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Reheated (19)

For newcomers, three more items from the archives.

New Tyranny Detected.

Lara Pawson rails against “heteronormative privilege” and “the tyranny of coupledom.”

“I want to divorce the man I love and he wants to divorce me,” says Pawson. “We do not wish to separate – simply to end our seven-year marriage… We are both fed up with being part of the hetero-husband-and-wife brigade that is accorded so much status and privilege.” Such are the terrible burdens of those who go out of their way (and then some) in order to invent problems and thereby become interesting. Behold: fake divorce - it’s a bold political statement. Ms Pawson is of course indulging in a spot of overlording, which is to say, using pretentious egalitarian hand-wringing to signal her own moral, social and intellectual superiority: “See how sensitive, radical and intriguing I am - so much more enlightened than those lumpen married couples and their heteronormativity.”

Dissident Academic Feels the Warmth of Social Justice.

Or, “if you expose our student indoctrination policy we will punish you.”

Looking through various teacher-training outlines, the familiar leftist buzzwords appear repeatedly. “Diversity” and identity politics feature prominently and teachers-to-be are referred to as “critical thinking change agents.” These “agents” will use the classroom “to transcend the negative effects of the dominant culture” and will “speak on behalf of identified constituent groups,” becoming “advocates for those on the margins of society.” Evidently, “critical thinking” should be taken to mean leftist thinking – critical of capitalism, individualism and bourgeois values - not thinking that might also be critical of the left, its methods and its assorted conceits. And one wonders how many liberties will be taken while speaking on behalf of “groups” deemed marginal and oppressed.

Ignorant Teachers, a New Socialist Ideal.

Knowledge and competence are outmoded and unfair, says incompetent philosopher.

Natural variations in cognitive ability, unlike those in musicality or athleticism, are a thorn in the paw of devout egalitarians. Avid readers of the Guardian’s arts and music pages would no doubt feel free to delight in the prowess of, say, Helen Mirren or Pinchas Zukerman without believing that everyone they passed on the street could with training do the same. It seems that only intelligence attracts contrarian manoeuvring. The latest example of which comes via Fabian Tassano, author of Mediocracy: Inversions and Deceptions in an Egalitarian Culture. Tassano steers us to the claims of senior philosophy lecturer and Guardian contributor Dr Nina Power, who insists, apparently based on nothing, that “everyone has the potential to understand everything,” and that equality of intelligence is “something to be presupposed” because – well, just because - “everyone is equally intelligent.”

And by all means take a shovel to the greatest hits. There may be puppies trapped inside.