Friday 18 March 2022

From Emancipation To Denunciation: The Sad Descent of the Contemporary Left.

Going Down: The priorities of the Contemporary Left aren’t just depressing, they’re scary. Ordinary folk begin to ask themselves: if the urge to condemn and punish is all the now drives the Left, then how far is it willing to go to shut down and/or shut up the bad guys? Not many people are happy with the idea of living in a society where citizens have to weigh carefully every word and action, or fall victim to a regime in which punishment is the first resort, and forgiveness the swiftest path to ruin.

HOW TO PROMOTE a radical left-wing agenda when so few people today can even imagine such a thing? The emancipatory impulse that guided so many of the left-wing programmes of the past has almost entirely faded away. In its place we find a denunciatory political culture. Far too many contemporary leftists are driven by the desire to condemn and punish. Where once the Left’s purpose was to create a better world, its chief preoccupation today appears to be making it a less evil one.

A more realistic goal, some might say. Except that, as a goal, reducing evil rests upon the dismal presupposition that malignancy is humanity’s resting state. Striving to reduce the severity of the planet’s daily torments is not at all the same as believing it is possible to overcome them. Directing one’s efforts towards making humanity’s prison more bearable, differs fundamentally from a project dedicated to reducing that prison to rubble and setting its prisoners free.

As the Second Wave of Feminism swept across the Western World in the early 1970s, its adherents spoke with tongues of fire about the end of patriarchy and the emergence of not only a new kind of woman, but also of a new kind of man. They argued persuasively that the bloody re-ordering of male hierarchies – which men liked to call “revolutions” – were not revolutions at all. The only revolution worthy of the name, they argued, would be the one that brought the full emancipation of women. Only when the 10,000 year-old patriarchal system of sexual and gender repression was no more, could real human history begin.

Fifty years on, so many of those fiery tongues have been stilled. As The Platform’s Ani O’Brien wrote on 8 March, International Women’s’ Day:

In New Zealand - and perhaps elsewhere - International Women’s Day has become a farcical parade of corporate pink-washing overlaid by a nepotistic circle-jerk of privileged and influential liberal (mostly white) women giving each other awards at champagne breakfasts […..] And the issues they focus on? Usually not particularly high on the priority list for your average Kiwi woman – certainly not for those who are under-privileged.

On matters of race the picture is equally depressing.

Sticking with our earlier prison metaphor, the attention of the Contemporary Left seems fixated upon the ideas and actions of the prison guards, and how important it is to make them understand the enormously harmful impact of their prejudices and practices upon the well-being of the prisoners. If the purpose of “re-educating” these oppressors was to persuade them to make common cause with the oppressed, then its inherent negativity might be overlooked. Unfortunately, that is not its goal. The ambitions of the Contemporary Left do not extend beyond ensuring that the guards and the prisoners administer the prison together – “partners” in penology.

When it comes to issues of class, the picture is even bleaker.

In tragic contrast to the leftists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Contemporary Left seem mortally afraid of offending the boss. The very notion that “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle” strikes them as decidedly career-limiting. Located firmly in the Professional and Managerial Class, whose task it is to administer capitalism smoothly, with a minimum of fuss, on behalf of the people who own it, the Contemporary Left has taught itself to look at the working-class and see … nothing.

Without the determination to emancipate, the Left has no ability to inspire. Lacking the stimulus of their common advancement, the political inertness of “the people” is only to be overcome by outrage. By exposing the wickedness and brutality of those who wield power over them, individuals can be roused to anger. Rather than the emancipatory programmes spawned by the Old Left’s creative political imaginings, the Contemporary Left offers the marginalised and oppressed only the sterile alternatives of condemnation and punishment.

The “Me Too” movement replaces the New Woman and the New Man. “Black Lives Matter” replaces Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream!”

The problem with constantly parading wickedness and brutality before people’s gaze is that pretty soon they begin to think that’s all there is. Intuitively, they arrive at the dismal conclusion that the condemners and the punishers are not only fighting a never-ending battle, but a losing one. For every Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein who falls, countless other abusers will go unpunished. For every racist cop that gets put away, a thousand more contrive to hide their racism more carefully.

Not only are these conclusions depressing, they’re scary. Ordinary folk begin to ask themselves: if the urge to condemn and punish is all the now drives the Left, then how far is it willing to go to shut down and/or shut up the bad guys? Not many people are happy with the idea of living in a society where citizens have to weigh carefully every word and action, or fall victim to a regime in which punishment is the first resort, and forgiveness the swiftest path to ruin.

Abandon the Left’s quest for emancipation in favour of the politics of denunciation, and what is left to the ordinary citizen but material aspiration? If building a better world is no longer on the Left’s agenda; and this one is dominated by forces against which the Left fights and fights but cannot overcome; then surely the only sensible course of action is for individuals and families to get and keep as much as they can while the getting and keeping is good?

For the past thirty-five years this is the only consistent message the New Zealand electorate has been sent. Certainly, it is the message which the National Party never tires of sending to voters. The Old Labour Left (think Mickey Savage and Norman Kirk) was condemned for wanting to upset the settled order of things – a prospect which the comfortably situated can always be relied upon to abhor. The New Labour Left (think Helen Clark and Jacinda Ardern) National condemns for its puritanical obsession with punishing the sins that make comfort possible. (The Greens are even worse!)

