It’s taken me a while to craft a concise wrap-up to this little series. I’ve realised via the responses to my previous articles that the typical XYZ reader is well-versed in the machinations of the loony left, so I’ve been asking myself “who am I writing these for?”. Bringing it back to my original question, I suppose it has always been a slightly selfish conceit – someone once said writing is therapeutic, and forcing myself to read, research and write these has been its own therapy.
Truth be told, I never intended to write 10,000 words on anything in particular, but, each book chapter or article I’ve read in prepping these pieces has revealed a rats’ nest of interconnected leftist lunacy such that it’s difficult not to go off on a tangent.
This past week alone, the world has been blessed with ShitholeGateTM, Women’s March 2 – “Twice the Abortion” and the ongoing “Invasion Day” palaver in this country, [I remember as recently as 10 years ago it seemed like the News still tackled actual issues – but maybe I just wasn’t paying attention]. These have all been reported on extensively in the media, with the usual schism between common sense approach and the outraged devastation being expressed on the side of the mainstream leftist media – something which I’m growing increasingly exhausted paying any attention to.
But it was an interview between prominent Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, and BBC Channel 4’s Cathy Newman which captured my imagination the most. I won’t go into details here, but it is a glorious half an hour of a very smart man dismantling a feminist ideologue with facts and logic, and every precious second is worth it.
The “So-What-You’re-Saying-Is” memes have flourished and the right side of the political spectrum has celebrated the disastrous interview technique and specious use of facts as proof that whatever Culture War is being fought, is being won. But I’m not so sure.
It was the response of Channel 4 and the outraged SJW’s to the interview that is so telling. Accusations of misogyny, suggesting threats of violence being aimed at Newman by viewers and followers of Dr Peterson, the complete reframing of the entire discussion, despite all evidence to the contrary, as proof that Jordan Peterson is indeed a sexist, misogynist right-winger, with legions of hateful, spiteful male fans – has over-ridden every factual victory that Peterson enjoyed on the night. Indeed, he’s practically had to disavow some of the more outspoken comments, such was the Twitter outrage mob that coalesced around this.
Of course, Newman’s fans were adamant that she’d clearly won the argument by simple virtue of her awesome feminist credentials alone, but even the Guardian was forced grudgingly to acknowledge this wasn’t the case.
So here we have the standard model for 2018 – a rabid feminist media type, an evil cis-white-male guest replete with opinions and facts that don’t align with the progressive narrative, and the inevitable Twitter Outrage Mob and White Knights of Social Justice that turn up en-masse in the comments sections of the interwebs to decry and rage against the “violence” committed by Peterson, a collective of progressive morons incapable of analysing data, offended by facts and ever playing the victim.
All of which leads me back to the tangled mess of leftist lunacy, and the massive steaming turd at the centre of it all – Postmodernism and its cousin, Critical Theory. It was Peterson’s excellent Youtube videos – this one in particular – that first pulled me in to the world of postmodernism.
I’m sure his videos opened the door to the world of postmodernism for many of the readers, but I’d like to plug the excellent Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen Hicks too. It’s a difficult read but worth it, as is much written about a philosophy and ideological movement that turns polysyllabic gibberish into an art form – after all, how best to define something which by its nature suggests that any attempt to define it may or may not be correct?
I don’t want to make the mistake of repeating well-known details, given these and other excellent sources, but to contextualise the issue I do want to attempt a very brief synopsis. The connection with radical feminism and gender theory was covered briefly in Part 6, but the reach of the postmodernist tentacles into the psyche of the progressive, politically correct, puritan SJW-ism is deep and abiding.
A bunch of disaffected Marxist-socialist academics set up a school in Frankfurt, Germany, in the 1920’s; Max Horkheimer, Georg Lukacs, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno are the central figures; they craft the concept of Critical Theory – a rejection of Western civilizational values, language, culture and religion, confounded by the fact that the glorious Marxist political revolution that had been promised the previous decade around the first World War had failed [except in the Soviet Union]; they realise that a new cultural and social revolution is needed to overthrow what they see as the great evil of the times – Capitalism, and the ruling class it brought with it; political Marxism had lost favour in the West, the only way to overthrow the status quo was to completely undermine the existing system from within; fleeing Nazi Germany in the 30’s, they set up shop in New York (specifically Columbia University) and set about influencing the very culture that welcomed them in. Art, education, politics, literature – none of it escapes the Critical Theorists attention, and although seemingly contrary to the values of the country, the Frankfurt School’s ideas soon gain significant traction amongst the corridors of academia and the media.
Postmodernism, conflated in my mind with Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School, is the philosophy borne out of the rejection of Enlightenment values, and it holds a nihilistic contempt for the West [thanks to the inspiration of German uber-depressive philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche]; to the postmodernist, there is no objective reality or truth, nor objective standard of beauty, excellence or scientific fact – hence there can be no superior culture or society, nor should such concepts as freedom, liberation, equality, self-determination or opportunity be extolled. Originally aimed at the arts and literature, noted postmodernists such as Jacques Derrida were greatly celebrated throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s for the notion of Deconstruction – the idea that no great artistic work could be judged on its merits or its meaning, but rather it must be interpreted through whatever lens the reader chooses, so as to determine what the reader defines it to mean.
