Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Taibbi: "The Left Is Now The Right"

God bless Taibbi.
He's so right I thought I was going to burst into tears.
A couple of niggling disagreements:
   First: I urge caution about such arguments. For a long time the left has only permitted two types of criticisms of itself: (a) your ends are right, but your means could be counterproductive--i.e., they could drive people into the arms of the right; (b) you are become like unto the right. 
   Look, what Taibbi writes is right. And given how insane and powerful the left has become, rhetorically effective arguments against them are needed, even if they're suboptimal in other respects. Still, I feel compelled to make the point. In the longer run, if the left is ever to stop being insane, it's going to have to accept that it is sometimes wrong simpliciter
   Incidentally, much of the craziness of the left can be traced back to its failure to realize the above point. A corollary is its acceptance of the No enemies on the left dictum. So long as the left accept these ideas, it is doomed to extremism. And extremism is the political analog of insanity.
   Second: though the intelligent design analogy is apt, and I've used it myself, I think Taibbi doesn't quite give the analogy its full force. What happened was:
A small segment of the religious right wanted their view (basically) mentioned in certain college classes. In the modest form of the request, they just wanted students to be told about the view and its major arguments. Academia and all the other powerful cultural institutions (other than religion) immediately rallied against them. They were mercilessly ridiculed and kicked out of the house. They never really had a chance of achieving even the most modest version of their aims.
   Contrast the intelligent design stuff with today's progressive-left totalitarianism--which demands virtually unlimited control over broad sectors of our lives, and which took over universities with hardly a shot being fired, as it were. It now controls them to such an extent that it can demand the expulsion of anyone with the temerity to question even its most insane diktats. Far from requesting inclusion in one kind of class, it demands--and has largely been granted--control over every aspect of the university. And its power grows with frightful speed. ID was a bunch  of religious, conservative outsiders, against which academia circled the wagons. The progressive left controls the university from inside; the only wagon-circling today is against anyone who objects to the progressive hegemony in academia. Any administration that refuses to accede to even the most outlandish and faddish progressive demand will find itself besieged by faculty and students. But administrations generally don't refuse. Because administrators, on average, are more radically leftist than even professors. 
   I fought in the creationism wars, and was probably too zealous and dogmatic in my anti-creationism efforts. For it, I got frequent praise even from colleagues I'd never met. My questioning of Progressitarian religiosity has not been similarly popular--though I assure you, my tone is much more measured on campus than it is on this blog. 
   Creationism/ID never represented a broad nor a deep threat to the University. Progressitarianism has already half-destroyed it--and faculty and students are begging for more. The destruction of open inquiry and free speech just is the destruction of universities. What remains is a collection of publicly-funded leftist brainwashing camps devoted primarily to the dismantling of the United States and Western civilization generally. 
That's an exaggeration...but it's a damn sight less of an exaggeration than one should wish it were.


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