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.
The arc of the impact on Western civilization of the allegedly ‘progressive Left has evolved over the last couple of years from being laughable and irritating to frustrating and tedious to truly freakin’ scary. The number of people I encounter on comment sections of mainstream media outlets lately who simply parrot generic ‘progressive’-Left ideological slogans and talking points… essentially verbatim… and present them as if they were expressing ideas of their own is genuinely chilling.
I see a lot of this sort of thing:
Richard H: “If we cannot acknowledge the residue of Patriarchal systems how can we ever rectify the fall out. The ‘Me Too’ & LGBTQ movements are a sign that we have to allow these archaic systems of Patrriarchy to collapse in order to bring a more inclusive one.”
I can’t read that and not instantly be reminded of scenes in the John Hurt movie version of Orwell’s 1984 in which drab, deeply conditioned members of the ‘outer Party’ obsequiously and enthusiastically regurgitate official Party doctrine.
As the perfectly conditioned, obedient group-thinker in the above scene makes clear:
“The secret is to move from translation to direct thought to automatic response.”
And few things strike me as providing a better example of the reality of the Orwellian conditioning that has gripped Western societies than the hideous and deeply racist concept of ‘white privilege’.
In fact, to even call it a ‘concept’ is giving it too much credit. It is little more than taking two unrelated words that when jammed together generate a ‘feeling‘ or an ‘impression‘ of something vaguely pernicious. It’s the kind of thing that a lot of people find themselves reflexively nodding along in agreement about how pervasive and terrible it is long before noticing they couldn’t tell you what it specifically means, where the expression came from or why it’s supposedly an issue in the first place.
One can’t help but suspect that this is in large part the intention.
It is an example of using language to obscure and manipulate rather than to illuminate and clarify. The phrase is sufficiently vague to make it a catch-all explanation for essentially anything you want. Rather than pointing to an objective fact… the way classifications such as ‘cumulus clouds’ or ‘arrhythmic heartbeat’ point to specific, observable phenomena … ‘white privilege’ is designed to validate subjective impressions and conclusions. “I’m right and you’re wrong… because white privilege”. That sort of thing.
We live in an era in which terms and phrases that seem to have come out of nowhere are almost instantly adopted into common usage and parroted. Take a fairly harmless but ubiquitous example: How many grown men and women now routinely incorporate generic, adolescent Internet abbreviations like ‘LOL’ into their written forms of communication without ever thinking about it? Despite the fact that no one would ever deliberately use the phrase ‘laugh out loud’… millions of people reflexively type out the abbreviation for this rather oblique phrase everyday when writing their emails, text messages and the comments they post online. Why do people do this? Presumably it’s because they saw other people using ‘LOL’ on the Internet at some point and so they started reflexively mimicking the behaviour themselves. And because no one points out how weird it is that everyone suddenly started typing the same three letter abbreviation for a phrase that no one would ever deliberately use… it never occurs to anyone to notice just how truly weird it is.
There is undoubtedly something about the technology of the Internet that takes this mostly unconscious human instinct for mimicking behaviour and supercharges it.
This slightly dispiriting but reasonably benign example of how technology magnifies our impulse for unthinking conformity turns into something significantly more odious when the terms and phrases that seem to appear out of nowhere and are instantly parroted are associated with specific ideological conceptions and agendas.
Sometimes these are real words with little genuine relevance beyond the arcane interests of scholars of history… like ‘patriarchy’ and ‘colonialist’… but which have been re-purposed by ideologues as ‘titles’ for their skewed social and political interpretations.
Other terms are simply invented out of thin air… much like an advertiser will market a product by constructing a slogan designed to evoke the desired emotional response without engaging any conscious thought on behalf of the consumer.
Recently coined terms like “mansplaining”, “rape culture”, “wage gap”, “male privilege” and of course, “white privilege” are examples of this.
Just as with the marketing campaign for a product, these catchy, bumper-sticker phrases bypass critical thinking and appeal directly to the predispositions of the target audience.
So for instance, a woman who already harbours resentment or hostility towards men or who is insecure or uncomfortable about engaging men in verbal confrontation may encounter the term ‘mansplaining’ and find it instantly appealing. It provides external validation for her resentment: “Yes! That’s the explanation for my inability to represent my views effectively! That’s the explanation for why not everyone agrees with me! There’s something wrong with men!”
