4.1.18

IS CIVILIZATION A WHITE SPACE?

No.  But I have to be provocative because the intersectionality crowd are doing everything they can to get people to think the answer is yes.  I'm only slightly kidding.  Consider "Teachers must prevent 'assimilation' of 'whiteness'."  Yes, that's Campus Reform, and yes, that might be hyping research on the importance of not being impolite, which is what diplomacy is about.  But within a civilization, the conventions for not being impolite are the conventions that have emerged there.  I know I'm quoting David Marcus again, but quote him I must.
Cultural norms are self-imposed limitations on speech and actions, meant to preserve peace and order in a society. It is like a stream with banks that allow our public discourse to flow responsibly. When that stream is broadened and deepened, dangerous ideas flow in from both sides.
Too often, though, the first instinct of the intersectionality crowd is to tear down the banks.  Yes, I've had fun with a number of these previously.  Kat Timpf has her fun as well.

Now to drag in farmers' markets (whether alone, or as part of a more generalized gentrification) is enough to provoke a chuckle.    What is a farmers' market in a college town if not the place to get some smug with your artisanal cheese, or to buy a virtue signal with your free-range eggs, and all to the accompaniment of Bolivian folk music.  Now word reaches Intersectionality, Inc. that such food is more expensive than the processed stuff at the supermarket.  The horror!

They'll devour their own, to the detriment of the students they're supposedly educating, and yet, that's not the nastiest consequence of that "yes."

For the absence of bourgeois interacting with bourgeois is not going to end well.

Here's Michael Munger, on one such possible outcome.
Perhaps Trump supporters are taking the whole “white privilege” argument too far in the opposite direction. I’ll leave that to you to decide. But no matter what you think, there’s no doubt that a lot of people—no matter what their ethnic, family, or socioeconomic backgrounds—are getting tired of being told their success is undeserved. They feel like they played by the rules, worked hard, saved their money, and created opportunities for their families and their communities. Regardless of who they are, you can’t make them be ashamed of that.
It cannot be helping that the intersectionality crowd seem to be doubling down on their #resistance, and on their celebrations of everything that is not white.

Here's Rod Dreher on Kevin Williamson, on some other, more troubling possibilities.
Williamson grew up in this underclass, in Lubbock, Texas. He writes about it in this piece. Williamson acknowledges that conservative social criticism often fails to take into account larger social and economic forces working on poor communities. It also fails to see how racialized its take can be. For example, says Williams, [c.q.] the crack epidemic (from a white conservative point of view) was all about poor blacks not being able to control their craving for drugs. But now that whites are overdosing on opioids, white conservatives find themselves more willing to look at the complexities driving addiction, and not simply reduce it to moral failing.

But — and here’s where his own biography comes in — there really are moral failings at work here. You need to read the piece to get the gritty details, but unless you do read it, you can’t sit in judgment of Williamson’s point of view.
That noted, Mr Dreher brings his discussion back to the bourgeois virtues, that is to say, precisely that cluster of institutions the intersectionality crowd are so bent on destroying.
And yet, it is still the case that for most people, getting an education, having a strong work ethic, and getting married (and staying married) will produce a better economic outcome and greater stability than its opposite. What else is there to do? Yeah, marriage is hard. School is hard. Self-discipline is hard. It was never easy for anybody. Again: what’s the alternative for any of us? Failing to do those things will only result in us digging ourselves deeper into the hole. We can’t change everything, but we can take responsibility for those things we can change. In fact, we have to take responsibility for those things.

I think Daddy could have been more understanding of broad social and economic forces that drove people into poverty, or kept them there. But I think Daddy was more right than wrong, and even if he was quite wrong, his ethic was a noble one, a much better and more human one to live by than what’s on offer today. My father was less a Christian than some kind of existentialist, in that he believed in radical responsibility. This is why he didn’t have a lot of regard for inherited wealth either, and why he looked down on wealthy folks who didn’t work. You could be a millionaire, but in his eyes, if you were a hard worker who lived a morally responsible life, you were a good man. But if not, not.
Thus do the yeomanry not resent the fortunes of the local carpenter, auto mechanic, or building contractor, nor, per corollary, the larger one of a real-estate hustler.

