David Thompson
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October 18, 2016

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Jen

Those for whom the attainment of political goals is less important than the romance of resistance itself, perversely require an immovable antagonist against which to hurl themselves.

That. It covers most of the stuff you write about here. :-)

bilbaoboy

Sowell as ever nails it! Simply, so that anyone can understand.

To be told in the face of massive corruption by the socialist party in Spain (as well as massive corruption, but in value 3 times less, by the centre-right but nearly social democratic Popular Party) I get told literally (well translated as literally as possible)by a socialist with 6 properties that she doesn't even need to rent out:

'I am consoled by the fact that underneath it all, people on the left are always just so much better than people on the right.'

She must sleep well at night. And maybe I should have taken it personally and clocked her just to show her she was right!

David

It covers most of the stuff you write about here. :-)

It has been a recurring theme, yes. But if you think of leftism and political correctness as a kind of positional good, a marker of in-group status, and if you think of how the world has changed in, say, the last fifty years or so, or twenty, or ten, then the need for hyperbole and distortion is inevitable. As Kristian Niemietz put it,

A positional good is a good that people acquire to signal where they stand in a social hierarchy; it is acquired in order to set oneself apart from others. Positional goods therefore have a peculiar property: the utility their consumers derive from them is inversely related to the number of people who can access them… PC-brigadiers behave exactly like owners of a positional good who panic because wider availability of that good threatens their social status.

The PC brigade has been highly successful in creating new social taboos, but their success is their very problem. Moral superiority is a prime example of a positional good, because we cannot all be morally superior to each other. Once you have successfully exorcised a word or an opinion, how do you differentiate yourself from others now? You need new things to be outraged about, new ways of asserting your imagined moral superiority.

And so the goal posts have to move, and keep moving, leading to ever greater contrivance and ever more absurd definitions of oppression. There’s an in-built neediness that leads to escalation and all manner of bizarre phenomena. From “social justice” warriors fabricating ‘hate’ crimes because they can’t point to any real ones, to agonised Guardian articles about the menace posed by heteronormative cupcakes and spellcheck software, and about how men discussing barbecues is not only “oppressively penetrating,” but about as “oppressively penetrating” as a thing can be.

And this adversarial posturing, this insatiable woe, has little to do with how the world actually is. It does, however, have a great deal to do with how those concerned wish to seem. In order to maintain a self-image of heroic radicalism and intellectual heft - and in order to justify funding, influence and status - new and rarer forms of exploitation and injustice have to be discovered, or conjured into being. Which leads to extremism, intolerance and absurdity, not because the mainstream of society is becoming more racist, prejudiced, patriarchal or oppressive – but precisely because it isn’t.

Jonathan

...on the art world’s deadening ideological lockstep:

Evidence:- It's not art if I don't like the artists politics.

Turk Turkleton

Peter Thiel's gay membership has been revoked. It seems that merely having "gay sex" isn't enough to make one "gay" without the accompanying political stance. Does this conversely mean I can claim to be gay without ever having had same-sex intercourse, or will I just be guilty of appropriation?

David

“People paid money to go to a comedy show and found themselves in a political Q&A session. No wonder there was booing.”

R. Sherman

And so the goal posts have to move, and keep moving, leading to ever greater contrivance and ever more absurd definitions of oppression.

Thus we eagerly await the appearance of "nano-aggressions" followed by "pico-aggressions."

Charlie Suet

I hadn't realised where Mindy Kaling got her stage name from before.

Tim Newman

One of the most recent efforts of the left is the spread of laws and policies that forbid employers from asking job applicants whether they have been arrested or imprisoned.

Ah yes, this is like the law in France which banned photos on CVs because employers were discriminating against people of North African origin. Fortunately with this law now in place there is no longer any way by which employers can differentiate between Mohammed El-Hajaf and Jean-Pierre Leroux when it comes to hiring.

John D

So he decided to pretend he was African-American.

He looks very Indian to me.

David

He looks very Indian to me.

According to his book, he used his middle name, shaved his hair, trimmed his eyelashes and joined the Organisation of Black Students.

R. Sherman

He looks very Indian to me.

That's the beauty of his "experiment." Can you imagine the outcry had anyone suggested he didn't look "black" enough? Identity politics enables its own destruction because it becomes impossible to police actual identity.

BackwardsBoy

Identity politics enables its own destruction because it becomes impossible to police actual identity.

I've been trying to identify as a multi-billionaire for years, but sadly it isn't working.

sH2

the spread of laws and policies that forbid employers from asking job applicants whether they have been arrested or imprisoned.

Because knowing less is always a good thing.

Jonathan

More evidence: Art Critics are literally signalling their status by their admiration of modern art.

We argue that this deviation is consistent with a Coevolutionary Aesthetics mechanism driven by prestige-biased social learning among art experts....

Furthermore, our findings provide initial support for our proposal that prestige-driven coevolution with expert evaluations plays a decisive role in modern art’s deviation from naturally selected preferences.

And they prefer ugliness to beauty too...

David

Because knowing less is always a good thing.

It’s a strange conceit, the idea that employers shouldn’t be interested in whether potential employees have a criminal history and might therefore be more likely to, say, assault someone or steal from them.

