Premature Detonation
Still Peddling

Vacuity and Consensus

In response to this article, some readers have been discussing PoMo politics and its various “trickle-down” effects. Readers who’ve been following that discussion may be interested in some points made by Fabian Tassano over at his blog. Tassano addresses the broader subject of leftist bias in academia and the creeping censorship that follows:

“The larger part of academia has become obsessed with jargon and formalism, at the expense of meaningful content. An academic’s principal options in fields such as economics, psychology or sociology are now (1) become a number-cruncher (do tedious empirical research with plenty of highly technical statistical analysis, much of which is likely to be questionable), or (2) generate pseudo-theory of a kind which reproduces the currently fashionable terminology. In either case, taking care to say nothing that conflicts with received wisdom. In fields such as literature or philosophy, there is only option (2). The high level of technicality and referencing typically masks the triviality — or absence — of genuine content.

The purpose of academia has changed from producing real insights to generating reinforcement for the preferred world view… It should be obvious by now, to anyone who cares, that the principle of free speech is being gradually eroded in the West. Either by straightforward ditching, or — more subtly — by redefining it in ways designed to legitimise the prohibition of ideologically incorrect viewpoints. For example, not long ago an editor at the Index on Censorship admonished us for being too literalist about the issue: ‘People shouldn’t think that the Index is against censorship on principle. It may have been so in its radical youth, but it is now as concerned with fighting hate speech as protecting free speech.’ (Rohan Jayasekera, commenting about the murder of Theo van Gogh.)

…Where we get dissident research being done at all, it is — inevitably — funded by bodies with links to commerce and/or right wing politics, since those are the only organisations with an incentive to challenge the il-liberal consensus. This is used by the mainstream both (a) to prove that there isn't a restriction on what research gets done, and (b) to discredit that research.”

The article can be read in full here. Tassano’s book, Mediocracy, may also be of interest.