth from people who unquestionably existed, and who personally saw Jesus, before and after.  Saying that Christ was transformed into an Osiris figure after his death won’t hold, unless you also claim that the Apostles were also suffering from that specific delusion, immediately after the crucifixion.  I seem to recall that there are lots of references to sorcerers who claimed to be able to raise the dead, Witch of Endor-style, but no references to any individual so raised walking around in the sun.

Explaining Academia: Milieu Control, Part I

Milieu control is a basic mind-control tactic.  Severely restrict the environment, and you limit the mental world of its inhabitants.  Robert Jay Lifton’s Mind Control and the Psychology of Totalism is still the best primer on how this is done.  He identifies eight factors for successful “brainwashing.”  Lifton’s subjects were American POWs from the Korean War and former Chinese labor camp inmates, but stop me if this sounds familiar:

Milieu Control: This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.

Mystical Manipulation. The manipulation of experiences that appears spontaneous but is, in fact, planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority, spiritual advancement, or some exceptional talent or insight that sets the leader and/or group apart from humanity, and that allows reinterpretation of historical events, scripture, and other experiences. Coincidences and happenstance oddities are interpreted as omens or prophecies.

Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.

Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members’ “sins,” “attitudes,” and “faults” are discussed and exploited by the leaders.

Sacred Science. The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.

Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clichés, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.

Doctrine over person. Members’ personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

Dispensing of existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group’s ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.

Sounds like “How to Build an SJW in Eight Easy Steps,” doesn’t it?  American colleges have spent the past half-century perfecting it.

The first trick, that starts even before you arrive on campus, is “mystical manipulation.”  Obviously it doesn’t take a prison camp somewhere in the jungle to control a milieu.  In their long march through the institutions, our Gramscian Leftists have successfully co-opted the “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah” going-off-to-college thing, using the form while subverting the content.

Think about it for a sec: Where are you likely to find the most “offensive” team nicknames?  For as hot and bothered as our mini-Maos get over the Washington Redskins, there’s no comparable outcry over the Fighting Illini (Indians), the Hoosiers (yokels), the Fighting Irish, the Jayhawks (abolitionist guerrillas), the Seminoles, the Aztecs, and all the other horribly racist mascots and team names out there.  Some of that can of course be attributed to college kids’ vast, cosseted ignorance (I myself had no idea who Francis Redding Tillou Nicholls was), but some of the others are pretty obvious.  Ditto campus traditions like the University of Iowa’s famous pink visitors’ locker room.  This gets a little squib in the sports news every fall, as feminist professors and students stage their annual protest.  But it never gets changed, even though football is as Patriarchal as it gets and Iowa, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and the rest of the corn-country bolsheviks, prides itself on its progressive bona fides.  The answer is pretty simple: love them or hate them, the act of either loving or hating them is one hell of a team-builder.  Nobody who didn’t go there has ever heard of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, but I promise you that every current and former student has a very strong opinion on whether or not the “Vaquero” mascot is offensive.  And that’s not even considering all the “offensive” high school nicknames and mascots out there.  Grade school “educators” and administrators are the most PC people on the planet.  Don’t you think the Midgets and the Arabs would be changed in a heartbeat in any other context?  It’s by design.

Our declawed modern adolescence plays right into their hands.  Teenagerhood is a frantic quest for an identity.  That’s what all those hokey high school rituals used to be about.  You get some girl to wear your letter jacket, and you write her name on your book covers, not because you’re the love of each other’s life, and certainly not to stake a claim or whatever the feminists would have you believe.  It’s an identity claim: I am the type of person who can get a girl to wear my letter jacket / get a boy to write my name on his book covers.  And you go to prom together, and you have “your song” that you have to stop and kiss whenever it plays on the radio, and all that other gloopy Leave It to Beaver crap.  And so too with any of the other identities high school kids used to put on and take off, like the clothes that marked them — “goth,” “stoner,” “preppie,” whatever.  It didn’t matter that you didn’t actually like The Cure all that much, or if your girlfriend lived in Canada; everyone pretended to believe your identity claim, because you were pretending to believe theirs, and that’s how you got the mental, emotional, and social tools to actually construct a real identity for yourself when you got out on your own.

