Let Them Eat Ivory
Duke University theology professor Paul Griffiths was forced to resign his post not long ago after issuing a response to an e-mail urging professors to attend voluntary diversity training. Condemned as a “racist, sexist, and bigot”, Griffiths, who merely pointed out the exercise would be “intellectually flaccid…[with] bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty”, has become the latest victim in the ideological war being waged on American college campuses (though it is spreading across the West like a California wild fire). Those who do not toe the party line and support the notion that enforced equity and racial parity is for the greater good, will be tarred, feathered, and made to walk the plank. The growing ranks of unemployed collegiate dissidents is growing at an alarming rate, replaced by ideologues and administrators. Contrast Griffiths’s words with those of Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher’s: “All I want for Christmas is white genocide”. Ciccariello-Maher still has a job, because his comments evidently fell under the umbrella of “protected speech”, while Griffiths and many like him, such as Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas and Erika Christakis at Yale and Ms. Susan Quade at Concordia University, have been forced out of their positions for what are legitimate critiques, or even just figures of speech in Quade’s case, but what campus higher-ups (and their Cultural Marxist students and professors) are decrying as “hate speech”.
We have Bolsheviks fleeing Nazi Germany to thank for the inarticulate caterwauling, the incongruent theories of “social justice”, and an ever-expanding series of a la carte issues de rigeur on college campuses today. It was at Columbia University in the mid-1930s the oppressor/oppressed paradigm of the Frankfurt School found a home (is it any wonder the spectacle of entitlement has been grotesquely realized most damningly on Ivy League campuses?). The Frankfurt School and their intellectual post-modernist heirs re-framed Marxism in an American context, stripped its overt communist sympathies, and charged it with a new politics of victimhood. Soon the unfurling tentacles of “critical theory” began to find their way into other institutions of higher learning and started to choke out dissenting viewpoints. It has heretofore been a long, shambling march to oblivion, but in the last five years or so, things have catalyzed and hit a fever pitch. The overly reductive, good-versus-evil moral narcissism of Leftist ideologues has come to so wholly encompass the better part of a generation that the very foundations of our society are under direct threat.
My intention is not to provide a comprehensive history lesson of the Frankfurt School and its disciples—there are a number of great articles on the topic—but to begin to examine the germination of critical theory, victim theory, Cultural Marxism, neo-feminism—all cousins of the same invasive species digging their roots into American soil and killing the native flora of Age of Enlightenment ideals and American exceptionalism. These imported ideologies have grown unchecked through grassroots Saul Alinsky-informed activism, and even more insidiously, the institutions of higher learning where impressionable young men and women matriculate in order to develop their minds, worldviews, and identities.
Critical theory has largely supplanted the Socratic method of inquiry not only on North American campuses, but in the United Kingdom and across much of the rest of the West. While critical theory and Cultural Marxism’s roots are distinctly European, it is through the hybrid model espoused in the American university system’s wild success that this catch-all of victim-cultivation has been allowed to flower nearly unencumbered and, regrettably, find itself emulated by departments globally. Identity, as Leftist ideologues would have it, is wholly the result of social engineering and patriarchal, hetero-normative power structures, and yet ironically they must develop and enforce a “re-engineered” social contract on artificial and largely unprovable premises to combat an existing set of supposed social constructs, which in many cases are simply reflective of biological predilections and impulses. This is not to say that there isn’t a social component involved in our conception of race, sexuality, and the like, layered on top of biology, but to pretend that sex and gender, for example, vary independently is ridiculous, as is the notion that the fundamental differences between races are the result of some nefarious white super-structure. Sickle cell is not a social construct.
