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2021-06-08 f

Reality has been Cancelled

Helen Dale reviews Cynical Theories, by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay

Cynical TheoriesAt one point in Winnie-The-Pooh, Pooh and Piglet start to follow footprints in the snow. The pair think they belong to a creature called a “Woozle”. The tracks keep multiplying, and the two become increasingly confused, until — finally — Christopher Robin explains they’ve been following their own tracks in circles around a tree, and that Woozles aren’t real.

These days, if you go to university to read humanities and some social sciences — notably psychology and sociology — you’ll find yourself retracing Pooh and Piglet’s steps, hunting for Woozles that aren’t there.

You will encounter radical scepticism about whether objective knowledge or truth is obtainable, along with a commitment to the notion that real things — like sex and race — are culturally constructed. Your lecturers will impress upon you the idea that society is formed into identity-based hierarchies and knowledge is an effect of power. Your position on a league-table of oppressed identities determine what can be known and how it is known. If you disagree you will at least be marked down, and sometimes formally disciplined. Worse, there is no Christopher Robin to save you. It’s Woozles all the way down, and don’t you dare dissent.

In Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why this Harms Everybody, British Medievalist Helen Pluckrose and American mathematician James Lindsay set themselves the task of explaining how this came about, and how to fight it off. They argue that postmodern thought over the last half century has evolved in such a way — meanwhile spilling out of the academy, into activist circles, to the public at large — as to constitute a threat not only to liberal democracy but to modernity itself.

Today’s activist dogma is recognisable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and social-media dogpiles — which Pluckrose and Lindsay document — as by its tenets, which are treated as axiomatic. These include the claim that knowledge is a social construct; science and reason are tools of oppression; all human interactions are oppressive power-plays, and speech is harmful.

I can confirm — before I took myself off to be a lawyer and so pay the bills — what I’ve set out above in abbreviated form has been standard for years. I started university in 1990 and thought I was reading Latin and Greek. And while, then, that was still true (I retain the ability to translate both public school mottoes and Roman smut), I also encountered the arrant nonsense Cynical Theories outlines for popular consumption.

I remember reading in Volume One of Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality how “one day in 1867, a farm hand from the village of Lapcourt … was turned in to the authorities. At the border of a field, he had obtained a few caresses from a little girl, just as he had done before and seen done by the village urchins round about him; for, at the edge of the wood, or in the ditch by the road leading to Saint-Nicolas, they would play the familiar game called ‘curdled milk’.”

At the time it struck me Foucault was making an excuse for kiddy-fiddling, and I said so. I was called a prude. No, I countered, I think you’ll find this is a serious offence and people who try to explain it away need to look in the mirror. I was then told Foucault’s French had been mistranslated, and the class moved on. I borrowed a French edition from the university library and took it to my father, a fluent French-speaker. “No,” he said. “That’s what it says; the whole book is an attempt to make the age of consent less salient. M. Foucault may not be a paedophile, but he doesn’t have a problem with it”. This is a famous instance of the blurring of both conceptual and physical boundaries — such as those between health and sickness or truth and belief — that forms a core component of what Pluckrose and Lindsay capitalise throughout as Theory

Some bits of the postmodernism taught to me appealed. I liked the notion that language could construct reality. I was writing a novel at the time and every author wants access to a form of word-magic, one where storytellers can make the world. However, I thought this applied only to fiction, not the real world my Statistics II textbook delineated. Once again, I made the mistake of saying so; another argument ensued. This is a sure-fire way to get a reputation as a pain in the arse, so I buttoned my lip. The fact I won a university medal (equivalent of class valedictorian or starred/congratulatory first) was entirely down to (a) being creative (b) doing the reading (c) taking many, many bong hits before I wrote my papers and sat exams. Yes, I turned up to central examination venues smelling like weed and stoned out of my tree.

Other aspects of the crudely simplified postmodernism Pluckrose and Lindsay discuss were still forming in 1990. One of these is cultural relativism, which takes in the notion that imaginative entry to another culture for a person from a “privileged” background is impossible. When this was put to me in argument — by a postcolonial theory academic — my response was to perpetrate an enormous literary hoax to falsify the claim. Since I did, in fact, succeed (my first novel won every award in the country worth having, was a major bestseller, and even people who hated me and the horse I rode in on accepted I could write) no-one attempted to argue that I’d somehow pulled off the impossible. Instead, I was told I was an immoral person for doing what I’d done. I’d told a story that wasn’t mine to tell.

The shift from “it’s immoral to tell another culture’s story” to “it’s impossible to tell another culture’s story, but in any case, one shouldn’t try for moral reasons” is part of a process Pluckrose and Lindsay describe as “reification”, which emerged after I’d left the ivory tower and commenced moving companies around and drafting commercial leases for a living. Once reified, postmodern abstractions about the world are treated as though they are real things, and accorded the status of empirical truth. Contemporary social justice activism thus sees theory as reality, as though it were gravity or cell division or the atomic structure of uranium.

The correspondence theory of truth holds that objective truth exists and we can learn something about it through evidence and reason. That is, things are knowable and we gain reliable information about them when our beliefs align with reality. It’s termed “the correspondence theory of truth” because a statement is considered true when it corresponds with reality and false when it doesn’t. Reality, of course, is the thing that does not change regardless of what you believe.

While advanced civilisations going back to classical antiquity employed this reasoning in selected areas (Ancient Rome to civil engineering and law, for example, or Medieval China to public administration), it’s only since the Enlightenment that it’s been applied consistently to nearly everything, at least in developed countries. It forms the foundation of modern scientific and administrative progress and accounts in large part for the safety and material comfort we now enjoy.

Reified “Theory” is no more and no less than a rejection of the correspondence theory of truth. There are no universal truths and no objective reality, only narratives expressed in discourses and language that reflect one group’s power over another. Science has no claim on objectivity, because science itself is a cultural construct, created out of power differentials, and ordered by straight white males. There are no arguments, merely identity showdowns; the most oppressed always wins.

And, because language makes the world, attempts by scholars in other disciplines and from across the political spectrum to do what I did and falsify Theory’s empirical claims are met not with reasoned debate but an accusation that those individuals are harming the oppressed or silencing the marginalised, because all someone higher up the hierarchical food chain is supposed to do when confronted by someone lower down is listen. That’s the point of telling people to “check their privilege” before they open their mouths.

Pluckrose and Lindsay make a compelling argument that this is a religion, and not in the glib, observational sense that its adherents are taking knees, engaging in call-and-response, or washing each other’s feet. Rather, contemporary social justice asks us to believe things that aren’t proven in the same way that “Muhammad ascended to heaven from the battlements of Jerusalem on a winged horse” or “Christ rose from the dead on the third day” aren’t proven.

It’s also a genuine case of what policy wonks have long called “The Woozle Effect” (yes, there’s a reason for my Winnie-the-Pooh reference). In wonk-world, a Woozle occurs when frequent citation of previous publications not grounded in evidence misleads individuals, groups, and governments into believing there is proof for something. In this way, invented claims become accepted factlets and then feed into policy. Think, for example, of the so-called “gender-pay-gap”. In reality, the observed gap has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with sex, and does not arise as a result of discrimination. You would not know this from watching the BBC, however.

