Friday 18 June 2021

Losing The "Struggle-Session" Over Climate Change.

Blaming And Shaming: A "property owner" is humiliated before the masses during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution. Critical Race Theory may substitute "White Privilege" for "Class Privilege", but the inescapability of the offending group's responsibility for "oppression" is exactly the same. The self-abasement of School Strike For Climate Auckland for its "racist" crimes against People of Colour is grimly reminiscent of Mao's Red Guards' "struggle sessions" against the enemies of the Revolution. 

THE GREAT WEAKNESS at the heart of Critical Race Theory (CRT) is its wilful ignorance of History and Anthropology. Its demonisation of “Whites”, along with the civilisations they created, owes more to religion than it does to science. A scientist would quietly explain to the adherents of CRT that the whole concept of race – especially when conflated with skin colour – is deeply flawed. That, genetically-speaking, the human species has always been one and indivisible. Culture may have elevated morphological differences into social, economic and political barriers, but such artificial barriers have always been the cause of racism – not the solution to it.

Just this week we have witnessed CRT in action in the “decision” of School Strike For Climate Auckland (SSFCA) to wind itself up. In spite of its obvious success in mobilising tens-of-thousands of mostly secondary-school students; and materially influencing the breadth and speed of the New Zealand Government’s response to the challenges of Anthropogenic Global Warming; SSFCA – “advised” by Maori and Pasifika groups also engaged in fighting Climate Change – declared themselves to be a racist organisation and handed over the entire cause to their slightly darker-skinned comrades.

The statement released by SSFCA was heart-breaking. To find an historical precedent for the document’s abject self-negation and unqualified acknowledgement of guilt it is necessary to go back to the “struggle sessions” of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution of the late-1960s. Or, even further back, to the “confessions” tremulously delivered by the broken victims of Joseph Stalin’s show trials in the 1930s. The shaming and vilification required to reduce these idealistic young people to a state of such utter intellectual prostration proves conclusively that human viciousness is not a trait peculiar to those whose skins are white.

The fate of the School Strike For Climate Movement in New Zealand must now be considered tenuous – at best. Across the country, activists will be struggling to come to terms with SSFCA’s decision. What should they do? Continue mobilising their generation against the greatest existential threat of our age? Do their best to fight off the CRT-based attacks on their alleged “white privilege” and racism? Or, should they, too, hand over the cause to Maori and Pasifika?

The temptation to adopt the latter course will be very strong. Although the School Strike For Climate Movement can put thousands of young people on the street, it is important to bear in mind that the organisational cores of such movements are actually quite small. Certainly, they are small enough to be intimidated and overwhelmed by CRT extremists ready, willing and able to wear them down in struggle-sessions of ever-increasing emotional intensity. If hardened Chinese Communists, veterans of Mao’s Long March, could be broken by such methods, it’s difficult to see Kiwi secondary-school kids resisting such unrelenting ideological pressures for very long.

The natural human response to such tactics is to say “F**k it!” and simply walk away. Sadly, it won’t just be the activists doing the walking. What’s the bet that a substantial number of those who formerly responded to the SSFC Movement’s calls will walk away with them? Word will spread about what happened in Auckland (and, other places) and a bright, sharp, sliver of iron will enter these young New Zealanders’ souls. They will struggle to resist the temptation to make a racist response, and yet, from somewhere deep inside them, the angry cry will rise: “Bastards!”

“You see?”, the CRT extremists will then respond. “We were right all along. The whole SSFC Movement is deeply and irretrievably racist.”

Not that CRT allows “White People” to be anything else. In essence, CRT is a Manichean system of thought. At its heart, an uncompromising struggle between Good and Evil; where Black, indigenous, people of colour – the righteous – are pitted against the incurably wicked White Supremacists. No room in CRT for the notion that what unites the human species is vastly more important than what divides it. Were Dr Martin Luther King still with us to share his dream that: “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”, the CRT extremists would shout him down.

To defeat global warming, humanity must be united. The zealotry of the Critical Race Theorists is making that much more difficult.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 18 June 2021.


Nick J said...

Well said Chris. For quite a while I have risked friendships, blog acceptance and sanity by objecting to CRT. Most who shouted me down or cancelled me were convinced of my racism.

The reality is different. My position has long been that we must nip this rubbish thinking in the bud or risk a greater evil. The "White-lash", Trumps "deplorable" buddies on steroids. Whites radicalised by this awful creed. Yet the mass of Leftists still demonise these people who are at heart more similar than different to us.

With fellow socialists I always mention the gulag when they become to obsessed with compulsion as opposed to persuasion, because that is where that leads to. CRT and its bed fellow BLM represent a fair call for action against injustice but at their core is actually a desire to take dominion and extract vengeance, not equality based on race. Chris is so right, it is ML Kings creed inverted.

The real solution is respect for others and pride in ourselves, open dialogue and the ability to compromise for the greater good. No new victims, just "us".

David George said...

