Corrupt activist scholarship in gender, queer and other identity fields is training the teachers who shape children and executives who run business, warns visiting culture critic Helen Pluckrose.
“This is not a problem confined to esoteric arguments between intellectuals – liberal academia has great cultural power,” Ms Pluckrose, a Britainbased medievalist, said last night in a Sydney lecture at the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.
“A generation of students were exposed to these ideas and went on to become leaders of various industries.
“(Activist academics) turn out the teachers of our children and the heads of our industries.” Together with US scholars James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, Ms Pluckrose ran a 2017-18 sting on academic journals which published “grievance studies” such as critical race studies and queer studies.
Editors enthusiastically accepted seven papers for publication: one touted insights into male rape culture based on the inspection of 10,000 dog genitals, another recycled material from Hitler’s Mein Kampf with feminist rebadging, and a third declared bodybuilding “fat exclusionary”.
One of the trio employed by a university – Professor Boghossian at Portland State University – faces disciplinary charges and may lose his job.
At one point it was suggested he could be punished for data fabrication because he had not in truth inspected 10,000 dog genitals, not even one.
In her lecture The Rise and Whys of Grievance Studies, Ms Pluckrose traced the rot to postmodernism in the 1980s-90s, its rejection of objective truth, and a French-inspired variation which portrays society as a power struggle between the victim and the oppressor groups using language and knowledge as tools of control.
“Because of this, language is analysed in a highly paranoid and offence-seeking way,” she said.
“Micro-aggressions are detected, racism and sexism identified. Heteronormativity, acting as though heterosexuality is the default sexuality, is called out. Cisnormativity, acting as though people usually identify with the sex their reproductive systems indicate, is condemned.”
Her comments go to controversies such as the Safe Schools gender fluidity campaign in Victoria and the clash between Christian footballer Israel Folau and corporate sponsors sensitised to identity politics.
Ms Pluckrose said individual human rights had been overthrown in favour of collective guilt (as in structural white racism), and biology had been banished so scholar-activists could pretend gender identities and any male-female differences were “socially constructed” and therefore amenable to “social justice”.
“Freedom of speech and viewpoint diversity are not valued within this system,” she said.
The Ramsay Centre has struggled to find an elite university willing to accept funding in exchange for running undergraduate programs in Western civilisation. Sydney University linguistics expert Nick Reimer claimed the Ramsay Centre “validates the worldview” behind the March 15 massacre of Muslims in Christchurch. Other academics say the degree proposal is “racist”.
Ms Pluckrose defended the Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution and other achievements of the modern period: “We know the modern period saw slavery, colonialism, tyranny of monarchs and the church, war, genocide, famine, racism, sexism and homophobia.
“So did every other period. Modernity was the one in which we gained the capacity to realise they were wrong.
“So uncommon to human societies was this that the societies that have benefited from it are referred to as WEIRD societies – Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democratic.
“They are the reason I, an atheist woman, am able to read and develop my own ideas and speak and write them. They are also how I travelled across the world in a day to speak to you, having not died in childbirth.
“Progress is no myth. It is measurable in ways including poverty, education, fatal diseases, as well as human rights. (Yet postmodernists) see modernity as a time of empire, exploitation, patriarchy and white supremacy.”
Credit: The Australian Newspaper – click here to read the full article.