Saturday, February 01, 2014

The triumph of the maternalists

The Triumph of the Maternalists

Jumpin' Jebus on a Pogo Stick! This article is so bad, I don't know where to begin. Sadly, I have no time for deep analysis. Some quick thoughts:

The author (sensibly) notes that "feminine" and "masculine" values have nothing to do with vaginas and penises, but then keeps the gendered labeling throughout the article.

Just because one labels a value as an "Enlightenment value" doesn't make it one. The Enlightenment value of freedom of speech, for example, is subtle and nuanced. It does not mean that anyone can say anything anywhere.

Even if a value really is an "Enlightenment value" doesn't mean it's a value we must necessarily keep. The Enlightenment thinkers made a lot of good arguments, but they are not prophets, and early 21st century society is very different from late 18th.

The author makes many definitive statements about controversial positions, without even attempting an argument. For example:
Few people have the stomach to defend Western cultural and political ideals, even in the face of violent, nihilistic outbursts like the 9/11 attacks. Instead, key sections of the elite have embraced emotionalism, difference, authenticity and sustainability.
What the fuck?! What does this even mean?
Has the author even heard of the Department of Homeland Security, the NSA, Guantanamo Bay, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, etc. ad nauseam?

Universities are not newspapers or common carriers. Most are government institutions, and they do not exist to provide a platform for the airing of every possible point of view. Academia exists primarily as a privilege granting institution, providing an entree into the professional-managerial middle class. They are secondarily an institution for evidence- and argument-based expression. I really don't see it as horrible oppression that I have an obligation to bend over backwards to act as a professional on my campus. If you want to say whatever you like, with the minimum of constraint, you are free to say it outside academia, just as you are free to say it without spray painting it on my house.

Too busy to find the TSIB graphic, but this post still gets the tag.


  1. I would have to disagree with your evaluation of that article. Some of it is a bit of a strech but the general charge seem reasonably solid.

    The way in which sexual assault is handled now on some US campuses is just ridiuclous. It seems a trading of the rights of the accused because more convictions are desired.

    1. The way in which sexual assault is handled now on some US campuses is just ridiuclous. It seems a trading of the rights of the accused because more convictions are desired.

      Do you have evidence? Primary evidence?


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