Note: There is a new post up at Taki. This week the topic is a written version of the podcast from last week, slimmed down for space reasons. There is a review of the 1960’s classic Easy Rider up behind the green door. It is also available to those who buy me a beer. Finally, Sunday Thoughts, a half hour podcast recapping the news of the week, is also up behind the green door. There is also a post up on American renaissance by from the weekend, for those who missed it.
In a world where the end always justifies the means, even when the end is not achieved, truth must always be a secondary consideration. In fact, the truth is often the enemy, as it serves the interests of your opponents. By attacking the truth of something, or even the concept of truth itself, you take away the legitimacy of the opposition to you and your schemes. When morality is determined by who wins, rather than by some objective standard, partisanship is the new morality.
This is the modern age. You see it in the language. The public space is full of people juggling neologisms that have a nice ring to them as a replacement for old words or labels. They sound better and the best people always love hearing new ways of saying old things. It makes them feel smart and sophisticated. The intellectual in a liberal democracy is primarily concerned with appearing to be unconventional and heterodox, so the new words and phrases quickly become popular.
George Orwell said political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, which is almost always the point of the new words and phrases that come to dominate the discourse. The people introducing them are not trying to clarify some point, but rather to obfuscate. The game is to undermine the truth of some concept in order to put something long settled up for debate. The new word changes the old meaning in a way that makes it less settled.
The popular phrase “social construct” is a good example. There is no such thing as a social construct as currently understood. Into the 20th century people would have laughed at the idea of it. There are customs and institutions, for sure, but those are things that evolved within a people over a period of trial and error. The reason a custom has been passed down may have been lost to time or turned into an amusing bit of mythology, but the custom came into being to address a problem.
The social construct, on the other hand, takes the custom or institution and recasts it as an invention, a thing that is true only because of a set of rules. Further, it smuggles in the idea that it was deliberately invented. Men, and it is always men, sat around dreaming up the new social conventions to serve their interests. This strips the custom of legitimacy by casting it as just a partisan interest. The people wishing to change it are just as legitimate as the people who invented it.
The new term for custom disconnects it from truth by shifting the thing from the domain of things that are true on their face to the domain of things that are true only because of a set of logical rules. Humans come in two sexes, male and female, is a thing that is true on its face. The term social construct shifts this from the world of fact to the world of logical rules by insisting gender, another new word, is determined by society. They now claim gender is assign at birth based on antiquated concepts of gender.
What the phrase social construct permits the partisan to do is to smuggle in the idea that something like sex was an invention of men, and it is always men, to serve the interest of the inventors. On the one hand, the roles assigned to those with a uterus served the interests of the patriarchy. Now we are told that those same men made gender binary in order to oppress the non-binary. The concept of the social construct turns objective reality into an intergenerational conspiracy theory.
One of the ways the political neologism smuggles in lies is that it creates a false dichotomy in the minds of the audience. In the case of sex and sex roles, things are either purely nature or purely nurture, with nurture always assigned the default position in the comparison. Sex roles, for example, are either a social construct or a universal fact of nature. Since few things are the latter, the former becomes the default position, as if by magic. Suddenly, the natural world is up for debate.
This happened with homosexual marriage. It was first detached from its natural meaning to be a social construct, rather than an ancient custom. Instead of being defined by the biological necessity of reproduction, it was just an invention to suppress women and manage property rights to the favor of males. Once that transformation occurred, opponents of homosexual marriage were forced make the affirmative argument for something that had been the default for eons.
The truth is, few things in human society are purely the result of nature. Even things like hair color or eye color in Europeans have a cultural angle. Over time, females with striking hair and eyes found better mating prospects. This naturally led to customs in which women tried to show off these features. The environmental conditions made diverse hair and eye color possible, but custom made it desirable, thus striking hair and eye color were selected for over time. Nature and nurture.
This is the deceit of new words and phrases cooked up by partisans. The point is to assault the truth, strip it of its legitimacy. The partisan is at home on the battle ground of “who? whom?” so they naturally seek to shape the ground to fit their need. It traps the bourgeois objectivist into the either/or trap. Once they accept the false dichotomy, they accept the weaker hand, and the results are inevitable. The Left wins every battle by first destroying the weapons the opponent can use against them.
This is why there is no reasoning with a partisan. That lefty aunt thinks what she thinks because she sees the world in binary terms. She greedily adopts the new language because it reaffirms her world view. The partisan sees the truth in the same way the vampire sees a mirror. It’s not the reflection that terrifies the vampire. It is the lack of one, a reminder of a truth of their existence. Facts and clear language have the same effect on the partisan, which is why they hiss at them.
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