Crazy stuff alright Chris but I'm not really surprised, there is a powerful momentum to discredit anything to do with European ethnicity, it's history and it's heroes. A recent North American study showed a net 21% of young (under 30?) left leaning "liberals" had an unconscious bias against their own race. Bare in mind that's a net figure so a large majority of those that had a discernable bias. People naturally have an affinity for their own group, their family, their people so that's very unusual and something not found in any other demographic. Also note; that's an unconscious bias - beyond reason, an emotional reaction, a neurological condition.

People seem to have a propensity to set themselves apart, if there's no obvious difference such as race they'll just make one up. The Indian caste system or, with horrifying consequences, the Rwandan Hutu/Tutsi civil war. Or, if nothing else, we'll go to war over belief or ideology.

This CRT monstrosity is at the core of recent and planned changes to the school curriculum. Overseas people are pulling their kids from school and forming groups to coordinate concerned parents and are implementing group home schooling. I have family that are looking at that option here.

I wonder, do these people, the ones stepping back in this display of deference, hate themselves as well, see themselves by dint of their race, as irredeemably bad, worthless?

“We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. You may therefore have to conduct yourself habitually in a manner that allows you some respect for your own Being—and fair enough. But every person is deeply flawed. Everyone falls short of the glory of God. If that stark fact meant, however, that we had no responsibility to care, for ourselves as much as others, everyone would be brutally punished all the time. That would not be good. That would make the shortcomings of the world, which can make everyone who thinks honestly question the very propriety of the world, worse in every way. That simply cannot be the proper path forward.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Odysseus said...

"The Revolution will devour its children". From the Reign of Terror in 18th century France to the pampered, posturing pseudo-revolutionary infants of Auckland, history is repeating itself, this time as farce. It is a universal law that the Left's obsessive and nihilistic competition for ideological purity descends in ever diminishing circles to the point of self-destruction. This is to be welcomed. There is nothing that gladdens the heart of a classical liberal so much as Red on Red cancellation. It is even better when the subject matter is the preposterous and pernicious dogma of man-made global warming.

Brendan McNeill said...

Ideological revolutions always end up consuming themselves. Sooner or later, even the most ardent advocate for CRT will find themselves discredited, disgraced and discarded by their former comrades. Why? Because you can never be pure enough. Eventually someone will arise to discredit you. Just ask Rousseau.

The real tragedy are those who get hurt along the way. We are only at the beginning.

David George said...

Chris: "A scientist would quietly explain to the adherents of CRT that the whole concept of race – especially when conflated with skin colour – is deeply flawed".

These reactions, as I said, are not the product of the rational mind and therefore no explainable or amenable by reason. That's what makes them so dangerous.

Some relevant thoughts from Paul Kingsnorth:

"What, then, is the real significance of the orgy of cultural self-immolation sweeping through the nations of the West? Is it the clearing of the ground for a new way of seeing, a new ideology, a new culture? Maybe. But there is another possibility: that the culture war marks not the birth of a new value system but a last desperate gasp of the old one. It could be that the incoherent semi-ideology of ‘social justice’ will turn out not to be a successor culture at all, but the instrument of our final dismemberment: the flickering of the last thin flames of the Faustian fire.

This new ‘religion’, after all, is almost exclusively confined to Western elites: to the upper middle classes, the intellectuals, the wealthy and the comfortable. To the very people, in other words, who have benefited generationally from the Faustian impulse to conquer, remake and extract wealth from the wider world. Perhaps the drastic loss of cultural self-belief that the ‘woke’ moment represents is an ironic and fitting end for a culture whose pride drove it to conquer the world. ‘Sick with self-disgust’, as Jeffers put it, the West is turning on itself. After all, as Faust learned, if you make a deal with the devil, he’s going to turn up and collect on it in the end.

Whether or not that is true, the useful work now seems to me to be that outlined by [Joseph] Campbell: to conquer death by birth. As Simone Weil explained in the book I wrote about last time, the correct response to a rootless, lost or broken society is ‘the growing of roots’ - the name she gave to the final section of her work. Pull up the exhausted old plants if you need to - carefully, now - but if you don’t have some new seed to grow in the bare soil, if you don’t tend it and weed it with love, if you don’t fertilise it and water it and help it grow: well, then your ground will not produce anything good for you. It will choke up with a chaos of thistles and weeds.

This, in practical terms is, the slow, necessary, sometimes boring work to which I suspect people in our place and time are being called: to build new things, out on the margins. Not to exhaust our souls engaging in a daily war for or against a civilisation that is already gone, but to prepare the seedbed for what might, one day long after us, become the basis of a new culture. To go looking for truth. To light particular little fires - fires fuelled by the eternal things, the great and unchanging truths - and tend their sparks as best we can. To prepare the ground with love for a resurrection of the small, the real and the true.

Barry said...

Another view is that FFSCA have had an awakening and have seen that the whole "climate is killing us" attitude of the woke is simply not true.
In the last few weeks weve seen a study that showed that above 18C trees produce more CO2 than they sequester and then the study that shows Native forest is producing more CO2 than it absorbs.
Also the real scene with EVs is slowly dis-integrating as the terrible environmental effects of making and getting rid of batteries becomes clearer. This overlooks NZs need to use imported coal to make the required electricity.....
So maybe FFSCA have realised that they are on a beating to nothing and have decided to give a hospital pass to their coloured friends and drop them into the quagmire that this area is becoming.
And while throwing them under the bus they are doing it looking all very woke.
And I thought they were a bunch of morons prancing around demanding that something be done....
Maybe theyve seen the light and 'gifted' their one-way plank walk to some unsuspecting suckers......

