Losing the ‘Narrative’ Narrative?

 

Foucault mis readerIn the process of critically assessing the New York Times’ “1619 Project,” an author at The Spectator managed to misread Foucault. Please hang in there! I promise this is worth your while. I offer some helpful context for the “1619 Project,” and show that it is very vulnerable to attack from a post-modern icon. You need not trot out conservative arguments that fall on deaf ears. You can turn Foucault on the New York Times.

John Hinderaker, of Power Line Blog, offered a commonsense analysis of the NYT “racism” narrative:

A normal person might wonder why the Democratic Party, in the person of the New York Times, is so obsessed with slavery, which was abolished 154 years ago. Isn’t it time to move on? Forty or fifty years ago, that is what just about everyone thought. But the Times, on behalf of the Democratic Party, is trying to stir up race hatred. Democrats think racial hostility is essential to defeating President Trump in 2020–their paramount goal, next to which everything else is an afterthought. They face a problem, in that Trump has been the best president for blacks, certainly since Reagan, maybe forever. So, they say, let’s focus on 1619. And then go out and vote for Democrats, the party of slavery and Jim Crow.

Byron York summarizes the basic, cynical dishonesty of the New York Times‘ belated “racism” gambit:

Perhaps when you think of the founding of the United States, you think of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers. Now, the New York Times wants to “reframe” your understanding of the nation’s founding.

[…]

Another, more concise statement from the Times: “The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history.”

The basic thrust of the 1619 Project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race. The message is woven throughout the first publication of the project, an entire edition of the Times magazine. It begins with an overview of race in America — “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.” — written by Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who on Twitter uses the identity Ida Bae Wells, from the crusading late 19th-early 20th century African American journalist Ida B. Wells.

No one with two functioning brain cells could miss the NYT timing and intent. If they truly cared about commemorating the 400 year anniversary and subsequent history of African slavery in America, they would obviously have launched this project back on January 1, 2019. Oh, landfall was August 20, 1619, but for such an important milestone, if it is truly central, then you would expect a year-long focus, starting no later than African-American history month, which is always February. See their 2017 year-long praise and papering over of a century of communist power in the “Red Century” series.

Astonishingly, Salon helpfully provided us with a full transcript, leaked by an NYT staffer, that tells us, inadvertently, just how cynical this gambit is:

Baquet: OK. I mean, let me go back a little bit for one second to just repeat what I said in my in my short preamble about coverage. Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.

The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, “Holy [expletive], Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.

This is no longer a story where the Washington bureau every week nails some giant story by [Washington correspondent] Mike Schmidt that says that Donald Trump or Don McGahn did this. That will remain part of the story, but this is a different story now. This is a story that’s going to call on different muscles for us. The next few weeks, we’re gonna have to figure out what those muscles are.

So, the New York Times did not give a rats’ rear end about 1619, and the way African slavery became intertwined with American history, until their “Russia, Russia, Russia” lie was fully exposed and politically negated. They were now staring into the abyss of their fellow conspirators being exposed, and perhaps even criminally charged before the 2020 election. Let us briefly note, then set aside from present consideration, that there are serious challenges to the 1619 narrative as dis-empowering, as denying agency, and so humanity, to Africans:

There are important historical correctives to the misplaced marker of 1619 that can help us ask better questions about the past. Most obviously, 1619 was not the first time Africans could be found in an English Atlantic colony, and it certainly wasn’t the first time people of African descent made their mark and imposed their will on the land that would someday be part of the United States. As early as May 1616, blacks from the West Indies were already at work in Bermuda providing expert knowledge about the cultivation of tobacco. There is also suggestive evidence that scores of Africans plundered from the Spanish were aboard a fleet under the command of Sir Francis Drake when he arrived at Roanoke Island in 1586. In 1526, enslaved Africans were part of a Spanish expedition to establish an outpost on the North American coast in present-day South Carolina. Those Africans launched a rebellion in November of that year and effectively destroyed the Spanish settlers’ ability to sustain the settlement, which they abandoned a year later. Nearly 100 years before Jamestown, African actors enabled American colonies to survive, and they were equally able to destroy European colonial ventures.