Lionel Ebb

'But the political left is so heavily invested in blaming racism that mere facts are unlikely to change their minds.'

The political left is heavily invested in blaming almost any 'ism' for almost anything, it seems to me: http://bit.ly/2cQt37l

sk60

"We're starting anarchy here."

http://therightscoop.com/breaking-james-okeefe-releases-new-video-hillary-dnc-inciting-violence-trump-rallies/

R. Sherman

It’s a strange conceit...

Of course, the worthies have abolished the legal doctrine of respondeat superior and torts based upon "negligent hiring" to protect employers who are now forbidden from vetting new hires, right? Right!?!

David

“We’re starting anarchy here.”

The question that comes to mind is... at what point can we use the word evil...?

sk60

The question that comes to mind is... at what point can we use the word evil...?

"Because this is technically… voter fraud."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDc8PVCvfKs

David

Meanwhile,

High schooler records teacher’s racism lecture: “To be white is to be racist, period.”

Again, at what point can we use the word evil…?

R. Sherman

"To be white is to be racist, period.”

Sounds like the basis of a federal lawsuit for racial discrimination. Punch back twice as hard.

jabrwok

To be white is to be racist, period.

Might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb then. I wonder (not really) whether the promoters of this nonsense ever consider the consequences if enough white people decide to embrace this sentiment. If we can't do anything about it anyway, then why not? To thine own self be true!

Tman

When I was younger I went through an lefty-environmentalist/world-conspiracy phase but I couldn't escape my desire for logic which was always desperately pleading for some data in which to reason with.

Once I came across things like Professor McCarthy's page about the Sustainability of Human Progress it was impossible to go back. You couldn't move the goalposts any further. Most if not all of these leftists are equally capable of this kind of reasoning. But as the Professor says "He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense".

Dr. Pudding

That's the beauty of his "experiment." Can you imagine the outcry had anyone suggested he didn't look "black" enough? Identity politics enables its own destruction because it becomes impossible to police actual identity.

Reminds me of when John Safran did a "Black Like Me" thing for a TV show. He "passed", as it were, in large part because no-one could quite bring themselves to say, "You don't look like a black guy."

At least, that's how I remember it. Here's the episode, if anybody's interested.

G

This is one of the few blogs where the comments are (mostly) worth reading.

Charlie Suet

""To be white is to be racist, period.”

Sounds like the basis of a federal lawsuit for racial discrimination. Punch back twice as hard."

Well, if possible. Might seem hypocritical , but "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

Connor

Marx was wrong shock!

https://twitter.com/SteveStuWill/status/788552667224088577

Flyover deplorable

"To be white is to be racist, period.”

To which the proper response is, "So?"

Hedgehog

but "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

The problem with that is that it works poorly with the left. The only rule for the left is that the end justifies the means. Arguably, therefore, the left always lives up to its own book of rules.

This also has the advantage of explaining a lot of the left's behavior, including its being seemingly impervious to cognitive dissonance. So "Don't vote for Trump because he's an asshole who makes uncouth statements about women" cannot be countered by the equally truthful "Don't vote for Hillary Clinton because she is the enabler and defender of a serial groper and probable rapist."

Darleen

Holy crap ...awesome smack down of the whole cultural-appropriation scam.

David

awesome smack down of the whole cultural-appropriation scam.

Nicely done.

David

awesome smack down of the whole cultural-appropriation scam.

I can’t help wondering what happened next. Did the person complaining about “cultural appropriation” offer some devastating riposte, or did they concede the point? Or did they just retreat while convinced they were right and the other person ignorant, possibly racist, all argument to the contrary? As blather about “cultural appropriation” tends to be done ostentatiously, for reasons of social positioning, my guess would be option three.

TomJ

Someone else has noticed the way"art" is going:http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-culture-of-complaint-guerrilla-girls-tate

David

Tim Newman has spotted a development of possible interest:

In a move which dramatically changes the definition of infertility, the WHO will declare that it should no longer be regarded as simply a medical condition. The authors of the new global standards said the revised definition gave every individual “the right to reproduce”. Until now, the WHO’s definition of infertility – which it classes as a disability – has been the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sex. But the new standard suggests that the inability to find a suitable sexual partner – or the lack of sexual relationships which could achieve conception – could be considered an equal disability.

Remember, class. If you start with a faulty premise, then stick with it, the errors will multiply.

AnotherFred

Remember, class. If you start with a faulty premise, then stick with it, the errors will multiply.

This reminds me of a thread from a few months ago: http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2016/08/youre-doing-it-all-wrong.html

So, "If you are only attracted to able, 'mentally well', cis, normatively beautiful people, from class privileged backgrounds, then you are upholding violent norms." Now we can add violating the fundamental human right to reproduce to the ever-increasing list of grievances.

David

This reminds me of a thread from a few months ago

That one was fun.

Hal

Important considerations.

Hal

European nations at odds over whether Brexit is masculine or feminine

In one of the most unexpected arguments over the UK's decision to leave the European Union France, Germany, Spain and Italy are locked in a battle over how Brexit should be pronounced.

Greg Allan

"Patriarchy — that impregnable citadel of male privilege and the object of so much feminist anger and hatred — turned out to be a paper tiger"

Indeed. It was only ever a threat to women in the minds of feminists. A strawman is always made of straw.

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