Enacting legislation and developing national strategies on the basis of false claims is the policy equivalent of theology. We may as well sacrifice virgins on mountaintops Aztec-style for all the good Theory is doing to address problems about which everyone — not just social justice warriors, as Cynical Theories notes — cares. (read more)

2021-06-08 e

Disclaimer: Mel Brooks is cancelled

HBO attempts to protect snowflakes from Blazing Saddles

It seems like only yesterday that HBO Max, the financially troubled American cable television network’s new film streaming service, signalled its virtue by removing Gone With The Wind from viewing so that the classic film could be properly “contextualised” as what presenter and University of Chicago film professor Jacqueline Stewart calls “a prime text for examining expressions of white supremacy in popular culture”. She believes this is useful for the “re-education” of audiences who might otherwise stray into thoughtcrime.

Mel Brooks’s smash hit 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles, which seems to have been added to HBO Max since the Gone With The Wind dust up and is known for its liberal use of the feared and loathed “n-word”, arrived with a similarly patronising disclaimer already installed. In a three-minute introduction that apparently cannot be skipped over, Stewart is there again, this time to inform viewers that “racist language and attitudes pervade the film”, while instructing them that “those attitudes are espoused by characters who are portrayed here as explicitly small-minded, ignorant bigots … The real, and much more enlightened, perspective is provided by the main characters played by Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder”.

Thanks, Aunt Jacqueline. If you have not seen Blazing Saddles – and if you are under the age of forty there is an excellent chance some prudish authority figure sanitised it out of your cosseted millennial existence – it stands as one of the greatest, and the certainly the funniest, anti-racist films of all time. Based on a story by Andrew Bergman, Brooks conceived it as a scathing send-up of racism and the hypocrisy that still enabled it after the great civil rights victories of the 1960s. Brooks’s idiom was a parody of the classic Western, by then an exhausted genre that had, among other flaws, become inanely predictable and was much criticised for leaving out minorities. A landmark of American film, Blazing Saddles was selected in 2006 for inclusion in the US National Film Registry, which recognises “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” worthy of preservation.

Drenched in hilarity – and by my count using the “n-word” 17 times in its 93-minute run – the plot involves a conspiracy by an avaricious U.S. state attorney general who wants to drive white settlers off land he needs to complete a profitable railroad project. After having outlaws wreak mayhem on the townspeople, he recommends that the governor appoint a black sheriff to restore law and order, cynically assuming that their racism will cause them to reject the new lawman and give up. Despite a rough initial reception, the sheriff outwits attempts to get rid of him and, with the help of a washed up but sympathetic alcoholic gunslinger, leads the townspeople to victory, winning their love and respect before moving on to other brave deeds.

While HBO no longer wants to risk having its paying customers think for themselves (and what stale corporate outfit uneasily transitioning to a crowded new market wouldn’t?), it could rightly be said that anyone dumb enough to miss the film’s message might be a recent product of Anglo-American higher education. I do not mean this at all facetiously. Decaying and run by a self-important clerisy whose demands to be taken seriously only become shriller as it declines in reach and vitality – and from which any participant can be dismissed for even the slightest speech or behavioural infraction – academia naturally discourages humour. Jokes, which can almost always cause some kind of offence, are simply too risky to be told or laughed at, even in private. Finding the wrong thing funny can invite career-hobbling accusations that one has demeaned a student or colleague and thereby made them feel unacceptably “uncomfortable” or even physically “unsafe”. Perceived flippancy bruises sanctified “professional seriousness” in a way tantamount to sacrilege. The only tolerated exceptions are a kind of solemn irony that offers comfort in coping with academia’s increasing irrelevance and a resigned gallows humor about its ever more limited prospects.

Brooks’s explosive mix of satire, sarcasm, and absurdity is not only toxic in such an environment but also requires levels of abstract and critical thought that our administrative-managerial caste would prefer us not to have, leaving it to assume that someone like Jacqueline Stewart has to explain the film to us in black and white (pun intended) terms. This is not entirely new. Brooks’s first film, The Producers, which satirizes Nazism, was shunned by all major movie studios and had to be released as an independent art film. When Warner Brothers screened Blazing Saddles prior to its release, one executive was so worried about its content that he wanted to withhold it from distribution and take a financial loss. The studio chief relented, but ordered Brooks to remove all uses of the “n-word”, a directive he refused to follow. As recently as 2017, Brooks, by then a 91-year old American icon reasonably safe from cancellation, lamented that his film could not be made today because of our “stupidly politically correct” society, which he understandably believes has “killed comedy”.

From a “woke” point of view, the “n-word” is hardly the film’s only problem. Its “racist language and attitudes” extend to Mexicans, Chinese, Native Americans, Germans, Arabs, Jews, and the Irish. Brooks’s cameo appearance in full Indian dress while speaking Yiddish suggests “cultural appropriation” of a magnitude that would get him expelled from Yale on any given Halloween. The governor’s lascivious relationship with his sexpot secretary lightheartedly approaches what some joyless, sex-starved diversity bureaucrat would condemn as sexual harassment. The film seeks further taboo levity in drug abuse, capital punishment, physical and mental disabilities, cruelty to animals, and farting. Its climactic battle between the townspeople and outlaws spills into a modern studio rehearsal of stereotyped gay dancers practicing a routine called the French Mistake, an old slang term for when a heterosexual man “accidentally” wanders into same-sex relations.

HBO clearly cares above all about the racial issue, which in the current moment is the most visible and reliable lever to establish media mechanisms for thought control, and to condition mass acceptance of diminished rights of free speech and expression. There are hopeful signs that it will not succeed. In her bland moralising tone, Stewart sounds like a Soviet bureaucrat of the late 1980s cataloguing the ideological demerits of some tentatively allowed item of Western culture to a jaded young audience ready to embrace it as enthusiastically as my students did when I covertly screened Blazing Saddles for them after Gene Wilder’s death in 2016. In that moment I did, indeed, scurry around after hours like a harried Czechoslovakian dissident trying to evade the authorities on his way to an underground discussion of John Stuart Mill. Perhaps not accidentally, when the HBO story broke it was one of my students who alerted me. Now in a much safer place thousands of miles away where I am no longer working in academia, I enjoy infinitely more personal and intellectual freedom.

I am quite certain that I was the last university professor ever to show Blazing Saddles on a campus, but Stewart’s tedious social justice blandishments do oddly fit with the film in at least one way. Early on, when outlaws are beating up an old lady while terrorising the town, she looks to the camera and asks the viewer, “Have you ever seen such cruelty?” It is not hard to imagine, perhaps after a libation or two, even the stiff and sanctimonious Jacqueline Stewart turning to ask a captive HBO Max subscriber to equally comedic effect, “Have you ever seen such racism?” (read more)

-06-08 d
The Aztec revival in California’s public schools

In an attempt to ‘decolonise the curriculum’, California may vote to promote the celebration of pre-Christian deities who often performed human sacrifice

California has long been celebrated for its wackadoodles. Well, the lunatics are truly about to take over the asylum. The California Department of Education will vote next week to introduce a new state-wide Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum as part of a campaign to decolonise America. This curriculum will help students “challenge racist, bigoted, discriminatory, imperialist/colonial beliefs” and critique “white supremacy, racism and other forms of power and oppression”.

California’s universities have succumbed to a pernicious viral infection of Marxist cultural thinking since the late 1960s; but now such thinking threatens to infect the state’s 10,000 public schools.

The new curriculum was inspired by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose most famous work was Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968). “Critical pedagogy”, Freire argued, is the best way to help the oppressed develop “critical consciousness”, and thereby cast off the “culture of silence” imposed on them by their oppressors. Once a fervent advocate of extending literacy to the Brazilian peasantry, Freire claimed to be a Christian socialist, but drew upon Marxist thinkers as well as anti-colonialist radicals such as Frantz Fanon. Needless to say, he was an enthusiastic supporter of Mao’s Cultural Revolution; he also had a profound influence on American teacher-training programmes.