Having noted previous challenges from the left to the 1619 narrative, consider that the New York Times’ belated gambit follows the generation-long cultivation, or closing of minds by Howard Zinn‘s disciples.

Marxism? Yes, it has been a standard Communist Party ploy since at least the 1930s to peddle criticism of successful democracies, with functioning capitalist economies, as “racist.” That is not a right-wing propaganda claim; see The Atlantic just two years ago:

Neither is playing on racial tensions inside the United States a new Russian tactic. In fact, it predates even the Cold War. In 1932, for instance, Dmitri Moor, the Soviet Union’s most famous propaganda poster artist, created a poster that cried, “Freedom to the prisoners of Scottsboro!” It was a reference to the Scottsboro Boys, nine black teenagers who were falsely accused of raping two white women in Alabama, and then repeatedly—wrongly—convicted by all-white Southern juries. The case became a symbol of the injustices of the Jim Crow South, and the young Soviet state milked it for all the propagandistic value it could.

It was part of a plan put in place in 1928 by the Comintern—the Communist International, whose mission was to spread the communist revolution around the world. The plan initially called for recruiting Southern blacks and pushing for “self-determination in the Black Belt.” By 1930, the Comintern had escalated the aims of its covert mission, and decided to work toward establishing a separate black state in the South, which would provide it with a beachhead for spreading the revolution to North America.

So, the New York Times reached out for a preexisting storyline, that was already deeply embedded by a generation or more of school-house propaganda, and that storyline is clearly communist-inspired. At the same time, it is subject to substantive criticism from the left, even from critical race theory! Yet, conservatives are likely to miss the most effective attacks on the Times, as a supposedly powerful critique of the New York Times from The Spectator illustrates:

The word ‘narrative’ is used about half a dozen times in that town hall transcript. Baquet’s notion of the paper having a ‘vision’ is similarly postmodern. The clearest parapraxis of all is when he says ‘Chapter One’ of the ‘Donald Trump story’. Do the Times report the news any longer, or are they ‘self-consciously crafting the first draft of history’? As Bruno Maçães put it, ‘this no longer feels like journalism. It’s novel writing.’

Last week also saw the launch of the Times magazine’s ‘1619 Project’, which is far more ambitious than mere journalism too: ‘The 1619 project is a major initiative from the NYT observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding.’ Essays in the series so far have attempted to demonstrate that America’s prisons, dietary habits, music, traffic jams, medical practices, healthcare systems, wealth gap and entire political economy, are all bones bound to one body: slavery, ‘the country’s true origin’. Somebody had better dig up the Founding Fathers to let them know the Times has figured out that the true founding of the USA was 157 years before they thought it was.

[…]

The thinker who really hovers over own era, as Peter Oborne points out in his useful book The Rise of Political Lying (2005), is Michel Foucault. If you have a machete to hand, prepare to use it to cut through the Frenchman’s inimitable prose:

‘Truth is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation and operation of statements. Truth is linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it, and to effects of power which it induces and which extend it.’

Truth is there to be created by the powerful. This is a seductive and flattering notion, particularly for wielders of power. If, as Oborne notes, ‘reality and presentation’ become identical, then all kinds of managers, in all kinds of industries – including journalists – are free to shape ‘narratives’ according to their own interests.

That last paragraph is simply wrong in explaining Foucault. His position, faithfully represented in the italicized quote, is better characterized as “‘truth’ is created by the powerful.” Therefore, we can expect all wielders of power to shape “narratives” according to their own interests. This is a dangerous criticism to the left, as Foucault makes no exception for the vanguard of the proletariat. No one ends up in a position deserving to be immune from criticism.

I got this insight two decades ago from a rare bird, a political philosophy doctoral candidate. Even then, that student and I knew to say such things with great care, sounding clever but not threatening to the left that already nearly dominated the profession. Postmodernism is deserving of criticism and even rejection, and turning Foucault’s lens on the left burns away leftist pretensions of virtue or truth.

