Get Ready for the Pillorying of Pence

If Trump leaves office prematurely for any reason, President Pence will immediately be denounced as far worse. In fact, it would happen before he even took office. In fact it’s already happening. That this is true is testament to the fundamentally unprincipled nature of the Left.

.. I have long concurred with many of the points the Left makes about Trump, and some of those points are becoming more salient by the day. He really does seem frighteningly erratic, unprepared, sloppy. It’s hard to believe he would provide reassuring leadership in the event of a foreign-policy crisis. And it’s possible he committed obstruction of justice with respect to James Comey’s investigation of Michael Flynn.

.. His promotion would make progressives reach for the old playbook: Attack as a dangerous theocrat who hates women, minorities, and gays.

.. Opposition to abortion, or even opposition to government funds being directed to the nation’s leading abortion provider, will be recast as posing a supreme danger to “women’s health.”

.. But Pence will be called even more abnormal because he deflects questions about evolution as beyond his pay grade.

.. the ludicrous attempt to tie the secular, non-moralizing Trump to the neo-Puritan misogynist dystopia imagined in the new TV series The Handmaid’s Tale will be recharged

.. Pence will be labeled an extremist for being part of the American Christian majority.

The Problem With Intersectional Feminsm

The concept of intersectionality was introduced into academic theory and social justice activism in the late 1980s by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School and founder of Critical Race Theory.

It gradually became the dominant social justice framework. Crenshaw opposed the mainstream liberalism of the time for its aim to look past categories of race, gender and sexuality, thereby levelling the playing field and enabling all people to succeed by their own abilities. She felt this neglected identity and identity politics which she argued to be personally and politically empowering.

.. “We all can recognize the distinction between the claims “I am Black” and the claim “I am a person who happens to be Black.” She advocates the former as positive, powerful and celebratory and rejects the latter as striving for a universality that is less likely to be productive.

.. In reality, women of color, the LGBT and disabled people are to be found along the whole range of the political spectrum and subscribe to a vast array of ideas, whilst intersectionality is decidedly left-wing and based on a very specific ideology

.. intersectionals see themselves as radical reformers of a liberalism which was too mainstream or too centrist.

.. The problem with positioning an ideology on the far-Left and claiming it to represent women, people of color, LGBTs and disabled people is that this requires all members of those groups to be far-Left which they simply aren’t.

.. Americans identifying as liberal reached a record high of 24% in 2015 in comparison to the conservative 38%. [1]

Britons are almost evenly divided between Left and Right. [2]

  • Women are generally somewhat more likely to be left-leaning than men [3] but very many are not.
  • 47% of African Americans identify as liberal and 45% as conservative. [4]
  • In the UK, the Conservative party claimed 33% of Black and Middle Eastern voters in comparison to Labour’s 52%, with Black Britons being most likely to vote Labour,
  • whilst among the Asian community, Hindus and Sikhs are more likely to vote Conservative and Muslims to vote Labour.[5]
  • British LGBTs are as likely to be right-wing as left-wing [6]
  • whilst American LGBTs are much more likely to be left-wing,[7] almost certainly because of the religious nature of the American Right and its implications for LGBT equality.
  • There is nothing to suggest people with disabilities are more likely to identify with any particular political position.

.. Intersectionality, simply by positioning itself on the far-Left of the political spectrum, immediately closes itself off from a significant proportion of women, people of color, LGBTs and disabled people.

  • how many are intersectional feminists, how many are
  • radical feminists (opposed by intersectional feminists), how many are non-intersectional
  • liberal feminists (opposed by intersectional feminists) and how many
  • have no ideology of feminism but simply consider it the name for the gender equality supported by the vast majority of the population.

.. Left-voting people of color are significantly less likely to be supportive of LGBT equality than White Lefties.

.. in California, 70% of African American voters voted to ban same sex-marriage.

.. Large proportions of people from marginalized groups simply decline to be intersectional and this is a problem for an ideology which claims to listen to them and represent them.

