IDW lacks diversity

Caricaturing the Left Doesn’t Benefit the Intellectual Dark Web

Well, it isn’t possible to caricature the Left any more. It’s downhill from the headline.

The article itself is a Progressive apologist’s semantic-quibble, word-salad fantasy. The comments are worth some attention. At 5PM there are 156. So it’s not short if you want the good stuff.

Quillette is an enterprise worthy of support. Which I have not yet done because it’s through Patreon – which JBP felt compelled to leave. He is creating a competitor. Stay tuned to Quillette. I don’t think their long term future is with Patreon.

From one of my comments:

“[W]e can’t simply assume that the IDW is politically diverse because many of its members hold policy positions that have traditionally put them on the left. If they generally hold positions that place them on the right with respect to the culture war (i.e., regarding issues such as identity, structural oppression, and privilege), then they could very well lack political and ideological diversity on questions that are becoming more and more central to cultural and political discourse.”

IDK, maybe we can assume “the IDW is politically diverse” when defending ideological diversity is the whole point; while the core tenet of today’s Progressives is that ideological diversity must be stamped out.

The substance of disagreements internal to Progressivism is characterized by debating micro-aggressions based on identity-victim-group creds. The substance of internal disagreements for the IDW is, shall we say, more diverse than that.

The IDW is (more nearly) ideologically neutral in allowing other ideologies to be professed. Requiring the IDW to profess no opinion on anything, is a joke, right? Apparently not:

“…Emmons is claiming that members of the IDW are classical liberals with a distinct set of beliefs (individual liberty, personal responsibility, free speech, rationalism, logic, critical thought), but also that they are essentially ideology-free (not in service to any ideology, not driven by any ideology, not proponents of any ideology, questioning the basis of all ideologies).”

One might say, instead, that the IDW is open to the possibility that other ideologies may have some points. The Progressives deny this possibility. One might also observe that ideology-free means allowing other ideologies, even if you disagree with them. I.e., not “driven” to impose your ideology via politics.

“[T]his ideological shift carries over to activism, leading to a greater desire to regulate speech, to ensure more diversity, and to prioritise structural changes. These accompany a shift away from classical liberalism as a model of human society and behaviour.”

The “ideological shift” left is not a shift to any new ideology, it’s just the ancient totalitarian impulse being applied to First World problems. Problems created in part by Progressive ideological rigidity applied to moving the Overton window.

I read “activism” as suppression of any mode of thinking other than Progressive, “regulate speech” as just what it says, “more diversity” as something desirable only so long as it excludes diversity of thought, and “structural change” as totalitarian.

The central point Mr. Harris is making is a diversion, for all its false concern about IDW diversity. Any time some naif tries to build a bridge to the professionally aggrieved, they’ll find the bridge (and their careers) blown up before it extends half way – by people with thumbs in their ears, and with middle fingers extended toward the bridge builders.

Victimhood competence hierarchies

“Tyrannical pathological hierarchies are based on power…”
-Jordan Peterson

Dr. Peterson sometimes refers to our traditional hierarchies as hierarchies of competence, since they arise organically out of our necessity to act in the world.  To do something is to want to improve the way you do it.  Some people will become better than others in some given action.  Some people achieve higher ability to cook, some become more proficient in math, others in music, or sports.  There are infinite hierarchies in which you may compete.  You can even create your own, like Paul Durand-Ruel, Steve Jobs, or Lee Felsenstein, Efrem Lipkin, Ken Colstad, Jude Milhon, and Mark Szpakowski, and enable millions of others to invent new hierarchies.

While any hierarchy is subject to corruption, they are inevitable, biologically ancient, and not by necessity pathological or tyrannical. Though those based on power usually are.  It’s sort of the point.

Social Justice practitioners are telling us all hierarchies are entirely socially constructed, unfair,  and oppressive – excepting theirs – which they don’t admit to having.  But what else is the jockeying for power in the identity group/victimhood sweepstakes about?