As Foucault explained in a 1983 interview:

I have never tried to analyze anything whatsoever from the point of view of politics, but always to ask politics what it had to say about the problems with which it was confronted. I question it about the positions it takes and the reasons it gives for this; I don’t ask it [politics] to determine the theory of what I do. I am neither an adversary nor a partisan of Marxism; I question it about what it has to say about experiences that ask questions of it [Marxism].*

So, Foucault stands for the proposition that the New York Times can and must be questioned about the positions it takes, and the reasons it gives for taking these positions. Why did they not treat the African slavery in America story like the century of communism story?


* The Foucault Reader, Paul Rabinow, editor, Partheon Books, NY, 1984, p. 385

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There are 25 comments.

  1. RightAngles Member

    This whole thing is just despicable. Shame on these people.

    • #1
    • August 27, 2019, at 9:23 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
  2. James Lileks Contributor

    So, Foucault stands for the proposition that the New York Times can and must be questioned about the positions it takes, and the reasons it gives for taking these positions. Why did they not treat the African slavery in America story like the century of communism story?

    Because they are not particularly clever or self-reflective, but are exhaling words and tropes that fill the fog of their intellectual milieu. They know these things to be self-evident, dismissing the counter-arguments as a hoary array of bankrupt justifications rooted in “privilege.” They cannot possibly be the “power” if they have chronically sore tendons from patting themselves on the back for speaking truth to power. They regard slavery as a uniquely American anomaly, and communism as an imperfect implementation of the necessary egalitarian ideal. Also, they’re fargin’ idiots. 

    • #2
    • August 27, 2019, at 9:24 PM PDT
    • 24 likes
  3. DonG Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown: So, Foucault stands for the proposition that the New York Times can and must be questioned about the positions it takes, and the reasons it gives for taking these positions. Why did they not treat the African slavery in America story like the century of communism story?

    We don’t need to ask the NYT questions. They tell lies and choose to do evil. We don’t need to suss out their rational or motivation. We only need to condemn them for their lying and wicked ways. There is probably some Chinese money behind it all, but the fools at the NYT would not even know it. The people to question are those that choose to read that seditious rag.

    • #3
    • August 27, 2019, at 9:26 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  4. RightAngles Member

    • #4
    • August 27, 2019, at 9:50 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  5. Gary McVey Contributor

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”. 

    • #5
    • August 27, 2019, at 10:47 PM PDT
    • 21 likes
  6. The Reticulator Member

    Clifford A. Brown: I offer some helpful context for the “1619 Project,” and show that it is very vulnerable to attack from a post-modern icon. You need not trot out conservative arguments that fall on deaf ears. You can turn Foucault on the New York Times.

    Very good. I usually refer to it as using leftist cliches against the left, but this is more specific.

    • #6
    • August 27, 2019, at 10:54 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. The Reticulator Member

    Cute edit job on the book title, by the way.

    • #7
    • August 27, 2019, at 10:56 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Cute edit job on the book title, by the way.

    Thanks for catching that. I actually spent a few minutes, between photographing and editing, to create that graphic.

    • #8
    • August 27, 2019, at 11:14 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”.

    I started as a newly commissioned second lieutenant, encouraged by a double major (English and Limnology) captain in the ROTC cadre to take out a subscription to The Wilson Quarterly, back when it was printed on dead trees. I am not alone.

    • #9
    • August 27, 2019, at 11:19 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. I Walton Member

    Thanks. I never read the NYT. Last weekend I was visiting a nephew in NYC. Only thing to read in the house was the NYT magazine, so I read it. I’m sort of pleased to learn here that the racist nonsense that permeates the thing is at least a new plunge to the bottom.

    • #10
    • August 28, 2019, at 4:26 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”.

    My worry is that millions of students raised on Howard Zinn’s lies will believe the NYT’s rewrite of history . . .

    • #11
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Unfortunately, we are the only ones prepared to call them out. The buddies of the NYT and all those who put them on a pedestal will never challenge them. After all, where else would all of the other papers get their news?

    • #12
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:09 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    a double major (English and Limnology)

    I learned a new word today

    • #13
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:13 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. GrannyDude Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”.

    I started as a newly commissioned second lieutenant, encouraged by a double major (English and Limnology) captain in the ROTC cadre to take out a subscription to The Wilson Quarterly, back when it was printed on dead trees. I am not alone.