And the intersectionality crowd, despite their continuing mission, to commit "semantic sabotage," to wit: "First, they call into question the cogency or authenticity of the concepts of tolerance and respect as traditionally understood. Second, they substitute a supposedly higher understanding of those virtues whose true effect is not to perfect but to undermine those virtues." is likely tainting the entire academic mission.  "When funding for these institutions is slashed due to plummeting public support — and it will be — they’ll blame 'anti-intellectualism.'"  If we get out of the current cold civil war as lightly as a few universities being closed, we might be getting off lightly.

The militias await.

I suspect that's what Kurt Schlichter was warning people about in August.
Donald Trump is a warning. Trump is the best case scenario. If you somehow depose him via your smarmy shenanigans, what comes along next is really going to upset you. You need to understand something.

Trump is not our last chance. He's your last chance.
In attempting to demonize the mediating institutions as white spaces, the intersectionality crowd is taking an even greater risk, one they really ought to understand. Sixty to a hundred years ago, the Communist parties in the United States picked up members from the habit, by some critics of the civil rights causes suggesting those causes were communist-inspired when they were not, of deciding that maybe declaring yourself a communist wasn't such a bad thing after all.  Now live in a world where the self-appointed thought leaders suggest that there's a whiff of white supremacy in mathematics or good manners or farmers' markets ...

With Soviet news agency TASS spinning every bad development in the old Evil Empire as "we don't lynch Negroes."  Heck, I bet there's a Khrushchev-era puff piece somewhere about the virgin land project and the centralization of cotton production without any lynchings or slavery: never mind the subsequent destruction of the Aral Sea.  Well, that's no longer Vladimir Putin's problem for TASS to spin.

There is, dear reader, a better way, a way, though, in which the intersectionality crowd ought stop treating assimilation and the common adoption of bourgeois values as evil.  Consider that in another two months or so, everybody in the United States can pretend to be Irish for a day or two.  Then, come fall, everybody in the United States gets a month or two to #GetYourDeutschOnLike this.


As I noted at the time, "give these kids an America to buy into, and an America that buys into these kids, and we'll be OK."

The intersectionality crowd will deprive these kids, and America more generally, of both.

RUNNING EXTRA.

Here's Mark Bauerlein, discovering "whiteness informed civility."  We were here earlier, and yes, the absence of bourgeois interacting with bourgeois is not turning out well.
As [editorial writer Steve] Salerno tells it, “whiteness informed civility” is affecting college debates, leading some debaters to challenge the rules and format of debates and even to change the topics of debates to talk about race instead of the agreed-upon subject. Salerno says a few of the debates result in profane outbursts and thrown furniture.
At least when kids play "the dozens" they understand the point is to develop a quick wit, not necessarily a quick temper.

Perhaps, though, we should not carp.  "Nothing to see on campus," based on a small sample.
Professor Martha S. Jones, a historian now at Johns Hopkins but last year at the University of Michigan, doesn’t believe a word of what Lilla writes. She refuted his piece in the same venue, the Chronicle of Higher Education, in an essay, “What Mark Lilla Gets Wrong About Students.” Her statement is a perfect example of the defensive parochialism described above.

Jones doesn’t contest Lilla’s characterization of identity liberalism, nor does she deny that identity politics cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. Instead, she denies that students have become so absorbed in their identities that they have retreated from the real world and the real politics that shape it.

And how does she know that? Because her students aren’t like that at all. She has 20 years of experience, she says, and her classroom is not a “cloistered refuge.” It is a “real world place.”
Is anybody surprised that the house organ for business as usual in higher education is going to say "nothing to see here;"  or suggest that a generalization isn't true on the basis of small samples?
It’s also a brand of parochialism, this assumption that one teacher’s students are more or less representative of larger populations of students. The teacher has contact only with a small number of kids but doesn’t realize how partial his exposure really is.
The whole point of the postmodern project is to undo coherent beliefs, dear reader. Thus #notmystudents is a valid argument, as is #notallmuslims: but don't you dare use #notallmen.  Sad.

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