Cultural Marxism killed all that.  Technology played its part, too — nobody has “their song” in the iTunes era — but mostly it was deliberate.  Now everyone gets a letter jacket and it’s some kind of hate crime to hold hands with someone of the opposite gender — if, of course, you still believe in such an outdated and hateful concept as “gender” — in a public place.  Nobody’s different and everyone’s the best at everything, as Principal Skinner put it.

So identity formation gets put off until college.  You start out as a Wolverine or a Tiger or a Banana Slug or whatever, but you end up a Social Justice Warrior.  You come to college decked out in all the gear, your dorm is festooned with the mascot, the streets of the town are all named after famous alumni, and every business seems to cater just to you (complete with “welcome to campus!” specials).  The word “townie” enters your vocabulary, and if you’re in a big city, you learn that the surrounding area is a no-go zone (the “townies” in that situation invariably being Vibrant and Diverse, but in a non-celebrated way).  Nobody learns the fight song or wears the freshman beanie anymore, but thanks to campus-specific social media, you learn right away, and in great depth, what it means to be a Directional Tech Fightin’ Whatever.  You’re already separated from you hometown, your high school, your parents, and your friends (even your best buds, and especially if they went to hated rival Regional State).  You’re primed and ready, in other words, to believe anything your indoctrinator tells you.

And then you go to class.

Part II soon.

 

The Only Four Words You Need

To ace any Humanities class.

Now, I’m not saying you should go to college.  I’m on record, in fact, saying that college is the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the American public.  But if you feel you must go, here’s all you need to ace any class less rigorous than Chemistry:

  • discourse
  • intersectionality
  • reify
  • resistance.

Discourse is the subject of your essay.  Everything is a discourse (usage note: A discourse.  Always a noun, never a verb). You probably think “discourse” means “talking about something,” and that’s kinda right, but you’ve gotta expand your mind, maaaan (professors smoke a lot of pot).  Take “racism.”  While there are lots of actions that most people would consider overt racism, there aren’t nearly enough of them to fill up all the conference papers profs need to get tenure. So they simply make things up, using “discourse” as a get-out-of-evidence-free card.  Throw in a little “discourse,” and you can talk about racist hair.  Yes, racist hair.  Hair styles, too, are a discourse — they help reify (see below) what it means to be Black.  Thus a white guy who wears dreadlocks is appropriating (another useful buzzword) the tropes (ditto) of “blackness.”  This is actually the preferred technique: Nobody in their right mind would type a sentence like “the discourse of race extends even, or perhaps most crucially, into the realm of hairstyles.”  But that’s the kind of counter-intuitive nonsense that flutters professorial hearts.  E.g:

Do you not understand that locs are an intensely political statement and that black people – especially black women – are constantly policed about their hair?

Tone it down a bit — “discourse,” after all, has a connotation of sweet reasonableness — but learn to talk like this.  You’ll definitely want to throw around phrases like “political statement” and “policed,” the more the better.

An intense political statement, perhaps inadequately policed.

An intense political statement, perhaps inadequately policed.

Intersectionality.  Andrew Sullivan, of all people, has a pretty good short definition of this:

neo-Marxist theory that argues that social oppression does not simply apply to single categories of identity — such as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, etc. — but to all of them in an interlocking system of hierarchy and power.

You don’t really need a definition, though.  You know how it’s always some white girl doing Wymyn’s Studies at a place like Oberlin, who claims to be the Most Oppressed Person Ever?  You ask her how that can possibly be, given that, you know, her Daddy can afford to send her to Oberlin to study something catastrophically useless for five years at $60 large per?  And she’ll reply — if she deigns to reply — something along the lines of “because mumble mumble reasons?”  That’s intersectionality.  Ditto with American Blacks, who have the MOPE act down to an art form, despite living lives on the public dime that are the envy of at least 75% of the human population.  Whitey, of course, is keeping them down, because mumble mumble reasons.  Replace “mumble mumble reasons” with “intersectionality” and it’s all good in the ivory tower.  It’s how you claim victimhood while living the kind of life an Ottoman satrap would find decadent.

