Friday, June 10, 2016

The Left's Penchant For "Hate-Crime" Hoaxes Should Tell Us Something Important

   I mean...I'm sure that the right has perpetrated its share of hoaxes...but currently, when I hear about an alleged "hate crime," especially on campus, my default conclusion is: hoax.
   Here's a list.
   Here's another.
   Here's the latest one, the one that's got me thinking about this again. This one's notable in that the initial incident wasn't exactly a hoax, though it also wasn't a "hate crime." It wasn't a hoax because it wasn't perpetrated in order to trick people into thinking that it was a "hate crime." But a non-hate-crime incident was intentionally misrepresented by Clemson faculty as a hate crime.
   (Alright, I'm not fond of "scare quotes." Damn. There they are again... "Hate crime" is a crappy concept, so I want to distance myself from the term...but my aversion to scare quotes makes me not want to keep using them... So I guess I won't.)
   Some questions:
   1. Does the left really engage in hate-crime hoaxery more than the right? There seems to be no contest... But we'd really need a systematic study. But we'd have to be wary of conclusions coming out of sociology or social psych, given the obvious left-leaning bias prevailing in both disciplines...
   2. Supposing that things are as they seem...what is it about the left that makes it so committed to fabricating such incidents? If they're really as common as the (e.g. campus) left wants us to believe, then we should be awash in examples. There wouldn't be enough hours in the day to even list them... But that turns out not to be the case, apparently... Perhaps they just don't show up on campuses. Well...obviously they don't actually happen on campuses... Not with the frequency the left needs them to happen, anyway.
   And note that the rational reaction to the lack of actual examples would be happiness--or at least relief. You though things were terrible...but they're not! Cause for celebration. But dogmatic extremists don't see it that way. A lack of evidence doesn't mean that the theory is inaccurate and things are better than was thought...a lack of evidence means that evidence must be fabricated...
   Consider the feminist response to the very strong evidence that the wage gap is much, much smaller than we thought, or that the actual rate of sexual assault on campus is not 1 in 4. Their reaction was not relief, it was anger and denial. This reaction tells us a lot. The feminist vanguard is committed to these problems being as bad as they can possibly be made out to be. It's both a quasi-religious article of faith and crucial to their livelihood.
   So what explains this?
   I'd say, first and foremost:
   It's dogmatism (or "epistemic closure" as that term has come to be misused) that allows people to drift to extremes in the first place. Actual engagement with actual evidence and arguments keeps people from moving to far toward the crazy extremes. But dogmatism is, I'd guess, also what drives people to fabricate evidence. Can't find evidence for my view? Well, my theory is still true, evidence be damned. In fact, I'm so sure of that, and possessed of such evangelical zeal, that I'm justified in making some up... I don't know...something like that?
   But dogmatism affects both extremes. The hate crime hoaxes are largely a phenomenon of the left.
   What explains that?
   I'd guess: the left's commitment to oppression chess. And the ultimate trump card in oppression chess (to mix metaphors) is...well...oppression. The PC left gets what it wants by convincing people that it is disadvantaged/ discriminated against/ oppressed. This is used to trigger sympathy at least. And it can also be used to get funding and policies that help advance left-wing causes. The campus left (as one of our Anonymi pointed out) is in a kind of de facto alliance with administration, in that they constantly push for more administrators, and more power for the administration. More offices and deans and dealings and deanlets of diversity, multiculturalism, thought control, etc. etc. The left is committed to tactical weakness: exaggerate your burden in order to persuade the institution to give you what you want and increase your power. Every successful hate crime hoax makes the left stronger. And, somehow, the hoaxes that are recognized as such don't seem to hurt them much. So it seems like a pretty effective and safe tactic.
   This is, IMO, a particularly loathsome tactic because it exploits the empathy of the empathetic.
   No big summary/conclusion. But that's what I've been thinking about this.


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