Since the Old Labour Left died with the Alliance twenty years ago, and the current incarnation of the Greens regards its policies as ideologically suspect relics of a bygone age, the New Labour Left has very little incentive to develop a manifesto in which the impulse to confront and overcome the evils of the status quo is blended with a determination to emancipate its victims. Evil can only be vanquished by the creation of a world in which it cannot thrive.

But, persuading voters this is true is no easy task. It requires a political party that never stops making the case for radical change. Sadly, no such party exists in the New Zealand of today. Offer voters a radical left-wing agenda in 2022 and its content will most likely inspire not enthusiasm, but a mixture of doubt and scorn.

As in this comment from a former National Party Cabinet Minister:

Is it really credible that Labour will become akin to a Corbynite party, since that is effectively what is being suggested. If they did, and that was clearly signalled before the election, I reckon you could pretty much guarantee Labour a few years in the political wilderness to contemplate the consequences of such a decision.

There is simply no appetite in New Zealand for a radical socialist change. It is no accident that the biggest selling vehicles are double-cab utes capable of pulling the 6 meter fishing boat [which is, in] fact, owned by the PM’s partner along with the beach house in Tairua. The epitome of the kiwi dream.

Just about every single policy dreamed up by such a fanciful radical coalition would be diametrically opposed to people being able to fulfil such a dream.

The party that actually trumpet the opportunity to fulfil such a dream are much more likely to electorally succeed.

The tragedy of these times is that Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party would almost certainly agree. And the even bigger tragedy – so would 98 percent of the voters.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 18 March 2022.


Roger Horrocks said...

Chris - I’m not as pessimistic as you about how many people would like a different kind of left politics - closer to what the left used to mean. I think a party alongside Labour (like the Greens - or the old Alliance) is quite possible. Less woke-ism, more class and less identity politics. I think it is just waiting for some people to get together and establish it.

greywarbler said...

Chris - I think you are pretty well right, though not actually a 'pretty communist', and not a communist either. I have in my mature years of my old age, been studying NZ and NZrs and our thinking and doing and what an eye-opening and sobering journey that has been. So many people like Roger Horrocks are hopeful and naive and have not schooled themselves in the behaviours shown and told, as necessary for his dream to be successful. It is likely that it would become just another talk-fest. Actual opportunities for the ordinary non-political citizen to have a 'good' life through physical work is necessary. Our world is full of keyboard planners who can dream up and write about, draw in perspective, colour in and populate with leisured stylishly dressed people. Quite the opposite to the experience of the majority of ordinary citizens.

Those who are working are scrambling to get to work, manage their family duties, and earn enough to house and feed themselves and probably get their recreation at home on their tv or computer screens. Those that are not working are in similar style, if they can afford or steal the screens and a place to reside in to watch such; they certainly are not welcome in the stylish town square. And they feel demoralised and angry; and the demoralisation leads to criminality and violence from significant numbers. This is met by the same from the PTB, except with the resources of the state behind it. Rehabilitation is sometimes offered, but is there anything that the newly enlightened person to move on to? The culture vultures actually don't say that the scales are unbalanced when it comes to the ex-workers and low income citizens. This is largely the scenario for male prisoners.

Women affected by the retaliatory, punitive criminal system are mostly lower-income, lower skilled. Though the genesis of life and societal place for all, they are as in most essential bases in society, taken for granted, their power nullified by custom. The debasement of sexuality to mere excitement and gratification or perhaps descent planning, is more connected to materialism and becomes a type of drug leading to women's power and personal integrity constantly undermined. I feel that these pervading attitudes are cemented in and that wise political and economic consciousness is needed through reiterated wide and practical women's studies concentrating on the value to society, conditions and personal opportunities and modern mindsets rather than grievance ideologies based on virgin victimhood.

I don't agree with this slogan, "The only revolution worthy of the name, they argued, would be the one that brought the full emancipation of women". They are important but discounted human beings, prone to faults as are men, and as likely to adopt measures that will displease and displace many women finding themselves stifled by dominant and despotic female leaders under the pressures of consensus, or a democratic pursuit that was apparent, but not real.
Women pressing for their full emancipation can only achieve it if they drag men alongside them; we all need to up our game in this frightening world we have created. Are we to end up being frightened of the dark sides of ourselves as considered by Jung and others? I feel frightened for and by those I see around me which I will in a short time leave who are facing looming troubles and moral marathons unconsidered by unthinking, uncertainly pragmatic, present history-makers.

Tom Hunter said...

'Tis a tale of woe told by Lefties across the Western World:
The Samizdat remains the same
. I've quoted your mate "Bomber" in that post at No Minister, but he's merely an echo:

But for most of my life, up through the election of Obama, there was still a New Deal, “Yes we can!” and “We can do it!” optimism that sat side-by-side with the New Left’s fundamentally disempowering critique of the ­system.

