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The depravity of Hamas is shocking but not surprising. The kneejerk supportive reaction of many Muslims, even many American Muslims, is also not surprising given the structural resistance within that creed for critical introspection. However, the number of non-Muslim Westerners who cheered the Hamas atrocities—and the intensity of that support–was a shocking and terrifying surprise. Affirming intentionally inhumane behavior is not a matter of ideological or geopolitical disagreement, nor in the case of non-Muslim American college kids, was it a function of defensive religious partisanship. Such people are characterologically and cognitively deformed. How can Americans get that way?
Could this really be merely the result of the bumper-sticker level of dialog on college campuses with its dogmatic categories based on race, sexual “identity” definitions of the moment, epithets of “denier,” “hater” or “____phobic” hurled at dissidents?
The one-size-fits-all category of oppressor/victim informed the dubious ideas that those who burned cities and injured people after the death of George Floyd should not be held culpable and that incarceration for violent minority offenders is unjust regardless of legal and factual guilt or innocence. But can it really cause people to approve the dismemberment of babies, rape, torture, and murder?
George Orwell pondered the effect of dumbing down language in Politics and the English Language:
Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.
What we are witnessing is not merely the depressing fact that younger Americans have absorbed some bad ideological content but that their mode of thinking and knowing itself appears to have been significantly damaged. What do you do with people who are being conditioned to become immune to natural human inclinations, common sense, evidence, logic, or original thought?
The sheer insanity of LGBTQ+ support for Hamas, or #MeToo devotees cheering rapists and misogyny, makes sense only if truth and justice are nothing more than allegiance to the workings of The Narrative in the moment. Resisting oppressors is justice and intersectional analysis denies or postpones even the most obvious conflicts of interest. That’s nuts.
The bumper-sticker thought processes of the woke seem to be the natural excretions of spectacularly vapid habits of mind as found in the works of prominent word salad emitters as if to validate Orwell’s notion that bad language and defective thought are both cause and effect. First, here is a sample of ethical deep thoughts from the incomparable Judith Butler:
[W]e must recognize that ethics requires us to risk ourselves precisely at moments of unknowingness, when what forms us diverges from what lies before us, when our willingness to become undone in relation to others constitutes our chance of becoming human. To be undone by another is a primary necessity, an anguish, to be sure, but also a chance–to be addressed, claimed, bound to what is not me, but also to be moved, to be prompted to act, to address myself elsewhere, and so to vacate the self-sufficient “I” as a kind of possession. If we speak and try to give an account from this place, we will not be irresponsible, or, if we are, we will surely be forgiven.
So there, Kant, Aristotle, Maimonides, and Mill– take that! (Extra credit for diagramming the second sentence in the sample above.) Clarity in wokedom is reserved for politically useful artificial categories and identification of enemies. If in pursuing ethical inquiry, we were to make the mistake of thinking of ourselves as individuals expected to act on a well-informed conscience ready to work through even grey areas and nuance, then Robin DiAngelo is on the spot to push us each back into our assigned roles and race-defined categories:
Being good or bad is not relevant. Racism is a multilayered system embedded in our culture. All of us are socialized into the system of racism. Racism cannot be avoided. Whites have blind spots on racism, and I have blind spots on racism. Racism is complex, and I don’t have to understand every nuance of the feedback to validate that feedback. Whites are / I am unconsciously invested in racism. Bias is implicit and unconscious.
Like mental patients who have constructed defenses against whatever intrusive realities might threaten the carefully crafted fictional world, we have a growing mass of malignant loons reinforcing each other’s delusion in a sea of stupid filled with linguistic garbage. There is growing evidence that the woke are less happy and more likely to report mental disorders (especially young left-leaning women). Does that make them more or less amenable to a new outlook? How do we roll back the rise of insanity and militant incompetence to be able to reach and rescue such people? Do we need a new language that provides both therapy and apostolate? Are we looking at a moment of momentous opportunity for uplifting reforms or the brink of despair?Published in