The original co-chair of California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Advisory Committee is one R. Tolteka Cuauhtin: a teacher at the César Chavez Learning Academies, which is a public high school in the San Fernando Valley. In his 2019 book Rethinking Ethnic Studies, Cuauhtin states that the United States was founded on a “Eurocentric, white supremacist (racist, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous), capitalist (classist), patriarchal (sexist and misogynistic), heteropatriarchal (homophobic), and anthropocentric paradigm brought from Europe”.

White invaders brought capitalist hegemony and subjected minorities to “socialisation, domestication, and ‘zombification’”. They also committed “theocide” against indigenous tribes and established a regime that entailed “explicit erasure and replacement of holistic Indigeneity and humanity”. The appropriate response is to create an ethnic studies curriculum that will promote a new culture of “countergenocide” and “counterhegemony” to displace white Christian culture and lead to the “regeneration of indigenous epistemic and cultural futurity”.

The proposed curriculum offers “lesson resources” for teachers to lead schoolchildren in a series of indigenous songs and chants, such as the “In Lak Ech Affirmation”, which starts with clapping, followed by a declaration that “you are my other me” and “if I do harm to you, I do harm to myself”, and an appeal to the god Tezkatlipoka: “Seeking the roots of the truth, seeking the truth of the roots, elders and us youth, (youth), critical thinking through. Tezkatlipoka, Tezkatlipoka, x2 smoking mirror, self-reflection Tezkatlipoka.”

Next, the schoolchildren invoke the gods Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli, and Xipe Totek, asking for “healing epistemologies” and “a revolutionary spirit”:

Pulsating creation Huitzilopochtli cause like sunlight, the light inside of us, in will to action’s what brings… Xipe Totek, Xipe Totek, x2 transformation, liberation, education, emancipation. imagination revitalization, liberation, transformation, decolonization, liberation, education, emancipation, changin’ our situation in this human transformation.

The chant concludes with a request for “liberation, transformation, decolonization” and the words “Panche beh! Panche beh!” (seeking the roots of truth).

Of course, one slight problem is that these Aztec gods required human sacrifices from their devotees. Anyone who has seen Mel Gibson’s 2006 movie Apocalypto will remember the scene when the high priest plucks out the heart from a human sacrificial victim in the name of the very Aztec gods that the radical Left adore.

Another chant refers to the Mayan deity “Hunab Ku”, or “One-God”:

We’re here to transform the world we’re spiralling, rotating & revolving in, giving thanks daily, tlazokamati, giving thanks daily, tlazokamati, healing & transforming as we’re evolving in this universe, universe, of Hunab Ku, Hunab Ku, x2 Nahui Ollin Lak Ech – Panche Beh, Ethnic Studies For All, Represent!!

Despite the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which says that public schools are forbidden to lead students in Christian prayers at the behest of the republic, the California Department of Education is expected to vote in favour of this new curriculum with its appeals to pre-Christian deities.

“The best hope for opponents is to strike out some of the most galling material, such as the chants to the Aztec gods, and then devise a long-term strategy to push back against the public education establishment,” says conservative documentary filmmaker and commentator Christopher F. Rufo. “For now, the activists appear to be driving the narrative – and they will not stop until they have solidified their ‘counterhegemony’.”

This must be confusing for California’s oppressed Hispanic population, most of whom are [nominally Roman] Catholic.

Anyone wondering what future California public school assemblies might look like should watch this video. (read more and watch video)

2021-06-08 c
Schools gone woke: a view from America

In a warning to teachers around the world, one American teacher opens up about the invasion of woke orthodoxy in the education sector

I am an American educator who began teaching nearly two decades ago. During that time, I have taught at some of the most prestigious private secondary schools in the United States. Starting about five years ago, these schools began to be consumed by woke ideology.

When I say “consumed by woke ideology” I mean that these schools are obsessed with sophomoric and divisive notions of diversity, equality, and justice; increasingly hostile to freedom of expression; addicted to cancelling anything that offends the woke movement; and prioritising activism over understanding as the goal of education.

I am writing this letter to alert those we may describe as “sleep-wokers”. A sleep-woker is one who has not taken the woke creed to heart, yet nevertheless tacitly complies with the linguistic, pedagogical, political, and moral imperatives of wokeness. Sleep-wokers go through the motions; they are like religious folk who say prayers without thinking, attend worship services without engaging, and perpetuate dogmas without believing. I was a sleep-woker. In some ways, due to a combination of timidity and tiredness, I still am.

Sleep-woking, like sleepwalking, is very dangerous. While sleep-woking, an English teacher can unwittingly help cancel Chaucer, Keats and Conrad in the name of decolonisation. A biology teacher might find herself obliged to deny important differences between the sexes. A football coach will not be able to cheer on a player after a strong tackle, as strength and physical violence smack of toxic masculinity.

Most of my sleep-woking colleagues are good people. Like me, they were lulled into complacency by a woke take-over that was slow and subtle. What’s more, some changes were initially promising and even corrective — of course we should pay more attention to marginalised voices and overlooked narratives, and I am glad that we now do. To bemoan an expanded curriculum is simple chauvinism. In the end, however, wokeness has proven to be oppressive and totalitarian rather than inclusive and liberating.

It is worth noting that I have been a supporter of the left for most of my life. The only political donation I have ever made went to a candidate in the most left-leaning wing of the most left-leaning party in American politics. My objection is to the effect of woke ideology on education, not to liberal politics. My grievance is that teachers are increasingly under pressure to adopt the woke agenda or be ostracised.

I empathise with the difficult situation that top school officials find themselves in. As wokeness takes over American culture, schools face enormous pressure to follow suit. That said, those with the power to stop the degradation of education have a special responsibility to do so, and those of us with less power have a responsibility to remind our superiors of their duty.

Here is some of what wokeness has wrought at top American schools:

Offence in is the Eye of the Offended

Schools openly preach that if one feels offended, one has been offended. For example, if a student or colleague claims to have been offended by your words or actions, it does not matter if you intended no offence. More troubling is the fact that it does not matter if your words and actions were not those that a rational person should find offensive — you are an offender merely by virtue of the fact that someone claims to have been offended.

Schools cannot yet codify this into an official policy. What the schools are starting to do, however, is to change the ethical norms associated with offence. Since legal norms follow ethical norms, if schools (and societies) succeed in changing the ethical norms of speech and offence, they will eventually have a basis upon which to change the legal norms. As soon as they can show that a normal or typical person is offended by certain language or certain ideas, they will be able to argue that a person presenting such language and ideas is failing to abide by the reasonable ethical expectations of school culture. In short, we are training students how to be offended so that their perceived offence can be used to eliminate anti-woke expression.

Elimination of Non-Woke Student Clubs

Any student group that resists woke orthodoxy is likely to be forcibly disbanded or prevented from forming. Student clubs cannot form without faculty sponsors. Since the vast majority of the faculty at these schools are woke (or too afraid to be seen as non-woke), conservative students have trouble officially meeting and inviting speakers. If a non-woke speaker is invited, the wokes mobilise to deny them a platform and they feel righteous for doing so. Few conservative students openly identify as such because they are afraid of repercussions from faculty and from other students. Not only is this unfair, but it is also dangerous. Alienated conservative students are being pushed away from moderate disagreement and towards political extremism.