    My dad was founding editor. He would be so pleased!

    • #14
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:28 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. The Reticulator Member

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    a double major (English and Limnology)

    I learned a new word today

    I hadn’t caught that. But that is an interesting combination. I’ve known lots of limnology students and limnologists, including the one who wrote the leading textbook on the subject, but never one who double-majored in English and limnology.

    • #15
    • August 28, 2019, at 6:42 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. OldPhil Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”.

    My worry is that millions of students raised on Howard Zinn’s lies will believe the NYT’s rewrite of history . . .

    There’s a good book review at the Federalist today…

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/08/28/replace-howard-zinns-communist-account-u-s-history-american-kids/

    • #16
    • August 28, 2019, at 7:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Old Bathos Member

    So, Foucault stands for the proposition that the New York Times can and must be questioned about the positions it takes, and the reasons it gives for taking these positions. Why did they not treat the African slavery in America story like the century of communism story?

    You are way out in fantasy consistency land. And basing the call for consistency on a passage from that über-weasel Foucault is mind-blowing. 

    The likely answer from the lefty NYT would be that communism lost but slavery won (don’t ask, it will just confuse the straights) so its legacy still establishes a power matrix worth examining and questioning.

    The scriptural admonishment “judge not lest ye be judged” is a reminder than no one but God stands in a sinless space from which to judge all else. There is an enormous difference between “They (or You) should not have done that” and “We should not have done that.” When lefties pass judgment on the world’s most successful political enterprises or some current targeted villain like human sexuality or free markets, where are they standing? 

    The pre-conditions of the lefty fantasy mindset, the place where they think they are when then make reality the defendant is a matter of fascination, kinda like looking for the reason animals suddenly attack or what motivates serial killers.

     

    • #17
    • August 28, 2019, at 12:28 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”.

    My worry is that millions of students raised on Howard Zinn’s lies will believe the NYT’s rewrite of history . . .

    There’s a good book review at the Federalist today…

    https://thefederalist.com/2019/08/28/replace-howard-zinns-communist-account-u-s-history-american-kids/

    Yes. This is the same new U.S. history text book that was reviewed in Commentary. See the hyperlinked “Howard Zinn” in the body of the post. 

    • #18
    • August 28, 2019, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    a double major (English and Limnology)

    I learned a new word today

    I hadn’t caught that. But that is an interesting combination. I’ve known lots of limnology students and limnologists, including the one who wrote the leading textbook on the subject, but never one who double-majored in English and limnology.

    Yes, and imagine how rare it is to find an infantry officer who can actually read and write! I kid, I kid.

    • #19
    • August 28, 2019, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”.

    I started as a newly commissioned second lieutenant, encouraged by a double major (English and Limnology) captain in the ROTC cadre to take out a subscription to The Wilson Quarterly, back when it was printed on dead trees. I am not alone.

    My dad was founding editor. He would be so pleased!

    I think we’re well inside six degrees of separation here. I was sorry to see WQ fall into e-zine status, but get that the math just was not working anymore.

    • #20
    • August 28, 2019, at 2:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Unfortunately, we are the only ones prepared to call them out. The buddies of the NYT and all those who put them on a pedestal will never challenge them. After all, where else would all of the other papers get their news?

    Yes, and calling the NYT out from conservative positions results in simple dismissal. Hence the need to “problematize” from positions the left accords some legitimacy. 

     

    • #21
    • August 28, 2019, at 2:17 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    This is one perceptive, complex, and damning analysis. Anyone on the Left with a dismissive, condescending view of the brains of the Right ought to see this and reconsider. Or despair. Seriously, where else have you read anything this good on this sulfurous subject? It’s not just, “our college intellectuals are smarter and better than their college intellectuals”. It’s “America has Army colonels smarter and better at a university’s mission to teach history than any lame-o faculty you care to try to toss against him”.

    My worry is that millions of students raised on Howard Zinn’s lies will believe the NYT’s rewrite of history . . .