Reify means “to make real” or “to make into an object.” Thing-ification, if you will.  It’s an old school Marxist term d’art (literary French for “bullshit”) that has been repurposed for the Pop Culture Studies crowd.  Like its sometime synonym “instantiazation,” reify pulls concepts down from the realm of abstract theory and makes them into “artifacts” (another useful buzzword).  An example: “Eminem’s depiction of an abusive relationship in his latest video reifies patriarchal gender roles among lower-class whites.”  Translated into English, this means: “watch Eminem’s latest video, turn into a wife beater.”  The variant you’re most likely to encounter these days is the dreaded “male gaze,” which literally — literally!! — objectifies women.

Resistance.  Different from #TheResistance, which apparently makes Donald Trump feel bad by tweeting mean things about him to your six followers, resistance, in academic parlance, is what good people do when a discourse reifies something that makes them experience feelbad… which, of course, everything does, because intersectionality.  Literally — literally!! — anything a MOPE does is resistance if you can get a conference paper out of it.  I’m not kidding — the field of Subaltern Studies, for example, is chock-a-block with dense polysyllabic jargon excusing the kind of conduct among brown people that would get, say, a Vichy police chief strung up from the nearest lamppost.  If you simply existed under the heel of the colonizer, and you left enough evidence for a prof to pad it out to 20 pages, congratulations, you’re resisting.

Now all you have to do is put these four terms together, which is a snap.  Find something that nobody could possibly consider objectionable — model railroading, say — and declare it a Major Social Justice Issue.  Like so:

An overwhelmingly white hobby, model railroading reifies the cis/het/pat assumption that only white male engineers are capable of sustaining a complex iterative system in a bounded context.  The most problematic discourse of model railroading — the so called “Lionel vs. American Flyer” debate — puts minorities at risk by refusing to recognize the complex intersectionality of excluded peoples.  Resistance is overdue.

Final exam: What does that actually mean?*

 

*It’s a trick question, obviously.  It doesn’t mean anything, and was never intended to.  You just have to slip in the correct buzzwords in a superficially plausible way.  The Postmodern Essay Generator will get you 90% there; all you need to do is copy/paste its gibberish into a Word file, then find-and-replace with the four buzzwords described here, plus a few details from your lecture notes.  The best part is, you can recycle this exact same paper for all four years, changing only the superficial details and the section number.

That’ll be $45,000, please.

 

Reductio ad Leftism

Stacy McCain has some questions for the radical feminists:

Any skeptic must ask, why are the categories of “man” and “woman” political? Why is there a quasi-Marxist “class struggle” between men and women,” what does it mean to describe heterosexuality as an “economic system,” and what manner of “society” could exist without heterosexuality?

Let me take a stab at answering them.  Now, obviously these are rhetorical questions — the answer, as McCain notes in the very next sentence, is: “Wittig’s purpose is to destroy “society” as it exists.”  What I want to do here is explore some of the “thought” process behind this rhetorical strategy, because trust me, your kids are getting this in college.

There’s a nugget of truth in every Big Idea Leftist academics (BIRM) have farted out over the last half century… so I guess technically it should be “sharted out,” but whatever, point is, all academic theorizing is a variation of Jon Stewart’s “clown nose on / clown nose off” rhetorical strategy.  Stewart makes some asinine fanservice remark, and if he gets too much blowback for being an obvious partisan hack, he says “oh lighten up, it was just a joke,” and points to his smirking fanbois as evidence.  If he doesn’t get called on it, though, he and all his fanbois repeat it over and over as if it’s a serious bit of political analysis, which enables them to claim that they’re Smarter and Better Informed Than You even though they get all their profound mindthoughts from a Comedy Central bobblehead.

Academia works the same way.  They like to pretend that everything, and I do mean everything, is words and nothing but words.  Which is tautologically true: Since we can only think in words, words are necessarily what we think in.  So what happens if we change the words?

No, seriously.  Maybe you weren’t a huge nerd as a teenager, but trust me, this stuff is catnip to a certain kind of dork who thinks he’s way smarter than he actually is.  Normies see you calling a rabbit a smeerp and laugh, because hey, it’s still just a rabbit.  But playing with words does change your perceptions.  Consider these definitions of “human being:”

  • A human being is a rational animal, the only known rational animal in the universe.
  • A human being is a great ape, halfway in size between a chimpanzee and a gorilla.