No Resisting Woke Slogans

Opposing woke slogans or voicing contrary slogans is not tolerated. Since opposing wokeness is thought to be motivated by hate, voicing opposition to woke slogans is tantamount to hate speech. A student who challenges a woke slogan is bullied and harassed by the woke majority. Meanwhile, woke slogans and images are hung in school buildings and cannot be removed.

Cultural Appropriation

White or Western students are told not to participate in cultural traditions of non-white, non-Western people — the oppressors cannot participate in the culture of the oppressed. For example, several white students who wore shirts with African designs were reprimanded and forced to change their clothes. The fact that the shirts were a gift from their teacher, a black African man, made no difference. The students wore the shirts to show affection for their teacher and to honour his gift, but that was still cultural appropriation.

In another instance, a musician was reprimanded for blending a western and non-western musical style into a new artistic expression. The musician was accused of cultural imperialism.

Cancelling Curriculum

Shakespeare, Homer and other canonical authors are being eliminated from the curriculum. In some cases, schools and teachers boast about cancelling these patriarchal racists. Even at schools that do not officially cancel canonical Western texts, the texts are subtly replaced in the name of anti-racism.

Most of my students will go to university never having read Homer or Shakespeare, though they will have been required to read many texts and attend many lectures on intersectionality and gender identity. They can speak at length about toxic masculinity and a panoply of so-called phobias, but they would not recognise the terms “iambic pentameter” and “dactylic hexameter”, let alone recognise actual examples of the meter.

Normalising Fallacies

Ad hominem attacks are presented as the cornerstone of critical thinking rather than as a fallacious form of argumentation. We teach students to evaluate texts and arguments by primarily attending to the author’s race, gender, and sexuality.

Mandatory Training

Students attend mandatory training sessions in which experts teach them how to identify and report microaggressions. And since to a student with a hammer everything looks like a nail, the students begin informing on each other and on their teachers. White teachers are told to attend racial-political re-education workshops in which they strive to overcome their whiteness in the classroom. (It has long been accepted that “whiteness” is a meaningful category.)

If you claim to not be a racist, you are seen as the worst, most irredeemable kind of racist. You are a heretic who will not admit heresy. You are thought to be suffering from something called “white fragility”.

Trigger Warnings

Before introducing a new unit, teachers compile lists of trigger warnings for the material in that unit. A trigger warning serves to alert students to any and all things in the unit that could cause them stress, frustration, anger, or sadness. These lists are shared with students.

Manners and Dress Codes

A side-effect of the woke attack on tradition, authority, and hierarchy has been the revocation of dress codes. So long as their genitals are covered and no profane words are visible, students can and do wear anything they like. Arguably the only rule left in the dining halls and cafeterias is “Don’t throw food.”

Many students eat meals with headphones in their ears while watching videos on their phones. The less respectful students don’t bother with headphones. “Sir” and “Ma’am” have long since disappeared as too authoritarian and gendered. The terms “master” and “headmaster” cannot be used as master might connote slavery.

Elimination of Objective Assessments

Exams are being eliminated for two reasons: first, because exams are apparently inherently racist, sexist, classist, heteronormative, or otherwise unfair; second, because exams cause students stress, and stress makes students feel bad, and feeling bad negatively impacts their well-being. Additionally, some students do poorly on exams, and this has the potential to result in a situation that is inequitable.


Faculty are frequently pressured to identify their pronouns. Failure to identify one’s pronouns is seen as transphobic or cis-centric or both. Students can reassign their own pronouns at will. If a teacher mistakenly does not use the student’s preferred pronoun, the teacher is accused of misgendering. Misgendering a serious offence, even a kind of violence.


The unchecked advance of wokeness will do two things to your school. First, you and your students will lose the ability to freely read, write and speak as pupils and teachers. Second, the education that you now provide will become unrecognisably impoverished.

This second effect is probably the hardest to believe, especially for those of you at top academic institutions, but it is the effect of which I am most certain. In place of free-thinking young scholars, you will begin turning out a generation of woke activists who believe that feelings matter more than facts, that perception is reality, and that it is more important to judge a text than to understand it — where “judging” means [employing a practical anachronism to mis]interpret the author’s words in light of the most recent woke orthodoxy.

Many of my students claim to be proud practitioners of social justice [methinks each student is an aretaloger, one who vaunts his own virtues]  (don’t push them too hard on what that means) yet they have only an elementary command of grammar and geography, struggling to write complete sentences and unable to locate Turkey on a map. Some have begun to ask why we take math so seriously given that math is apparently grounded in Western patriarchal rationalism. Wokeness has been achieved at the expense of education. Reason has been subordinated to passion. Plato’s charioteer has been replaced by the horses he was meant to [rein] in.

Perhaps some of you are disturbed by some of the woke excesses at your schools and in your communities, even if, like me, you readily support appeals for greater diversity, genuine inclusion, and a multicultural curriculum. Perhaps your instinct has been to dismiss these excesses as isolated incidents. Like me, you might have said “The pendulum will swing back” or “That will never happen at my school.” I am writing to say that the pendulum will not swing back because the woke movement is not a pendulum; it is a steamroller.

I am not claiming any moral high ground. My own failure to push back in the right ways and at the right times makes me part of the problem. Nor am I here trying to convince anyone else to become bothered by the advance of woke culture into education. If what I am reporting does not bother you, ignore me. If wokeness has begun to concern you, however, you now have a glimpse of where your own school may be headed.

One of the canniest bits of woke linguistic manipulation has been appropriation of the term “woke” itself. To not be woke is to be asleep: unconscious or ignorant of what is really going on. Either one is woke or one is not aware of reality. Or, as I was recently told by a student, if you are not woke, it must be because you are uneducated or hateful — or both. Such is the woke reality. (read more)

2021-06-08 b
Critical Race Schools

A student spectator on the wokification of the curriculum

Secondary education can be a baffling and hostile experience for conservative teenagers. To hold a view contrary to the progressive poppycock expressed by many teachers is to risk being branded a “Tory” by one’s socially aware and morally superior peers. Whilst some students wear this as a badge of honour, it is an unusual adolescent who revels in being defined by their political leaning, especially if it is one with such negative connotations as conservatism. I can only comment on my experience in an independent school, but the recent developments at Pimlico Academy prove that the state sector has suffered the same fate.

The woke brigade, or the “importunate grasshoppers” as Burke might have called them, are moulding a conformity of thought whereby those who question it are, by [il]logical deduction, fascists. In Burke’s analogy, the chinking grasshoppers are in the tiny minority compared to the thousands of cattle who silently share the same field, but there is no silent majority in many schools. In my experience a few cattle share the field with a plague of locusts.

Some of my teachers eagerly embraced the opportunity to spread the Critical Race narrative (with no repercussions), but I think others were too scared to ignore it. It’s easy for commentators to paint teachers as professional lefties who are willing participants in corrupting the views of the Enlightenment, but the dominant woke culture, fueled by trans-national social media trends, is hard to avoid.

In the heat of the BLM protests, my academic tutor group, a place I had foolishly hoped would be the setting of mildly interesting conversation, morphed into a platform where we were all urged to “help educate each other” about white privilege. Tantalising stuff. When I dared to purport that statistical evidence suggests that institutional racism may have been over-egged in the media, my teacher twisted my words to make it appear that I’d said something which my peers would perceive as acceptable — presumably so I wasn’t crucified. Then came the homework. We were split into two groups, the first tasked with finding a resource “to educate ourselves further on the Black Lives Matter movement” and, more reasonably, “the issues that the BAME community faces worldwide”. The second group was required to “find one way in which we could take action in support of the Black Lives Matter movement” such as an “online protest which we could go to” or a “politician to write to”. Upon recollection, this fizzled into nothing.

