Saturday, December 29, 2018

McWhorter: Virtue-Signalers Won't Change The World

The great John McWhorter.
Always worth reading, and hits close to the bullseye, as usual.
   I disagree with a couple of aspects of the piece. I agree that political correctness generally, and neo-PC in particular (conveniently abbreviable 'NPC'...) is largely about "virtue-signaling." And I agree that's worth pointing out. I also think that this psychotic, screechy, reverse-racist virtue signaling is fruitless--except insofar as it's counterproductive.
   However, I'm skeptical about leaning on counterproductivity arguments and arguments about the intellectual and moral vices of the NPCs--despite their soundness.
   I think it's more important to focus on the falsehood and irrationality of political correctness / "social justice" / identity-politics progressivism or whatever you want to call it.
   That cluster of views is a train wreck in a number of ways, and I've yelled about them over and over. Not that I think that I have some unique ability to detect and articulate them. I think that the subordination of truth to (left-wing) politics is the central failing... But it's hard to pick out just one. The popomo "hermeneutics of suspicion" BS is another main culprit, as is the nonsense about "the death of the author" and radical interpretive subjectivism. Put all those together and, basically, anyone who deviates from leftist orthodoxy is a racist* (i.e.: a racist or some equally bad other type of *ist or *phobe). Give me any reason to suspect that you might be a racist and you're a racist, jack. And doubting radical, hysterical anti-racism is a reason.
   Put all that bullshit in place and the culture of hysterically frantic virtue-signaling falls out pretty naturally: when you can be a racist for no particular reason, and denying that you're a racist only serves to show that you are a super-duper racist...well, you're in a tight spot. One solution that's evolved: you've got to desperately display your alleged anti-racism in some other way. One way: denounce others as racist. Another way: fess up to your sin. That is, basically: cop a plea. You're not getting off Scot-free (!)...but you can cop to a lesser charge... I'm a racist, of course, because all white people are racist...but I'm one of the good of the least racist who acknowledges his racism...
   Eh, I'm rambling.


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