But of course, maturity and basic self-awareness places an onus on each of us to recognise that our default impulse, more often than not, is to let ourselves off the hook. To say “It isn’t me! It’s you!” To buy into the notion that it isn’t my responsibility as an autonomous adult to moderate my conduct and my emotional reactivity… but rather it’s the responsibility of all the other autonomous adults out there to moderate their behaviour so that I may avoid the unpleasantness of my own uncontrolled reactions.
In other words, it’s your responsibility not to ‘trigger‘ me. Not my responsibility to learn how to handle it.
And that my friends… is ‘social justice’ in a nutshell. This whole thing… all of the pseudo-intellectual wankery… the reams and reams of naval-gazing sociology papers and theories… the millions of dollars in public and private money poured into paying the salaries of self-appointed ‘experts’ in academia who push these concepts in the humanities departments of universities… all of the sanctimony, moral self-aggrandizement, circular reasoning and endlessly proliferating slogans, terms and expressions… the entire project is essentially the extension of one, pitifully infantile and ignoble premise: The world needs to change so that I don’t have to!
Or to put it another way… ‘It isn’t my job to grow and become a better person. It is the job of reality to reorganize itself so that I don’t have to encounter anything that challenges my ego.’
It is the inverse of character. The normalization of narcissism.
Perhaps it is an inevitable consequence of a decadent, rich and technologically advanced civilization pushing childhood into the second decade of life and beyond.
Whatever it is, it is what ultimately accounts for the widespread appeal of the ‘progressive’-Left, ‘social justice’ worldview: Instead of taking on the challenge of growing up and cultivating the skills and capacities to engage with the objective realities of life… society now gives you permission to remain a child and validates the expectation that authority structures will pander to your impulses and ego.
And these recently minted, fashionable slogans and phrases provide the mechanism for doing just that. They facilitate relocating responsibility for one’s own internal, negative emotional reactions as a response to disappointment, frustration and failed expectations from oneself to the most convenient, external source available. It is the institutionalization of scapegoating.
Here is a brief exchange with someone responding to the article by Rex Murphy referenced above. Alan is a great example of the quality of thinking of people who buy into these fashionable Leftist concepts like ‘white privilege’.
Alan W: This article has to be parody. If Murphy is being serious then his white privilege has reached a record-setting level.
Going to Getugly: I wish I could believe that your comment was a parody. But judging by the number of similar posts from people desperate to demonstrate their conformity to this currently fashionable group think I have to conclude it’s for real.
Alan W: Thanks for replying to my comment! I’m very excited to exchange ideas with you.
I regret to inform you that my post is based on fact, more precisely, the fact that white privilege is a real and observable phenomenon. In no way was I attempting to appear “fashionable” with my ideas. I was merely stating facts which are based on observation. Therefore your conclusion that my post is”real” is correct but your reasoning is false.
Going to Getugly: Here’s the thing Alan: It strikes me that the people who have adopted this generic ideological construct have done so as the result of not particularity well-developed reasoning and critical thinking skills. And the problem with “exchanging ideas” with people like this is that they are using those same poorly developed reasoning and critical thinking skills to justify their claims. For instance… your response to my criticism was to instantly default to fallacious argument. And the fact that you don’t recognize that you’ve done this or why it is a symptom of poor reasoning skills is itself evidence of the problem.
Let me show you what I mean. This is what seems to you to be a credible rebuttal:
“I regret to inform you that my post is based on fact, more precisely, the fact that white privilege is a real and observable phenomenon.”
“I was merely stating facts which are based on observation. Therefore your conclusion that my post is”real” is correct but your reasoning is false.”
Now clearly all you have done there is make the assertions that “I’m right because this is true.” And “Your reading is false because my opinion is fact.”
These are examples of ‘begging the question’. In other words, your response to criticism of your premise is to simply declare again that your premise is true without demonstrating it. It’s basic circular reasoning.
So here’s the point: People who are good at thinking… don’t do that. And by ‘good at thinking’… I mean people who have adequately cultivated specific reasoning skills and disciplines which generate effective interpretations about the objective world.
And it is predictable that people who have not cultivated those skills will, a) be oblivious to the existence and necessity of those skills, and b) be prone or susceptible to internalizing externally generated narratives that are promoted to them and which provide them with an already complete, prepackaged set of interpretations.
Ultimately, there is no point assuming that the interpretations which you are espousing have any merit until you first address the issue of the thinking skills you’ve used to generate them.
Despite Alan’s apparent initial enthusiasm for exchanging ideas…. I didn’t receive any further replies to my critique of his position.