.. This has resulted in bizarre situations in which Peter Tatchell has felt compelled to explain why it’s not racist to object to Black musicians singing about killing LGBTs [18]and Muslim and ex-Muslim feminist

.. We are, in fact, listening to a minority ideological view dominated by people from an economically privileged class who have had a university education in the social sciences and/or the necessary leisure time and education to study intersectionality, critical race theory, queer theory and critical analyses of ableism.

.. It is, of course, perfectly possible to support the rights of marginalized groups and campaign for their greater representation whilst accepting that they have a range of political views including those which contradict yours. However, this is not what intersectional feminists do. We are told repeatedly that intersectionality is the only way and that it is not optional.

.. Non-intersectional feminists are labelled “White feminists” and vilified furiously. It is important to note that not all “White feminists” are White. The term refers to any non-intersectional feminist.

.. Because inherent in those terms is a sinister implication: ‘if you disagree with how I think a brown person should think, you’re still a nigger’ – a slave subordinate to the interests of white people. ‘If you disagree with me, you can’t be thinking for yourself’ is the message.”

.. Intersectionality, by undervaluing shared human experience and rights — universality — and personal autonomy and distinctiveness — individuality — and focusing intensely on group identity and intersectional ideology, places individuals in a very restricted “collectivist” position previously only found in very conservative cultures.

.. The idea that if one is not an intersectional feminist, one is a misogynist, White supremacist, homophobic, transphobic ableist demands an utter ideological purity that few people can meet or wish to meet.

Instead, centrists, moderates and universal liberals of all genders, races, sexualities and abilities continue to oppose discrimination, promote equality and value diversity, independent of intersectionality.

  • .. It is regrettable that intersectionality in practice so often manifests in restrictive ideological conformity,
  • exclusionary tactics,
  • hostility,
  • tribalism and even racist abuse.

.. Until intersectionality respects diversity of ideas as well as of identity and supports every individual’s right to hold any of them regardless of their group identity, it cannot be said to represent anything except its own ideology.

How French “Intellectuals” Ruined The West: Postmodernism and its Impact, Explained

Postmodernism presents a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself. That may sound like a bold or even hyperbolic claim, but the reality is that the cluster of ideas and values at the root of postmodernism have broken the bounds of academia and gained great cultural power in western society. The irrational and identitarian “symptoms” of postmodernism are easily recognizable and much criticized, but the ethos underlying them is not well understood. This is partly because postmodernists rarely explain themselves clearly and partly because of the inherent contradictions and inconsistencies of a way of thought which denies a stable reality or reliable knowledge to exist.

.. They underlie the problems we see today in Social Justice Activism, undermine the credibility of the Left and threaten to return us to an irrational and tribal “pre-modern” culture.

.. It drew on avant-garde and surrealist art and earlier philosophical ideas, particularly those of Nietzsche and Heidegger

.. Above all, postmodernists attacked science and its goal of attaining objective knowledge about a reality which exists independently of human perceptions which they saw as merely another form of constructed ideology dominated by bourgeois, western assumptions

.. The modern era is the period of history which saw Renaissance Humanism, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution and the development of liberal values and human rights; the period when Western societies gradually came to value reason and science over faith and superstition as routes to knowledge, and developed a concept of the person as an individual member of the human race deserving of rights and freedoms rather than as part of various collectives subject to rigid hierarchical roles in society.

.. the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy denies this and says “Rather, its differences lie within modernity itself, and postmodernism is a continuation of modern thinking in another mode

.. If we see the essence of modernity as the development of science and reason as well as humanism and universal liberalism, postmodernists are opposed to it.

.. If we see modernity as the tearing down of structures of power including feudalism, the Church, patriarchy, and Empire, postmodernists are attempting to continue it,

but their targets are now science, reason, humanism and liberalism.

.. postmodernism are inherently political and revolutionary, albeit in a destructive or, as they would term it, deconstructive way.

.. He defined the postmodern condition as “an incredulity towards metanarratives.” A metanarrative is a wide-ranging and cohesive explanation for large phenomena. Religions and other totalizing ideologies are metanarratives in their attempts to explain the meaning of life or all of society’s ills.