The plague of radical Leftism has so thoroughly poisoned our discourse, it’s a nearly Herculean task to even begin to figure out where the damage is greatest. The cult of critical theory’s takeover of the university is in full swing. The university finds itself in existential crisis, whether it realizes it or not. For the tidy price of about $65,000 a year, you can send your daughter to Wellesley College, for example, where she can major in Women’s and Gender Studies, learn all about censorship under the guise of stopping “hate speech”, and participate in an anonymous Facebook campaign to abstain from voting for a “masculine-of-center, gender queer” student running for the position of Diversity Officer so as to not support the white male patriarchy. In strictly economic terms, this is a terrible return on investment. What skills will your daughter learn to prepare her for success in the job market, much less be able to recoup the costs of a quarter-of-a-million-dollar investment? How to attack unsuspecting women wearing Make Bitcoin Great Again hats? How to shut down discourse? How to vilify anyone who doesn’t share her point of view and politicize everything?
These dogmatic ideologues find it appropriate to destroy your livelihood because you don’t have the correct viewpoint, and even more galling, often cannot articulate why they believe you are wrong. Thought is secondary to emotion for them. We seem to have entered the era of extreme subjectivity and relativism. The far Left (which unfortunately is claiming more and more of the political “pie” in the West) has so thoroughly altered the linguistic and moral landscape, it’s been rendered terra incognita. The rot is pervasive, and if we have any hope of combating it, of speaking in frank and realist terms again, we’ve got to first understand the philosophy underpinning this ideology. This exercise will prove crucial in identifying and calibrating the obscured, coded, and forcibly silenced. The portrayal of unease with aspects of a state—or the elevation of the Other in opposition to it—invariably must engage with the dominant discourse, even if using it as a point of departure that will ultimately give way to expanded possibilities for non-dominant groups, and interrogate binary oppositions; ironically for Leftist ideologues, however, compromise is therefore a deviation from their own kind of bi-modal thinking. Nationalist myth-making is based on stereotypes; it must be. There are said to be intrinsic qualities that make someone “better”, and yet, those in power are often held in relief against what they are not to justify their position.
This is only one of many points of contention, as the Left views borders and boundaries as both physical and ideological tools employed in colonial and imperial practice for purposes of marginalizing the Other in an attempt to solidify the dominant group’s position. Notions of space and dimensionality in the dominant discourse, as well as the representation (or lack thereof) of women and the Other, are intended to perpetuate the inhabiting of certain white and/or male voices, where the intent to critique or work against accepted roles and expectations became maybe the defining characteristic of “progressivism”. The problem is that, as Mr. Jonathan Bowden says, “Without the concrete that is underneath your feet you’re lost and aimless and atomized”. Put another way, to quote the legendary psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, “Are your convictions founded on anything of value?” In continuously pushing to de-construct and “problematize” Western culture, what in some cases began as a very legitimate movement for equality, such as early feminism in terms of women’s suffrage and eventually equal pay, has morphed into something grotesquely unlike the original intent of the movement. Indeed, we could make a very compelling case feminism has accomplished its goal (I happen to believe it has), and now the quixotic neo-feminists are finding new windmills to chase.
Progress in the “progressive” sense is actually antithetical to the way we have always defined it. Nations that have most readily embraced capitalism have flourished and naturally expanded individual rights. Post-independence Africa by-and-large stuck to a model of African socialism, and as a result, the continent-wide standard of living is lower than it was in the mid-1960s. Three-quarters of global poverty is clustered in Africa. Inequality, by any measure, will never be stamped out; it is a fundamental condition of human existence and must be acknowledged. We are all born with different strengths and weaknesses, and we must embrace these to develop and mature into healthy, productive adults who contribute to society and build strong families and communities. It is through the actualization of the self, the development of the individual, that, ironically and contrary to Leftist insistence, collective bonds grow and strengthen.
The best way to ensure material comfort is not by tearing down the One Percent, but by raising the floor, so everyone’s standard of living is improved, even if there is a wealth disparity. Let me put it this way: 92% of Americans live at or above the global middle class standard—this even with the artificial caps and over-regulation of the Obama administration that made doing business in America brutal. “Red” states outpace “blue” states in economic growth by about double. In states like Maine and New York, over-regulation and over-reach based on faulty premises make them the two worst states in the union to do business. Much of this is due to concern for the environment, a noble goal, as we certainly do not want to damage and pollute our pristine wilderness, but most of the environmental legislation on things like carbon emissions and landfills are based on either inconclusive (at best) science, or a gross misunderstanding of the protections already in place for something like a landfill. A suggestion: perhaps people produce less waste and recycle more instead of screaming about landfills and trying to block something that would provide needed jobs and tax revenue to ailing communities.