Both equally true, but oh what a difference!  Clown nose off, this is persuasion, a selective presentation of facts towards a rhetorical end.  Clown nose on, and in comes the unstated but lethally important qualifier, the suggestion of which is the whole point of the exercise:  “A human being is nothing but a great ape.”

So the tautology

  • “as we can only think in words, we think in words”

becomes, clown nose on,

  • “as we can only think in words, words mediate our interaction with reality”

which with the addition of some baggy pants, floppy shoes, and a seltzer horn, becomes

  • “as words mediate our interaction with reality, words create our reality.”

which of course is logically equivalent to

  • “reality itself is nothing but words.”

And boom, you’re a Social Justice Warrior.*  My preferred pronouns are “xyr” and “jermajesty.”

dipkoukmvc8uryknny8f

Should anyone challenge you on this… well, since you usually only hear stuff like this in the academy, what you do is fail ’em and report ’em to the Dean for hate speech.  But if someone on the Board of Regents, say, asks you — pink slip in hand — if you’re really teaching undergrads that reality itself is nothing but words, you take the clown nose off and say oh no, of course not, we’re only teaching that words influence perception.

And that’s how you get feminists asserting that “man” and “woman” are political, that there’s a class struggle between them, et cetera ad nauseam.  It’d make your eyes bleed to do this for every item on the list, but here’s a brief e.g.:

“Masculinity,” say, is both DEscriptive and PREscriptive.  When we define behavior X as “masculine,” we’re saying “X is what real men do;” at the same time, we’re also saying “if you want to be considered a real man, do X.”  And who is this “we”?  Why, the community of language-users, of course.  And since that community changes, the sense of the word also changes — the Vikings had a word for “masculine,” no doubt, but it meant something very different than the English word.  Which means notions like “masculinity” are (nothing but) “social constructions;” they change as society changes.  And how does society change?  Via politics, of course, since “politics” is defined as the interplay of personal preferences in the public sphere.  Thus words like “man” and “woman” are, at bottom, political categories.  You and I and my prison gang voted; you’re the woman.

Feel free to take the final exam: If social life is nothing but economics — which follows, clown nose on, from the observation that people exchange stuff for other stuff — you should easily be able to deduce why heterosexuality is an economic system, and thus explain the quasi-Marxist class war between the sexes.

Yes, they really do think like this.  They have to — without the notion that life itself is nothing but words, Leftism will always founder on Reality’s rocks.  I’ve given you the academic version, but you can see it everywhere these days.  It’s why the Cult will never give up on the idea that Putin hacked the election, for example — if he didn’t, then the American people really did prefer Trump to their terrible, horrible, no good very bad candidate Hillary, which is unpossible.  So they’ll keep repeating it until it’s true, and it will be true — until the last remnants of the USA are overrun by superintelligent apes, it’ll be a true fact that everyone knows Putin hacked the election for Trump.  Because if you can just get enough people to repeat if for long enough, reality itself will conform to your magic, magic words, because after all, since we can only think in words, words mediate our interaction with….

QED.

 

 

*The Six Readers will undoubtedly recognize this as The Gem, aka The Worst Argument in the World.  I seriously can’t recommend David Stove enough to y’all.

Explaining Academia: Michel Foucault

The “Explaining Academia” series exists for two reasons: 1) to show you what a massive scam college is, and 2) as a supervillain origin story for Leftist chestnuts. Today’s nonsense about “toxic masculinity,” and trans-whateverism, and proclaiming oneself narwhalsexual and calling oneself “xyr,” for instance…. all this was being hashed out in gender studies courses a decade ago. So let’s take a trip in the wayback machine, to the late 1960s. Groovy, baby!

austinpowers_0Believe it or not, there once was a time when a thinker’s personal life had nothing to do with his ideas… but that time was not the Sixties, and Michel Foucault is one of the main reasons why.  Michel Foucault was a queer Frog philosopher who liked rough sex.  Had that not been the case, his infantile Nietzsche-lite act would never have seen the light of day.

Turns out that whole “rejecting bourgeois morality” thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Foucault, and the kind of people who read Foucault, weren’t satisfied with the free love they were getting in the Summer of Love (as good little Marxists, they’d rejected the capitalist axiom that things are worth what you pay for them).  And since nothing can ever be a liberal’s fault, they concluded that there’s something wrong with sexuality itself. 