The Barron said...

It has always been my understanding that Critical Race Theory starts with the view that 'race' is a social construct. In this, it would seem in agreement with you, Chris.

The second basis of CRT is that social and legal institutions have developed in such a way to marginalise or promote the social and economic standing of those as defined within the concept of 'race'. This does not have to be explicit but can be implicit within class and other resources. As such, it will analysis privilege and deprivation in a way that includes the racial concepts imposed on social groups.

As with all social challenges, some may use the concept in a way that misrepresents the purpose. Let's not waste time focusing on straw men and give credence to a sound method of analysis.

Jan R Finlayson said...

Thankyou, Chris Trotter. We need to hear more, also, from the geneticists, the anthropologists - and the ecologists. For now, very well done indeed.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

CRT does not in fact ignore history and anthropology. In fact critical race theory is one of the tools used by anthropologists and other social scientists, and for that matter some historians to analyse society. Like many theories it is capable of misinterpretation by fringe groups. Unfortunately, while anthropologists and sociologists realise that races are a social construct, we are constantly reminded by the right that they are not.
But critical race theory in its essence simply makes the point that even after the legal gains made by minority groups – in history – structures still remain in society that mean they are discriminated against.
In fact the social construction of races still means that certain people do not get equal treatment by the state, and certainly don't have the same political experience as the majority. Because conservatives in particular focus on the visible, labels if you will, of identity such as skin colour, and ignore the rest.
CRT, along with "woke" and "cultural Marxism" are simply conservative snarl words to get the troops all riled up. Generally if someone from the right uses one of these words, it means they have absolutely nothing useful to say.

MenMatr2 said...

These politically inbred woke wankers seem incapable of having an original thought, in case it deviates from their own predetermined script and narrative that dictates that everyone shall be PC, diverse, tolerant, socialist, warm and fuzzy, and of course non-racist. I mean no one wants to be labelled 'racist' so they've all scurried for cover hoping their social media accounts are not trolled or dumped full of hate speech from their very own. (There again the woke-left are incapable of hate speech, that is the preserve of the right apparently). I wonder if a few of the braver sorts will rise above the hypocrisy of it all and actually resurrect their banners and slogans and dare to march again, of course braving the vitriol and abuse from their former non-racist comrades. It seems they have shot themselves in the foot here. The public may have by and large had some sympathy and support for them, but this cringe has turned them into a joke.

greywarbler said...

Zealotry is the apt word it seems. The human tendency to be OTT when a long ignored truth is finally understood and embraced. Time to sit down and have a cup of tea, or tisane as 'ercule Poirot would put it, and exercise the little grey cells.

Leave the gator-aid on the shelf, and I think coffee should be cut down. Future research might show that a lot of violent events have been fuelled on coffee, malnutrition, and alcohol - with not a hard drug in sight. (Malnutrition as in not eating healthy meals but surviving on foods with high sugar or GI - glycemic index, a ranking of how drastically it raises blood sugar levels compared to straight glucose, which has a GI of 100.)

Geoff Fischer said...

Actually, sad and troubling though this incident may be, it is not the school children who are wrecking efforts to combat climate change.
It is governments (including the government that declared climate change would be its "nuclear free moment and then did next to nothing to address the problem), the adults who vote for those governments, capitalist corporations and the adults who buy the products of those corporations.
Look to the government for which you voted, Chris. Critical race theory and its impact on school children is a sideshow. Political pragmatism and centrist politics is at the heart of the problem.

swordfish said...

So much to say on the perversity of CRT and, more broadly, ID Politics (deeply divisive, aggressively scapegoating a whole swathe of the Left's traditional working class constituency while leaving the affluent Woke to consolidate their socio-economic position, a direct attack on MLK's philosophy & the absolute antithesis of core tenets of Liberal Democracy). For now, let me just confine my comments to the bizarre psychological relationships that CRT & Intersectionality in general encourage:

Several recent scholarly studies in Psychology have found that the Authoritarian Woke (like the Far Right) attract more than their fair share of Dark Triad Personality types (Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy) + Entitlement.

At least two studies have also pointed to high Neuroticism, high Interpersonal Disgust sensitivities, high mood/anxiety disorders, pronounced desire for order / intolerance of nuance, high negative emotion (so strong tendency towards interpersonal conflict).

It's an essentially Haute-Bourgeois Cult that attracts not only true-believer dogmatists but also highly manipulative opportunists ... more than a few within both strands appear to suffer from marked personality disorders (the strands of course overlap to some degree ... the prospect of power via the spread of ID Politics theory encourages dogmatism).

And long before these studies were published, you saw plenty of empirical evidence ... in the way, for instance, certain Woke activists force everyone around them to tiptoe on eggshells within various social media forums. That's their high entitlement, vulnerable narcissism, & manipulative tendencies being deployed.