It’s just this kind of frank realism—about race, about economics, about crime—the Left wants to obfuscate. Read any academic journal and most of the jargon is incomprehensible, the logic circular, the theses hyper-specific yet oddly abstract. There are inherent contradictions built in to the model, insofar as you can call it a model. Ironically the one identity that Leftist identity politics holds as static—interiority, the sense of self, your essence—is not fixed; it is fluid and is subject to revision and re-evaluation with each new interaction or experience you have, with each new idea or concept you encounter. Identity politics, which has become so central to Leftism (“I identify as…” may well be the most toxic phrase in the English language), is wholly tethered to the material world, trafficking in externalities and defined by adherence to groupthink and categorical “census-taking”. To some degree we have our own version of this in terms of race, but this notion is based on scientific, quantifiable observation and historical reality—the frank realism and honesty the Left wants to marginalize.
And yet, their insistence on categorization belies the central claim that gender and sexuality exist on a spectrum, that their inherent fluidity is straight-jacketed by social constructivism. If race is merely a social construct, then doesn’t something like affirmative action only, well, affirm society’s bias? You are “born this way” in terms of sexuality, and yet hetero-normativity is a social construct. Does this hold true for measurables like IQ, aptitude, performance, and the like? Does any of this seem contradictory, even incoherent? Good, we’re just getting started.
Imagination and creativity from outside the bounds of the controlling group represents a threat to the dominant ideology for the Leftists. Expounding upon the methods of control and the outward portrayal of a rigid social code dating at least to Rome, likely well beyond, Leftist historical revisionism holds that the segment of Western societies constituting the power base of these nation-states began to view behavior and ideas without a strict economic purpose with extreme discomfort. The fear of many commentators was the potential for the extinguishing of creativity—a prevailing sentiment industrialized society continues to be leaning toward, not only through its education system, but through the all-encompassing mechanized “functionality” that’s spread from the workplace of the laborer to the harsh, sooty landscape and outward uniformity that the Industrial Revolution stamped across the West (though arguably it’s been the globalist multi-cultural shopping mall approach that’s done far more damage to creativity, individuality, and even cultural identity). With the rise of Marxism, it became particularly acute with the rise of industrialized nations in the mid-nineteenth century, especially as the perception of those of a lower social strata became increasingly utilitarian.
Laborers (in a broad sense) are lumped into one giant group, only regarded by what they can produce—their practical purpose toward the economy or war machine. These fears were explored by Marx, Engels, and their progeny, and in the West their ideas have undergone the insidious permutation now assuming any number of different monikers: social justice, neo- or Third Wave feminism, Cultural Marxism, post-modernism, re-distributionism, liberalism (the term has been co-opted), multi-culturalism, and many more.
Society in neo-Marxist terms is portrayed as a giant mechanized structure, where all social classes and racial groups are expected to fulfill their roles, performing them like gears in a machine, a machine that seems intent on maximizing profit margin at whatever the human and environmental cost. There is an overt sense of doom permeating some of these ideas, suggesting that if left unchecked this “functionality” of economic existence could well spell the end to the creative side of man, and thus of any sort of individuality; the mechanization of society would be complete. People would be rendered little short of robots with heartbeats (once again: what has in fact proven to be the greater danger to creativity and individuality—globalist multi-culturalism or industrialization né capitalism?). The march of progress stops for no one, the many dimensions of a society serving the ultimate purpose of supporting the bourgeoisie.