That’s all gone. On climate change, drug deaths, and cultural issues like racism, the message from progressives is that we are doomed unless we dismantle the institutions responsible for our oppressive, racist system. Those of us in Generation X who were raised to believe that racism was something we could overcome have been told in no uncertain terms that we were wrong. Racism is baked into our cultural DNA.

That's environmentalist Michael Shellenberger, who I'm sure is nowhere near Left-wing enough for you and your fans here. But I would argue that Matt Tabbi - who was the scourge of the Bankers back in 2009 as he ripped apart the excuses of the GFC - is, and he also has a depressing message:

On the road from stirring symbol of hope and change to the Fat Elvis of neoliberalism, birthday-partying Barack Obama sold us all out

He always has a great turn of phrase, but for me it's just more of the same as Leftists cycle through yet another period of woe, following the usual sunny rhetoric (you of course recall all the wonderful things you had to say about Ardern as she ascended). The old communists were brainwashed but you have no excuses:

But the betrayals of Obama and Clinton and Blair and Brown and Ardern (“Wonder Woman”) and Clark and Lange and all the rest, don’t matter. The next leader of the Centre-Left parties will be hailed as the new saviour, and the entire hideous personality-cult-plus-central-control process will start all over again. These are the same people who will tell you earnestly to your face that there’s no way a modern Lenin, Stalin or Mao could arise because the Left would never make that mistake again.

But you will. You will.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that the Labour Party has always been held captive to tribalism. Looking at it history its always been the domain of chancers and opportunists.. of such diverse stripes as Roger Douglas and Jacinda Ardern..

David George said...

This says it all really.
Stuff: "Jacinda Ardern told students she believed this curriculum change would leave one of the most important legacies from her Government"

Indoctrinating and dividing our kids with critical race bullshit is an important legacy Jacinda, just not how you're imagining it.

Chris Slater said...

Well I for one am pessimistic, Roger. With a policy of no enemies to the Left, racists to the Right; the Professional-Managerial Class and the Left mutually dependent on the exchange of votes for increasing wealth and influence, and the success of Gramsci’s long march and Foucault’s knowledge-and-power relationship of discourse, any counter-revolution will be bogsnorkelling in alien ideology without a mask. That’s the power of the Weltanschauung. My ideal of civilisation is incremental refinement, as Michael Shermer puts it, striding down the road shouting, “What do we want? Gradual improvement! When do we want it? In due course, and after careful consideration!” The Fabian’s tortoise of progress. It’s no surprise the LSE lectures makes sense when other universities have abandoned rationality, yet as the majority of pedagogues, they will continue to peddle their woke ideology.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

You know, my last paper for the degree I was doing in my dotage – well actually it wasn't a degree I was just doing a course every year that looked interesting until they caught me out and decided I had to graduate – still I got away with it for a long time. Anyway, it was called "Race and the Nation". And funnily enough, Critical Race Theory didn't feature in it – because as many have mentioned – it's almost exclusively taught in top tier American law schools. It came up once in an aside when the prof criticised it a little.

So I'd already done one major assignment on the history of the use of the term "noble savage" and "ignoble savage" for that matter. So I asked the guy – because he said we could choose our last topic – if I could look at CRT, because I thought there was probably a moral panic over it. He said "Sure, but I think you'll find that most people who criticise it don't know anything about it." Never a truer word was said. I did 4000 words on it, and just in passing I'd like to thank Mr "Anonymous" whose ignorant, unhinged, rather lengthy rant on this site I quoted in full, which just about got me over the word limit (4000 words is a lot).
So I told you that story to tell you this one. I've come across a lot of CRT bullshit on the various blogs I follow in the last few months, so I prepared a template which I now post whenever someone shows their ignorance. All I have to do is change a few things to accommodate the country I'm writing for. I'll post it below.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

And here it is – I'm still in the process of refining it, so constructive criticism would be welcomed.:)

So we’re back to Critical Race Theory again, interesting. I was just wondering though, have any of you people with your knickers in a twist about it read Delgardo and Stefancic’s Critical Race Theory, An Introduction?, Or listened to Crenshaw’s interview ‘The Battle over Critical Race Theory’ on the Daily Show? Have you had a look at Jones’s article in the New York magazine – How to Manufacture a Moral Panic? Have you read any of the academic criticism by Subotnik or Farber & Sherry? Have you read the interview by the journalist who started all this – Christopher Rufo – on how he deliberately set out to demonise and redefine CRT so that it represents anything about the teaching of race that you don’t like? Have you even listen to that conservative hero Ben Shapiro explain it to Bill Maher? He doesn’t like it, but at least he knows roughly what it is because he studied it at Harvard.

Rufo said in an interview that he wanted “... to have the public read something crazy and immediately think ‘Critical Race Theory’. We have decodified the term, and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”

Of course you bloody haven’t, let me suggest a more typical trajectory – you went to Kiwi Blog, you followed a link to an extreme right magazine run by the admitted anti-Semite Taki Theodoracopulos (but of course his anti-Semitism doesn’t matter because 'he has a sense of humour') and you were sent to an article by that racist harridan Ann Coulter, who also doesn’t know anything about it, and inhaled her bile as if it was lifeblood. In other words you know sweet Fanny Adams about CRT, and yet you feel both qualified and obliged to criticise it. No wonder we need educational reform in this country, people are getting dumber and dumber.