And you especially see a deeply disturbing Sado Masochist relationship playing out regularly on Twitter between PoC/Indigenous extremists & their subordinate Woke White 'Allies', Intersectional dogsbodies "doing the work". Like a horribly abusive relationship ... unhealthy in the extreme (although I'd say this ritualised public self-critique by White Allies almost certainly involves a self-interested element of Performative Narcissism & Prestige Enhancement as well).

Extraordinary when you realise more than a few Pakeha 'allies' are feminists (both women & men) who claim to be primarily motivated by the desire to end abusive hierarchical relationships & toxic behaviour within what they assume to be an on-going 'Patriarchy'.

David George said...

GS attempts to "whitewash" Critical Race Theory as a valuable tool for understanding society while ignoring the clear and present existential danger it poses to the free and prosperous societies it seeks to admonish/abolish.

It's a seriously bad idea that:

1/believes racism is present in every aspect of life, every relationship, and every interaction and therefore has its advocates look for it everywhere

2/relies upon “interest convergence” (white people only give black people opportunities and freedoms when it is also in their own interests) and therefore doesn’t trust any attempt to make racism better

3/is against free societies and wants to dismantle them and replace them with something its advocates control

4/only treats race issues as “socially constructed groups,” so there are no individuals in Critical Race Theory

5/believes science, reason, and evidence are a “white” way of knowing and that storytelling and lived experience are a “black” alternative, which hurts everyone, especially black people

6/rejects all potential alternatives, like colorblindness, as forms of racism, making itself the only allowable game in town (which is totalitarian)

7/acts like anyone who disagrees with it must do so for racist and white supremacist reasons, even if those people are black (which is also totalitarian) - sounds familiar GS

8/cannot be satisfied, so it becomes a kind of activist black hole that threatens to destroy everything it is introduced into

Tom Hunter said...

I'm glad that you used the term "struggle sessions", because that's the term in the title of a number of posts I've written over the last year on this subject.

I see the Far Left is now gaslighting this issue, which is a sign that opposition to it is starting to bite. But ignore the claims that it's only an academic theory and that it's only being perverted by "fringe groups".

Take a look at those posts for many examples of Human Resources training sessions in US government departments and corporations and teachers. The Black woman running a typical corporate session with her 'I believe White People are born into not being human', statement, which was nicely satirised by humorist Tatania McGrath.

And in US academia it's morphed from being one theory of legal analysis (1990's) to getting university professors, lecturers and students to write things about themselves such as:
My name is Emily Mullen. I am a racist and a gatekeeper of White Supremacy. I will work to be better

Or how about Ye Olde Socialist Matt Taibbi's take on one of the CRT/Woke grifters, Whiter Then White Robin DeAngelo and her book White Fragility:
DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory

DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.

It's real, appearing everywhere, has not been created by the Right to "stir up the troops" and is nasty, racist shite.

Tom Hunter said...

Oh, and the kids are well aware of this crap too, like this recent speech by a 15 year old at the district school board meeting for Rosemount High School (Rosemount is a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota). He explained in detail the racist indoctrination that was expressly designed to make a white boy like him feel like a piece of trash so that he would do whatever TPTB in the school wanted him to do.

Or you can read this letter written by a high school student to his English teacher Dana Stangel-Plowe, who resigned earlier this month from Dwight-Englewood School in protest at the introduction of Critical Race Theory. The letter was released by John McWhorter, a Black professor of linguistics at Columbia university.
Namely, my eighth grade English teacher taught us for the first two weeks about pretty much how awful white men are. For two weeks, I did not speak a single word in her class. My fellow white male classmates left the classroom every time feeling the same way. For lack of a better word, those teachings made me feel like horse shit, like worthless scum undeserving of living.

greywarbler said...

...(although I'd say this ritualised public self-critique by White Allies almost certainly involves a self-interested element of Performative Narcissism & Prestige Enhancement as well)....

Somehow 'virtue-signalling' comes to mind about these sensitive New-er Age woke activists. They arise sharply from formerly relaxed positions in the group, and reaching twice their full height tower over any recalcitrant bumble-footed person saying the 'wrong' and hurtful thing.

Geoff Fischer said...