For the Left, the broad idea of dimension invariably evokes notions of direction and linearity. Even the notion of circularity (as in historical circularity and repetition) is purposefully undermined in several ways by bringing relativistic theories into provocative opposition; it is therefore helpful to consider direction and space in their wider implications. A discussion of direction necessarily includes verticality. Phrases such as “the height of the Roman Empire” occur frequently in historical discourse, and work to imply that empires—as a genus—move in one direction along a curve, either to a summit or a base. There is no stasis; if an empire is at its height, it will continue to move forward, the trajectory eventually flattening out and falling. Retroactivity is not part of the discourse (this is highly troubling if we look where we’re trending now in the United States and across the West; fortunately this remains the province of theory, for now, and we might yet keep our respective civilizations intact if we’re not too far gone—it remains to be seen). The Left seeks to further complicate fundamental conceptions of time, progress, and movement, and since upward movement implies adherence to the traditional slope archetype of progress, represented by the Conrad-Demarest Model of Empires, the Left seeks to dispense with the discourse of empire (another inherent contradiction, as the Left portrays itself as “progressive”—as in, progressing toward the socially harmonious utopia).
For Marxists, the traditional nuclear family is central to the bourgeoisie. Loyalty radiates outward in concentric circles (think Dunbar’s Number) with the familial unit being foundational. Parents establish values and character examples for their children, and the complementary parenting styles of the mother and father provide a child with a healthy balance of compassion and discipline. Adherence to many of Judeo-Christianity’s precepts often aids in providing a pillar of support and model of behavior, though this is certainly not a prerequisite to living a moral, fulfilling life. I emphasize Judeo-Christianity here as the Constitution is an outgrowth of Age of Enlightenment philosophy and, by extension, the Judeo-Christian tradition. Additionally, a sense of community, duty, and patriotism often provides an individual with another pillar of strength, where they may feel they are living for something greater than themselves, and adds additional “circles” of loyalty. The Left’s multi-pronged attack on Judeo-Christian mores, American values, and hetero-normative behaviors (ie-building a family, striving for work-life balance) strips an individual of a sense of meaning and signals an abdication of responsibility. Into the void, then, steps the fervent Left with its all-encompassing ideology, commanding the damned prostrate themselves before the altar of Progress—complete with self-flagellation and hair shirts. The State becomes all.
How does this all tie in to the proliferation of radical Leftism in the academy? Well, for one thing, cowardly professors and administrators can hide behind speculation and theory, and real-world failure does not have repercussions for those that espouse it by losing their jobs. They do not actually have to figure out the logistics of implementing their utopian ideal. Bad investments, for example, would have a stock broker out on the street very quickly. Another is that the power dynamic publicly abhorred by many Leftists is readily exercised in order to either indoctrinate or silence students with dissenting viewpoints, or even to prevent the advancement of faculty who may differ in their worldview. Some students have morphed into a kind of Stasi, not understanding in their crusade for social justice the repercussions of going above a professor’s head with accusations of intolerance, instead of approaching the professor directly.
The chain of command, so to speak, is of course “problematic” (problematic is a code word for “something we don’t like but aren’t smart enough to offer a solution to so we’ll just complain and call attention to it”) in the Leftist worldview, unless it serves the would-be totalitarian, and thus the student must circumvent the individual whose viewpoint is different and endanger their livelihood by running to an administrator to solve their problem, much like a child on the playground, but with far more dire consequences. Proper adult behavior is to open a line of communication with the individual you disagree with, and engage in a productive dialogue. This will usually alleviate concerns with a common understanding, but if not, or the professor is legitimately engaging in inappropriate or harmful conduct, then an administrator should naturally be sought. These basics of conflict resolution should be learned at a very young age, but normal developmental patterns have been so thoroughly disrupted that many students arrive on campus with minimal self-sufficiency. This is exacerbated by policies that further infantilize the students by protecting them through the widely-covered array of safe spaces, trigger warnings, et cetera. A great many Millennials enter adult life ill-equipped and emotionally stunted, and their extended adolescence precludes healthy relationships and productive lives of meaning. We are doing students a tremendous disservice by coddling and catering to them in the academy, when this should be a time when young minds are challenged and identities shaped in a healthy way.