Later in the year, in December, Year 7s (11 and 12 year olds), set about decorating miniature Christmas trees in class. I gather the theme was “2020”, rather than the conventional decoration theme which I grew up with… Christmas. The result was a load of trees drowning in paper signs, saying things such as “BIDEN”, “BLM”, “I can’t breathe” and “Floyd wish you were here”. Nothing says festive fun like politicising Christmas. None of the 11 year olds had the ingenuity or dark wit to burn the trees in remembrance of the Australian forest fires in the New Year.

Sadly, Treegate did not come as a surprise. Since my Dad attended the same establishment, the school song has faded into obscurity — I have never heard it, or any hymns, sung once. Very odd for a 16th century private school. The annual carol service is now blissfully secular, having replaced the plight of Wenceslas with that of Rudolf and his repellent nose. In stark contrast to this secularisation, the school is content with plastering posters about, declaring the virtuous unity of being LGBT and being a Muslim — a statement some of my Muslim peers might question. There is a fine line between creating a safe space and dictating a narrative and our educational establishments are failing to recognise this. We no longer have a head boy and a head girl but two “head students” — a boy and a girl. To my knowledge, this decision was not the result of popular demand. The school is intent on leaving its traditions in the shady, unforgivable past, so often the subject of “difficult discussions”.

Despite positive steps from the government, like highlighting just how diverse the curriculum really is, I fear they are insufficient to turn the tide. Teachers have become either too fearful or too empowered to not educate their students on whatever woke, inevitably left-wing trend flies their way. Some might think my grievances petty and don their Bentham hats — “Do these changes actually harm anyone?”. Well, I would say they do. I am watching my generation contort into easily offended, closed-minded invertebrates, eager to eradicate anything which could cause offense yet seemingly more eager to be offended. How have schools reached a point where centrist views are demonised and the rational is now radical? Teachers have a lot to answer for. (read more)

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“If you catch 100 red fire ants as well as 100 large black ants, and put them in a jar, at first, nothing will happen. However, if you violently shake the jar and dump them back on the ground the ants will fight until they eventually kill each other. The thing is, the red ants think the black ants are the enemy and vice versa, when in reality, the real enemy is the person who shook the jar. This is exactly what’s happening in society today. Liberal vs. Conservative. Black vs. White. Pro Mask vs. Anti-Mask. Vax vs. Anti-vax. Rich vs. poor. Man vs. woman. Cop vs. citizen. The real question we need to be asking ourselves is who’s shaking the jar… and why?”

— Shera Starr

-06-07 h

Yale Medical School, the foul-mouthed psychiatrist who wants to murder whites
and the New York Times, deeply regret that her racist lecture
was taken out of its Ivory Tower context and the rest of us got to hear it.

A Psychiatrist Invited to Yale Spoke of Fantasies of Shooting White People

The Yale School of Medicine said the tone and content of a lecture by Dr. Aruna Khilanani, who has a private practice in New York, were “antithetical to the values of the school.”

A psychiatrist said in a lecture at Yale University’s School of Medicine that she had fantasies of shooting white people, prompting the university to later restrict online access to her expletive-filled talk, which it said was “antithetical to the values of the school.”

The talk, titled “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind,” had been presented by the School of Medicine’s Child Study Center as part of Grand Rounds, a weekly forum for faculty and staff members and others affiliated with Yale to learn about various aspects of mental health.

In the online lecture, on April 6, the psychiatrist, Dr. Aruna Khilanani, who has a private practice in New York and is not affiliated with Yale, described a “psychological dynamic that is on PTSD repeat,” in which people of color patiently explain racism to white people, who deny their attacks. When people of color then become angry, white people use that anger as “confirmation that we’re crazy or have emotional problems,” she said.

She recalled a white therapist telling her in psychoanalysis that she was “psychotic” whenever she expressed anger at racism, and said she had spent “years unpacking her racism to her,” even though she was the one being charged for the sessions.

“This is the cost of talking to white people at all — the cost of your own life, as they suck you dry,” Dr. Khilanani said in the lecture, which drew widespread attention after Bari Weiss,
a former writer and editor for the opinion department of The New York Times, posted an audio recording of it on Substack on Friday. “There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil.”

Dr. Khilanani added that around five years ago, “I took some actions.”

“I systematically white-ghosted most of my white friends, and I got rid of the couple white BIPOCs that snuck in my crew, too,” she said, using an acronym for Black and Indigenous people and people of color.

“I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step, like I did the world a favor,” she said, adding an expletive.

Later in the lecture, Dr. Khilanani, who said she is of Indian descent, described the futility of trying to talk directly to white people about race, calling it a “waste of our breath.”

“We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero to accept responsibility,” she said. “It ain’t going to happen. They have five holes in their brain.”

Dr. Khilanani, a forensic psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, said in an email on Saturday that her words had been taken out of context to “control the narrative.” She said her lecture had “used provocation as a tool for real engagement.”

“Too much of the discourse on race is a dry, bland regurgitation of new vocabulary words with no work in the unconscious,” she said. “And, if you want to hit the unconscious, you will have to feel real negative feelings.”

She added: “My speaking metaphorically about my own anger was a method for people to reflect on negative feelings. To normalize negative feelings. Because if you don’t, it will turn into a violent action.”

Dr. Khilanani noted that her lecture had initially been well received. After she gave it, several attendees praised her comments on the online feed.

One woman who identified herself as a Yale psychologist called it “absolutely brilliant.” A man said, “I feel very shook in a good way,” and a Black woman thanked Dr. Khilanani for giving “voice to us as people of color and what we go through all the time.”

Dr. Khilanani received her New York State medical license in 2008. Her website says that she has expertise in “seeing both the conscious and unconscious structures of racism/sexism/homophobia/classism” that allows for a safe environment when treating people from marginalized groups.

Ms. Weiss released the recording of Dr. Khilanani’s remarks at a time when many universities are debating teaching about race and racism and the limits of free speech.

Ms. Weiss also posted an interview with Dr. Khilanani by the journalist Katie Herzog.

The Yale School of Medicine said in its statement that after Dr. Khilanani’s talk, several faculty members had expressed concern about her remarks.

Based on those concerns, leaders at the School of Medicine, in consultation with the chairwoman of the Child Study Center, reviewed a recording of the talk and “found the tone and content antithetical to the values of the school,” the statement said.

Because Grand Rounds are typically posted online, the statement said, school leaders then reviewed a university report on free expression at Yale in deciding how to handle Dr. Khilanani’s lecture.

“In deciding whether to post the video, we weighed our grave concern about the extreme hostility, imagery of violence, and profanity expressed by the speaker against our commitment to freedom of expression,” the statement said.

Ultimately, school leaders decided to limit access to the video to those who could have attended the talk — the members of the Yale community.

School leaders also added a disclaimer to the video to “emphasize that the ideas expressed by the speaker conflict with the core values of Yale School of Medicine,” the statement said.

The disclaimer reads, in part: “Yale School of Medicine expects the members of our community to speak respectfully to one another and to avoid the use of profanity as a matter of professionalism and acknowledgment of our common humanity. Yale School of Medicine does not condone imagery of violence or racism against any group.”

Dr. Khilanani posted several videos on TikTok addressing what she called Yale’s “suppression of my talk on race.” In her email, she called on Yale to release the video, and she said in a phone interview that Yale should not have been surprised because “they knew the topic, they knew the title, they knew the speaker.”

