In this video I look at how ideologies of ‘identity’ like feminism are really just a means to justify the indulgence in self-serving interpretations and narratives.
Halloween is fast approaching… so naturally the ‘Let’s Pretend Trivial Nonsense Is Incredibly Important Squad’ is back to remind us that comfortable people in a uniquely successful and pluralistic civilisation will invent problems for themselves in order to have something to complain about.
Whereas normal people see the holiday as a rare opportunity to temporarily escape an increasingly mirthless, censorious and rigidly conformist daily grind (once known as having fun)… the New Puritans of the allegedly ‘progressive’ Left are intent on making sure that the rest of us are just as miserable, uptight, boring and uncomfortable with spontaneity and as themselves.
That’s why something like the packaging of obscure, seasonal products that have no effect on anyone can be accepted as worthy of intense scrutiny and moral consternation by major mainstream news organisations like the Globe and Mail.
The article prompted the following, reasonably non-agitated response from Michael G:
Michael G: If you’re secure with yourself and heritage/culture, it’s not really an issue. All I’d be pissed about is having a non authentic costume….obviously those depicted are not authentic representations. But still i wouldn’t get my breaches in a bunch about it…
Commentator Su Con however, found Michael’s take on the matter to be in conflict with the standard ‘progressive’ party-line:
Su Con: Given the racism that still exists, how can they be secure? Doesn’t this all come down to trying to change that?
So I helped clarify the situation:
Going to Getugly: No. This has nothing to do with stopping racism. It’s about two very specific things:
1. It’s about people who want to leverage their ‘victim’ status in order to see their will imposed on other people.
2. It’s about mainstream, middle-class people who find it gratifying to their ego and self-image to appear supportive of any fashionable trend… regardless of how stupid… that is marketed to them as atoning for past wrongs inflicted on minorities.
These two videos explore in detail what is really going on with the whole ‘cultural appropriation’ craziness:
Like everyone, I saw the images in the media and online of the huge crowds of women in pink hats who turned out in cities around the globe for last weekend’s ‘Women’s March’. But unlike everyone who has adopted what appears to be the officially sanctioned interpretation of the phenomenon, I don’t feel like I was witnessing some inspiring, enlightened defiance of an existential threat to human rights or a spontaneous expression of solidarity with some meaningful and just cause.
No. What others are giddily celebrating looks to me more like mass hysteria, collective paranoid delusion and pathological group-think… perhaps for the first time on a global scale.
It occurs to me that there doesn’t appear to be as much as a hair’s breadth of sunlight between the messaging recently constructed and amplified by the political and media establishment – disseminated globally by social media and the Internet – and the personal conceptualisations of these ‘protestors’ and their supporters.
Alleged celebrity and irrational hysteric Ashley Judd rants incoherently about mustaches at Woman's March in Washington
So what is really happening here?
To my mind, over the past 10 to 12 months I’ve watched a narrative being cunningly constructed and promoted by political and media elites invested in particular social and political agendas. Now it seems to me I’m witnessing the efforts of those powerful vested interests bearing fruit – with thousands of people (primarily women it has to be said) appearing to have reflexively and uncritically internalised the messaging and subjectively relating to it as a personal insight that mirrors objective truth.
In other words, they are responding to a program of propaganda exactly the way the authors of that program intended.
Ashley Judd demonstrates the intellectual standard required to represent the Women's March
And as seems to be the case with so many of these collective displays of ‘progressive’-Left dissatisfaction and outrage, no one seems able to articulate anything specific that the protests are supposedly about… let alone what they are meant to accomplish.
The motivations are all very vague and ephemeral… especially considering the degree of frenzy and apparent depth of satisfaction being generated among the participants.
“It’s about women’s rights!”
Okay. Could you be more specific? What is it about ‘women’s rights’ that has changed so dramatically in the last four days that warrants such histrionics and extraordinary expressions of outrage?
“It’s about solidarity!”
Okay. Solidarity with whom over what?
Where normally you would expect to find specifics and facts… all you get are vague allusions to some looming, present or past social-justice catastrophe and a rather self-indulgent and frankly adolescent emotionalism.
The thing is, it is precisely this indistinct and incoherent grasp of their own motivations that you would expect from people who had allowed themselves to be swept up in a program of group-think manufactured by external sources and designed to activate their egos and emotional reactivity – not engage their intellect and reason.