We haven’t yet seen a merger of the many contenders trying to prove they are the biggest victims and the smallest oppressors.  The hierarchy of victim hierarchies is yet to be settled science. The Intersectionalist Progressive Social Justice Cartel is having some nasty fights trying to sort out their pathological hierarchy:

QTIBPOC vs. LGBTQ
Trans vs. feminist
Indigenous group vs. Indigenous group
Black LGBT vs. White LGBT

Given what they insist all the rest of us must believe, I think tyrannical also applies.`  And we don’t even have the comprehensive doublethink manual yet, since they’re fighting over it.

To advance their cause with less embarrassment they need is a kinder, simpler way than Twitter fights to sort it out, preferably based on objective analysis of the victim/oppressor ratio. Because nobody is a perfect victim.

If they did find the perfect victim, they’d have to make him/her/it/zir/xe/Mr. Mxyzptlk the Dear Leader of the world utopia. You might think of it as the ultimate inverse hierarchy, because actual competence in any real thing is a Western, white, colonialist, patriarchal concept.  To be avoided.

I surely don’t understand the intersectional nuances that would allow me to compare a black gay male who hires a fake hate crime attack on himself, with a brown cis-gender (and why do I have to use a made up term now to indicate ‘normal’?) female who spouts anti-semitic drivel in the US House of Representatives.  An objective assessment may well be impossible.

Each individual objecting to someone else’s existence will have their own criteria. We could ask them all their opinion of everybody else and average the results (sort of like Facebook); Throwing out those rated below some arbitrary score – by other voters whose ratio was in the top 1% on the victim/oppressor ratio scale  (sort of like Twitter).

Running, especially enforcing, that system would be the prize for winning the victim/oppressor ratio sweepstakes.

Still, if we were to attempt objectivity, even to arrive at an informed individual opinion, a complex spreadsheet to calculate power rankings might serve. We’re after a way to model other people’s thoughts. We need to place the technology into individual hands, since it is obvious we can’t depend on the SPLC anymore.

Let’s consider the complexities via example. Rate a black, homosexual male, wealthy actor; vs. a white, trans-female, wealthy former Pentathlon champion; vs. a brown, female, anti-semitic, Islamist congressional member; vs. a white, 1/1024th Amerind, biological female, wealthy United States Senator. It’s not easy, and those are only a few of the factors. The enterprise seems very difficult.

victim-oppressor axis

This is the type of analysis intersectionalists demand as a principle of governance.  And, that’s just a poor preliminary attempt to begin to capture the variables currently driving the SJW power struggle. It doesn’t include anywhere near the required profile information. I tried filling it in for a couple of people I thought would help refine scoring. Maybe you can guess who they are.

Complicating this further, just when you might think you have a workable algorithm someone gets offended by something you did not expect. For example, here’s an example of a lesbian, trans, Leftist, female academic in the Humanities you’d expect to score moderately well even if you’re white: A concrete example against which to test our calculation of the victim/oppressor ratio.

Students demand controversial prof be replaced by ‘queer person of color’

That controversial prof is Camille Paglia. You might think this means race trumps homosexuality as a factor on the victim/oppressor scale. I don’t think we can depend on that. From the complainers:

“In recent interviews she has blatantly mocked survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and in classes and interviews has mocked and degraded transgender individuals. She believes that most transgender people are merely participating in a fashion trend (“I question whether the transgender choice is genuine in every single case”), and that universities should not consider any sexual assault cases reported more than six months after the incident, because she thinks those cases just consist of women who regret having sex and falsely see themselves as victims.”

Aha! The problem is Paglia’s opinions and outspokenness, which one could at least imagine being held by a “queer person of color.” It isn’t about color.

The entire identity politics internecine war is about thinking the right thing. Thinking correctly is hard to define, though. It depends on the thought processes of the person thinking about someone else’s thoughts. See: Red Guards.

