Trickle-down Academics: How Leftists Hide Behind Smoke and Mirrors

Trickle-down Academics: How Leftists Hide Behind Smoke and Mirrors

What can be worse than sloppy, amateur romance fiction?

Ivory tower fiction: that is, academic writing, particularly in the humanities.

I should know, considering I write both.

You’ve probably got some questions about at least one part of the above statements. For now, we’ll leave them (tantalizingly šŸ˜‰) unanswered.

Whether you know it or not, you’re familiar with some of the principles spawned by various intellectuals and the humanities departments they work for. What I’ll call ‘trickle-down academics’ are rampant in today’s political debates. Did you ever wonder why ‘diversity training’ is often metered out using critical race theory as justification? And why, moreover, is an exposition on the larger theory is left out of the training? Welcome to trickle-down academics.

You can spot this phenomenon in action when blanket statements about certain aspects of society are taken as given. I’m singling out ‘society’ and not humanity here because the essential premise at the heart of trickle-down academics is this: the very fabric of the West is white supremacist, unequal, sexist, racist, and uniquely responsible for the outcomes of all these psychics stressors.

The Devil you Know

I’ll make no claims to ultimate truth. What I will so, though, is that every other society is plagued by equal and perhaps greater amounts of the same problems. In other words, the problem is not one of Western society but of society generally. Hunter-gatherer bands of less than 150 people are remarkably egalitarian and, it goes without saying, ethnically and culturally homogenous. A rough approximation of society is this: a group of humans numbering over 150 individuals, in which it becomes impossible to keep track of every person’s relationship with everyone else and clashes between unknown individuals with competing interests become more likely.

The contemporary world of ‘theory’ is also remarkably homogenous. Literary theory, gender studies, queer theory, critical race theory, and critical theory mostly accept, rather uncritically, the central tenet of trickle-down academics I listed above. And their boogeyman is not necessarily the West, but instead, the economic system which, in their eyes, allowed it to become so ‘exploitative and powerful’: Capitalism.

I’ll leave the ‘theory’ and get down to business, then. Every argument predicated upon ‘theoretical ideas, i.e. trickle-down academics, is in some measure informed by this denouement of capitalism. I’m not even saying they’re wrong to denounce it. What the pundits are, though, is disingenuous. A truly jaw-dropping number of people who uncritically accept these supposed ‘fundamentals’ of Western civilization do so without realizing that the capitalist critique has always been the wrench at the bottom of theory’s toolbag.

Weaponizing Trickle-Down Academics

A lot of leftist arguments take things for granted, like:

Gender is a social construct.

Only white people can be racist.

Morality is relative to culture.

Inequality is necessarily immoral.

Let’s use example two. Sociology, a social science, defines racism as something which is exclusive to the dominant group in society. Many of us have heard the ridiculous claim that people who aren’t white can’t be racist, but fewer know that this idea stems from sociology’s particular definition of racism.

These are the academic smoke and mirrors behind which so many seemingly reality-warping leftist arguments find their basis in ‘reality’. “Oh, sociology is a science and that science says only white people in America can be racist so if you dispute that fact then you’re a science denier!”

I know most arguments don’t go that far because most people couldn’t tell you from where their beliefs spring. Society writ large has legitimized social sciences by giving them the same level of prestige as hard sciences, which means disciplines like sociology are free to editorialize without major studies (how can one scientifically categorize racism as belonging only to one race?) to back up their assertions. And the rest of us just have to buy it. Leftists use supposed ‘scientific and sociological truths’ to back up their arguments without understanding that, just maybe, the pillars on which their epistemologies rest are made of sand.

Similar arguments are used to justify the writings of postmodernists. ‘Their arguments are so obscure because they’re specialists writing for other specialists!’ While, yes, they are. And that doesn’t mean that what they’re saying is true.

For example, we don’t need to accept the fact that capitalism is just a grand delusion, and therefore it’s our collective hallucinatory God, from Marxists. Why is one economic system a hallucination and not another one? If capitalism isn’t real, what makes them think that communism is? Isn’t everything just a subjective hallucination, including universities and subjects and professors and parents and, sorry, the ideas of postmodernists? If you’re going to drive one idea to the absolute extreme, you’ve got to be wary about driving them all there.

This is why trickle-down academics only work until you tap at the root of the arguments. They’re flimsy, sometimes self-contradictory. Oftentimes, in the case of sociology, they’re literally just a definition that someone made up because it suited underlying beliefs they had before they made it up, as opposed to something based on quantifiable research.

Voltaire once said ‘if you wish to argue with me, define your terms’. Well, if you want to argue with leftists, then you ought to ask them where they get their definitions. That may be enough to bury their argument before it’s even made.

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