So along comes Foucault, to tell us that sex, like morality, culture, and everything else, is nothing but power.  All human interactions are merely transactions, and since no two individuals will ever be equal*, all transactions are, at bottom,** exploitation.  There is no “sex,” not really, and there’s surely no “love” — there is only Domination, Submission, and Resistance.

Like every harebrained idea the ivory tower has farted out in the last half-century, Foucault’s “power / resistance” stuff is trivially true.  If you have something I want, you have “power” over me — you can set the terms of the exchange.  If I pay your price, I “submit.”  But if the price is too high, I will search for other ways to get it — I will “resist.”  Of course, all this talk of “price” and “exchange” makes the whole deal look a lot like capitalism…..

….because it IS capitalism, squeezed into gimp-suit jargon.  I was a bit too young for the singles’ bar scene, but this is exactly how the world’s Kate Milletts described dating back in the Disco Era: commodity exchange, and isn’t it just awful how men expect sex after shelling out a week’s paycheck on dinner and drinks?  That they got this notion from a guy who’d give Andrew Sullivan’s RawMuscleGlutes a vigorous spanking tells you everything you need to know about Second-Wave Feminism, but that’s irrelevant.  The point is that only a Cheeto-dusted basement dweller would read this stuff and think yes, this is a deep and meaningful way of describing human interaction.  Which is why it took academia by storm.

And once you start looking at the world this way, it gets harder and harder to stop.  Foucault didn’t; he went full retard, arguing that modern penitentiaries, like modern medical centers, trick us into participating in our own slavery.  We don’t draw-and-quarter people anymore, says Foucault, because early modern governments so arranged the “technologies of power” that we internalize the ruling elite’s expectations for us, making gaudy public torture unnecessary.***  Which is clever, I guess, until you start asking who is employing these “micro-physics of power;” who came up with the codes, and, most importantly, why?  This is the “Nietzsche-lite” of Foucault’s infantile Nietzsche-lite act.  Also the “infantile” part.  Ask any teenager: The reason your parents say they have all those rules is to make you a better person, but really it’s to make things easier on them, and really it’s just because they like torturing kids.  Which is why they’re literally Hitler.

The most interesting thing, in my view, is that once again we have the Left reducing the entire vast spectacle of human history to ONE thing… and then ignoring the obvious implications of that one thing.  Let’s say Foucault is right, and all that stuff we call “culture” — religion, the family, honor, patriotism, heterosexuality, whatever — really are just masks for raw power.  Ok, so…. we’re supposed to let “Progressives” shame us into doing what they want?  The proper response to a Progressive charge of “rayciss” is, according to Progressives’ own philosophy, “so?  Racism is a social construction.  You’re only accusing me of it to subordinate me.  I choose resistance. Pistols at dawn, motherfucker.”

If Foucault is right, then there’s no possible end to the Hobbesian war of all against all, because the social contract is just another “technology of power.”  And just as Nietzsche — raw power’s original apostle — was a half-blind syphilitic, so his ape was a power bottom who died of AIDS, and so his apes in academia are noodle-armed pajamaboys and trigglypuffs.

Do y’all seriously want to keep claiming that all is power, power, nothing but power?

 

*If you want to say that this is why Lefties are all-in on group rights — that many of them figure the only way they’ll get laid is to equalize the collective value between themselves and potential partners — go nuts.

**heh heh…”bottom.”  You really can’t avoid double entendres like this when talking about guys like Foucault, even if you tried… which is why I don’t bother trying.

***You don’t need to be an early modernist or a queer Frog philosopher who likes it rough to come up with a zillion better explanations for this fact.  Common sense works just fine.  Could it be, perhaps, that the reason there were so many capital crimes on the books in the pre-modern age was that law enforcement was pretty much nonexistent?  Half the people in a given country didn’t know their king’s name; do you think they spent much time memorizing the penal code?  If the duke actually caught a lawbreaker red-handed, he’d have every incentive to get medieval on him, pour encourager les autres.

 

“Academia Discriminates Against Women”

so says some feminist professor (so says Stacy McCain).  I have a question:

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

No, wait, make that

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That is literally the funniest thing I’ve ever heard a feminist say.

