25.10.18

THE EMPTINESS OF CULTURAL STUDIES.

A defender of Business as Usual in the academy trading under the perhaps prophetic handle of Ozymandias attempts to defend the core principles of culture studies that the recent grievance studies hoaxes brought to light.  It's mostly lame stuff.  Consider this.
Imagine I published a paper in a theology journal arguing that it was a good idea to adopt a certain liturgy because it would help people praise God. Later, I announced that this was a hoax paper which proves that theology as a discipline celebrates delusional thinking. Certainly, many people believe that theism is delusional. But the ‘hoax’ paper doesn’t address the subject at all. All it proves is that you can publish papers in theology journals which work from the premise that God exists, which is also provable by (for example) picking up any theology journal and looking at the table of contents.
What relevance that passage has to the physiology or psychology of fat studies (my conjecture: culture-studies types created fat studies as a way to avoid studying physiology or psychology) escapes me.

It gets better.  The hoaxers switched a few words out in a passage from Mein Kampf.  Look on Ozymandias's works, and despair.
See, if you listen to Nazis in order to figure out how to educate people into being Nazis, that’s bad. But that does not mean that it is somehow wrong for a social work journal to ever talk about the concepts of culture change, education, and listening. There is nothing wrong with culture change, education, and listening as long as you don’t use them as tools to help you kill seventeen million people.
I suppose it's a good thing "cultural Marxism" is a misleading description.
Most of what gets lumped under the heading of cultural Marxism is really about personal choices about lifestyle or belief, not politics. But "political correctness" frequently tumbles over into actual attempts to suppress expression, which is indeed worrying. And the conspiracists have a Frankfurt School theorist to blame for that: Herbert Marcuse.

Marcuse, who after World War II taught at major American universities such as Columbia and Harvard, and who is thus often fingered as the Typhoid Mary of cultural Marxism in America, advocated the suppression of nonleftist ideas. "Repressive tolerance," his paradoxical phrase, suggested that allowing sinister right-of-center ideas to spread was not true intellectual tolerance but its enemy.

Marcuse was hardly the first to come up with a justification for silencing one's political foes. "Repressive tolerance" is merely a contextual restatement of the ancient attitude that only true, appropriate, and acceptable ideas should be freely expressed. Marcuse stated his terrible notion with the kind of tribute vice pays to virtue, claiming the ideas he wanted suppressed made true tolerance impossible. But Marcuse didn't invent the idea that "error has no rights"—the very traditional Catholic Church did. Yes, he wickedly promoted "the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care," but that doesn't mean he's to blame for everyone who now wants enforced political correctness.

The commitment on the part of today's progressive undergrads to suppressing distasteful speech comes not from a deep understanding of some larger intellectual tradition with a goal of world domination but from a simple (if mistaken) calculus about the morality of hurting people. As frustrating as this attitude can be to civil libertarians, many students genuinely believe that certain expressions seen as hostile to oppressed minorities either directly cause actionable harm to those people or unjustly contribute to an overall atmosphere of danger for them.
Put another way, culture change, education, and selective listening (or hectoring and condescending and calling it "dialogue") are tools to help the Diversity Lobby silence millions of people.

If you care about logic, none of it makes sense.

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