Full circle we have come. When objectivity is thrown out the postmodernist window, objective rankings are simply impossible. And that’s intentional, since any reference to a set of rules could inhibit the exercise of power.

So, it’s back to imagined victimhood points minus perceived privilege points times influencer points divided by the reciprocal of Twitter followers. The factors for race, sexual orientation, biological sex, wealth, income, religion, political affiliation, etc. are left to the student.  If you are intersectionally woke the answer just pops into your head.  Of course, that may not be the same answer another woke intersectional arrives at…

Clarity of thought, rational arguments, philosophical consistency are irrelevant. We don’t need no freaking spreadsheet to identify thoughtcrime. Besides, Excel itself is oppressive because it uses numbers, and its very name is a violent affront to nihilistic mediocrities cowering in their safe spaces everywhere.

It’s not so bad though, those of us not caught up in the victim-identity Olympic trials can eat lots of popcorn while we watch.

Man In Critical Condition After Hearing Slightly Differing Viewpoint

Compare and contrast

In one case a noxious man’s hoax is forgiven, in the other a noxious hoax is employed to destroy many men.

When Prosecutorial Discretion Is Woke

Death Threats and Drained Bank Accounts: Life on the Wrong End of the Mueller Probe

In both cases, it’s Progressives in charge.

Update 11:22:
“The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association issues statement condemning the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case.”

Mercantilist revivalism

Used to be when you said “conservative” people had a clear idea of what you meant philosophically. Adam Smith, W. F. Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan, or Cruz might come to mind. Maybe it would invoke the tea party, free trade, Constitutional originalism, free markets, and opposition to deficit spending. Now, it’s all a mess thanks to a long run of “conservatives” like John McCain, George Bush, and Donald Trump

There’s “conservative,” “neo-conservative,” “cuckservative,” “Trump conservative,” “Alt-right,” etc.. TOC has worried in the past about this philosophical dilution – defining freedom down. The current round of internecine attacks, including selective rejection of long standing principles, have been more damaging than anything the Progressives have accomplished.

Cronyism and protectionism are seen as fine if the correct people do it. Now protectionism is “conservative,” along with corporate bailouts.

We all need to reread Friedrich Hayek’s Why I am Not a Conservative: “The tug of war between conservatives and progressives can only affect the speed, not the direction, of contemporary developments.” Hayek was a classical liberal, a qualifier required since the collectivists stole the original word. Now we’re witnessing the further muddling of what has been meant in the United States by “conservative,” i.e., “classical liberal.”

The latest example; “Conservatives” who defend Trump’s populist trade shenanigans as ‘bargaining positions’ are expediently abandoning moral leadership.

Why Trump’s Higher Tariffs Now are Unlikely to Result in Lower Tariffs Later

I think it is absurd to assume that Trump’s real intention is to get us to a new equilibrium with lower tariffs all around the world. He does not understand the value of free trade and his closest adviser on this issue is an ardent protectionist. Trump’s negotiation experience is all in zero-sum games where he is trying to extract the most of a fixed pie for himself, not in trying to craft win-win solutions across multiple parties.

But here is the real reason this won’t work: The current relatively-free trade regime that exists today was built almost totally on America’s moral leadership on the issue…

[M]many of the most powerful political actors in our trading partners actually represent large corporations (some state owned and some just highly-aligned with the state) and powerful labor unions who would be perfectly happy to pursue additional crony protectionism of their industry even at the expense of the majority of their country’s consumers and businesses. All these forces for protectionism have always been kept at bay in large part by America’s leadership on the issue.

Not any more.

Intentionality

I’m re-posting a piece (slightly shortened) from August 2012, because I want to present experimental results supporting its thesis.

The evidence comes from psychology professor Jonathan Haidt, referenced in an article from Quillette which is linked and quoted following the re-post, and is worth reading in full.