"A scientist would quietly explain to the adherents of CRT that the whole concept of race – especially when conflated with skin colour – is deeply flawed." Well, a scientist might say that. I wouldn't know.
The modern European belief is that there are no absolutes. Everything is relative. Objectively, there is no such thing as race, class, gender or right and wrong. All the edges are blurry. Differences between things, and thus the identity of things, are only real to the extent that they are subjectively determined by the individual concerned. Because there are no absolute distinctions, generalisations are at best suspect.
I get that while in my view the distinction between species is pretty close to absolute (if you can mate with another being and produce fully functional offspring from that union then you are of the same species) some "evolutionists" might dispute this.
I get that while we can see differences in appearance between the various broad racial categories (skin colour, facial features and so on) and also in performance (Ethiopians tend to do well in distance running, Tibetans work well at high altitudes, Inuits tolerate extreme cold, Finns seem to make good rally drivers) the distinction between races is blurry and becoming more blurred in the modern era as races mingle and intermarry.
I get that if for some reason we need to know a person's race with some degree of confidence, then we have to ask them.
I get that we can normally identify a new born infant as "boy" or "girl" there are exceptions.
I also get that while there is a difference between worker and capitalist, most workers these days have invested capital and most employers of labour do some kind of work.
There are always exceptions. There are always blurred edges and indeterminate cases. But there are also sensible categorizations and reasonable generalisations about race, gender and class.
I do not choose to deal with difference by denying its existence or eschewing the benefits that can come from careful categorization and prudent evidence-based generalisation.
There are species, races, classes and genders and absolutes remain useful to us in every realm of human thought from mathematics to morality.
My attitude to them all is "whakaaro pai ki nga tangata katoa". In spiritual terms "Kahore he Hurai, kahore he Kariki, kahore he pononga, kahore he rangatira, kahore he tane, wahine ranei" which is not to deny the objective existence of race, class and gender, but to affirm that we rate all as equal in the sight of God.
Capitalist production seeks to commodify all its inputs and outputs. Part of that is the commodification of labour, and part of the commodification of labour is, ideally, the disappearance of distinctions of race. So to the capitalist also "Kahore he Hurai, kahore he Kariki" but for a different reason. To the believer, we are all one in God. To the capitalist we must be all one in the process of capitalist production and consumption.
However there is a catch. While every capitalist produces commodities, every capitalist desires to consume unique products. The handmade suit, architect designed mansion, original art works, private yacht, cordon bleu meals from the kitchen of a celebrity chef. The same contradiction is evident with respect to race. In the sphere of capitalist production it is decreed there shall be no such thing as race, but in the sphere of capitalist consumption the cry is for cultural diversity, world music, ethnic eateries and ethnic experiences across the globe. Ethnic and gender distinctions shall be suppressed in the interests of production and marketing and resurrected in the process of consumption. It is an irreconcilable contradiction.

Jens Meder said...

Hi David George and All.
Regardless of race, faith and culture, the great and unchanging universal truth is, that wealth creation for poverty elimination and security reserves is physically impossible without savings or sacrifices at the expense of hand-to-mouth consumption potential

Since Govt. Monopoly Capitalism (i.e. social/govt ownership of all the means of production) is too totalitarian and has not delivered very satisfactorily so far, and (excessively?) liberal, mixed capitalism is intensifying our socio-economic polarization into haves and have-nots -

would not all serious racial and cultural inequalities and differences very effectively be overcome through a systematic effort towards at least a minimally meaningful level (or more) of wealth ownership by all citizens eventually ?

And with everyone participating in creating and managing some wealth in addition to the educational wealth already owned by all in all civilized countries - would that not be also a more effective democracy, than one based only on a vote and no economic power or wealth ownership by many ?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I might have guessed, another tired litany of people who don't actually understand what critical race theory is about . It doesn't in fact say anything about individuals, so it can't scapegoat the left's traditional working class. It doesn't say all white people are racist. Some individuals might say this, just as some conservatives might say that nonwhite people are less intelligent than white people or have a "capacity for mindless violence". I must say though I admire the conservative facility for seizing on a word or a theory and then demonising it. Unfortunately helped by you Chris.
Interesting, because– If we are going to be quoting research – James Kimmel has produced some that suggests that the authoritarian right have become addicted to anger. And of course there is Altemeyer's research on right wing authoritarianism which shows that "Right-wing authoritarians want society and social interactions structured in ways that increase uniformity and minimize diversity. In order to achieve that, they tend to be in favour of social control, coercion and the use of group authority to place constraints on the behaviours of people such as political dissidents and immigrants." There is of course Sinclair, Stanley and Seli, who postulate that conservative authoritarian figures don't actually learn from mistakes. That one rather resonates with me. There is also the classic right-wing authoritarian that suggests that right-wing adherents are characterized by psychological problems, such as deeply rooted anxieties and fundamental unhappiness. (Although to be fair that has been challenged.) And finally Suziedelis and Lorr, who conclude that " conservative attitudes and authoritarian values were essentially identical constructs."

And it's not surprising given the amount of manufactured outrage we see on TV stations like Fox.
Perhaps eventually some of the commenters here will realise that there are authoritarians on both sides of the divide, and maybe just consider that they might be the conservative ones.

Nick J said...

I get a bit antse when the term social construct is used. Heres Wikis definition A social construct is something that exists not in objective reality, but as a result of human interaction. It exists because humans agree that it exists.

So heres my ancestor floating around three centuries ago on a British ship with a uniquely Anglo crew, all white, same language, deep cultural uniformity.

They come ashore in Tahiti, theres the locals, Tahitians with a deep cultural unity and language, dark skins. The only initial similarity with the Anglos is that they are human too. The differences starkly obvious.

Do you think either party said, "Lets have some social interaction so that we can agree we are different social constructions? "
That would be to suspend the empirical evidence in front of their eyes, neither party was stupid and both knew who they were.

Lets for the benefit of academics and social constructivists go forward a century or two where both Tahitians and Anglos are intimately informed of each other. Those Tahitians say to themselves, "We have known each other for a while, can we agree that our interactions with them allow us to suspend the objective reality of them being Anglo with all that comes with that, and bundle them up into a social construct based upon our interaction with them?"

