Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Quillette: Christopher Dummit, "I Basically Just Made It Up: Confessions Of A Social Constructionist"

link, via Instapundit.
Just one guy, of course, but what he says is, well, true.
   I've complained about this many times. The folks in that sector are guided by at least two general ideas/tendencies that--especially together--generate a disaster:
  • [1] The use of an extremely loose interpretive method basically taken from the sketchier, po-mo-ier sectors of literary theory
  • [2] Academic political correctness, i.e. the subordination of rational inquiry to hard-left politics.
The combination of these two things basically generates a kind of "scholarship" that involves an interpretive method so loosey-goosey as to allow even the most ridiculous reasoning (or "reasoning") to pass long as it's in accordance with [2]. That's to say: you can get away with "reasoning" that is about one step above gibberish so long as it eventually wanders around--no matter how implausibly--to a left-friendly conclusion (or "conclusion").
   It's, as Dummit basically says, basically making shit up. And by 'basically' I mean: more-or-less totally. As Dummit points out, it may well start with actual facts, e.g. about history. (Often: atypical factoids, actually.) After that, it's basically just free-association guided by political correctness.
   As I also keep saying: much of the problem is that 'socially constructed' means so many different things that it basically means nothing at all. "X is socially constructed" means everything from We created the physical thing, x, magically with the magical power of our magical social agreement to We made up the word 'x.'  This kind of radical multiple ambiguity facilitates head-spinning motte-and-bailey tactics--which is largely what the view (or, rather: the locution) survives on.
   The other main ambiguity in play is in the term 'gender,' which is also used to mean basically whatever the person speaking wants it to mean. Everything from Sex to...well...everything up to Totally not sex, including Whatever you happen to think more-or-less about your own sex. Again, this facilitates radical inconsistencies and motte-and-bailies galore.


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