But foremost amongst the postmodernists was the notion of power relationships. As with the Critical Theorists, postmodernists needed to produce a simulacrum for the failed Marxist political struggle, and they did so via the idea of Phallogocentrism – a term coined by Derrida basically meaning that the masculine (phallic) perspective [i.e the dreaded logic of the patriarchy] had dominated Western society through cultural, literary and scientific advancements, and hence stood as the oppressor class to the oppressed classes of women, African Americans, gays, lesbians, [insert-victim-group-here] – all of whom could not possibly benefit from a system they did not themselves create. To these victim groups, language and ideas, scientific facts and historical truths were, by dint of the involvement of white-males in their creation, oppressive, racist and unjust.
Having taken root in the middle part of the 20th century, the combined anti-Western philosophies gained impetus steadily through academia and popular culture, becoming the go-to system of the left to criticise and bring down the thriving, capitalist culture that was the West, using a toolkit of political correctness, identity politics, and a collective hatred of the patriarchy to stoke a sort of narcissistic victimhood amongst all manner of so-called minorities and those on the left side of politics – particularly the students and radicals of the revolutionary 1960’s, including various domestic terror groups that sprung up around the world at the time. [Stephen Hick’s Explaining Postmodernism p168.]
As we have already seen, the resentment was harnessed by waves of feminists arising during the 20th century, to fuel the fires of anti-patriarchy, anti-family and anti-gender. This lead to generations of resentful and ultimately unhappy humans chasing the dragon of the downfall of the old order, yet confused somehow by the fact that what they were seeking in its place was a world where literally anything goes, there was no objective truth, reason or value anymore, and the driver of cultural growth and even political decision-making must be a sort of hazy wishful-thinking where no one [except white males] can be offended. As a result, ideas like multiculturalism and gender diversity flourished in the face of all evidence precisely because they were revolutionary. Its no coincidence that Post Normal Science is now canon in the online debates around gender fluidity – where cultural phenomena and political expediency overrule basic scientific principles, because DEM’s (Dead European Males) have a lot to answer for with their boring Scientific Method mumbo-jumbo.
When Jordan Peterson refutes Cathy Newman’s “wage gap” proclamation with hard data for example, of course it is expedient for her to refute this with gross generalisations and appeals to gender politics.
Of course an army of blind followers, charged with righteous indignation, and armed with a shoddy collection of pseudo-facts and filled with hatred for contrarian opinion, must gather and shout down traditional viewpoints, for those viewpoints alone are an abuse of power, arising as they do from the vestiges of masculine orthodoxy – these views must be silenced. God forbid such traditional views expose the pseudo intellectual’s argument as being without merit, such exposure is surely racist, sexist or bigoted?
No wonder then that we’re where we are in 2018 and why the world makes no sense. Writing this on Australia Day morning seems appropriate – here I am in what could be regarded as the most idyllic (if by no means perfect) society yet created in our history, yet media types, academics and common or garden-variety liberals seem determined to find ever-increasing reasons to deride what we have, claiming that we are somehow in need of an urgent cultural overhaul. This has annoyed me no end these past few years, but makes sense now when one considers the forgoing – to a certain class of academic-media-celebrity-liberal-elites, and their clueless-student-activist-intolerant-self-loathing-Triple-J-listening foot soldiers, this country represents all that they deride and must be remade in the progressive image.
Never mind the extraordinary potential that we have as a country – one where the several million immigrants to this country thus far have found [and would find were they to try] a quality of life that is better than almost anywhere else on the planet; no, what needs discussing is Corey Bernardi’s Nazi playlist, Aboriginals are far worse off in today’s modern Australia than they were before European settlement, and Heavens-to-Betsy, angst-ridden teens and students couldn’t possibly listen to music on this sacred day – it’s too confronting.
Tony Abbott was absolutely correct in his pronouncements this week that European settlement has ultimately been good for all Australians. But where he erred was in the assumption that “This idea that we can rewrite history, this idea that we should never have been settled the way we were, (a) it’s unrealistic and (b) it flies in the face of our country’s historical achievement.”
This is exactly what the left has done and is attempting to do – history (like gender) is malleable, must be torn down and replaced. In the zero-sum game of identity politics and social justice, uplifting the victim groups must come at the expense of de-platforming and bringing low the oppressor class; in the twisted minds of the progressive left hate mob, the resentment they harbour for the status quo is honed and sharpened by the liberal elite, and the rhetoric that they are force-fed daily by the media.
The astonishing change I’ve noticed this past decade has been gradual, but now seems all at once; I wonder now in 2018 just how must further this societal fabric can be stretched before it snaps – will it take another decade before we’re woken from our torpor, before we see the Lucky Country disappear down the same politically correct drain as the UK or France?
But I’ve rambled on enough – I hope all of you had a smashing Australia Day. Time now to look forward and reflect on the inevitable vilification of Easter, ANZAC Day and [insert-cultural-norm-here], but I feel a helluva lot better about all of this now that my therapy session is over.
Thanks for reading.