Saturday, December 09, 2017

Uri Harris: "White Woman Tears: Critical Theory On Lindsay Shepherd"

This guy Uri Harris is pretty good. I've said a lot of this stuff here before...but he's saying it where it counts. Or counts more anyway. Sadly, I'm sure that Salon and Teen Vogue and such places have hundreds or thousands of times the readership of Quillette...  Harris gets some stuff wrong...but everybody gets some stuff wrong. Overall, he's right on the damn money.
   To make a point I've made many times: political correctness / "social justice" has an activist/political wing and an intellectual wing. The intellectual wing is a kind of mishmash of bad Continental philosophy and literary theory, mostly: postmodernism, poststructuralism, and critical theory. It's always been that way. Well, for thirty years or so at least. In the paleo-PC era, postmodernism was kind of the most prominent of the three Continental views. Today, in the neo-PC era, critical theory is the frontman.
   Anyway, the combination of shitty philosophy and shitty, aspiring totalitarian politics is dangerous in the extreme, as I've said about a million times now. Also anyway, here's a shitty quote from a shitty person who accepts the shitty philosophy and shitty politics of neo-PC, quoted by Harris:
  Shepherd seems almost willfully blind to the ways by which speech acts, including the loaded history of white women tears, can indeed, incite physical and verbal violence. […] Others, myself included, who reached out to her to highlight the way in which historically rooted theatrics of white tears were mobilized to ultimately dismiss an untenured professor of colour, she dismissed and lampooned these allegations, questioning the basis of claims that she might be transphobic or racist. […] It’s true that Laurier did a rather poor job of handling all of this, but I do think they threw an untenured professor of colour under the bus to avoid media scrutiny. His only mistake was comparing Jordan Peterson to someone who committed genocide, when in reality, he is better compared to someone who denies genocide ever happened.
   Yeah...she's saying that Shepherd bullied her professors...mostly because she cried during the which she herself was being grilled by, essentially, crazy totalitarians...I've linked to the recording before.
   These people are insane.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the best part of the piece was the discussion of how critical theorists use half-assed historical narratives to justify their political manias, because I think this is a big part of why Leftism fails intellectually. It also goes back to the original American progressives as well, with the collectivization of guilt that distinguished the social gospel movement, and it completely infested the historicist philosophy of all the spawn of Hegel, including Marx.

I'm just going to put it bluntly. There is no valid ethical inference that can be made from a social phenomenon to an individual. In Lindsay Shephard's case, for instance, assume there really is a real historical representation of white women faking victimization to oppress people of color (I suspect this is widely overblown but whatever). It is still a terrible, and necessarily inductive, leap to infer that is what happened with Shephard given the historical examples. But to the critical theorist, the mere historical presence of that just infects everything a white woman now does.

Conversely, if there is some malicious social phenomenon of whiteness, then no person can be guilty of it, because no person is or does "whiteness". And if you tried to rephrase it in a non-social way, it becomes absurd, because the actions and habits of white people are in fact nowhere near malevolent in the mean case.

So whether it is a set of historical events representing oppression, or a historical construct that is criticized as oppressive, neither provides sufficient reason for any ethical judgement.

The Left desperately wants to breach this boundary, and obsesses over it, but it is really the mania of the half-educated. Fudging the boundary can be heuristically useful, and obviously social outcomes are of importance, but you cannot use a historical fairy tale about, say, "white tears" to level judgement against anyone. It's simply a misuse of both history and morality.

But here's the thing. I actually do try to adhere to a rational methodology. If some enterprising Leftist can formalize an argument that I can scan for validity that serves as a counterexample, I will gladly admit error. But they've been at this for centuries now, and it still hasn't been found.

1:45 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home