She said the university was trying to protect itself from internal and external blowback.

“Something is emotionally dangerous about opening up a conversation about race,” she said in the email. “No one wants to look at their actions or face their own negative feelings about what they are doing. The best way to control the narrative is to focus on me, and make me the problem, which is what I stated occurs in the dynamic of racism.”

She added: “My work is important. And, I stand by it. We need to heal in this country.”

Dr. Nicholas A. Christakis, a Yale professor of social and natural science, internal medicine and biomedical engineering, was among those who had criticized Dr. Khilanani’s lecture.

He said on Twitter that the views that Dr. Khilanani had expressed, which he referred to as “racism,” were “deeply worrisome & counter-productive.”

“Of course, as an invitee, she is free to speak on campus,” Dr. Christakis said. “But her views must be soundly rejected.” (read more)

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The ‘New Normal’ Lexicon

Extracts from ‘The New Normal Lexicon’ by Greta Reset, Professor of Neology at Schwabgate University.


Mask eye: the nasty beady-eyed glare, a mix of hatred and fear, given by a ‘maskaholic” to someone not wearing a ‘face covering’.


Maskaholic: Someone who wears their mask regardless of the surroundings e.g. alone in a car, on the top of a mountain or under water.


Face covering: Absolutely anything used to cover the lower half of the face in order to comply with regulations and gain access to a restricted zone – anything will do as efficacy in preventing disease transmission is not a requirement: underpants, a chiffon scarf, a hairnet.

There is also no requirement for face coverings to be disposed of safely after use, so these can be thrown on the street or over the landscape for children to play with and animals to choke on.


Vaccine hesitancy: Selfishly declining, or considering declining, a ‘vaccine’, especially an experimental one, usually based on a personal risk/benefit analysis, a deficit of fear and a belief in right wing nonsense like informed consent and bodily integrity.

Vaccine hesitancy causes the perpetuation of ‘lockdown’, masks and ‘social distancing’ by governments, who really don’t want to do these things, but you know…blame them. (See also: Antivaxxer).


Antivaxxer: Anyone who declines or criticises any of the Covid-19 vaccines, regardless of their reasons and general attitude towards vaccination – even if they are a well-regarded medical scientist who has been involved in the development of vaccines for many years. Any evidence produced by the antivaxxer is irrelevant because proof denies faith and without faith ‘The Science’ is nothing.


Age standardised mortality rate: The gold standard measure of all-cause mortality in a nation for the purposes of comparisons with other years. Consequently, it is never used by government or media, who prefer instead an open-ended tally of people who died within 28 (or even 60 days) of a PCR test.


PCR Test: The Polymerase chain reaction test was invented by American biochemist Kary Mullis who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery. PCR is able to magnify DNA samples to identify even minute quantities of a virus and is used on a rising scale of magnification called “cycles”.

Mullis, who died in 2019, was emphatic that his invention could not identify and diagnose infectious disease and consequently it has been used throughout the past year to do just that.

Head of the AIAID Anthony Fauci is on the record as saying that use of PCR of 35 cycles or more mean that the test is essentially meaningless in terms of determining infectious disease and would result in ‘false positives’ – but the protocol produced by German scientist Christian Drosten, which was based on a computer model rather than an isolated and sequenced sample of the virus and was peer-reviewed in 48 hours, recommended a cycle of 45.

This was then picked up by the WHO and used practically everywhere until the WHO told everyone to stop in January because it was meaningless. (See also: ‘The Science’).


The Science: A subset of scientific knowledge which cannot be challenged on the basis of empirical data or repeatable experiment because it has been ‘settled’ by the consensus between the subset of ‘experts’ who adhere to it.


Social distancing: Dystopian name given to the arbitrary physical distance recommended or by ‘experts’ or imposed by government to prevent ‘asymptomatic spread’. Should really be called ‘physical distancing’, but isn’t.


Asymptomatic spread: The curious idea that disease is spread in any significant way by people who are physically well, regardless of all previous (and most current) scientific evidence. The reason for ‘lockdown’.


Lockdown: A phrase borrowed from the penal system to denote protecting the health of the nation by inflicting isolation, missed education, stress and fear, limited healthcare and economic devastation on the whole of society, regardless of actual risk to individuals or proof of efficacy, to prevent ‘asymptomatic spread’.


Three weeks: Perpetuity (see ‘Lockdown’).


Nursing homes: Sssshhh! We don’t talk about that anymore. Look here comes another variant!


Case: Someone otherwise perfectly healthy who has unaccountably presented themselves for testing with a PCR test conducted so that it would find viral strands on Howard Hughes’s gloves.


R Number: a metric in epidemiology denoting the ability of a virus to spread. Once of vital importance and obsessively tracked and announced by the government and media on a daily basis it is now just sooooo 2020, darling – it’s all about variants this year don’cha know.


Infection fatality rate (IFR): Probably the most important metric in assessing the lethality of a pathogen, IFR is the percentage of infected people who die. For SARS-CoV-2 the current estimate is between 0.24% and 0.15% – for comparison bad flu is between 0.1 and 0.2% and rabies is 100%. Due to its vital importance, IFR is never mentioned by the mainstream media and most people have no idea what it means.


Variant: something 99.7% identical to an original thing, but with a scary name and good PR e.g. “the quadruple super-deadly [insert random geographical location] superspreader variant”


Superspreader event: Politically inconvenient gathering or event with a large number of people behaving normally, that subsequently does not spread anything except love, unity and information.


‘Expert’: Someone occupying an eminent position in academia who says the right things.


Source of misinformation: Someone occupying an eminent position in academia who says the wrong things (cf. ‘Expert’)


Influencers: Celebrities, Vloggers or social media figures with many followers who use their reach and popularity to persuade people of the wisdom of government policy about which they know less than nothing, usually in return for payments from the public purse.

Also includes brave heroes like those at the 77 Brigade, who fight the dangerous war against dis/misinformation from the doughnut and coffee-infested virtual trenches of an MOD computer suite (see also SPI-B)


SPI-B: The Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours – a group of psychologists, government officers and law enforcement “experts’ tasked with the vital role of making sure that the public are suitably terrified during a time of public health crisis – particularly by making them aware of said crisis and making it super-scary through ominous messaging in the media.

SPI-B work on the thoroughly ethical concept of using fear to elicit compliance, which has never yet been misused in human history and which has never damaged the mental and physical health of a populace or affected democracy, social harmony or freedom in any way.


Vaccine: Traditionally a preparation of dead viral/bacterial matter introduced to stimulate immune response and prevent infection – but now not so much that.


Vaxtrovert: Someone who gleefully tells anyone and everyone all about their vaccine experience without any prompting or particular desire to hear about the subject on the part of their interlocutors.


Public health policy: Focus on a single potential cause of death or illness to the exclusion of all others.


Herd immunity: Literally a fascist concept/policy…unless brought about by mass vaccination.


Adverse reaction: Totally coincidental illness or death following vaccination.


Health Passport: see: ‘Dompass’ and ‘kennkarte’.


Great Reset: Colossal resource grab and imposition of centralised technocratic control system – but with nice words like ‘equity’, ‘sustainability and ‘diversity’ thrown in to make it feel all warm and cuddly (see: ‘Build back better’, ‘Agenda 21/2030’ and ‘dystopian nightmare’)


Build back better: For oligarchs, not for you peasants.


Freedom: Slavery


Ignorance: Strength


The Nuremberg Code:…is that a Dan Brown novel?