Jens Meder said...

A lot of words here.
But we all from the extreme Right to the Left of the political/ideological spectrum are subject to the same laws of nature (physics) -

and therefore is not the ideologically safest and most progressively promising space close to the ideological middle ground where it is accepted that ultimately we all are subject to the same laws of physics regardless of ideology ?

greywarbler said...

Oh go jump in the lake Tom Hunter you depressing fart. You want everything to go haywire so you can smile grimly and say coldly 'I told you so.' With your approach nothing good can be hoped for and we will all curl up and die like ants who have lost their mates' trails and don't know their way home.

The Barron said...

"Indoctrinating and dividing our kids with critical race bullshit is an important legacy Jacinda, just not how you're imagining it."

NZ school history delivery has always reflected colonization, it has been implicit within all delivery. To study Elizabethan fiscal dependence upon Parliament is a very colonial history. Before Europeans arrived in NZ, the history of a people that predates interaction in NZ is taught showing the development of a state that was to dominate the culture, administration and legal structure of this land. This is colonization imbedded in the curriculum (indeed, the more astute students could look at the English impact on Ireland during the Elizabethan era as an explicit example of colonization).

There is no evidence provided that revised curriculum is 'indoctrination'. The History teachers' that are delivering are professionals with at least two degrees. The History teachers' professional body has been part of the development of curriculum, each school's History Department are entrusted to localize their focus, and the guidelines are to present history from different perspectives. All of this falls outside any definition of indoctrination.

David's concern of 'critical race bullshit', echoes the most rabid of Republican cultural wars. I have said this before, so I will not dwell - Critical Race Theory is an American tertiary, primarily legal, tool that can show how some laws and social restriction have evolved from antebellum and other restrictive practices with origins based on the concept of race. It is not practiced in US schools, it certainly is not in NZ.

Finally, the view that this is 'dividing our kids'. As Pete Townsend wrote, "I'm Free, I'm free, and freedom tastes of reality" [The Who, Tommy, 1969]. I am not sure how the empowered repressing history without discussion or context is less divisive that having an understanding of history from multiple perspectives. The idea of History is to get as close an understanding of the reality or realities of the time.

Many years ago my mates son, who is Maori, had a school project for his intermediate. His father had recently read Dick Scott's 'Ask That Mountain', and the son did the project on Parihaka. For the first item he put real effort into this. At that age it was a mixture of art and text. He was proud of what he took back to school, his family were proud.

He came back home angry and almost in tears. His teacher had told him we got it wrong the name of the mountain is not Taranaki, it is Egmont.

Damage has been done under the old and current curriculum, the time for the change is overdue.

John Hurley said...

Well I for one am pessimistic, Roger. With a policy of no enemies to the Left, racists to the Right;
So Brexit and Trump (populism) are responses to the salience of immigration - at the national level. Does this make a person racist?
What are people perceiving when they see their ethnic group overtaken at the national level?
Ans = security - a level of confidence and all this is intuitively correct because that other society may be possible but under what conditions?
Brian Easton asks the question "Is the NZ economy viable?". He notes that agriculture will stay about the same but services will have to make up the increase as no one gives a stuff about population; tourism will have to be 2.5 times what it was in 2019 and asks "would you even want to live in a country like that?"
So you will have winners and losers. Wealthy middleclass migrants from super populations buy in at the top and the Stu Donovans scoff at NIMBY's.

sumsuch said...

Have to agree, even me. Only comedians of the acutest intelligence can delve and dive. But the force of democracy has nothing to do with that precisionist preciseness. Bernie fucked up by not attending to these things though. Let alone Jeremy.

Strange. While the Right can bloat-explode stupidity.

If Jacinda can come out of the blue, someone worthwhile can. FDR.

Patricia said...

I have been thinking for sometime now that New Zealand needs a new party for the left. While I could never ever vote National even even if they presented a policy that seemed better than Labour, which I could only describe as being from a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I do think the current international situation may cause a change in the peoples’ viewpoint. In order for us not to think we have been saturated with stuff and once deglobalisation occurs and we can’t get stuff or stuff becomes so expensive then I think there will be change.

David George said...

Some comments re the history curriculum from people that appear to have not read or properly considered it's implications. I stand by my contention: it is divisive, lies by both omission and commission and that is structured that way deliberately. Many highly respected historians and commentators agree.

Chris Trotter: "The new curriculum, at least in its draft form, is less an opportunity for historiographical enlargement than it is an exercise in historical exclusion. Far from welcoming Maori into a bigger, broader, more intelligible and exciting explanation of New Zealand’s past, the new curriculum seems determined to deny Pakeha any role in the drama except that of colonialist villain."

"When voters start turning up at Labour MPs’ electorate offices with “dissident” histories, and articles downloaded from the Internet, demanding to know why their kids aren’t being taught these “facts”, the reassurances received from “progressive” historians, the Minister of Education and their Maori colleagues may begin to ring a little hollow.

