Thursday, June 15, 2017

Richard Haier: "No Voice At Vox: Sense And Nonsense About Discussing IQ And Race"

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   The most important disagreements between the PC progressives and those of us in the vast middle of the political spectrum concerns the importance of truth and its subordination to ideology. We think that truth matters, and that it should not be subordinated to politics. They disagree. We think that, if there is solid evidence that, for example, there are differences of whatever kind among races, we should face that fact and proceed from there. On the political side: most of us don't think that would undermine liberalism. Differences in innate abilities don't make us unequal before the law. Political correctness is, at its core, the view that facts should be subordinated to politics. When the facts are inconsistent with (leftist--always only leftist...) orthodoxy, then so much the worse for the facts. If p is true but politically incorrect, then belief that p is not only non-obligatory, it is impermissible. To believe that which is politically incorrect is bigotry, and truth is no defense.

   Of course overtly crazy views are hard to maintain with a straight face. It helps to have a cover story--an adjunct set of beliefs that helps take the edge off your cognitive dissonance. One approach is to have a philosophical distractor. That's why the postpostmodern mishmash (which includes, e.g., parts of poststructuralism and less-plausible parts of critical theory) is closely associated with PC. It's hard to maintain (e.g.) that it's impermissible to believe that men are stronger than women. It helps a lot if, when challenged, you have some kind of rhetorical smoke bomb to throw down. Like, say, "truth is socially constructed" or WTH ever. It barely means anything, and you never pull it out unless you're losing an argument. Then you deploy it and dash out the back.
   And note: Vox wouldn't publish Haier's response. I say that tells us much of what we need to know about the place.

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