"To hell with that", cries one, "We know who and what they are. I don't need to agree anything!"

sumsuch said...

Ups to Geoff and GS. What my (appalling) socialist G. grandfather would call workers for 'T'Cause'. CRT is the real threat -- nup. Geoff is Apanui and GS has the good best pakeha ideas of the old Welfare State. The People need to concentrate on the main positive thing (solidarnosc) rather than about where the facts have or should fall.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"They come ashore in Tahiti, theres the locals, Tahitians with a deep cultural unity and language, dark skins. The only initial similarity with the Anglos is that they are human too. The differences starkly obvious."
Not quite sure what you're talking about here Nick, but you realise that cultural unity and language are both social constructs right? And skin colour is noticeable but in effect superficial. Genetics might in fact be more important, but over thousands of years, humans have "interacted" and at the very least the physical borders between races are fuzzy. Race is almost always imposed on people from the outside, and I suspect it is largely if not completely a social construct.

Tom Hunter said...

It doesn't say all white people are racist. Some individuals might say this,

Chuckle. Guerilla Surgeon, like every pathetic Marxist of the 1930's and every pathetic Maoist of the 1970's, continues to plug the whole, that's not what the theory means, people don't understand it" line of bullshit.

Here ya go GS.

Black Dad with two medical degrees blasts Critical Race Theory

Black Dad and his very cute little daughter sticks it to Critical Race Theory

Black mother sticks it to Critical Race Theory

Black university professor sticks it to CRT
In that last case I'll quote from what he wrote:

But if the mantra is that what we need to do to solve black America’s problems is “get rid of systemic racism,” we’re in trouble. That analysis, be it explicit or tacit, is based on a third-grader’s understanding of how a society works. More importantly, that analysis does not help black people and often hurts us.

A third-grader's understanding of how a society works. Yep. That's right.

I invite "The Barron", "Guerilla Surgeon" and any other White Left Bwana's here to discuss why these "People of Colour" have a misunderstanding of CRT and how it's being applied.

Nick J said...

GS, you are correct authoritarians live on both sides of the divide, but to label it as conservatives seems rather lame.

People who have will fight to retain. People who dont have will fight to gain.

If you force through a dispossession of something from somebody positions are swapped. To do so you need authority (force), to retain it you need authority (force). Who then is the radical, who the conservative?

Nick J said...

Barron says Let's not waste time focusing on straw men and give credence to a sound method of analysis.

I dont give credence to CRT as a sound method of analysis, it looks to me a straw man in its own right. By focusing upon race it loses credence because it becomes unidimensional, all encompassing. This takes primacy over all, in much the same way the "invisible hand" does to market fundamentalists.

In taking such dominion CRT represents the latest academic fad in going down conceptual rabbit holes whilst ignoring the real world evidence. What is not real cannot be made real, the Emperor does not wear new clothes.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Tom. I read those long before you posted them. It's a tired old argument, but there is always someone who was willing to help demonise CRT. There are millions of black people in the US and hundreds of thousands of black academics/thinkers. Finding three or four that criticises CRT shouldn't be such a difficult problem, and of course the knuckle draggers of the right will always stress these rather than the majority. These people seem to think that just because they have made it, then everyone else can. That's not even close to critical thinking. And it self shows a kindergarten level understanding of how society works. The overwhelming majority of black Americans who actually think about this know that there is systemic racism. See – explained – simple. Except you're too blind to see it.
Interesting though how you people need to demonise something that's basically only taught at postgraduate level at universities. Fairly esoteric sort of subject as well. But then I guess you need to believe that racism either doesn't exist or is simply the actions of individuals. Then you can absolve yourself of the problem.

Nick, sorry – no idea what you are driving at here you seem to have caught the conservative commenter lack of clarity disease.

Jens Meder said...

As long as CRT remains a debatable theory and does not develop into a vicious hate creative ideology with advocates like a Hitler or a Stalin, lively discussion on it might lead to enough exposure and acknowledgement of realities and truth to arrive at a rational and widespread consensus on human affairs eventually.

In view that regardless of race, faith or scientific speculation, all humans and life on Earth are still subject to the laws of Nature as given through the unalterable (?!) laws of physics (and chemistry etc.) -

and (if) we wish to maintain the much capital investment needing comforts and prosperity of an orderly civilization -

then would not any debate on human affairs become more useful by focusing on how to achieve a poverty-less ownership society or "people's capitalism" in a most effective and fairest way by and for all ?

Nick J said...

GS, Im taking the piss about building theoretical models to describe what is blindingly obvious, and the consequent diving for cover when the blindingly obvious fails to fit the model. You being a follower of Marx should understand that from the real lived Soviet experience.

Tom Hunter said...

I must admit that it's quite something to encounter a creature like Guerilla Surgeon. A pure Marxist. From a debating POV he should - for all his tiredness at dealing with the racists that Chris Trotter allows to run free on his blog - be enjoyed as prize asset here. It's so rare to see one still living in the early 21st century.

swordfish said...