Ultimately, I don’t believe anyone directly or indirectly partaking in this event is acting out of a genuine concern for the greater good or a commitment to admirable principles. The payoff for these individuals is not the elevation of truth… but more likely it is the ego expansion people experience when they divest themselves of their individuality in favour of the collective identity of a mob. The ‘greater purpose’ of the collective is far more gratifying than the seemingly mundane, ineffectual and resentful experience of the individual.
And I suspect that resentment and a reflex for shifting responsibility for their personal grievances and dissatisfaction from themselves to others is a significant, if unacknowledged, motivating factor behind much of this mania.
The fact that this character flaw can be manipulated by the media and the political establishment – and on such a grand scale – is about as far away from ‘inspiring’, ’empowering’ and admirable as you can get.
Madonna Louise Ciccone - a woman horribly oppressed by the patriarchy her entire life - finally gets an opportunity to express herself thanks to the Women's March on Washington. She tells us of her anger. Her outrage. And her obsession with committing violent acts of treason.
You know you’re in for some fair and balanced analysis when an editorialist in a major newspaper begins his column with this:
“In less than a week the free world might be ruled by an orange-skinned Bond villain. If that happens, voters will have only themselves to blame. But it’s also as good an excuse as any to lash out at the media and the role it’s played in this tunnel-of-terrors election campaign we’ve all been forced to endure.”
Scott Reid is about as mainstream media establishment as you can get in Canada. Besides running a big league PR company called Feschuk Reid, he was Senior Advisor and Director of Communications to Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin and has served in senior communication capacities on national, provincial and municipal election campaigns. He is the co-anchor of National Affairs on the CTV News Channel in Canada. Reid is also a regular contributor on politics, current affairs and communications to several Canadian print publications including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, and Maclean’s magazine.
If anyone should have ‘Mainstream Media Dude’ as a vanity licence plate, it’s this guy.
And guess what? Reid isn’t so keen on the alternative media. In fact, he’s feeling a bit underappreciated.
And it’s YOUR fault!
Why? Well, isn’t it obvious? It’s because you’re too thick to understand that only people in the mainstream media are worth paying attention to!
In his recent column for the Ottawa Citizen, Reid has offered an exceptional example of a mainstream media insider whining about how the population is too stupid to appreciate what a fantastic job the MSM is doing.
It’s a Canadian example that is indicative of the hubris of mainstream media elites throughout the Western world. And it is precisely why their industry is dying.
Reid opines: “If people are threatened for doing their job — especially when their job is to provide challenge to those who seek power — then that represents a real attack on institutions and norms that we rely upon to help order our democracies”.
Reid conveniently bypasses the obvious issue that applies to any industry: If people perceive that you are not providing the service you claim to provide, they are entitled to reject you.
Clearly, many people have discerned that the mainstream media is conspicuously selective in the degree to which they “provide challenge to those who seek power”. But rather than recognising their own failure to convince the electorate of their objectivity, the MSM has increasingly adopted the attitude of an enlightened class that the masses are obliged to appreciate for their superior insight and wisdom.
I suppose the sheer ignorance of everyone not dependant on traditional media for their living could be one explanation for why people are abandoning those sources of information in droves. The other possibility is that the MSN has become just another institution that has calcified into a culture constricted by very conventional thinking and which therefore only hires people who are capable of generating content that reflects very conventional thinking. This means that when smart people turn to mainstream media, they find themselves confronted with insights that strike them as mediocre and predictable at best.
The dreaded alternative media may be something of a Wild West of ideas and viewpoints…. but unlike Reid and others wedded to convention, thinking people find this intellectual environment stimulating, challenging and refreshing. Reid and his colleagues apparently find it distasteful and threatening.
There was a rare sighting last week of what had long been thought to be merely a creature of myth and fantasy. No… it wasn’t bigfoot, a unicorn or a women’s studies graduate with a useful job. It was a prominent academic from a major university with the guts and integrity to publicly oppose the tyranny of politically correct, SJW-style, “progressive”, Left-wing ideology.
Honest to God. I saw it with my own eyes.
Globe and Mail: U of T professor’s stand against genderless pronouns draws fire
Jordan Peterson is a popular and prominent psychology professor at the University of Toronto who has found himself on the receiving end of some intense hostility from the tolerant, non-judgemental, morally superior champions of diversity at his esteemed institution of higher learning.
