Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by me again, Oct 29, 2017.
The problem is that a lot of what the author calls “decolonization” seems more like demonization, and the language used in this article continues to prove it. By “a simple request from a large number of students” the author means a demand from a small group of politically motivated activists. All of whom were encouraged by the author.
Decolonize? This is beyond parody. Are gunboats steaming up the Congo and using .50 caliber machineguns to lay waste to tribes of plucky Africans who dare to turn their noses up at Plato, or Joyce, or Dickens, in favor of their own works?
More and more this sort of thing feels like hatred rather than fairness.
"White men", all of us exactly the same, all with the same privilege, all to blame for whatever you care to think of and if we did any good at some point, it was obviously off the back of others.
The histrionic redefinition of language by the cultural far left is indeed aptly described as self-parody.
Can we please start caring more about the words that people write, rather than what demographic check boxes they fill?
The past can not be changed, no matter how much we wish it could. The fact is that, due to factors that can not be retroactively altered, the far majority of writers who had the biggest influence on the development of western writing and the contemporary conventions of language were white men.
I'm all for inclusion, but let's not pretend that reality isn't real. By all means, read, analyse and honor the tremendous contributions of people of all sorts, but let's not for a second pretend that Langston Hughes was, or ever will be, as influential on the history of world literature as William Shakespeare.
Who knows, maybe the next great innovator of wordsmithing will be a black female or a gay latino. To try to shoehorn anyone into that category based on immutable characteristics rather than their actual words would do a great disservice to anyone who demonstrates that level of accomplishment on their own.
Excellent post, Maniac -- EVERY WORD OF IT.
I can't imagine how a diligent student at a school of this standing would have time for this kind of misguided "protest." Idle sons and daughters of the rich, maybe? If any students are genuinely interested in the work of, say, medieval Jewish women writers, or any other minority - there are resources available. Plenty. Nobody will protest or try to stop them - at least I hope not. Obviously, you can never be absolutely sure what real idiots will / will not do...
Agreed. And I'd add the far right, too. Here's (How the Right Wing Won the Language Wars | On the Commons) a nice article by David Morris, "How the right wing won the language wars," very cleverly, I think, using the amazing (I think) Google Ngram service to trace the change in the use of many words, such as "liberal" which, for 700 years, meant 'generous, selfless, tolerant,' but started changing dramatically in the 1960s, fueled by the addition of "bleeding heart."
Dr. Bear, what you wrote is true. However, the alt.left is also involved in the creation of "new word meanings," to include:
- Progressives: These are the "enlightened" people who agree with the dogmas of socialists (and the DNC falls under the socialist agenda). Anyone who does not openly agree with the Marxists party line is "unenlightened."
- Centrists: Refer to the Progressive definition above.
- alt.right: This special Marxists classification was created by the "centrists" to categorize everyone who disagrees with the socialist agenda for the United States. For example, this special categorization lumps together all those who oppose feticide with Nazis e.g. both are labeled as hate groups. This is just one example of many.
- Antifa: This is a political arm of socialists. They are "paid-for activists" who use the public label of "anti-Nazis" to give themselves credibility when, in fact, they are equivalent to Germany's Nazi brown shirts (of the 1920s) and the Nazi SS (in the 1930s and 40s). Antifa and the Nazi SS both wear all black. Antifa tactics include using violence (against opposition protesters), as well as destruction of public and private property. It's been televised. Grassroots Americans strongly rejected the MSM party line that Antifa was a grass roots uprising. Antifa tactics backfired, so the socialists have decided to disband them. You will not see Antifa anymore because their paychecks have stopped coming.
It isn't just Yale. It's happening at Cambridge University too.
English Faculty begins decolonisation discussion | News | The Cambridge Student
One wonders what will happen when this rewriting history movement extends itself to science and mathematics. (And it inevitably will, probably sooner than later.)
Will Euclid, Archimedes, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Euler, Lagrange, Gauss, Hamilton, Faraday, Maxwell and Einstein be dumped from the history of science and mathematics because they were white males? (Who or what would replace them?)
The supposedly "best" universities trying to change the past because reality doesn't suit today's political obsessions increasingly reminds me of the work of 1984's 'Ministry of Truth'.
I think that historically, 'liberal' originally referred to those who espoused liberty, choice, the equal application of the law and individual rights. The American Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are profoundly liberal documents in that sense.
What happened was that during the 19th century, liberalism kind of bifurcated into two increasingly antagonistic streams. Your "right wing" doesn't seem to have had anything to do with shaping this evolution in the use of the word 'liberal'.
One stream emphasized the free-market, economic freedom and individual rights without a great deal of thought to who was adversely impacted by exercise of those rights. This stream is called Classical Liberalism and it's typically what 'liberal' means to European ears. That's why there's an entire publishing industry on the European academic left devoted to attacking and denouncing "liberalism", which European academics associate with 'Capitalism'. Over here in the United States, classical liberalism more often goes by the name 'Libertarianism'. (It also seems to be what 'Conservatism' means to a certain kind of establishment big-business Republican.)
The other stream consolidated around the idea that people will only be able to exercise their equal rights when they have equal opportunities. So a variety of liberalism arose called Social Liberalism that serves as the ideology of the welfare state on both sides of the Atlantic. This one typically tends to favor massive social engineering projects (from universal public schooling to Obamacare). It often seems to be willing to curtail individual liberty (liberalism in the traditional sense) in the name of their at-times utopian vision of social justice (liberalism in the new social sense).
It wasn't the right that changed the meaning of "liberal". It used to mean what it now referred to as classical liberal, or what today would be called libertarian. It was FDR referring to the New Deal as "liberal" that redefined it in American political terminology.
Separate names with a comma.