Freedom of speech: Just watch what you say…


Rule of Law / civil rights: Sorry, what?
(read more)

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COVID is over…if you want it

"As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight.
And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air—however slight—lest we
become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

—Justice William O. Douglas

COVID is over…if you want it

Forty years ago, Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory lobbed a film into the cinematic stratosphere unlike any other then or since—a film that, on the surface, sounds like the dullest movie plot in history: two men meet for a meal and have a conversation.

And it is the most riveting quasi-fictional conversation ever recorded on celluloid.

It is a film that slashes to the heart of existence—from the quotidian delight of a cold cup of coffee surviving the night without insect encroachment to a mock death and resurrection ritual. You come away feeling, as Emily Dickinson puts it, “physically as if the top of [your] head were taken off.”

During one scene of Louis Malle’s coruscating My Dinner with Andre, Andre shares his encounter with an eighty-four-year–old English tree expert, who prophesies:

“I think that New York is the new model for the new concentration camp, where the camp has been built by the inmates themselves, and the inmates are the guards, and they have this pride in this thing that they’ve built—they’ve built their own prison—and so they exist in a state of schizophrenia where they are both guards and prisoners. And as a result, they no longer have—having been lobotomized—the capacity to leave the prison they’ve made or even to see it as a prison.”

Andre continues:

“And then he went into his pocket, and he took out a seed for a tree, and he said, ‘This is a pine tree.’ He put it in my hand and he said, ‘Escape before it’s too late.’”

Concentration Camp 2.0

Are we living in Concentration Camp 2.0? In the updated version, psychologically battered inmates amble around in a state of permanent learned helplessness, a brigade of Karens standing guard, eager to inform on anyone who demonstrates a faint alertness.

When they reach the invisible boundaries of their self-constructed walls, they stop. When the atmosphere grants permission to proceed, they tiptoe tentatively forward, cringing in anticipation of the thunderclap order to halt and reverse. And it comes. It almost always comes—but at random intervals, nerves fraying as they remain suspended in a state of perpetual tension, anxiety, and terror until the next shock.

After enough waves of dread, they forget. They forget what it was like before, and they forget what it was like ahead. They forget there is an outside. They forget they have the capacity to stride through those phantom walls. They forget they have agency over their own lives. They forget they possess the power of a collective, resounding “NO!”

Open-Air Prison

In another enthralling conversation—this time a real-life, contemporary one between hysterical Swiftian satirist CJ Hopkins and intrepid Planet Lockdown documentarian James Patrick captured by OVALmedia—Hopkins observes that the language of “lockdown” comes from prison (@ timestamp 25:41):

You brought up the term ‘lockdown.’ Where does this term come from? It comes from prisons. When do you lock down in a prison? When the prisoners get too rowdy.”

James Patrick then relays what a friend said when the lockdown first started,
“They’ve turned the whole world into an open-air prison.”

Two conversations between two men about self-imposed incarceration—four decades apart. The methods have become more sophisticated, but the principle remains the same: They with a capital ‘T’ are relying on you to enforce your own captivity. And the easiest way to do that is to ensure you never realize you’re enchained.

Submitting—with Pleasure

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

“We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more—we had no awareness of the real situation. We spent ourselves in one unrestrained outburst in 1917, and then we hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure!
Aleksandr SolzhenitsynThe Gulag Archipelago: Volume 1 (emphasis in original)

Far too many have submitted—with pleasure—to the ever-accelerating restrictions on our inalienable rights, clueless that such capitulations are historically followed by enslavement.

The compliant mock the contrarians, wearing their badges of obeisance with pride. They dutifully stand six feet apart, refrain from visiting unvaxxed family and friends, permit the closure of small businesses while patronizing multinational megacorporations, ridicule those who choose bodily autonomy over subjecting themselves to experimental genetic modification (all the while refusing, in a supreme irony, to let GMO Frankenfoods touch their precious lips), acquiesce to edicts requiring businesses to become complicit in the enforcement of their papers-please regulations … and then later, when the tyranny becomes too visible to ignore, they will marvel at how it all came about.

Solzhenitsyn captures the psychology that muzzles onlookers and even detainees during the early stages of mass arrests:

The majority sit quietly and dare to hope.… At what exact point, then, should one resist? When one’s belt is taken away? When one is ordered to face into a corner? When one crosses the threshold of one’s home? An arrest consists of a series of incidental irrelevancies, of a multitude of things that do not matter, and there seems no point in arguing about any one of them individually—especially at a time when the thoughts of the person arrested are wrapped tightly about the big question: ‘What for?’—and yet all these incidental irrelevancies taken together implacably constitute the arrest.”

Winning Our Enslavement

Étienne de La Boétie, cherished friend of Michel de Montaigne, puzzles over why people lazily submit to despotism in his 1552 work, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude:

It is incredible how as soon as a people becomes subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and so willingly that one is led to say, on beholding such a situation, that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement. It is true that in the beginning men submit under constraint and by force; but those who come after them obey without regret and perform willingly what their predecessors had done because they had to. This is why men born under the yoke and then nourished and reared in slavery are content, without further effort, to live in their native circumstance, unaware of any other state or right, and considering as quite natural the condition into which they were born.”

Numbed into complacency by an infinite array of Huxleyian divertissements, MSM disinformation bombardments, and social media bandwagoning crusades and availability cascades (both informational and reputational), today’s populace scarcely comprehends they are unfree, having been born into bondage and been reared in conformity from kindergarten to university. How are they to perceive the tightening of their shackles when they’re oblivious to their existence?

Twilight: Dusk or Dawn?

Yes, the oncoming night looks bleak, a midnight black that inks over our minds, imposing a communal amnesia that blots out memory of concepts like “free will,” “independence,” and “resistance.”

But twilight can precede dawn as well as dusk.

There are glimmers of light cracking through the mass delusion, reminding us the only reason it persists is we permit it to—like when 50,000 Italian restaurants reopened en masse in defiance of lockdown orders. Or when states like Florida never locked down, or when Sweden initially resisted global pressures to step in line with the rest of the world.

These rare Spartacus moments of peaceful defiance remind us the many drastically outnumber the few. Instead of watching gobstruck while the capos pitch dissidents into solitary confinement, we could raise our voices together in a roaring chorus of “NO” and cut our spider-silk manacles.

de La Boétie reveals the secret:

You can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.”

If we can gain a critical mass of awareness about the consensual nature of our subjugation, the puny cadre of autocrats manufacturing our mass subservience just might fall, like Wile E. Coyote plummeting to earth the moment he realizes he is floating mid-air.

Five Finger Death Punch’s Living the Dream video paints a vivid portrait of what awakening to tyranny might look like:


Audacious storytelling like this reminds us of the power of art to jar the sleeping to wakefulness.a (read more)

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Fauci has said: “Now is the time to just do what you are told.”"

The Etymological Animal Must Slip Out of the Cage of Habit to Grasp Truth

Etymology – from Greek, etymos, true, real, actual (the study of roots)

Life is full of slips.

Words slip out of our mouths to surprise us.  Thoughts slip into our minds to shock us.  Dreams slip into our nights to sometimes slip into our waking thoughts to startle us.  And, as the wonderful singer/songwriter Paul Simon, sings, we are always “slip sliding away,” a reminder that can be a spur to courage and freedom or an inducement to fear and shut-upness.

Slips are double-edged.

It is obvious that since September 11, 2001, and more so since the corona virus lockdowns and the World Economic Forum’s push for a Fourth Industrial Revolution that will lead to the marriage of artificial intelligence, cyborgs, digital technology, and biology, that the USA and other countries have been slipping into a new form of fascist control. 