As anyone who remembers the vicious arguments about politics in sport, abortion rights, and homosexual law reform will attest, conflicts rooted in deep-seated and strongly held cultural beliefs can be extraordinarily divisive. So divisive that they cause people to shift their political allegiances. Political scientists don’t call them “wedge issues” because they bring people together!"

DS said...

To study Elizabethan fiscal dependence upon Parliament is a very colonial history.

It gets studied because it enables students to understand where our system of Parliamentarianism comes from, and how it developed. That, and religious history... all of which remains relevant to the New Zealand of 2022.

Meanwhile, that evil old curriculum taught students about Ireland, Israel/Palestine, China, Russia, the origins of the World Wars, and post-war NZ foreign policy. It's not like colonialism or generational land disputes are irrelevant there, and somehow brushed aside.

Tom Hunter said...

So we’re back to Critical Race Theory again, interesting. I was just wondering though, have any of you people with your knickers in a twist about it read Delgardo and Stefancic’s Critical Race Theory, An Introduction?
Of course you bloody haven’t, let me suggest a more typical trajectory

Heh. I see GS still indulging in his Motte and Bailey defence of Critical Race Theory; that it is merely some high-brow academic stuff taught in law schools and amounts to nothing more than a US Right-Wing bugaboo for elections. GS's "defence" amounts to what is seen in Lefty blogs and the likes of Jacobin in the USA:

- Nobody really understands CRT. It’s just an academic theory.
- If bad things are happening it’s because “fringe groups” and “some individuals” are twisting the theory to their own purposes.
- It’s only about “racial justice” and “anti-racism” – and who could be opposed to such good things.
- It’s not about hating on White People. That’s just crazy talk.

Well, let's take a look at three Black parents unloading on their school boards about .... their kids being taught the kiddie version of CRT: Gaslighting Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Or how about It's just an academic theory with examples from high school students in the front line:

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.

Well of course. Underneath the academic garb that's what CRT is: simple race hatred.

Or how about The Eight White Identities put together by the Principal of a New York Prep School. The identities range from "White Supremacist" to "White abolitionist" and the creator of the graph used by the Principal is, of course, an academic, one Barnor Hesse, an associate professor at Northwestern University. His research interests include “black political thought, blackness and effect, and race and governmentality,” among others (check out his definitions to see where you lie on the chart). A direct translation from academic to lower-level schools.

You can check out the same stuff as put up by none other than the Smithsonian Institute where the CRT people appear to have imbibed the ideas of your average KKK member, who would undoubtedly cheer on all those White stereotypes.

Finally, here's one of Rufo's original reports on the Human Resources training for employees of the City of Seattle.

Also check out, at the bottom of this post, the satirist Titania McGrath's take on the grotesque "teaching" of this garbage:

The most effective way to combat racial discrimination is to continually remind white people that they are inhuman demons who are beyond redemption

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Many highly respected historians and commentators agree."

A few names would be helpful.Because all I can find is Michael Bassett, who you'd expect to criticise it, being a radical libertarian, and a few criticisms around the edges by actual practising historians, who in the main applaud the inclusion of the Maori narrative, but say it ignores 600 years of pre-European history.
And the rest of course our "commentators" AFAIK few of which have any qualifications for commenting, other than their political stance.

Tom Hunter said...

And if anybody is wondering why CRT matters here in NZ let me just say that almost every dingbat theory originating in the USA will make it's way here sooner or later.

After all, like the USA we too are dealing with the negative aspects of White Colonialist, Settlor Power Structures that must be dismantled. What better way than via the minds of the next generation in things like a history curriculum?

The thing is that, knowing kids, especially teenagers, I wonder if this will actually backfire. Decades from now perhaps such teaching will result in an outburst of White Nationalism because that's preferable to being told you're a dumb, racist POS because you're white?

The Barron said...

History is about cooperation and interaction, about conflict and resolution, it is about innovation and dogma, repression, oppression and reconciliation. It is about humanity at its best, at its worst and mostly the spaces in-between.

I am not sure the specific parts you wish excluded, David, but we are not preparing students for their knowledge of how we got to where we are, or for tertiary study, if we sanitize the past. Further, for almost all historical conflict there has been resolution, for those there has not been resolution only truth can lead to reconciliation.

The Barron said...

My point was not whether it is relevant, but that it is colonial. As you note, it explains the introduced Parliamentary system. No problem with that, but with the idea that we have not had a curriculum vested in colonisation.

David George said...

Thank you Barron, at least some attempt at a balanced curriculum would be good.
The painting of one side as irredeemable villains and the sanctification of the other as victims is probably not a good thing to be laid at the feet of school children of all races. Or adults come to that, especially when it's plainly a lie.

As has been pointed out, ignoring the pre treaty wars seems more than an oversight. A civil war that left a third or more of the Maori people dead? An atrocity proportionally in excess of the Rwanda massacre and one of that lead to the realisation of the need for an accord with Britain? Completely ignored. What's all that about?

David George said...

Great research, great response Tom, probably a wasted effort though. Wait for the "well he would say that" ad hominem response from the predictable, totalitarian ideologues.