His offence was to use a series of video lectures to present a detailed and reasoned critique of how anti-rational, politically correct ideology has infiltrated the legal and education systems and how it poses a real threat to the values of freedom of thought and speech. But what really drove the PC crowd nuts was his rejection of the premise that he is obligated to affirm the subjective self-conception of people who identify as transgendered by adopting their preferred use of pronouns. Peterson went to great lengths to justify his refusal to submit to this expectation on the basis of logic, principle and the right to intellectual autonomy.
The self-anointed enlightened class responded to all this logic and carefully reasoned argument by chucking the label ‘bigot’ at him, attacking his character and generally calling for his head on a platter.
As is evident from the sample of comments below and in the next Rebuttals of the Week!, the catalyst for their outrage was not the quality of Peterson’s argument, but his unwillingness to conform to concepts they deem to be supreme and sacrosanct.
As I have pointed out in other Rebuttals of the Week!, it is this intolerance of nonconformity that drives the aggressive emotionalism that is so characteristic of the progressive’s response to dissenting points of view. And it is the privileging of the pre-rational urge to attain social affirmation above all other considerations – including objectivity, reason and the pursuit of truth – that determines the progressive’s opinion and makes him immune to interventions of reason.
Here is the first sample of my interactions with Professor Peterson’s critics….
freedom of speech is still fully intact. you still have the complete right to say things that are blatantly ignorant (like the idea of this event…) and not risk persecution from your government.
what free speech DOESNT let you do is literally DENY someone’s gender identity because its you dont believe in it and have no one call you out for it.
you people are a goddamn joke.
Going to Getugly Freedom let’s people do all kinds of things other people dislike. Your apparent inability to tolerate that represents the real problem here.
no the real problem here is that people like you want a world where you can say whatever you want without any thought to the harm it will do to already marginalized people without. that, i have an inability to tolerate.
Okay. Now the next comment from WR is a perfect example of how NOT to confront the assertions of ‘progressives’. It isn’t that the point he is trying to make is incorrect. It’s that simply presenting an alternative opinion to the one being expressed by a ‘progressive’ doesn’t accomplish anything. Remember, they’ve already decided that not sharing their opinion is the same thing as being wrong and stupid. They don’t assess the veracity of your opinion in contrast to their own… they just react to the insolence of not submitting to the absolute perfection of their position.
Except that this is about a law that turns ANY statement against trans people a hatecrime… that’s not equality.
Compare that response to the one I present below. Notice that I don’t offer a contradictory set of subjective assertions about the topic. Instead, I address the specifics of MCW‘s reasoning process. I highlight objective inconsistencies in his logic. How he takes for granted his own entitlement to indulge in the very freedoms that he advocates should be denied to others. How his lack of hesitation to insult, generalize and dismiss the validity of other people’s perspective and experience demonstrates not only a profound hypocrisy, but a crude and genuine nastiness that reflect the very character flaws he claims to revile.
Nope. The problem is that you don’t recognise that insisting that principles apply only in certain circumstances according to your personal preferences and biases is irrational, unethical and only appealing to hypocrites.
For instance… you have expressed your contempt for ‘people like me’ who you characterise as expecting the freedom to “say whatever you want” without regard for the negative feelings it may inspire in other people. You have even written: “you people are a goddamn joke”.
But it is perfectly obvious that you grant YOURSELF the freedom to make sweeping negative generalisations; to issue insulting, unproven condemnations of character; to be deliberately antagonistic and insulting …. and essentially say “whatever you want” with no regard for the feelings of the people to whom you’ve directed those harsh comments. You’ve even expressed the sentiment that ‘people like me’ don’t deserve to be recognised as existing…. since we are nothing but a “goddamn joke”.
Now either it is wrong and worthy of contempt to “want a world where you can say whatever you want without any thought to the harm” it may cause other people…. or it’s only wrong when people other than YOU do it in whatever context you’ve personally decided makes it okay. Clearly, you take for granted it is the latter. Which makes you unprincipled and a hypocrite.
And as is so often the case when you challenge the absolute certainty of a progressive’s sense of moral and intellectual superiority by applying his own judgements back at him… MCW spewed a couple weak insults and ran away.
M CW yup play victim
M CW get your sympathy likes fam
The fact that the only response to my argument you feel you can offer is this transparently weak ad hominem should inspire some serious reevaluation of your position.
Stay tuned. We’re just getting started and there is a lot more to come on this issue in the next Rebuttals of the Week!
You will see in this exchange with ‘DE‘ an example of how quick ‘progressives’ are to get their backs up when you have the temerity to politely ask them to justify the definitive assertions.