New Going to Getugly video: Just as ‘progressive’-Left ideology manufactures a flattering generic identity for its adherents… it also manufactures a generic, dehumanizing identity for anyone who doesn’t conform to its worldview.
“Universities are thus caught in the battleground of competing expectations between affluent students who treat university as a transitional period between adolescence and adulthood — a place where they can freely debate ideas — and traditionally underrepresented students, who tend to view university as both a stepping stone out of poverty and a way to support their communities. That is, university education as “finishing school,” versus university education as social justice.” Angela Wright (link)
“Social Justice” is a self-justifying label invented for a very rigid, essentially fanatical and radical ideological construct. It is used by adherents to that ideology to generate a perception of benevolent intention and unquestionable moral righteousness. Putting these two words together.. ‘social, justice’.. obviously doesn’t convey any specific meaning whatsoever. Like other recently coined slogans constantly parroted by the allegedly ‘progressive’ Left like ‘white privilege’, ‘rape culture’ or ‘mansplaining‘… it is deliberately vague. The intention behind slamming these unrelated words together is more about promoting a collective, subjective impression which validates their own ideological premise rather than to express anything logically coherent or objectively true. This of course is the ideal use of language for the extreme Left because it allows any of these suddenly fashionable phrases to mean anything they say it means and to apply it in any way that suits their purposes… with the moral righteousness automatically assumed.
The author of this ‘opinion’ piece from the publicly funded state broadcaster is one of those ideologues. By framing the university in divisive terms of class and race… pitting the motivations of ‘affluent’ students (code word for white people) against the those of the “traditionally underrepresented” she is imposing that ideological construct onto the institution.
The role of the university should never be the promotion of radical and divisive ideologies. “Social Justice”… despite the intentionally soothing title… is just such an ideology and therefore should have no place in the curriculum of these publicly funded institutions of higher learning.
Going to Getugly: You give the impression that you don’t distinguish between “guessing” and ‘knowing’ as a rule. Fortunately, I don’t have to guess to know that logical consistency isn’t your “strong point”.
The truth is that there isn’t much to comprehend in your comment. It’s just a series of unsubstantiated, self-confirming assertions about other people’s motives with the phrase “actual medical science” tacked onto it as if that’s the same thing as demonstrating you have the slightest clue about the “actual medical science”.
You are not a spokesperson for ‘science’, Rob. Science is predicated on objectively demonstrable proof of any truth claims. What you are a spokesperson for is ideology.
And your position is absolutely about “conforming” as you have arbitrarily designated anyone who doesn’t conform to your unsubstantiated ideological concepts as being motivated by maliciousness and a conscious desire to inflict harm on people.
Which makes you a hypocrite and strongly suggests that self-awareness isn’t your “strong point” either.
Rob P: I give the impression of not distinguishing between “guessing” and “knowing”?
That’s interesting, because I “know” about gender dysphoria, I “know” the published medical research in this area because I’ve read it, I “know” medical practitioners in this field, I “know” trans* people; and I “know” that people like Lyle Shelton deliberately ignore such research and the qualified practitioners in their attempts to belittle, demean, and marginalise the trans* minority within society.
I “guess” you side with Shelton, since you offer nothing other than an ad hominem attack; you’ve certainly done nothing to dispel my assertion that Shelton et al operate from a position of deliberate ignorance.
Going to Getugly: Claiming to “know” things isn’t a particularly convincing argument, Rob. And the way it works is that the onus is on you to justify your ad hominem and attribution of motives about people like Shelton and everyone else who doesn’t conform to your opinions about this subject. The onus is not on me to “dispel” your arbitrary, unsubstantiated and biased assertions.
And if you ‘know’ so much about the “actual medical” scientific opinion about this subject, perhaps you “know” about the official view of the American College of Pediatricians? Their position is that it’s the perspective which you are embracing and promoting that inflicts “harm” on “vulnerable people”. Or are you now going to claim that this body of medical professionals don’t “know” as much as you do about the subject? Or perhaps you want to claim they are “propagating debunked faux (religious based) science”? Or maybe you will default to the self-justifying, circular reasoning you’ve already demonstrated and simply invent sinister motivations for them?
The American College of Pediatricians: Gender Ideology Harms Children
Updated September 2017
The American College of Pediatricians urges healthcare professionals, educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.
