Warning! You may find this article disturbing. If facts, reason, free speech, and history are offensive to you, I urge you to not read this piece which you may consider to be a violent act and find refuge in a safe place where you can reinforce your ideas of wokeness, postmodernism, multiculturalism, Critical Theory, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, De-constructionism, and Marxism.
Warning! You may find this article disturbing. If facts, reason, free speech, and history are offensive to you, I urge you to not read this piece and find refuge in a safe place where you can reinforce your ideas of wokeness, postmodernism, multiculturalism, Critical Theory, Structuralism, Post-structuralism, De-constructionism, and Marxism. This article rejects these concepts, and, according to the current orthodoxy, such rejection is “hateful” thus my article would be considered to be an “act of violence” against your intellectual and emotional well-being. So stop reading any further. I don’t want to hurt anyone.
If you think the world seems to be going crazy you may be right. I wish I could blame it all on COVID-19, but that would be a cop out. We have, to me, some disturbing stuff going around. We can’t discuss anything of substance in public anymore. If you disagree with the current ideologies that seem to have taken over academia and much of the popular media, you will be branded as a racist, misogynist, rapist, exploiter, cultural appropriator, slavery advocate, and fascist. I’m not ok with that.
We are now calling this the “cancel culture,” an offshoot of the social justice movement. What started with Harvey Weinstein has morphed into a social-political movement whose advocates see racism, bigotry, hate, oppression, and misogyny everywhere. Any dissent from this new orthodoxy is now labeled “racist hate speech”, a vestige of white privilege, and is an act of violence against protected (“oppressed”) groups. What it is, is a cynical war against free speech and the ideals of western civilization.
One of their weapons in this war are words. Words are to be manipulated to serve political goals. Protected groups, all advocates of social justice, are “liberated” from the bonds of tolerance and free speech. Intolerance (often violent) to the speech of dissenters is justified to achieve political power. Any means to an end.
As a fan of language I am always interested in new buzz words. My new favorite word is “dog-whistling.” It’s not a new concept, just new to me. It means that certain words have a double meaning. A word may be innocuous in its dictionary definition, but when used in a political context it has another meaning to some in-group. You know, like the whistles that only dogs can hear. Examples of dog-whistling are “family values” (“I’m a Christian”) or “international banker” (Jew hater).
According to Harvard professor Steven Pinker, the highly esteemed linguist who was accused of racist dog-whistling, “Dog-whistling is … [a] technique in which you can claim that anyone says anything because you can easily hear the alleged dog-whistles that aren’t in the actual literal contents of what the person says.”
In technical terms this is called eisegesis which means “interpreting text in such a way as to introduce one’s own presuppositions, agendas or biases.” This is what the cancel culture is all about. They are redefining language as a tool to gain political power. If you were foolish enough to express your opinions publicly, its advocates will search the internet for some instance of racism or misogyny on your part and they will probably find it because the words you used have double meanings which they can clearly discern. You may not even have known this when you wrote them. You have to be woke to be able to hear these dog-whistles.
It’s pretty easy to get on Twitter and start labeling people as whatever evil you can think up without a lot of facts getting in the way. Outraged woke people pile on, happy to ruin the victim’s day or life without worrying about truthiness. After all, it’s all about power, not facts. It’s quite totalitarian.
If you yelled at your employees yesterday or twenty years ago and made them feel uncomfortable, put your head on the chopping block. Ask Ellen DeGeneres about this. If you thought defunding the police might be a bad idea, adios racist. Ask professor Harald Uhlig about this. If you made a lot of money, you, my friend, are a “capitalist exploiter” and probably despoiled the planet on your way up. If you believed, based on data available to anyone, that the world is getting better, even for black people in America, you are a racist. Ask professor Steven Pinker about that. If you have written positively about bourgeois values such as two-parent families, education, hard work, and civic-mindedness, you will be vilified as producing hate speech. Ask professor Amy Wax about that.
Washington and Jefferson are on their shit list because they owned slaves and were obviously racists. To the woke culture, as racists their accomplishments are suspect and should be rejected. If their accomplishments are based on the ideology and history of western civilization (reason, natural law, classical liberalism, Enlightenment, free markets, democracy), those ideas must be rejected as well. If you think Washington and Jefferson have some merit, that is a dog-whistle for racism, branding you as a racist.
If the woke orthodoxy is to reject racists and everything they stand for then why don’t they reject Karl Marx? Many of these advocates of the current orthodoxy are Marxists or neo-Marxists who believe in Marx’s theories of social organization. Karl was a racist and a bigot. He was not charitable in his views of Slavs, Asians, and Africans. Ditto Jews even though he had a Jewish heritage. Doesn’t that disqualify Marxism? My guess is that these woke people have no idea of Marx’s philosophy, which was mostly an incoherent advocacy of totalitarian violence with a brutal history.
It amazes me that, in light of the history of socialism, communism, Marxism, and fascism, these ideas still have a following among the woke cancel culture. All these ideologies are authoritarian, a dangerous thing. When you boil it down to the essentials, the cancel culture orthodoxy is not about social justice. Their authoritarian ideologies promote racism and inequality. Rather it is about political power and, as we all know, power corrupts. In my book “social justice” is a dog-whistle for authoritarianism.