First of Two Comments:

(1) I know it goes entirely against the grain, GS, but do try to rein-in some of your more pompous & narcissistic tendencies ... especially your attempts to pull academic rank & your equally smarmy denigration of others' intellectual abilities or credentials (always, of course, with an eager eye on the audience) ... it makes you look not only highly pretentious but also more than a wee bit lazy & dishonest, desperate for a shortcut to an easy victory that you might otherwise be intellectually incapable of ... hate to break it to you, but you're not the only commenter here with a university or postgrad education, nor even the only one to have studied History past undergrad level ... not, I hasten to add, that such an education (particularly these days) necessarily enhances knowledge or expertise, even less so common sense & competence ... quite often it seems to produce little more than the ludicrous social snobbery, Utopian naivety & smug narrow-mindedness you frequently display).

The fact that you so often come across as a dogmatist inhabiting a tight little ideological bubble, an elitist Woke fantasy-world divorced from concrete reality, renders your regular claims to intellectual superiority particularly absurd.

(2) At the heart of your tendency toward bad faith argumentation, GS, is your relentless desire to dismiss & smear anyone outside your ideological bubble as beyond the pale ... right-wing, alt-right or most frequently "conservative" and even "racist".

Heading on back to reality for a moment (strap yourself in, GS, this could be a bumpy ride) ... there are sound reasons why many on the Left (including me) are opposed to the crude, cartoonish dogma that New Middle Class Woke Cultural Radicals like you lazily regurgitate ... not least ID Politics implicit abandonment of much of the Left's traditional constituency, subversion of the Left's core principles & overt attack on the main tenets of Liberal Democracy.

[That's aside, of course, from the fact that everyone regardless of ideological leanings has a right to debate here without being smeared as nefarious in intent]

This insular fantasy of yours that you're some sort of courageous lone progressive voice among the Bowalley Road commentariat ... single-handedly fighting a horde of Reactionary Deplorables ... has you triumphantly citing research about Right-Wing Authoritarians as if it's some sort of Game-Changing Gotcha!!! moment ... it isn't ... if you'd read my previous comment calmly rather than via something approaching a default moral panic, you'd have noticed I stated quite clearly:

(Quote): "Several recent scholarly studies in Psychology have found that the Authoritarian Woke (like the Far Right) attract more than their fair share of Dark Triad Personality types ..."

So, yeah, both the Woke Cultural Radicals & the Far Right Reactionaries exhibit marked (& highly disturbing) authoritarian tendencies ... only one of those two ideological strands, however, is currently hegemonic ... the new official orthodoxy ... can you guess which one that might be, GS ?

You see, that's the other thing, you accuse everyone else of being "conservative" and yet in terms of ascendant ideologies there is nothing quite as illiberal as the censorious, controlling, authoritarian religious-like Cult you currently champion.

[second comment ... addressing some of GS's claims about CRT ... to follow when I have time]

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Well swordfish, a great post – ad hominem at its best.
1.I have never claimed to be the only person on this site with a university degree. And I wouldn't care if I was. I treat arguments as I find them. So maybe you could give me some evidence that I dismiss everyone who disagrees with me as right wing, alt right, conservative or "racist". I don't think I've actually ever called anyone on this site racist, except perhaps for whoever it was mentioned the PI people's "capacity for mindless violence". Which apparently can't be racist, because it's a "fact".
2. I usually stop reading someone's post when they use the word "woke" but I read the whole of yours. Which by the way is full of misapprehensions.
3. So please provide me with some evidence that I consider myself a lone progressive voice. That's nonsense, and if you'd hung around here long enough you'd know it was nonsense. There are a number of progressive voices on this site, fewer than I'd like, but there you go.
4. I cited the research on conservatives as a reply to you quoting research about the "woke". In a fairly light-hearted manner, but apparently you lack a sense of humour.
5. If quoting research makes someone pompous and narcissistic, you should maybe admit that you are also pompous and narcissistic.
6. You know nothing about me, which is probably why you describe me as "middle-class" and a "cultural radical". It would be nice if you could provide evidence for those two but I suspect you can't.
7. Not sure what a cultural radical is, but if it's someone who worries about the radical right getting rid of our freedoms then I guess I might be one.
8. I have actually expressed my disappointment with Labour abandoning its traditional base, but you obviously haven't bothered to read all my posts – fair enough but that doesn't give you the right then to suggest that I somehow approved.
9. It is the right that is the modern day danger to liberal democracy, not the left.
I'll forgo the pompous ad hominem attacks, perhaps you would be wise to do the same. I generally assume that absent the tone of face-to-face conversation, that I should give someone the benefit of the doubt when they use personal abuse. I don't think I'll do that in this case.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Okay, two people have referred to me here as a "Marxist". Please define what you mean by Marxist, and produce evidence from my comments that I am a "Marxist". Or for Christ sake shut up.