This is one of the main reasons why Leftist indoctrination on campuses is so pernicious—these students are on the precipice of adulthood and remain, to varying degrees, impressionable. For many, this is their first time away from home for an extended period, their first time interacting with and encountering new people and ideas, and we need to be very wary about straight-jacketing their thinking. The public school system is rigid enough as it is, forcing the practice of “teaching to the test”, and critical thinking is rarely emphasized. There are many teachers who strive to move beyond orthodoxy and Common Core, but they are certainly not encouraged to do so, nor are they rewarded for their efforts. They are far more likely to be reprimanded instead. The university, then, should be that crucial bridge where the pretense of childhood is removed and various challenges are presented so the students may grow and, ultimately, flourish.
Colleges and universities really have to start asking themselves the hard questions: what kind of environment do we want to cultivate? Professor Jonathan Haidt has said the university needs to decide what its primary mission will be: Truth or Social Justice. The University of Chicago initially seemed to be going with Truth, telling the incoming Class of 2021 not to expect trigger warnings and safe spaces, and to prepare to be intellectually challenged. The faculty, naturally, signed a petition protesting this letter to the incoming freshmen, and several student advocacy groups came out of the woodwork with the all-too-familiar “campus reform demands”. It remains to be seen how the situation will resolve itself, but the on-campus response is discouraging. The Leftist campaign to turn universities into indoctrination mills has got to stop. This was never meant to be their function, nor should it ever be their function. The university should be a bastion of the highest ideals and most advanced inquiry, where students and professors are free to chart their own course within reasonable parameters, without having to constantly self-censor for fear of reprisal. One wrong move, one transgression, one mistake, and a promising career can be destroyed in an instant. There are people who sincerely believe destroying someone’s life, or at the very least taking away their livelihood, is a perfectly justifiable punishment for having the “wrong” viewpoint. Adjunct professors in particular are in a very vulnerable position with semester-to-semester contracts in which the university is under no obligation to renew or to provide classes the following semester should they see fit.
So, what is the correct viewpoint? In many respects, this is a moving target; in order to begin to assess this question, it is crucial to understand that these Cultural Marxists, Social Justice Warriors, whatever tag you want to give them (frankly, there’s little to differentiate them at this point, particularly as everything must be “de-constructed”), are concerned with their narrative above all else. It’s why despite a stark shortage of actual active bigots, the Left must either provoke certain situations (think of “The Gay Wedding Cake”—sounds like a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode) or resort to outright fabrication in order for the supply to meet the demand. Barring this, the definitions of racism, sexism, homophobia—take your pick—must be expanded beyond any rational parameters. One very dishonest method we’ll all likely be familiar with is the conflation of White Nationalism with White Supremacy. Leftism cannot exist without a steady supply of grievances and social justice causes, and therefore, despite a preponderance of evidence to the contrary, they must craft narratives of systemic racism, bigotry, et cetera. The Narrative of Progress is one of religious salvation, where anyone who stands in the way of the march to utopian egalitarianism must be crushed.
All of this ties neatly into the oppressor/oppressed paradigm first popularized by the fledgling Frankfurt School. Without the ideological impediment of overt Marxism, the egalitarians could begin to expand the paradigm to fit just about any perception of inequality. Even more useful, the Sartres, Derridas, and Foucaults added a nice dash of non-binary, relativist, post-everything to the Horkheimer/Marcuse dish. Marcuse, incidentally, claimed only those that criticize normative discourse have their free speech protected. The irony of course is that in the university, these people are the normative discourse. “It’s all relative”, though, right? And now we have a basis to make non-binary and relativist claims that align with this worldview. Now we have a basis in the academy to begin to undermine, revise, and fundamentally alter the canon of Western art and literature.