“If you pay attention, when you are seeking something, you will move towards your goal. More importantly, however, you will acquire the information that allows your goal itself to transform. A totalitarian never asks, “What if my current ambition is in error?” He treats it, instead, as the Absolute. It becomes his God, for all intents and purposes. It constitutes his highest value. It regulates his emotions and motivational states, and determines his thoughts. All people serve their ambition. In that matter, there are no atheists. There are only people who know, and don’t know, what God they serve.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

The Barron said...

Enough Tom-foolery.

GS is absolutely correct in terms of the origin and definition of Critical Race Theory. It is disingenuous to take it out of context and definition and then claim internet examples outside of original theory proves something else. It is intellectually bereft. To justify this by claiming three black families said something loosely related to what you are asserting is disturbing on many levels. Then again, perhaps you sincerely cannot comprehend academic analytical tools aimed at a high end tertiary level.

That may be the reality. The example of an eighth grader, when CRT is not used in US schools, is circular irrationality. Basically you are arguing, CRT exists in this example, this example proves CTR exists in schools, therefore, this is what CRT is. Only, it fits outside the establishment and implementation of CRT as a legal analytical tool. To claim it as CRT is cognitive laziness.

The idea that those which can trace the origin of some legal practice to the antebellum south, restrictive immigration policies or displacement of the indigenous - are somewhat comparable to the KKK is simply obscene.

Your second post is another example of circular conceptional crapology. "Beware of what is happening in the US, because it could happen here" is somewhat dependent upon the premise that it is happening in the States, and the that the new school history curriculum could result in an analytical tool used in a minority of legal facilities. This will result in... sorry, but the post became farcical long before this.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

It's also disingenuous to take anything that is taught about race that you don't like, and call it Critical Race Theory. That's pretty much what Hunter is doing. And three black families? Out of how many in the US in? Conservatives do this all the time – one day I'm going to do a post on it. But you pick on one isolated example of something and claim that it is relevant. Not really.

"Meaning is manifestation of the divine individual adaptive path” Jordan B Peterson. No idea where it's from, but another example of his impenetrability.

"A more important reason why Peterson is “misinterpreted” is that he is so consistently vague and vacillating that it’s impossible to tell what he is “actually saying.” People can have such angry arguments about Peterson, seeing him as everything from a fascist apologist to an Enlightenment liberal, because his vacuous words are a kind of Rorschach test onto which countless interpretations can be projected."
Nathan J Robinson

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Incidentally, thank you Tom for substantiating my research.
As Christopher Rufo said –(Our aim is )“... to have the public read something crazy and immediately think ‘Critical Race Theory’. We have decodified the term, and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”

Guerilla Surgeon said...

David, if you think that's great research, you should maybe ask for your money back – obviously the education system has failed you. I repeat.

(My aim is) “... to have the public read something crazy and immediately think ‘Critical Race Theory’. We have decodified the term, and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”

It's obviously working isn't it?

“And it seems an equally foregone conclusion that the patriarchy is order, so if the masculine symbolism is used by feminists themselves to represent order, what is left for the feminine to be represented by? Order? Well that’s already taken! And the reason your feminist friends object to it is … well, I would say fundamentally there’s two reasons: they object to everything and they don’t understand it and they don’t understand their own behaviour. So you ask them: well why is the masculine represented as order?”Jordan B Peterson – random shit he says.

David George said...

Yes GS, to " pick on one isolated example of something and claim that it is relevant" is poor form indeed. It's easy to be cynical, to dismiss things as impenetrable nonsense if you willfully try to not understand. That JP quote for example. "Meaning is manifestation of the divine individual adaptive path”

Meaning, in this context, is the feeling we get when everything comes together, time disappears, there's a feeling of balance and harmony, you're engaged and interested, on the border between chaos and order, that we're in the right place doing the right thing.

It's manifestation within us is a powerful guide to the path we should walk, religious and atheist alike. A manifestation of our divinity?

“To straddle that fundamental duality is to be balanced: to have one foot firmly planted in order and security, and the other in chaos, possibility, growth and adventure. When life suddenly reveals itself as intense, gripping and meaningful; when time passes and you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing you don’t notice—it is there and then that you are located precisely on the border between order and chaos.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

“Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Nonetheless, chaos can be too much. You can’t long tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while you are learning what you still need to know. Thus, you need to place one foot in what you have mastered and understood and the other in what you are currently exploring and mastering. Then you have positioned yourself where the terror of existence is under control and you are secure, but where you are also alert and engaged. That is where there is something new to master and some way that you can be improved. That is where meaning is to be found.”
― Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Tom Hunter said...

It should alert readers to how vital CRT is to teaching, even in NZ, that both GS and "The Barron" are so intent on claiming that it isn't (complete with the usual, "you're too dumb to get it" claim that is almost always part of every Lefty argument.

In the wake of the Virginia Governor's election the Democrats and their enablers went on quite the same rant, in full denial mode about CRT and stupid parents getting upset over nothing. As I described in The Democrats Are Not Learning, where I collected some clips of the MSM going full retard on denial.

I also included a couple of clips of teachers describing how CRT is taught in schools, starting with an Administrator of the largest school district in Indiana (very GOP state BTW):
there are two elements of teaching: curricula (what is taught) and pedagogy (how it is taught).

