By tossing people like Mary Beard and Christina Hoff Sommers into the slop bucket with the likes of Richard Spencer, they are attempting to place their reasonable ideas firmly outside the mainstream. They are trying to make criticism of identity politics, radical Islam and third-wave feminism, among various other subjects, verboten. For even the most minor transgressions, as in the case of Professor Beard, people are turned radioactive.But that's how the Church of Intersectionality rolls. Ms Weiss is already being denounced as a heretic. Add Amanda Marcotte to the list of political illiterates who don't know what a classical liberal is (or perhaps they don't understand the writings of Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, and Edmund Burke?)
There are consequences to all this “fascism” — and not just the reputational damage to those who are smeared, though there is surely that.
The main effect is that these endless accusations of “fascism” or “misogyny” or “alt-right” dull the effects of the words themselves. As they are stripped of meaning, they strip us of our sharpness — of our ability to react forcefully to real fascists and misogynists or members of the alt-right.
For a case study in how this numbing of the political senses works, look no further than Mitt Romney and John McCain. They were roundly denounced as right-wing extremists. Then Donald Trump came along and the words meant to warn us against him had already been rendered hollow.
More recently, I warned the intersectionality crowd again.
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 ...The analogous conclusion, today, is straightforward.