In the United States, most universities are patterned on the liberal arts education model, which has its roots in the Renaissance and classical antiquity. By adhering to the Leftist paradigm, it is clear the DEMs (Dead European Males) taught in English classes, for example, are merely stand-ins for the ubiquitous Patriarchy, not considering these texts are taught in introductory courses and beyond to provide exposure to the foundational works and ideas of Western culture, which the United States is absolutely a part of—nor does this reductive analysis take into account many of the voices in the canon are not even men. The American experiment is unlike any other; founded on Age of Enlightenment principles, stemming from a re-discovery of and commitment to humanism in Europe during the Renaissance, our very bedrock rests on the freedom of thought and inquiry made possible by an intellectual tradition drawing from the ancient Greeks to John Locke. Shakespeare is not studied because of who he was, or even necessarily what he represents as a White Male, but because of the seismic impact he had on theater, poetry, and even the English language itself—not to mention that his works would stand on their own merit even if they did not have this tremendous cultural weight.
In some respects there is truth to the progressive narrative. As time has gone on, access to property, commerce, and ultimately voting rights and equal standing under the law have allowed more voices to be heard in Western discourse. My issue with the sustained attack on the canon that first came to national attention in the 1987-88 Western Culture course protests at Stanford University, where the inimitable Reverend Jesse Jackson led five hundred students chanting, “Hey hey ho ho, Western culture’s got to go!” is that this push for “inclusiveness” wants to amend the canon, erase the canon, not add to the canon with new voices that, like Shakespeare, have made a great impact on the culture and stand on their own merits. For one, there is no law stating that other traditions cannot be studied and their texts analyzed, nor should anyone advocate for such a thing. There are scores of courses in the humanities that explore myriad works across time periods, cultures, and other multitudinous sub-categories. The canon taught on American campuses is central to our unique sense of cultural identity. There are indispensable works prominent in all Western thought and others that may have more cultural specificity in, say, Germany or Ireland, so this is certainly not an appeal for homogeneity. That said, I wouldn’t expect demands to amend course requirements in canonical texts at the University of Nairobi to be taken any more seriously than I would at Stanford. Instead of demolishing a Western Culture course requirement, perhaps the students display a modicum of patience and take an elective more to their tastes the next semester. Nothing precludes students at the University of Nairobi from studying Mr. Dylan Thomas, but a Welsh immigrant to Kenya has no more right to demand their new environs cater to their culture any more than a Kenyan immigrant has to demand Cardiff University change its course materials to include Ms. Grace Ogot.
Great art should not need justification, caveat, or categorization to have meaning, and it certainly should not serve an agenda. I’m just as enraptured by Sappho, Dickinson, and H.D. as I am by Catullus, Marlowe, and even Bukowski. I am not an ideologue and I can appreciate beauty or meaning wherever it may be found. Now, from a practical perspective, a university must create subcategories in order for the material to be given adequate attention and focus. Hence, Literature of the Italian Renaissance, for example, makes sense as a course because it is looking at a particular context and set of works. There is plenty of room in the humanities for the many voices of the American (or German, or Kenyan) tapestry, typically taught by specialists in those areas, but denying each culture its central voices is tantamount to creating a yawning void of cultural amnesia. The point is that leveling the canon doesn’t make things more “inclusive”—it knocks yet another pillar of identity and source of strength down in order to make room for the Leftist egalitarian parking lot. The Leftist mouthpieces shout for inclusive spaces—all the while excluding anything they don’t agree with. Rigorous debate can only sharpen your intellect; exposure to other ideas and cultures expands your knowledge base, gives you the tools to defend your positions and views, and, if you’re of European ancestry, allows you to appreciate your own that much more.
Radical Leftist ideologues want to de-construct and “problematize” almost everything hierarchical in structure, unless of course it would be to their detriment. Their conception of hierarchies is that those on top must be there on the broken backs of the many below. The fallacy of this notion hardly needs to be addressed, but it is important to remember that everything in the Leftist worldview is filtered through the oppressor/oppressed lens. Men earn more because of a rigged system, not because they work longer hours, choose different careers, and need less time off for child-rearing. The Left’s attempted over-correction of the “problem” is that in the under-35 age bracket, women now earn more than men, acquire more college degrees than men, and have more opportunities for advancement…because they’re women? I know it’s a “microaggression” to say so, but what if we simply let a person’s qualifications and the strength of their interview be the determining factors?