Ok, ok, if I’m being honest, it’s only the second-funniest.  The funniest thing was way back in grad school, when the chicks in our department — who were the clear majority of our department — started bitching that women didn’t have enough leadership positions.  So, as always, the PTB convened a blue-ribbon commission, staffed by these chicks themselves…

….which found out that not only did women hold the majority of leadership positions in the department, they held every single blessed one of them.  The report stated this….

….and in the very next sentence started bitching about how the disproportionate burden of occupying all these leadership roles was keeping them from pursuing their training, thus holding them back from completing their degrees.

You really can’t make this stuff up.  You really can’t.

Strength is a Social Construction

At Vox Day’s “Game” site, we see this:

Chris Lawrence:  What they’re gonna do now, is… looking at better ways to train women to do these push-ups [sic].  There is a feeling that from the time they are girls, girls don’t do push-ups, even women who workout religiously and are very physically fit are not working those kind of muscles and trying to build up that bigger upper body by doing pull-ups.  So, what they want to do is go in and really teach women better ways to train to do this particular exercise.

Ahhh, academia.  Speaking of “Game,” I remember one night in grad school, on a… can’t really call it a “blind date,” since nobody does that anymore.  But whatever.  She was annoying, I was drinking in a vain effort to make her less annoying, and at some point I just said “screw it” and gave her both barrels…

She’d said something about how athletic performance is a social construction.  I said something to the effect of, “Bullshit.  I may not be the strongest guy in grad school, but I promise you I’m the strongest girl.  I’m the fastest girl, too, even though I’ve got lousy knees and haven’t jogged a step in about a decade.  Look around — this is a grad student bar.  I’ll take any chick here in a foot race or a bench press contest, right now, for $100 cash.  You in?”

Two things to note here: First, the Game Prime Directive is “don’t be like every other chump.”  The idea that men are stronger and faster than women is so obvious it doesn’t merit mentioning out in the real world, even in this, the year of Our Lord 2016.  But people who live in the ivory tower have spent decades training not to know it, and if their folks are academics, too — you know it’s largely a guild profession, right? — it’s possible they’ve never known it.  This may have been the first time she’d heard it expressed.  That part of “Game” works just fine.

Second: This was ten, twelve years ago.  As I remarked to Nate Winchester the other day in an offline, bizarre ivory tower dogmas of such breathtaking stupidity that you’d weep in your whiskey to hear them are tomorrow’s rotten chestnuts.  This whole “strength is a social construction” thing was well advanced among the tenured ten years ago, and now some nobody on NPR or whatever is trying to apply it to the Marines.

And the pace is accelerating.

PUAs Discover Stupid Professor Tricks

Chateau Heartiste is a very entertaining “Game” blog, which has just discovered one of the Stupid Professor Tricks.  On substituting various euphemisms for the word “race:”

What is it with lunatic libs and their pathological compulsion to deny the reality of race? “Red” and “blue” are social constructs to describe real world differences in colors, but that doesn’t mean the visible light spectrum is imaginary or a tool of the oppressive White patriarchy. All words are literally social constructs — labels created by social humans — to describe real world phenomena. Leftoids can call it “ancestry”, “population locations”, “human migration patterns” or “geography-based groups” that “correlate” with “sociological concepts of race”, but it’s all just legerdemain-slash-poopytalk meaning the same as race.

Times like these make the whole Explaining Academia series worthwhile.  I often wonder if anyone even cares about this nonsense…. but then some of it slips out into the real world.  So, for the benefit of PUAs everywhere:

In academese, social construction means “an incontrovertible, easily observed part of Reality that we wish to deny, for fun and profit.”  You’ll notice that, say, Marxism is never referred to as a “social construction,” though it’s the very definition of a community-based reality.  Nor are conservative, Right wingnationalist, or any of their synonyms, though again, they are entirely the creation of social groups, for social purposes — every theology requires its devil, after all.   Ditto capitalism, for the same reason — if it weren’t empirically real, they’d too obviously be tilting at windmills.

But race? Gender? You can’t get tenure saying “boys are boys and girls are girls,” and the ivory tower would be about as diverse as a Huffington Post editorial board meeting if they admitted that race is a real thing.  Thus, they are “social constructions.”