Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dismissals

     Among the insufficiently appreciated services Stacy McCain provides to the public are his disclosures of the babblings of Leftist pseudo-intellectuals, particularly those in the feminist camp. No more than one in a thousand of us in the Right would bother with their cant. Perhaps one in a million could tolerate a whole book of such drivel. McCain delves into it so the rest of us will be spared the suffering. Here’s a brief snippet from his latest exploration:

     “Heterosexuality . . . is a highly unstable system, subject to various slippages, reliant upon carefully constructed individual performances of identity, and dependent upon the exclusion of homosexuality for its very identity. One could say that queer theory normalizes homosexuality by making heterosexuality deviant. Homosexuality ceases to be the exclusive site of sexual difference.”

     Doth thine eyes glaze over, oh Gentle Reader? That’s perfectly natural. It’s a healthy man’s normal reaction to self-important gibberish. There’s hardly a word in that passage that isn’t being distorted and misused. Yet it’s typical of the academic Left’s attack on anything it seeks to destroy: drown it in pretentious verbiage that, upon being unpacked, makes no sense whatsoever.

     Such tripe is not meant to be understood, as you or I would expect to understand a rational argument for or against some proposition. Academic leftists don’t write to be understood; they write to be published, compensated, and acclaimed by other academic leftists. The typical non-academic leftist doesn’t understand it any “better” than you or I. He merely accepts it as some sort of sacred text. He learns to parrot snatches of it when needed or commanded. It’s verbiage as bludgeon.

     Other sorts of bludgeon are in use by the Left, but the sort illustrated above is what got me thinking this fine October morn.


     Among the tactics preferred by those attempting to sell us a “bill of goods,” obscurity is a high favorite. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance, baffle ‘em with bullshit.” The Left has made that phrase its mantra. Examples abound. Consult the written works of any Left-aligned “scholar” or “thinker;” Herbert Marcuse will do for a sample.

     Such nonsense is what C. Northcote Parkinson characterized as “froth and gas.” It’s never stated plainly, because it can’t be; plain English is too comprehensible. The fatuity of its claims would be too obvious. But couch it in sesquipedalian terms wrapped into Yggdrasilian rings of verbiage impervious to interpretation, and it looks...impressive. Scholarly. The idea is to elicit a “gee, he must be smart” reaction from those of us who actually work for a living.

     Among George Orwell’s many contributions to clarity of thought, I particularly admire his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language.” Here’s his demonstration of the use of linguistic nonsense to obscure a horrifying claim:

     In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible....Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so’. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

     ‘While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.’

     One would recoil in horror from the plain-English version; the “academized” version takes a good deal of head-scratching, and is sometimes – often – accepted without challenge.


     Among those of us in the Right the recognition has been slow, but the process is advancing. Today it appears irreversible. There’s no arguing with the Left.

     The Left’s positions must be couched in incomprehensibilities because they are faith-based. They seek to induce Utopian visions in the minds of the impressionable and the gullible. They propose absurd, baldly counterfactual devil theories to explain their policies’ failures. They assail the motives and character of anyone who disputes with them. And they simply will not give a straight answer to a question.

     Persons far more famous than I – at this point, the attributions are more numerous than my patience can cope with – have said that you cannot reason a man out of a position he did not reason himself into. That’s the nature of a faith. Reason may play a part in its exterior logic – i.e., the ethos it derives from its premises – but its premises are unchallengeable. A “case-hardened” faith can even reject factual contradictions of its premises.

     Consider my faith, Christianity, as an example. Its key premises are:

  • Jesus of Nazareth was the fleshly incarnation of the Son of God, and possessed divine authority;
  • Therefore, what He prescribed and proscribed are mandatory.

     Without those premises, such decrees as the two Great Commandments – “Love God” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” – would lack force. They might strike us as good ideas, but not as absolute rules of existence whose violation would carry a penalty.

     I accept those premises. Therefore, I accept their implications. Others do not. Those others cannot argue me out of my premises, any more than I can argue a disbeliever into them.

     When it’s forced to abandon “academese,” Leftism’s premises are occasionally laid bare:

  • Individuals are illusory; collectives are the true reality.
  • Individuals’ “rights” are really retractable permissions granted by “society.”
  • Capitalism – the voluntary, peaceable actions of free men in an open marketplace – is evil; socialism –an economy controlled by our “rulers” and enforced at gunpoint – is good.

     The Left’s response to any challenge to those premises is personal vilification: “You’re a racist / sexist / xenophobe / exploiter / [insert your favorite term of vilification here].” Such an attack on a disputant’s motives and character is guaranteed. Any evidence-and-reasoning argument is thus torpedoed before it can be properly launched. Therefore, the smart thing to do is to dismiss the Left and its claims ab initio.

     Note that this, the Left cannot abide. Leftist spokesmen routinely participate in fora entirely to hurl condemnations of their opponents. Megyn Kelly’s recent “interview” of Donna Brazile provides an excellent example. Brazile almost immediately descends to claims of persecution and accusations of evil motives.

     The only reason for a journalist to interview such people is to put their venality and hatred on public display. For the rest of us, the appropriate tactic is dismissal.

     Refuse to argue with them.
     Dismiss their claims with a hand wave.
     Should they proceed to accuse and vilify you, laugh at them.
     And should they pursue you in an attempt to “make you see,” call the police.

     All else is a waste of your time and energy.

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