The Rise and Whys of Grievance Studies

Universality and individuality are key to a thriving and free society. However, increasingly we are shifting away from a society where everyone is free to argue anything with an expectation that they will use evidence and reason, to one where identity and experience determines who may speak.

If our culture and education system limit language and free communication, our ability to evaluate ideas from multiple perspectives to arrive at moral and factual truths is impaired. What we are left with is a demand that we almost solely focus on collective knowledge from the perspective of marginalized groups.

This has major ramifications for scholarship and activism, which help inform the next generation. Principles of secular, liberal democracy, human rights, freedom and opportunity should apply universally. We need to oppose the idea that valuing Enlightenment liberal democracy is a reactionary, backwards-looking position. It is in fact the only way to advance knowledge and moral progress.

Speaker profile: Helen Pluckrose

Helen PluckroseHelen Pluckrose is the editor-in-chief of Areo, a digital magazine focusing on humanism, reason, science, culture and art. She is a political and cultural writer and commentator and her most popular essays include “How French Intellectuals Ruined the West: Postmodernism Explained,” “No, Liberal Lefties are Not Right-Wing,” and, with James A. Lindsay, “A Manifesto Against the Enemies of Modernity.” Helen is an exile from the humanities with research interests in late medieval and early modern women’s religious writing. She got her Bachelor degree in English literature from the University of East London and her Masters in Early Modern Studies, 1300-1700, from Queen Mary University London. She recently took part in the “Grievance Studies Affair” with James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian. The trio got seven absurd, unevidenced and unethical papers accepted by academic journals in order to demonstrate the problem with scholarship in identity/cultural studies. Helen is currently writing a book about the problems with epistemology and ethics on the academic left. A left-wing liberal secularist, Helen constantly criticises illiberalism and irrationalism on the left and right. 

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