Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Meg and Rodrigo: I Would You Would Accept of Grace and Love

Of course I get the point, Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret. Your op-ed "Occupy the syllabus" in The Daily Californian was designed as a performance in the politics of "taking offense." It is a model of its kind, almost perfectly constructed and executed. The outrage, the injustice, the offense! That two such as you, multiracial differently gendered students should be subjected to non-stop recitations about dead white males without balancing narratives from non-whites: it is insupportable.

So you call for an "occupation of syllabi." So you wish to oppose the violence of western civilization with a new violence. You want to forcibly replace the old oppressive syllabi with a new liberated  syllabus. That means, of course, that you will have blood on your hands, because government is force, and politics is civil war by other means. And when politics wins its war of the streets it imposes its will. By force. It must be so, because government is force.

I'm sure that you have never thought beyond the idea of "peaceful protest". I've noticed, over the years, that my lefty friends seem more and more to gravitate towards euphemisms in their discourse that rather elide the irreducibly violent nature of all "activism" and politics.

Thus "street riot" becomes "demonstration" becomes "peaceful protest." But it is still a show of force.

If you really believe that your grievances are so deep that violence is the only recourse, then go ahead: occupy the syllabi. Name and shame; conduct your campaign of intimidation and domination. Impose your ideology and stamp out all the evil patriarchs and neo-colonialists. We will meet at the barricades.

But if you think that the solution to our problems can be achieved short of bloody violence, then I beg you to accept of grace and love, and stop before you cross the Rubicon into the wilderness of mirrors that is the world of left-wing activism beyond the windows of the university hot-house. Start to talk to people outside the walls of your cramped left-wing seminary.

I admit that for you, Meg, it is probably too late. You seem to be deep in the secular religion of gender, and probably confirmed in the faith. But you, Rodrigo, appear from Google to be an artist more than an activist. For you it is not too late.

One thing disturbed me in the list of dead white males that you recited in your manifesto of offense, apart from the omission of Immanuel Kant. You didn't mention the social theorists Horkheimer and Adorno. They represent, for me, a point of inflection in left-wing thought. They proposed, in their Dialectic of Enlightenment, that the problem of domination starts with reason and enlightenment, for what does woman want from reason but to dominate nature and other women?

Has it occurred to you that you want to dominate the culture at Berkeley and impose your ideas upon it, just as white males dominated the world from about 1500 until now?

From Horkeimer and Adorno we get to the left-wing sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas. He realizes that all social systems, governmental and economics, are dominatory. It all ends in one person or a group of people imposing their way on others. The only way to get out of this, in Habermas' mind, is to enter into genuine discourse where two or more people are genuinely trying to understand the other's point of view and try to come to a common understanding.

Have you seen the research on this? It says that if you put a bunch of Americans into ta room to solve a problem -- without politicians -- they will do so, usually in a way that gives everyone a piece of the solution. But you are already politicians; so it wouldn't do any good to put you guys into the room. You have already learned the tricks and the games of politicians, and how to manipulate other people into serving a political movement rather than acting as free and cooperative citizens.

I am afraid I do not understand how your agenda of the occupation of syllabi can be achieved by cooperation and non-violence. I can only hear the crack of the overseer's cowskin whip and feel the cold frown of the reeducation camp's commandant. For me, you are replacing one evil with another. I do not call that liberation; I do not call it emancipation. I call it revanchism, back to the totalitarianisms of the 20th century.

I want to close with this recent thought from a Chinese man.  Where does it come from? You could look it up.
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
How far is each of you from beginning to be able to understand what that Chinese man was talking about? You'd certainly need to learn a lot more about the world than the pearls of wisdom cast from a brief introductory course in Classical Social Theory. 

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