    The NYT, and Democrats, certainly count on this. Of course, Zinn flourished because he was actually giving voice to the politics of the emerging majority radical leftist tenured history and social sciences cadres. As a center left publication, the New Republic, noted:

    It is no secret that the radical historians of the 1960s—and more basically, the infusion of that decade’s fiercely questioning spirit into intellectual life—transformed historical inquiry.

    On the other hand, if we do not accept the left’s self-serving claim of historical imperatives and inevitability, we might start noticing that Zinn is the establishment, that students hear nothing contradictory so can note that the pose of rebellion is false in their own experience. 

    • #22
    • August 28, 2019, at 3:13 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    I recommend the Power Line podcast special series: “Breaking down the 1619 Project.”

     

    • #23
    • August 28, 2019, at 4:48 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    You are overlooking how easy this 1619 narrative might be in terms of flipping the society from its normal patriarchal roots to its modern day Woke Experience.

    According to the New Left, white people are seen as the descendants of slave owners. Although it is true that some white people were slaves, and also true that some African Americans owned slaves, that type of complication is not where the New Framers of the New Democracy of the United States would wish to go.

    So with the notion that all white people are the descendants of slaves, we have two choices.

    We can either join the New Left in denouncing the patriarchal system that is such a bad system. However the same New Left that caricatures our society as a slave society also presents our society as so decent a society that everyone south of the border needs help to come here.(If those sentences make your head spin, that is the New Reality.)

    Or we can reject the Marxist rabble and we can become the new counter culture.

    It says a great deal about what the New Left is about that over the last few weeks, two separate acquaintances have approached me to rant and rave about how awful it is that so many liberals are promoting open borders.

    What is encouraging to me is that both of these individuals are females who came here some 25 years ago at a time when they were young adolescents. They don’t understand why their parents stressed working hard in their new country, and not signing up for food stamps, housing vouchers, AFDC checks and free medical insurance. They retained the ability to speak Spanish, but learned to speak English fluently.

    The things their families taught them as core values should still be core values for today’s immigrants. But what we are witnessing is a Cra Cra Leftist movement that will turn the entire nation into an Evergreen University/ Bret Weinstein situation.

    • #24
    • August 28, 2019, at 7:42 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    So, Foucault stands for the proposition that the New York Times can and must be questioned about the positions it takes, and the reasons it gives for taking these positions. Why did they not treat the African slavery in America story like the century of communism story?

    You are way out in fantasy consistency land. And basing the call for consistency on a passage from that über-weasel Foucault is mind-blowing.

    I claim that trying to first argue from any conservative source, or Founders (Declaration of Independence) or Framers (Constitution), is futile. It invites immediate rejection. Turning the authorities that people already accept to your favor makes far more sense.

    I make no claims about Foucault’s moral character.

    The likely answer from the lefty NYT would be that communism lost but slavery won (don’t ask, it will just confuse the straights) so its legacy still establishes a power matrix worth examining and questioning.

    Ah, but not only can the NYT not concede that communism really lost, even if they were to offer this answer, they immediately face the further question: so why did you not plan in 2018 and launch no later than African-American History Month (February 2019) a year long 1619 Project? Clearly, by their actions, they place economic class struggle over race, an entirely retrograde, unwoke position.

    The scriptural admonishment “judge not lest ye be judged” is a reminder than no one but God stands in a sinless space from which to judge all else. There is an enormous difference between “They (or You) should not have done that” and “We should not have done that.” When lefties pass judgment on the world’s most successful political enterprises or some current targeted villain like human sexuality or free markets, where are they standing?

    That isn’t the whole admonition, which, taken as a whole, cautions us that we will be judged, so should first take care. Indeed, the passage closes with the famous “do not cast your pearls before swine.” That is a clear invitation to make value judgments.

    The pre-conditions of the lefty fantasy mindset, the place where they think they are when then make reality the defendant is a matter of fascination, kinda like looking for the reason animals suddenly attack or what motivates serial killers.

    Humans have always created self-serving stories, and sought to shield themselves from critical scrutiny. It just happens that some authorities, acknowledged or made icons, by the left, are dangerous to the left, if fully applied.

     

     

     

    • #25
    • August 29, 2019, at 6:37 PM PDT
    • 5 likes