In 2015, Haidt started Heterodox Academy in order to promote Viewpoint Diversity in the Academy.

In the following when I use the word Liberal with a capital “L,” I mean Progressives, as very distinct from classical liberals. It is unfortunate that Progressives hijacked the word liberal. That might have been their last actual idea. It has forced us to say “classical liberal” in general conversation so as to be understood.

Also, the author to whom I was reacting used “liberal,” and explaining why she was wrong would have lengthened an already longish post. Not to mention attempting to decode her point that Liberals aren’t left, using 3 or 4 different terms.

RE-POST
Liberal Ayn Rand?

At Slate, Beverly Gage asks “Why Is There No Liberal Ayn Rand?

Ask Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan how he became a conservative and he’ll probably answer by citing a book. It might be Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Or perhaps he’ll come up with Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, or even Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. All of these books are staples of the modern conservative canon, works with the reputed power to radicalize even the most tepid Republican. Over the last half-century, they have been vital to the conservative movement’s success—and to liberalism’s demise.

We tend to think of the conservative influence in purely political terms: electing Ronald Reagan in 1980, picking away at Social Security, reducing taxes for the wealthy.

The answer to “Why Is There No Liberal Ayn Rand?” is right there, in the first sentence of the second paragraph. It’s blindingly obvious (it’s even Ms Gage’s point) that “Liberals” don’t think in terms of ideas. Ideas are hard work, intentions are easier. Liberals like to think in terms of intentions, and mostly they think in terms of how they interpret the intentions of others based on their own intentions to improve humanity. Liberals don’t think like free people, they think in terms of how to apply power to the purpose of perfecting their fellows. To a Liberal, making everybody else perfect is what Liberty means…

You might as well ask why there’s no “Liberal” John Galt. A question you couldn’t ask if you’d bothered to pay attention to certain compelling arguments from your opposition. Even if the ideas weren’t compelling to you, would the demands of diversity not require you to attempt to understand? Would not a reasoned defense of your own ideas demand it?

And here the answer is again – in the first sentence of the third paragraph:

Liberals, by contrast, have been moving in the other direction over the last half-century, abandoning the idea that ideas can be powerful political tools. This may seem like a strange statement at a moment when American universities are widely understood to be bastions of liberalism, and when liberals themselves are often derided as eggheaded elites. But there is a difference between policy smarts honed in college classrooms and the kind of intellectual conversation that keeps a movement together. What conservatives have developed is what the left used to describe as a “movement culture”: a shared set of ideas and texts that bind activists together in common cause. Liberals, take note.

But it’s yet more subtle than that. First, the tea party people needed no institutional bastion of conservatism, controlled by an insular elite, to “re-educate” them. They’d have a hard time finding one if they did. They didn’t need the ivory tower re-education camps in the first place. They get it innately. They fundamentally understand it. When they read Ayn Rand, they can see today’s headlines. Our president’s [then Obama] success as a community organizer doesn’t make them swell with pride. Rather, it reminds them of Wesley Mouch.

“Liberals” have not abandoned the idea that ideas can be powerful political tools, they have abandoned the idea that anyone but them is allowed ideas. They are shocked, shocked when anyone deigns to challenge their intentions.

Liberals have channeled their energies even more narrowly over the past half-century, tending to prefer policy tweaks and electoral mapping to big-picture thinking. When was the last time you saw a prominent liberal politician ascribe his or her passion and interest in politics to, of all things, a book? The most dogged insistence on the influence of Obama’s early reading has come from his TeaParty critics, who fume constantly that he is about to carry out a secret plan laid out a half century ago by far-left writers ranging from Alinsky, the granddaddy of “community organizing,” to social reformer Frances Fox Piven.

In fact, no. Tea party criticism is not about the books Obama may have read, it’s about the books he “wrote.”

Liberals may argue that they are better off knocking on doors and brainstorming policy than muddling through the great works of midcentury America.