.. For Foucault, discourses control what can be “known” and in different periods and places, different systems of institutional power control discourses.

.. “The individual, with his identity and characteristics, is the product of a relation of power exercised over bodies, multiplicities, movements, desires, forces.”[2]  He leaves almost no room for individual agency or autonomy.

.. He presents medieval feudalism and modern liberal democracy as equally oppressive, and advocates criticizing and attacking institutions to unmask the “political violence that has always exercised itself obscurely through them.”

.. shared humanity and individuality are almost entirely absent. Instead, people are constructed by their position in relation to dominant cultural ideas either as oppressors or oppressed.

.. We see too the equation of language with violence and coercion and the equation of reason and universal liberalism with oppression.

.. Derrida’s best-known pronouncement “There is no outside-text” relates to his rejection of the idea that words refer to anything straightforwardly. Rather, “there are only contexts without any center of absolute anchoring.” [5]

.. Therefore the author of a text is not the authority on its meaning. The reader or listener makes their own equally valid meaning

.. Man” is positive and ‘woman’ negative. “Occident” is positive and “Orient” negative. He insisted that “We are not dealing with the peaceful co-existence of a vis-a-vis, but rather with a violent hierarchy.

.. Deconstruction, therefore, involves inverting these perceived hierarchies, making “woman” and “Orient” positive and “man” and “Occident” negative. This is to be done ironically to reveal the culturally constructed and arbitrary nature of these perceived oppositions in unequal conflict.

.. We see in Derrida further relativity, both cultural and epistemic, and further justification for identity politics.

.. There is an explicit denial that differences can be other than oppositional and therefore a rejection of Enlightenment liberalism’s values of overcoming differences and focusing on universal human rights and individual freedom and empowerment.

.. The intention of the speaker is irrelevant. What matters is the impact of speech. This, along with Foucauldian ideas, underlies the current belief in the deeply damaging nature of “microaggressions” and misuse of terminology related to gender, race or sexuality.

.. intense sensitivity to language on the level of the word and a feeling that what the speaker means is less important than how it is received, no matter how radical the interpretation.

.. Morality is culturally relative, as is reality itself.

.. Empirical evidence is suspect and so are any culturally dominant ideas including science, reason, and universal liberalism. These are Enlightenment values which are naïve, totalizing and oppressive, and there is a moral necessity to smash them. Far more important is the lived experience, narratives and beliefs of “marginalized” groups all of which are equally “true” but must now be privileged over Enlightenment values to reverse an oppressive

.. we are at a unique point in history where the status quo is fairly consistently liberal, with a liberalism that upholds the values of freedom, equal rights and opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race and sexuality. The result is confusion in which life-long liberals wishing to conserve this kind of liberal status quo find themselves considered conservative and those wishing to avoid conservatism at all costs find themselves defending irrationalism and illiberalism.

.. Whilst the first postmodernists mostly challenged discourse with discourse, the activists motivated by their ideas are becoming more authoritarian and following those ideas to their logical conclusion. Freedom of speech is under threat because speech is now dangerous. So dangerous that people considering themselves liberal can now justify responding to it with violence. The need to argue a case persuasively using reasoned argument is now often replaced with references to identity and pure rage.

.. one wonders why Derrida bothered to explain the infinite malleability of texts at such length if I could read his entire body of work and claim it to be a story about bunny rabbits with the same degree of authority.

.. If I judge that tennis balls do not fit into wine bottles, can you show precisely how it is that my gender, historical and spatial location, class, ethnicity, etc., undermine the objectivity of this judgement?” 

.. “When I had occasion to ask her whether or not it was a fact that giraffes are taller than ants, she replied that it was not a fact, but rather an article of religious faith in our culture.”

.. There is something very odd indeed in the belief that in looking, say, for causal laws or a unified theory, or in asking whether atoms really do obey the laws of quantum mechanics, the activities of scientists are somehow inherently ‘bourgeois’ or ‘Eurocentric’ or ‘masculinist’, or even ‘militarist.’”

.. Despite this, science as a methodology is not going anywhere. It cannot be “adapted” to include epistemic relativity and “alternative ways of knowing.”

