Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Gen of Academia, I observe that you are very religious in all respects."

I've read several popular essays bemoaning the hypersensitive "precious snowflakes" afflicting our campuses, and wondering at the spinelessness of the administrators.

I don't believe it. I don't know any of these alleged snowflakes personally, but somehow I have trouble believing that a professor would need a fainting couch when a man wore the wrong shirt. If so, TV should have left her comatose.

This alleged sensitivity seems more like tithing dill and mint and cumin and carefully straining out all gnats from the camel soup.

Let me run with that model. Infidels and any who disagree with a denunciation are evil. Those who fail to commit to the full (and dynamic) list of regulations are, at best, failures who must be rebuked. The sensitivity is affectation, in a status struggle as they explore the ramifications of the principles of their religion.(*) If A can claim awareness of a new oppression, however small it may seem to outsiders, that proves that "ze" is holier than the others.

The faith is widely respected, even by school administrators who, since they often have real jobs, are not generally among the adepts. The adepts tell others what needs to change.

Hmm. The model seems to fit OK.

At least the old Syrian ascetics only flagellated themselves.

(*) The main articles of the faith seem to be that all human relationships are power-based, all people are equivalent and only distinguished by environment, and that identity is self-determined. And that inequality is proof that power has been misused.

Perhaps I should borrow a phrase from Andre Norton and start referring to people as "gentle-saps," suppressing the urge to use the short vowel sound instead of the long.


jaed said...

all human relationships are power-based

I think it's basically a mutation of Marxism. Marxism (simplified) splits society into two classes, bourgeois and proletariat, oppressor and oppressed; there are other classes but they're not significant. Then it analyzes everything in terms of power relationships between these two classes. The key to social improvement is class awareness on the part of the oppressed class, followed by their taking power.

SJW-style feminism splits society into two classes, men and women, oppressor and oppressed-- same pattern.

The same with race (it's why this type of thinking seems to have room for only two races, white and black, and everyone else is either honorary white or honorary black).

Straight and LGBT, non-disabled and disabled, you name it, it's the same pattern again. Two classes exist, one oppresses and the other is oppressed, every phenomenon imaginable is analyzed in terms of power relationships between the two classes, and the action desired is for the oppressed class to rise up.

(Intersectionalism is an epicycle introduced to solve the problem of having more than one two-class system going on, because when there are multiple possible oppression identifications, you need to know which oppressed class to prefer at any given time. The power relationships can become quite complex - say, between a straight, poor black man and a white middle-class lesbian with a psych disorder.)

But the reflex is to look at power relationships as the ground of absolutely everything, even when there's no clear power differential.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It was thirty years ago that someone introduced me to the "it's all about power" explanation. It seemed to empty to me, and still does, to think that every other value in human interaction seemed secondary to her, swamped under the single dynamic of power.

jaed said...

A Medium essay worth reading includes this sentence (my emphasis):
Everyone has an identity; every identity is political, whether because it is marginalized or because it benefits from the marginalization of others.
which I think encapsulates this way of thinking. ("Marginalized" in this context means "doesn't have power"; it's the same concept.)