The game teachers are playing is saying “there is no CRT in the curricula,” which is true(ish) – but what they’re not telling you is that they are explicitly embracing CRT in the pedagogy – that is how they teach everything. Critical race theory is the lens through which they teach everything, even math.

The theory itself - and sadly I have read some of the execrable Delgardo - is actually as stupidly racist as it sounds (Delgardo actually comes across like Jordan Peterson and his intellectual wank, Maps of Meaning). The left keeps pretending that Critical Race Theory is only this “high-level academic concept” that only very educated people could possibly fathom. That’s bullshit; it’s simple-minded pile of stupid nonsense and gobbledy gook terms that idiots can master in days, which is why it’s so fantastically popular among the stupid and academically ungifted.

I also linked to an article by one Wenyuan Wu describing the smear job pulled on him and other parents who tried to tackle CRT proponents in an LA school:
Let me set the record straight, as the expert “detractor” who volunteered to replace a vocal proponent of CRT at the OCBE meeting. Volunteer board members and their community supporters spent two months assembling a diverse expert panel… Each panelist holds an advanced degree in a social science discipline, and four are life-long educators. All panelists supported the teaching of history and ethnic studies in a constructive, unbiased, and unabridged manner. None gave even a slight indication that we should refrain from discussing racism.

That last being the main attack point on him and others by CRT proponents.

Tom Hunter said...

But I'll leave the final word to Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferer and uber-Leftie, Andrew Sullivan (Mr Gay Marriage himself):
[W]hen the Democrats and the mainstream media insist that CRT is not being taught in high schools, they’re being way too cute. Of course K-12 kids in Virginia’s public schools are not explicitly reading the collected works of Derrick Bell or Richard Delgado — no more than Catholic school kids in third grade are studying critiques of Aquinas. But they are being taught in a school system now thoroughly committed to the ideology and worldview of CRT, by teachers who have been marinated in it, and whose unions have championed it.

In 2019, the [Virginia DOE] sent out a memo that explicitly endorsed critical race and queer theory as essential tools for teaching high school. Check out the VA DOE’s “Road Map to Equity,” where it argues that “courageous conversation” on “social justice, systemic inequity, disparate student outcomes and racism in our school communities is our responsibility and professional obligation. Now is the time to double down on equity strategies.”

A fact that was picked up in the election. Rather hard to deny a screenshot of the Virginia DOE website.
The other big teachers’ union, the National Education Association, has explicitly called for teaching children CRT, pledging to publicize “an already-created, in-depth study that critiques white supremacy, anti-Blackness, anti-Indigeneity, racism, patriarchy… capitalism… and other forms of power and oppression.” They back The 1619 Project as a teaching tool.

So all the unions, the governor, the Virginia education department, the paper of record, and the federal government think CRT is obligatory for teaching children. But absolutely none of that ever, ever reaches into the classroom. Please.

Of course it does. To use a term the woke might understand, it is, in fact, structural.

David George said...

Oops, previously posted in the wrong discussion.

There is a comprehensive and widely acclaimed critique of critical theory available "Cynical Theories" by academics Pluckrose and Lindsay. "How activist scholarship made everything about race, gender and identity - and why it harms everybody".

It looks at "theory", it's roots and it's branches: post colonial theory, queer theory, critical race theory, feminism and gender studies, fat theory and so on.
A pretty damning take down of these cartoon like representations of reality, their direct conflict with liberalism and the sustaining institutions developed over millennia, a warning of the dangers of their widespread acceptance and what should be done about it. The first step is to understand what we're dealing and this book is a good place to start.

David George said...

An excellent essay on what is happening in our institutions of higher learning; helps explains a lot of the polarisation we are seeing?

"As for their thinking, they had the same relationship to their arguments as they had to their prose. They just made them; they didn’t and really couldn’t think about them in a metacognitive way. They couldn’t recognise contradictions, anticipate objections, entertain alternative interpretations, make essential distinctions, or delineate the limits of their propositions. Remember, this wasn’t freshman composition. This was an advanced writing seminar at some of the most prestigious colleges in the country."

"Indeed, after decades of postmodernism, with its assault on the very idea of grand interpretive narratives, wokeism represents a return of the repressed — the repressed in this case being the ineluctable human hunger for meaning. For wokeism, like those earlier belief systems, offers a framework that is not only cognitive and historical, but also moral and existential. It tells you not only where you come in, but also who you are and how you are to orient yourself toward others and the world. In other words, it offers purpose and direction."

"In telling students what to think, wokeism also provides them with something to say. The value of this should not be underestimated, particularly in the age of social media. Having opinions — easily, instantly, on everything — is essential to the contemporary presentation of the self. The process of forming them is aided immensely if you already know where you’re supposed to stand on every subject, including ones you haven’t heard of yet."

The Barron said...

Best description I heard for Peterson was that he is a stupid person's view of an intellectual. That is not calling Peterson stupid,there is an assumption that his specialist area of Clinic Psychology he is qualified and adequate.

However, when he drifts to social issues, philosophy and political theory, the only people that give credence are those who are desperate to quote someone they think sounds profound.