.. The social sciences and humanities, however, are in danger of changing out of all recognition.

.. Empirical historians are often criticized by the postmodernists among us for claiming to know what really happened in the past

.. Christopher Butler recalls Diane Purkiss’ accusation that Keith Thomas was enabling a myth that grounded men’s historical identity in “the powerlessness and speechlessness of women” when he provided evidence that accused witches were usually powerless beggar women. Presumably, he should have claimed, against the evidence, that they were wealthy women or better still, men.

.. Shakespeare’s audience’s would not have found Desdemona’s attraction to Black Othello, who was Christian and a soldier for Venice, so difficult to understand because prejudice against skin color did not become prevalent until a little later in the seventeenth century when the Atlantic Slave Trade gained steam

.. Postmodernist thought sees the culture as containing a number of perpetually competing stories, whose effectiveness depends not so much on an appeal to an independent standard of judgement, as upon their appeal to the communities in which they circulate.”

.. the far-Right is now using identity politics and epistemic relativism in a very similar way to the postmodern-Left.

..  sections of academia and of the left have in recent decades helped create a culture in which relativized views of facts and knowledge seem untroubling, and hence made it easier for the reactionary right not just to re-appropriate but also to promote reactionary ideas.”

.. making itself harder for reasonable people to support.

.. we need to out-discourse the postmodern-Left. We need to meet their oppositions, divisions and hierarchies with universal principles of freedom, equality and justice.

.. We must address concerns about immigration, globalism and authoritarian identity politics currently empowering the far- Right rather than calling people who express them “racist,” “sexist” or “homophobic” and accusing them of wanting to commit verbal violence. We can do this whilst continuing to oppose authoritarian factions of the Right who genuinely are racist, sexist and homophobic,

THE PUBLIC EDITOR; Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?

TIMES publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. doesn’t think this walk through The Times is a tour of liberalism. He prefers to call the paper’s viewpoint ”urban.” He says that the tumultuous, polyglot metropolitan environment The Times occupies means ”We’re less easily shocked,” and that the paper reflects ”a value system that recognizes the power of flexibility.”

.. He’s right; living in New York makes a lot of people think that way, and a lot of people who think that way find their way to New York

.. The Times has chosen to be an unashamed product of the city whose name it bears, a condition magnified by the been-there-done-that irony afflicting too many journalists. Articles containing the word ”postmodern” have appeared in The Times an average of four times a week this year

.. But for those who also believe the news pages cannot retain their credibility unless all aspects of an issue are subject to robust examination, it’s disappointing to see The Times present the social and cultural aspects of same-sex marriage in a tone that approaches cheerleading. So far this year, front-page headlines have told me that ”For Children of Gays, Marriage Brings Joy” (March 19); that the family of ”Two Fathers, With One Happy to Stay at Home” (Jan. 12) is a new archetype; and that ”Gay Couples Seek Unions in God’s Eyes” (Jan. 30). I’ve learned where gay couples go to celebrate their marriages; I’ve met gay couples picking out bridal dresses; I’ve been introduced to couples who have been together for decades and have now sanctified their vows in Canada, couples who have successfully integrated the world of competitive ballroom dancing, couples whose lives are the platonic model of suburban stability.

Every one of these articles was perfectly legitimate. Cumulatively, though, they would make a very effective ad campaign for the gay marriage cause.

.. This implicit advocacy is underscored by what hasn’t appeared. Apart from one excursion into the legal ramifications of custody battles (”Split Gay Couples Face Custody Hurdles,” by Adam Liptak and Pam Belluck, March 24), potentially nettlesome effects of gay marriage have been virtually absent from The Times since the issue exploded last winter.

.. The Boston Globe explores the potential impact of same-sex marriage on tax revenues, and the paucity of reliable research on child-rearing in gay families. But in The Times, I have learned next to nothing about these issues, nor about partner abuse in the gay community, about any social difficulties that might be encountered by children of gay couples or about divorce rates (or causes, or consequences) among the 7,000 couples legally joined in Vermont since civil union was established there four years ago.