The context for this exchange was a question in a survey distributed by Canadian MP Kellie Leitch to her supporters. The questions was, “Should the Canadian government screen potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values as part of its normal screening for refugees and landed immigrants?”
The National Post published a column by Matt Gurney about the inevitable controversy that arose, called : Is it unCanadian to worry that some would-be Canadians may be unCanadian?
Here was DE‘s take on the subject:
Canadian values change over time, and immigration has been one of the factors contributing to that change. Stagnant values, or the quest to somehow freeze the values of a country in time, only leads to intolerance because it codifies one set of values over all others and it is usually the values of the dominant class that get so codified.
It was that first sentence in particular that caught my attention. It’s the kind of bland, generically ‘progressive’ platitude that is easy to agree with. But does it really mean anything? Is his assertion about the world connected to any actual knowledge or information? And if not, then why offer it as an opinion or hold it as a belief?
So I asked….
How has immigration “been one of the factors contributing to that change”?
“only leads to intolerance because it codifies one set of values over all others”
Are you suggesting that there are not values that are better than others?
Because new people bring new ideas and values to a situation and for a society to progress both sets of values must be reconciled. And yes there are values that are better than others, but which are which is subjective. Generally speaking, people who think their values are 100 per cent superior to everyone else’s have at least one glaring flaw in their value system–a gross and misplaced sense of their own moral superiority. That’s not a value that needs to be perpetuated. In fact, it’s a value that often leads to aggression, and, on a societal level, to war.
Obviously you feel that the continuous immigration to Canada over the past 400 or so years, including that of your own ancestors, has added nothing of value to the country. In your case, I’m afraid I am forced to agree.
Whoa! Where did that come from? Like I said, as is the case with most ‘progressives’, it didn’t take much for DE to drop the facade of tolerant, non-judgemental, compassionate pluralist and reveal the nasty, vindictive nature just below the surface.
And notice that he responds to a request for evidence by inventing an unflattering opinion for me that I have never expressed but which he asserts I “obviously feel”. He then attacks me for the opinion that he just made up and projected onto me.
It’s important to pause and think about that response and what it says about the character, the intellect and the reasoning skills of the person. It’s important because once you are aware of it, you will see that ‘progressives’ resort to this over and over again. And the purpose of ‘Rebuttals of the Week’! is to build a case that objectively demonstrates that people who are attracted to and who embrace ‘progressive’ concepts, ideals, politics and policies are inherently poor thinkers.
Here is how I responded to DE‘s ‘straw man’ argument. As you will see, he just kept digging himself deeper into the same hole:
What is obvious is that not only have you made an assertion that you can’t support… but one which you don’t actually believe. If you did believe it, you would have answered the question without hesitation the first time… let alone the second time. Of course, this is precisely why I posed the question: To highlight the fact that people such as yourself like to say things that make you feel very pluralistic and superior….but which have no connection to anything you actually know to be real. This is nothing but a self serving pose that you have adopted.
Yeah, except there’s something you’re missing and that is that your question is so obviously that of a troll. You know as well as I do that immigrants from over 200 countries who have come here over the past 400 years have brought an almost infinite multiplicity of ideas and values that are essential to the character of this country and that one of the foundational ideas of Canada is multiculturalism itself–to your great dismay, I’m sure. So if you want a list, troll, why don’t you make us a list of all the countries that have provided immigrants to this great country, but whose people you believe have made no contribution. Start with the country of your own ancestors, Underabridgeia.
I’m a ‘troll’ because you’re embarrassed to admit you were just trying to say something politically-correct sounding that you don’t really mean? You say things like “almost infinite multiplicity of ideas and values that are essential to the character of this country” …. but you can’t actually name one. And by the way…. multiculturalism is not an “idea or value” that immigrants brought here. It’s an idea that brought immigrants here. The fact that you’ve made a very transparent attempt to deflect from your inability to answer the question by putting the onus on me to ‘make a list’ to support a claim I never made just shows how desperate you are to salvage your credibility. Sadly, it has the opposite effect.
Really? You think doubling down on a straw man fallacy bolsters your credibility? You’ve had four opportunities now to select a single example from the “infinite multiplicity” you insist supports your claim. And all you’ve done for the last two posts is try and deflect from the fact that you have nothing to offer because your opinion isn’t based on having actually thought about it. Like most liberals/’progressives’ – you choose opinions you think will enhance your self-image rather than cultivating a point of view based on reasoned analysis, objectivity and critical thinking.