Well, that’s all over. Forget kindness and any attempt at benign understanding. What is being blared out shamelessly from a good many media outlets now is beyond arrogant disdain: it is full-on loathing. I have never known a time when public intellectuals – commentators and academics – have stated, without equivocation, that they were waiting eagerly for those swathes of the population that hold unacceptable views (on Brexit, say, or immigration) to go away and die.Sponsored Links
One speaker at a recent conference stated that progressive ideas would have to be installed in society “one funeral at a time”. This is not argument. It does not attempt to convert or persuade or to enlighten the supposedly benighted. It is a vendetta: a bald, unambiguous assertion that people with whom you disagree barely have a right to live, let alone to be heard.
Most of the mainstream media refers to the former Google engineer’s leaked internal memo as the “anti-diversity memo.” Recode calls it “sexist.” And Google fired James Damore for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” But in reality, the problem isn’t diversity; it’s that a senior software engineer admitted, perhaps unwittingly, to pondering three of the most scandalous thought crimes of contemporary American society.
The first crime is proposing that a meritocracy might be heathier for a company than bean-counting race, ethnicity and sex. The second is pointing out that ideological diversity matters. The third and most grievous of all is suggesting that men and women are, in general, physiologically and psychologically different, and thus they tend to excel at different things.
Postmodernism is a broad school of thought. It has exerted influence throughout the humanities and social sciences, touching on everything from art and literature to history and psychology. At its core, postmodernist thinking can be reduced to the basic claim that all knowledge is socially constructed. There are no universal truths, only context-sensitive narratives, assembled according to variable arrays of cultural, historical, and political forces.
This makes exciting grist for the mills of parasitic academia, where people who it often seems “have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought” (to borrow a phrase from the biologist Peter Medawar) churn out reams of incomprehensible pedantry for the sole instrumental purpose of justifying a salary. This poses a number of interesting questions: if all knowledge is subjective and all claims on truth are equally valid, what exactly, are postmodern academics paid to do? If there is some value in the garbled expression of subjective ideas, why not fill a set proportion of seats in the humanities by lottery, cycling through new people year by year? Or, better still; why not simply redistribute the salary one might pay to postmodern academics to the public at large in exchange for personal essays on how they feel about the world?
“This poses a number of interesting questions: if all knowledge is subjective and all claims on truth are equally valid, what exactly, are postmodern academics paid to do?”
Academics are paid to show us a better way, but they aren’t doing that anymore. Everything is equal, and the clearly wrong way to approach the truth is to seek a better way.
Even as Venezuela falls deeper into crisis, and the former Soviet bloc nations groan under its legacy, socialism is coming back, and in a big way. Its key supporters are not grizzled pensioners yearning for Marxist security, but a whole new generation, most of whom have little memory of socialist failure.
Although the trend is a-historic, it’s not happening in a vacuum. The primary driver is the global ascendency of neo-liberal capitalism, which in virtually all countries has accelerated inequality. This is particularly true in the United States and the United Kingdom, where the gaps between rich and poor are greatest among developed, democratic countries. In these nations, socialist politicians such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) are now political rock stars among young people.
So extreme was the violence of the Cultural Revolution that we might reasonably ask whether any parallels exist with the contemporary U.S. However ghastly the suppression of free speech at Middlebury College and elsewhere, however unacceptable the rioting in Berkeley, nobody has as yet lost his life in the current wave of protests. But in so many ways, the analogies are there. As in the Cultural Revolution, American radicals are positing the existence of historically oppressed classes, races and social groups, who rebel against the unjust hegemony of others. In both cases, genetics is a critical means of identifying the two competing sides, the Children of Light and Children of Darkness. If you belong to a particular race, class or group, you hold privilege, whether you want to or not. Consistently, the radicals demonize their enemies, invoking every historical insult at their disposal, no matter how inapplicable: Berkeley’s would- be revolutionaries describe themselves as “Antifas,” Anti-Fascists, as if any of their targets vaguely fit any conceivable definition of “fascism.”
For the oppressed and underprivileged, or those who arrogate those titles to themselves, resistance is a moral imperative, and only the oppressed can decide what means are necessary and appropriate in the struggle for liberation. The enemy, the oppressors, the hegemons, have no rights whatever, and certainly no right of speech. There can be no dialogue between truth and error. Violence is necessary and justified, and always framed in terms of self-defense against acts of oppression, current or historic.
“It was no longer specifically about economics,” he said. “It was about power. And everything to the postmodernists is about power.”
By the end of the 1960s, he said, even French intellectuals like Jean-Paul Sartre had to admit that the communist experiment—whether under Marxism, Stalinism, Maoism, or any other variant—was “an absolute, catastrophic failure.”
Rather than do away with the ideology, however, they merely gave it a new face and a new name. “They were all Marxists. But they couldn’t be Marxists anymore, because you couldn’t be a Marxist and claim you were a human being by the end of the 1960s,” said Peterson.
The postmodernists built on the Marxist ideology, Peterson said. “They started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name.”
This is a clip from a 2017 Manning Centre Conference (February 23-25 in Ottawa), where I spoke along with Professor Gad Saad and John Carpay, President of the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms about the political turmoil on university campuses and in broader society, and the role of postmodern theory in producing that turmoil. The full clip is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30U1A…
I’m indebted to the YouTube channel Philosophy Insights for cutting this clip.
A transcript is available here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/vide… Thanks to Tim Hains for that.
To support this channel: Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jordanbpeterson
In my opinion, postmodernism is a set of ideas for pulling apart western civilization. This involves deconstructing western norms like marriage, gender, power and class. The ultimate purpose is to establish a new civilization based on equality – a set of new communist societies for the West. Please take a look at the following video:
It is also my opinion that this postmodernism movement is now unstoppable without an actual civil war where millions of people die. Just remember that the next time they come for your guns. The movement is too far along and infects most universities (if not all) today. It is not going to end without a lot of violence.
The leftist media and other American liberals insist on portraying President Trump’s position as a fight against Islam and Muslims. In fact, most moderate Muslims are not offended by the phrase “radical Islam,” because they are very distressed by the fact that their religion has been commandeered by the radicals and transformed from a religion of peace into a more radical version.
I just wonder where those feminists and John Kerry were when millions of Egyptian women needed their support when they marched against the Muslim Brotherhood, asking for America’s help. Where were they when thousands of Syrian and Iraqi women were enslaved and raped by radical ISIS militants?
While not a single voice among these liberal feminists spoke out against these inhumane acts perpetrated against Muslim women by radical Islamists, a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer, Linda Sarsour, co-organized the anti-Trump Women’s March on Washington. What’s worse, these liberal feminists want Sarsour to represent all Muslim women, while in fact she speaks for nobody except herself and those who fund her.
The EU has given American tech giants a stark ultimatum: Crack down on hate speech, or we’ll make you.
Facebook, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft must act faster to tackle online hate speech or they will face laws forcing them to do so, the European Commission said on Sunday.
When the Soviet Union fell, all the little commies didn’t wake up the next morning and say, “You know, those wacky Americans were right all along! Let’s go do some freedom and liberty stuff!”
No, they woke up bitter and furious…spreading out among the intelligentsia of western Europe; Great Britain; and, to a lesser extent, the United States. They were welcomed by their fellow travelers: first and foremost, the misfit toys inhabiting the islands of academia – who were already busily nurturing bitterness and envy among their charges with the care of a master gardener.
They threw themselves into plotting and agitating, insinuating themselves into every possible position of influence they could manage – all to keep the flame of statist oppression lit, though necessarily hidden.