Equity of opportunity is not equity of outcome. It is the freedom to choose your career with no artificial impediments to access. Cultural Marxists simply cannot accept the fact that in places like Sweden, which is arguably the most gender egalitarian country on the planet, now free to gravitate to their preferred careers, men outnumber women almost twenty-to-one in STEM, and women outnumber men almost twenty-to-one in teaching, pediatrics, and nursing. This does not compute with the Cultural Marxist worldview, however. The enforcement of artificial quotas to attain a desired result, or have the appearance of equality, is called equity of outcome. The moral narcissism of the far Left is such that there can be no doubt this is being done for everyone’s benefit—many students and professors are lock-step in the belief this is sound practice, and as universities ultimately feed the labor market, many businesses and organizations are following suit.
Now, even if we accept that students are by definition immature relative to their professors and most professors are liberal, like any good far Leftist organization, it is the explosion in bureaucratic paper-shuffling, mid-level functionaries, and administrators with a vested interest in creating victims that has enabled many of these negative changes to take root and expand. It is a conscious re-shaping of the university system to indoctrinate and achieve very specific outcomes which must be the result of manipulation, for they would not happen naturally. It is scientific fact that pre-natal testosterone levels have a direct impact on activity predilection, problem-solving abilities, and inter-personal relationships. I’ll spell it out, though: this is not a universal, but a general rule. I know many on the far Left favor strict cut-and-dry pronouncements (ironic, given that everything else is “non-binary” or a social construct), so I want to make this crystal clear. It is the result of natural predisposition and not some nefarious patriarchal plot to keep women out of STEM fields that largely explains male-female percentages in these occupations. Simply put, more men gravitate to, and complete degrees in, STEM. A great many qualified individuals would be shut out of a career in STEM fields if an artificial quota of 50-50 in the workplace was enforced. I don’t hear anyone screaming about the matriarchy with 75% of humanities degrees conferred to women, though employment in this arena doesn’t necessarily follow the same linear track as many of the STEM fields.
The Leftist project is to fundamentally alter society both from top-down imposition and ground-up indoctrination, while simultaneously de-constructing all “problematic” hierarchical structures ad infinitum. Everything, then, exists on a spectrum, and we must avoid categorical claims and conceive of identity and sexuality in much more “fluid” terms. Many of the post-modernists even theorized that language itself was a mode of oppression, therefore the re-shaping of language to create an alternative terrain of discourse is central to the Leftist project. When Professor Jordan B. Peterson of the University of Toronto spoke out about the enforced use of gender pronouns, he was striking at something much deeper than what for many appeared to be simply accommodating those who did not ascribe to traditional gender roles—he was sounding the alarm for, as he says, “Compelled speech with the full weight of the law behind it”. Leftist (il)logic is a Gordian knot of monoliths of identity politics and designer intersectional identities, irreconcilable and yet inextricably intertwined.
Given the Left’s insistence that adherence to binary thinking is harmful and marginalizes people, it is surprising to witness the ready acceptance of gender and race quotas in hiring and student acceptance rates. The sum of a human being is much more than “intersectional” parts, but many on the Left can’t seem to grasp that. Confronted with a multi-factorial issue, or a person who does not conform to “type”, the Left’s one-issue-at-a-time, case-by-case a la carte propaganda machine begins to break down. Binaries are useful to organize society and allow an individual to expend minimal bandwidth on situationally trivial distinctions, but the vast majority of people are able to color for exceptions to the rule and a singular person’s complexity on an individual-to-individual basis. Basic common sense dictates exceptions to the rule, but without rough structures and hierarchies, there can be no society. It’s simply not practical to ask everyone you meet, “What are your pronouns?” In a social setting this may be much more feasible, but on a macro scale, the constant push to de-construct, to de-stigmatize, pick your buzzword, is causing a breakdown of social norms. Because the far Left is so insistent on the strange paradox of reactionary politics and the progressive narrative, they have no cohesive worldview, which makes the ability to determine the “correct” viewpoint I discussed earlier, to quote Ms. Annie Lennox, like “Walking on, walking on broken glass”.