Policy without theory is untestable, and I can see why “Liberals” would consider that a strength. It allows them the excuse that without Obama’s stimulus the unemployment rate he promised wouldn’t go over 8%, but hit 10% (and more), deserves a Mulligan. He meant well.

And that Obama predicted the unemployment rate, with stimulus, would now be 5.6% is irrelevant. Get that? Not below 6%, but 5point6%. This is the same administration that quibbled over whether an unemployment rate of 8.254% should be reported as 8.3%.

So much for the precision wisdom of the centralized planners. You know, those very same people who turn out to be even more wrong than our president… in some book written by Ayn Rand…

And, finally, a note is required on the lead sentence of the closing paragraph:

In the current election this means that liberals also run the unnecessary risk of ceding intellectual authority to the right.

Excuse me, but this is the risk Liberals continually choose. They do it gleefully, confident in the ascendance of their intentions, and with no thought about ideas. There is no necessary or unnecessary when peering down from the summit of moral superiority.

This election may represent increased risk for those who don’t have, or care about, ideas; but they don’t care enough to read Atlas Shrugged or Capitalism and Freedom to find out about the ideas that oppose them. Many of us who’ve read Atlas, have also read Das Kapital and Rules for Radicals and The Black Book of Communism. We have some idea what we’re up against, and, unlike Ms Gage, we can even name Liberals we used to consider serious thinkers. We were wrong, but we could say why.
END

Liberals have largely lost the ability to respond to ideas. Ideas not their own make them angry. They have come to see ideas as the instruments by which they become victims. Ideas with which they disagree are, therefore, literally violence.

Now, I’d like to turn to professor Haidt as quoted at Quillette, for psychological research showing how Liberal disdain for ideas damages their ability to think. Not that they care: To them, it’s a feature, not a bug.

The Psychology of Progressive Hostility

In his remarkable book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, [Jonathan] Haidt recalls a telling experiment. He and his colleagues Brian Nosek and Jesse Graham sought to discover how well conservative and what Haidt terms ‘liberal’ (ie: progressive) students understood one another by having them answer moral questions as they thought their political opponents would answer them. “The results were clear and consistent,” remarks Haidt. “In all analyses, conservatives were more accurate than liberals.” Asked to think the way a liberal thinks, conservatives answered moral questions just as the liberal would answer them, but liberal students were unable to do the reverse. Rather, they seemed to put moral ideas into the mouths of conservatives that they don’t hold. To put it bluntly, Haidt and his colleagues found that progressives don’t understand conservatives the way conservatives understand progressives. This he calls the ‘conservative advantage,’ and it goes a long way in explaining the different ways each side deals with opinions unlike their own. People get angry at what they don’t understand, and an all-progressive education ensures that they don’t understand.

Haidt’s research echoes arguments made by Thomas Sowell in A Conflict of Visions and Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate. Both Sowell and Pinker contend that conservatives see an unfortunate world of moral trade-offs in which every moral judgment comes with costs that must be properly balanced. Progressives, on the other hand, seem to be blind to, or in denial about, these trade-offs, whether economic and social; theirs is a utopian or unconstrained vision, in which every moral grievance must be immediately extinguished until we have perfected society. This is why conservatives don’t tend to express the same emotional hostility as the Left; a deeper grasp of the world’s complexity has the effect of encouraging intellectual humility. The conservative hears the progressive’s latest demands and says, “I can see how you might come to that conclusion, but I think you’ve overlooked the following…” In contrast, the progressive hears the conservative and thinks, “I have no idea why you would believe that. You’re probably a racist.”

“Liberals” don’t think in terms of ideas. And worse than that, they’ve come to think in terms of stifling ideas. This makes them resistant to persuasion; which explains how they can claim skepticism about “climate change” is anti-science, while simultaneously denying there is any biological difference between men and women; describing science as racist; decrying rigor in engineering; and rejecting the theory of evolution.

It’s all intentional, if devoid of actual ideas.