The dumb person's idea of an intellectual.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

They are learning about systemic racism, and the history of racism. Something we all could do with a bit more knowledge of Tom including you. Perhaps especially you.
As the meme goes, "they're not against CRT, they just don't want to explain what Granny is doing in the background of that picture from the social studies class." I.e. – Abusing a black student trying to enrol in a white high school.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

CRT in fact does not say anything about individuals – but of course you conservatives want it all to be about individuals, because if it is then you can say "I'm not racist" (shading the truth in your case I'd say given at least one of your comments here) therefore I don't have to do anything about it. And that means of course we don't have to discuss it.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

And all over the US, conservatives are cancelling any discussion of race and racism, up to and including the mention of Martin Luther King. But it can't be cancel culture when you guys do it right?

The Barron said...

Tom, you cannot take CRT out of context and decide that it is no longer what it was designed as, but it may fit into a wrapped definition if it is now a high school curricula and pedagogy. And not only this but teachers are 'explicitly embracing CRT in the pedagogy'. Explicitly? With all respect to the teaching profession both in the States and NZ, they do not have the time, resources or skills to take an analytical tool from the few high end University Law faculties and realign the curricula (meaning more than one curriculum program) and adjust their pedagogy.

Proof of CRT in schools is certainly not found in Republican legislating against it. This is simply culture wars. As Paul Krugman said, it is a solution in search of a problem. This has been used not to prevent CRT, but to prevent the teaching of history that does not reflect well on the manifest destiny of the Walt Disney frontier land and the racialised violence of the south. It is also a panic not to show contemporary social ills.

The right have simply taken CTR out of context, then very loosely redefined it for their purposes. If you want a debate as to history teaching rather than the evolution of legal frameworks, I am happy to do so, but as GS and I remind you - to widen the umbrella of CTR to include all things you don't like is disingenuous or simply misleading.

The Barron said...

Perhaps it may be useful to have an understanding of CRT.

The first point is that in the USA race is something that has been legislated, one drop of African blood meant you were classified legally and the constitution applied differently to you. After the civil war, institutions were developed around Jim Crow laws, which maintained social and legal restrictions. In the 1970s, the forerunner of CRT began with the view that the racial classification is in itself a social construct entrenched with institutional bias. Today, only a handful of racists maintain that race is a medical or scientific classification, especially based on skin colour.

The CRT focus was on how the legal framework had developed from, and maintained, prejudice and inequality. This was an analytical tool under which existing laws could have the historical development viewed in terms of the impact upon those classified as African American. While it could include analysis of laws enabling education institutions, it was not in itself a tool used in education outside a handful of tertiary law faculties.

The skeleton framework was seen as a way of analyzing other disempowered groups, both within the African American classification and outside. Bias against African American women in law could provide analysis, the same with sexual or gendered identity. It was also then transformed to be able to look at these sectors as a whole, and other ethic classifications such as Latino / Latina. However, once you started to reapply the model you were away from that which was developed as CRT.

Pauline Hanson's hysteria over the teaching of Aboriginal and colonial history is an example of moral panic unrelated to what CRT actually is. Indeed, an indigenous model may be developed, but that is different than the basis of CRT - and history being taught can be enlightening but it is generally removed from the analysis of legal development of institutions.

It does not exist in the school systems in the States. It is not being introduced to NZ through the new history curriculum. Indeed, NZ has has sophisticated legal analysis of indigenous law and lore for a longer period than CRT has existed in the States. As I stated, an indigenous rights framework is actually outside of the original CRT model.

So, Tom, "you're too dumb to get it" could be willful ignorance, but it seems that any institutional racism or systemic racism set against and indigenous rights and ontology gets the strange reaction of invoking a post-slavery American analytical tool. I guess if your are the collector of right wing clichés, it would be a shame to waste them on context.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"In telling students what to think,"

Bullshit sorry – when I was at school in the 1950s and 60s, we were told what to think. We were given the "facts", and AFAIK and none of the history courses I took ever mentioned Maori, it was if they never existed – in fact many of them never mentioned New Zealand. Years before that, my father learned that white people were superior and natural leaders – something he managed to cast off later in life. After volunteering in my son's high school library 10 years ago, I found that they were told HOW to think.

"Ur-Fascism derives from individual or social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old “proletarians” are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority."
Umberto Eco

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Personally Barron, I think that the whole Jordan Peterson thing has all the makings of a cult. You essentially can't criticise the man – particularly without reading every word he's written and listening to every word he's said.
And of course as you said when he strays outside his area of expertise he's very vulnerable – except to those within the cult of course stop PZ Myers, an extremely well-known biologist has demolished his take on lobsters.Dietitians have "schooled" him about living entirely on red meat and salt.Even I can tell that he is completely wrong about the relationship between post-modernism and Marxism – from my undergraduate studies in my dotage. And the Czech? Philosopher Zizek made him look like a stunned mullet by asking a couple of simple questions.
If people need his anodyne advice on how to live properly I'm reasonably happy, although it's information they should have got from their granny years ago. But in so many areas the man is intellectually dishonest. Will they see it though? There's none so blind.....

greywarbler said...

CTR or CRT? Perhaps initialism will go onto pictograms?