1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident. The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs (also referred to as “intersex”) do not constitute a third sex.1
The bottom line is this: Our opponents advocate a new scientifically baseless standard of care for children with a psychological condition (GD) that would otherwise resolve after puberty for the vast majority of patients concerned. Specifically, they advise: affirmation of children’s thoughts which are contrary to physical reality; the chemical castration of these children prior to puberty with GnRH agonists (puberty blockers which cause infertility, stunted growth, low bone density, and an unknown impact upon their brain development), and, finally, the permanent sterilization of these children prior to age 18 via cross-sex hormones. There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging young GD children to impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression. If a boy who questions whether or not he is a boy (who is meant to grow into a man) is treated as a girl, then has his natural pubertal progression to manhood suppressed, have we not set in motion an inevitable outcome? All of his same sex peers develop into young men, his opposite sex friends develop into young women, but he remains a pre-pubertal boy. He will be left psychosocially isolated and alone. He will be left with the psychological impression that something is wrong. He will be less able to identify with his same sex peers and being male, and thus be more likely to self identify as “non-male” or female. Moreover, neuroscience reveals that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain which is responsible for judgment and risk assessment is not mature until the mid-twenties. Never has it been more scientifically clear that children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions. For this reason, the College maintains it is abusive to promote this ideology, first and foremost for the well-being of the gender dysphoric children themselves, and secondly, for all of their non-gender-discordant peers, many of whom will subsequently question their own gender identity, and face violations of their right to bodily privacy and safety.
Another example of feminist narcissism abusing the self-conception of children.
The superficial sanctimonious rhetoric is this: “If we can stop boys growing into men that behave like jerks, we won’t have to teach our daughters how to deflect a man in power making a comment about her boobs – or much worse.”
The messaging cutting through that rhetoric is this: “Boys are intrinsically defective and need to be fixed. Girls are perfect just as they are.”
This is dangerously distorting the self-conception of BOTH boys and girls. And it’s being promoted by self-absorbed, narcissistic women more concerned with the gratification they feel from conforming to fashionable, ego-flattering ideological constructs than the psychological health of their children.
Another fine example of the degenerate ethics and reasoning of the sanctimonious, allegedly ‘progressive’ Left. The reaction to this from James, below, is very interesting. He proudly self-identifies as a “leftwinger“. Yet his struggle to reconcile this unambiguously racist public incident with his conviction about the inherent moral excellence of the premise behind it is palpable.
This highlights precisely the threat posed by the cultural phenomenon of ‘progressivism’: The willingness to privilege ideological premises over self-evident, objective truth.
Poor James is trying desperately to adhere to the standard “leftwinger” conception of “teaching moments”… in which people who take the perfection of their own beliefs for granted impose their will on those they deem to be in need of their superior insight.
The problem for James is that unlike the majority of people who share his intellectual commitment to the ideology of the ‘progressive’-Left , he hasn’t yet completely abandoned his capacity to recognise hypocrisy:
James: How is the volunteer racist? As a leftwinger, I confess that this baffles me if this article is accurate. Having white people move back as an exercise could be a teaching moment, but not with acceptable means unless you plan to, say, return people to their old spots after a few minutes.
Breaking equal-treatment rules isn’t acceptable. This is a grotesque caricature of the left that rightwing blogs constantly circulate (no, most leftwingers aren’t worried about dissenting opinions). Don’t ask people of one race to move back for people of another race for your concert.
Going to Getugly:
James, it’s anything BUT a “gross caricature of the left”. This is the Left in all of it’s irrational, hypocritical, circular reasoning glory! And your statement that this would be a “teaching moment” is a symptom of the same irrationality. You don’t subject people to the very thing you claim to so strongly oppose to fulfill your narcissistic belief in the righteousness of your own opinion.
Indulging in bigotry because you tell yourself it’s for ‘all the right reasons’ is not DIFFERENT to bigotry. It’s just bigotry! This is the blind spot of people such as yourself who self-identify as “a leftwinger” that folks who are not captured by ideology keep trying to get you guys to recognise! You are NOT better than the people you imagine yourselves to be superior to! The problem is that people on the Left… people like YOU… never bother to go through the process of examining YOURSELF before imagining that you occupy the lofty position to pass judgement on people who don’t conform to your ideology.
Another commentator, Nathan, inadvertently emphasises the truth about this impulse to privilege a commitment to prefabricated, ideological conceptualisations over independant thinking with this comment:
Nathan: I’m a liberal who spends more time confronting the stupidity of the type defined here than conservatives.
These aren’t isolated incidents. Head to any university in the country and you’ll find people that think making white people move is noble.
So I posed the obvious question:
Going to Getugly:
Nathan, why then do you persist in self-identifying with an ideology that you recognise is so flawed and corrupt?