I will reiterate. Marx wrote stuff that predicted various things. I have enumerated them in the past but obviously no one has bothered to read them. These things have actually come true. So using Marx to analyse society is a legitimate way to try to understand what society is all about. It's not the only way, it might not even be the best way I don't know, but it's certainly a valid way, and has predictive value. I did at one time ask for people to show me a conservative writer who has the same or even some predictive value – no one bothered to reply.
And there's the same tired old reference to my so-called Soviet leanings. Please quote any of my comments that have even mentioned Soviet Russia let alone approved of it. I think you'll find very few on the first and none on the last. Is it somehow that you can't attack my ideas on the merits that you need to do this? Or is it somehow a knee-jerk reaction to anyone who questions conservative values? Because I'm still getting tired of being accused of all sorts of shit that I don't believe in without the slightest bit of evidence to show that I do. It's basically the sign of someone who has no actual arguments.

sumsuch said...

Don't get too involved in the counter-'arguments', GS. Tower of Babel is a good allegory of this multi=-media age. Depressing personally. And in every other way. Individualism is the wishbone in our throat that will kill us.

Jens Meder said...

Guerilla Surgeon - I have read CAPITAL, by Karl Marx - but forgotten what predictions of his have actually come true.

Could you please enlighten me and us all on that ?


Nick J said...

Keep getting tired of shit GS because what you do regularly is make oblique reference to viewpoints after others post with catch all words like conservatives. You too are fairly clear on your views, enough for me to categorise you as a follower of Marx from the number of references to him you make. That of course indicates no fealty, just good knowledge.

I recall a recent event when you tried to pull academic rank over a blogger and Chris pulled you up. When I refered to you academic level you saw red, I pointed you back to Chris comment. You cant have it both ways, one rule for GS and another for the rest.

On that note your regular expression "Jesus wept". It is a rather Alf Garnett expression given that I have noted some anti religious sentiment from you. But because you use it it must be OK.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Nick. I don't necessarily categorise people as conservatives, but some of their ideas are conservative or perhaps even reactionary. If they claim to be progressive and still have these ideas well – I guess it's confusing.
I did not try to "pull academic rank". I probably put it badly, but all I said was that the people putting together the history syllabus would be and should be monitored by historians. I did say that I'm extremely unlikely to be asked to do it. And that's actually an understatement. And it was in response to a question like "who decides – you?" I should maybe have said "me – no". My bad.

Jesus wept is an expression that is been in use by my family for years it sort of expresses frustration. "Because I use it must be okay"? That's sort of meaningless. If it offends you – put it down to freedom of speech. If I remember correctly you're all in favour of it.

Thank you at least for giving me the benefit of the doubt on Marxism the way it's used by the people who use it on this site seems to me obviously to mean "communist" – something which if I was here under my own name and still working might have had an effect on my job prospects. Who knows IANAL but it may even have been actionable. It's one of those things that you among others accuse me of – it's thrown around at people you don't like who disagree with you. And I notice when I have asked for evidence, none has been forthcoming. So yeah, there basically is none.
I wouldn't actually describe myself as a "follower". But as you say, I have a reasonable knowledge having had to read a fair bit of him in my extramural Massey courses. He has influenced the social sciences quite a bit, although again, people use him as a tool rather than become communists.

"Galloping inequality. Concentration of wealth. Spread of capitalism all over the world. Increasing division of society into antagonistic classes of a tiny minority of wealthy capitalists and a huge majority of propertyless workers. Perennial instability of capitalist economies, periods of growth and technological development punctuated by increasingly severe crashes. A permanent reserve army of the unemployed. Lengthening of the working day and increasingly intense exploitation of labor. "

That's not original to me. But I thoroughly agree with it. And the guy has put it much more succinctly than I could.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

David. I disagree with much of your cut-and-paste about CRT obviously. There were a couple of cogent critiques made in the comments I noticed. And again, there was much misinterpretation. Incidentally – STILL waiting for evidence that I categorise everyone who disagrees with me as racist. Not really expecting it but.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

And if we're going to be cutting and pasting, here's something you might like to read.

These “basic tenets” of CRT, according to the authors, include the following claims:

(1) Race is socially constructed, not biologically natural.

(2) Racism in the United States is normal, not aberrational: it is the common, ordinary experience of most people of colour.

(3) Owing to what critical race theorists call “interest convergence” or “material determinism,” legal advances (or setbacks) for people of colour tend to serve the interests of dominant white groups. Thus, the racial hierarchy that characterizes American society may be unaffected or even reinforced by ostensible improvements in the legal status of oppressed or exploited people.

(4) Members of minority groups periodically undergo “differential racialization,” or the attribution to them of varying sets of negative stereotypes, again depending on the needs or interests of whites.

(5) According to the thesis of “intersectionality” or “antiessentialism,” no individual can be adequately identified by membership in a single group. An African American person, for example, may also identify as a woman, a lesbian, a feminist, a Christian, and so on. Finally,

(6) the “voice of colour” thesis holds that people of colour are uniquely qualified to speak on behalf of other members of their group (or groups) regarding the forms and effects of racism.

sumsuch said...

Climate change is the imperative challenge and it requires democracy. Not just the name as per America's 'Democrats'. Why they have no real ammo against the Republican fascists. Why only Bernie?

Concluding, the Democrat funders prefer autocracy to the rule of the people.

Amerika is the home of stories not an enviable politics, why it infects far into the English-speaking world. I encounter these dopes all the time, transferring these stories onto us.