December 2, 2012

"[N]ot only reading the collective oeuvre of the leading luminaries in Black, Women’s, Gender, Queer, Fat, and Chicano Studies..."

"... but also traveling America to attend their conferences."
At a gathering of the Cultural Studies Association at the University of California, Berkeley, for instance, Bawer encounters the young Michele, who’s “like, a grad student at UC Davis?” She’s “sort of reviving a Gramschian-style Marxism,” involving the idea that global warming is “sort of, like, a crisis, in the human relationship to nature?” Bawer claims that his heart goes out to her. (His heart is bigger than mine.)
From a review — via A&L Daily — of "The Victims’ Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind," by Bruce Bawer.


rcocean said...

I'm glad someone is in their punching but its been like this for a LONG time.

Basically, conservatives are AWOL when it comes to intellectual and cultural pursuits. If it doesn't involve money - the don't care.

So, we've got the left - and the even more left -dominating our culture and college campuses. And liberals are incapable of standing up to their radical friends and saying NO! They'd rather talk about "Faux News" or Pat Robertson for the 10,000 time.

galdosiana said...

I really liked Bloom's book a lot, and this one sounds like it picks up where that one left off. Very interesting.

Pogo said...

Conservatives have not been AWOL here.

The left took control of the media and all the schools. Their long march through the institutions was completely successful. Conservative thought lost almost every battle and then the war.

Humans are wont to believe foolish and destructive things. Reality will come, and it will be very very painful.

But conservatives can't be blamed for not trying hard enough. This has been a worldwide lunacy.

Tim said...

Pogo @ 9:20 PM

Dead on.


And, when the bill finally comes due, the liberal Left will look for someone, only to find out they've killed them off.

Cue Heinlein's quote about "bad luck:

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."

Tim said...

From Berlinski's review:

"The chief objective of an education in the humanities today, Bawer argues—with abundant anecdotal evidence to support the claim—is to appreciate that life is all about hegemonic power and to use “theory” to uncover its workings. Depending upon their sex, skin color, or sexual orientation, students are asked to accept as axiomatic that they are either the unconscious instrument of such power or the repository of its collective grievance and victimhood."

This is exactly the reason why the complaint made by the student at Butler about his professor's admonition to "disregard their American-ness, maleness, whiteness, heterosexuality, middle-class status" was entirely on point.

This poison, camouflaged as "academia," is killing not only the academy, it is killing the U.S.

But hey, whatever. Sow shit, reap weeds.

bagoh20 said...

"Love of theory is the root of all evil."

Just asks the millions of victims of Karl Marx...., I mean, if you could.

n.n said...


Few people have the constitution and training to mount a defensible opposition to emotional appeals. The problem is further exacerbated when arguments are made in bad faith, including support from a selective history, science, and reality.

For example, what is a reasonable compromise between individuals, which is capable of preserving individual dignity? Is universal gratification possible?

Another example, what distinguishes between religion or philosophy, and science? What criteria should we employ to judge the merit of each?

And another example, why does redistributive or retributive change engender progressive corruption? Why does dissociation of risk cause corruption?

And another example, what is an objective standard for classifying behaviors for rejection, tolerance, or normalization? Can a selective standard be justified?

The philosophical, and political, field is fraught with nuanced traps, which can and often do hinder a meaningful discussion.

YoungHegelian said...

The problem for the Identity based Left is that, to quote Gertrude Stein on Oakland, "There is no there there."

Identity Leftism takes all the old Marxist complaints about the evils of capitalism & how they engender racism, sexism, whatever, but they accept nothing else from Marx on class struggle, consciousness through praxis, value theory of labor, etc.

In other words, they keep the doors and windows from the edifice of Marxism. They just get rid of all the bricks & mortar. So, all us honky, straight, sexist capitalist males are evil, but exactly why that is the case is never clear. Nor is it ever clear in the cacophony of claims of oppression whose claims should be privileged. Unlike under classical Marxism.

Shouting Thomas said...

Spoiled kids pretending the be suffering the same plight as blacks during Jim Crow.

Same old, same old...

YoungHegelian said...


Spoiled kids pretending the be suffering the same plight as blacks during Jim Crow.

Yes, but why "blacks during Jim Crow"? In a world history full of suffering and oppression, why choose them as the archetypes? Remember, from the view point of classical Marxism rural Southern blacks are lumpen-proletariat losers.

Chip S. said...

This looks like a good spot to recommend a book I've been reading,The Clash of Economic Ideas.

It covers the evolution of thinking about public policy over the last century, and seems to strike a nice balance b/w detail and readability.

Shouting Thomas said...

I've met Bawer. Friend of friends.

The closing of the liberal mind trope is repeated every 40 or 50 years.

I suspect that that mind was never really open.

wyo sis said...

"Remember, from the view point of classical Marxism rural Southern blacks are lumpen-proletariat losers."

But they are useful.

edutcher said...

This, of course, was up front in the late 60s. It never ended, it's just gotten ridiculous.

Rusty said...

Basically, conservatives are AWOL when it comes to intellectual and cultural pursuits.

I hardly call the 'studies' industry an intellectual pursuit. There are plenty of intellectual conservatives. There just aren't as many on the left that can rise to that level.

Rusty said...

Fat studies?
You have got to be fucking kidding me.
Whaddayado? Sit around eating moonpies?


Matthew Sablan said...

I think the main problem is that, as a conservative, I just don't see the need to -argue- with people. I sit by as people say things that I think are wrong or are not true, and I put up a token: "I'm not sure that's right," but I'm not willing to lose friends or alienate people over what comes down to a difference in political opinion.

I have friends though that, were I to actually mount a substantive defense of my ideas, would be hurt, a lot. I think the "long march" is just this on a larger scale. Conservatives, by and large, figured out that they can easily get their message out without having to get into knock-down, drag-out fights, and prefer to do it that way.

Chip S. said...

Fat studies?
You have got to be fucking kidding me.

By the time they get to college, the students have already mastered Stupid and Lazy. This is the third part of the modern trivium.

karrde said...

And I thought Gramscian Marxism was conservative paranoia.

Or is it an actual effort to turn society into a Marxist ideal by use of intellectual and cultural forces?

Is it an attempt at a Menshevik revolution, instead of a Bolshevik one?

Amartel said...

Conservatism is the default common sense position.

Nobody actually wants government in their lives bossing them around.
Nobody actually wants to pay higher taxes.
Nobody actually wants to be responsible for and pay for other peoples' enthusiasms.
Nobody actually believes that personal responsibility is a bad idea.
Nobody actually believes that the government spends money responsibly.
Nobody actually wants to be dependent on the government.

Liberalism has to be constructed.
People have to be led about and motivated to be liberal. That means reconstructing identity, the rise of the victim class. It makes it okay to depend on the government, expand the scope and role of the government, make (other) people pay higher taxes in order to get pay back for being "victimized." Hence, Obama's urging the obedient little libs to vote "for revenge."
And they did.

deborah said...

"Humans are wont to believe foolish and destructive things. Reality will come, and it will be very very painful."

That's all well and good; the children in the sandbox are playing pretend and trying on different personae, while the adults do their jobs. But if hyperinflation occurs and everyone's savings and investments are drastically cut, who has learned a lesson?