Or at least it should be obvious, especially since this push has been accompanied by massive censorship by technology companies of dissenting voices and government crackdowns on what they term “
domestic terrorists.”  Dissent has become unpatriotic and worse – treasonous.

Unless people wake up and rebel in greater numbers, the gates of this electronic iron cage will quietly be shut.

In the name of teleological efficiency and reason, as Max Weber noted more than a century ago in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalismcapitalist elites, operating from within the shadows of bureaucratic castles such as The World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Health Organization WHO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank (WBG), The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Google, Facebook, the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, etc., – run by people whose faces are always well hidden – have been using digital technology to exert increasing control over the thoughts and actions of people worldwide.

They have been doing this not only by diktats but by manufacturing social habits – customary usages – through which they exert their social power over populations.  This linguistic and ideational propaganda is continually slipped into the daily “news” by their mainstream media partners in crime. They become social habits that occupy people’s minds and lead to certain forms of behavior.  Ideas have consequences but also histories because humans are etymological animals – that is, their ideas, beliefs, and behaviors have histories.  It is not just words that have etymologies.

When Weber said “a polar night of icy darkness” was coming in the future, he was referring to what is happening today.  Fascism usually comes on slowly as history has shown.  It slips in when people are asleep.

John Berger, commenting on the ghostly life of our received ideas whose etymology is so often lost on us, aptly said:

Our totalitarianism begins with our teleology.

And the teleology in use today is digital technology controlled by wealthy elites and governments for social control. For years they have been creating certain dispositions in the general public, as Jacques Ellul has said, “by working spells upon them and exercising a kind of fascination” that makes the public receptive to the digital life. 

This is accomplished slowly in increments, as permanent dispositions are established by slipping in regular reminders of how wonderful the new technology is and how its magical possibilities will make life so free and easy. Efficient. Happiness machines.  A close study of the past twenty-five years would no doubt reveal the specifics of this campaign.

In The Technological Society, Ellul writes:

…the use of certain propaganda techniques is not meant to entail immediate and definite adhesion to a given formula, but rather to bring about a long-range vacuity of the individual.  The individual, his soul massaged, emptied of his natural tendencies, and thoroughly assimilated to the group, is ready for anything.  Propaganda’s chief requirement is not so much to be rational, well-grounded, and powerful as it is to produce individuals especially open to suggestion who can easily be set into motion.

Once this softening up has made people “available,” the stage is set to get them to act impulsively.  Ellul again:

It operates by simple pressure and is often contradictory (since contradictory mass movements are sometimes necessary). Of course, this dissociation can be effective only after the propaganda technique has been fused with the popular mores and has become indispensable to the population. This stage may be reached quickly, as, for example, in Germany in 1942, after only ten years of psychic manipulation.

The end result, he argues, is the establishment of an abstract universe, in which reality is completely recreated in people’s minds.  This fake reality is truer than reality as the news is faked and people are formed rather than informed.

In today’s computer-driven world, one thing that people have been told for decades is to be vigilant that their computers do not become infected with viruses. This meme was slipped regularly into popular consciousness. To avoid infection, everyone was advised to make sure to have virus protection by downloading protection or using that provided by their operating systems, despite all the back doors built in which most have been unaware of.

Now that other incredible “machine” – the human body – can get virus “protection” by getting what the vaccine maker Moderna says is its messenger RNA (mRNA) non-vaccine “vaccine” that functions “like an operating system on a computer.”  First people must be softened up and made available and then “set in motion” to accept the solution to the fearful problem built in from the start by the same people creating the problem.

A slippery slope indeed.

But slipping is also good, especially when repetition and conventional thought rules people’s lives as it does today in a digital screen life world where algorithms often prevent creative breakthroughs, and the checking of hourly weather reports from cells is a commonplace fix to ease the anxiety of being trapped in a seemingly uncontrollable nightmare.  It seems you now do need computer-generated weather reports to know which way the wind blows.

In our culture of the copy, new thoughts are difficult and so the problems that plague society persist and get rehashed ad infinitum.  I think most people realize at some level of feeling if not articulation that they are caught in a repetitive cycle of social stasis that is akin to addiction, one that has been imposed on them by elite forces they sense but don’t fully comprehend since they have bought into this circular trap that they love and hate simultaneously. The cell phone is its symbol and the world-wide lockdowns its reality.

Even right now as the authorities grant a tactical reprieve from their cruel lockdowns if you obey and get experimentally shot with a non-vaccine vaccine, there is an anxious sense that another shoe will drop when we least expect it.  And it will.  But don’t say this out loud.

So repetition and constant change, seemingly opposites, suffuse society these days. The sagacious John Steppling captures this brilliantly in a recent article:

So ubiquitous are the metaphors and myths of AI, post humanism, transhumanism, et al. that they infuse daily discourse and pass barely noticed. And there is a quality of incoherence in a lot of this post humanist discourse, a kind of default setting for obfuscation…The techno and cyber vocabulary now meets the language of World Banking. Bourgeois economics provides the structural underpinning for enormous amounts of political rhetoric, and increasingly of cultural expression…This new incoherence is both intentional, and unintentional. The so-called ‘Great Reset’ is operationally effective, and it is happening before our eyes, and yet it is also a testament to just how far basic logic has been eroded…Advanced social atomization and a radical absence of social change. Today, I might argue, at least in the US (and likely much of Europe) there is a profound sense of repetitiveness to daily life. No matter one’s occupation, and quite possibly no matter one’s class. Certainly the repetitiveness of the high-net-worth one percent is of a different quality than that of an Uber driver. And yet, the experience of life is an experience of repetition.

A kind of flaccid grimness accompanies this sensibilityHumor is absent, and the only kind of laughter allowed is the mocking kind that hides a nihilistic spirit of resignation – a sense of inevitability that mocks the spirit of rebellion.  Everything is solipsistic and even jokes are taken as revelations of one’s personal life.

The other day I was going grocery shopping. My wife had written on the list: “heavy cream or whipping cream.”  Not knowing if there were a difference, I asked her which she preferred.  “I prefer whipping,” she said.

I replied, “But I don’t have a whip nor do they sell them at the supermarket.”

We both laughed, although I found it funnier than she.  She slipped, and I found humor in that. Because it was an innocent slip of the tongue with no significance and she had done the slipping, there was also a slippage between our senses of humor.

But when I told this to a few people, they hesitated to laugh as if I might be revealing some sado-masochistic personal reality, and they didn’t know whether to laugh or not.

It’s harder to laugh at yourself because we get uptight and are afraid to say the “wrong” things.  Many people come to the end of their lives hearing the tolling for their tongues that never spoke freely because of the pale cast of thought that has infected them.  Not their own thoughts, but thoughts that have been placed into their minds by their controllers in the mass media.

Freud famously wrote about slips of the tongue and tried to pin them down. In this he was a bit similar to a lepidopterist who pins butterflies.  We are left with the eponymous Freudian slips that sometimes do and sometimes don’t signify some revelation that the speaker does not consciously intend to utter.

It seems to me that in order to understand anything about ourselves and our present historical condition – which no doubt seems very confusing to many people as propagandists and liars spew out disinformation daily – we need to develop a way to cut through the enervating miasma of fear that grips so manyA fear created by elites to cower regular people into submission, as another doctor named Anthony Fauci has said: “Now is the time to just do what you are told.”

But obviously, words do matter, but what they matter is open to interpretation and sometimes debate.  To be told to shut up and do what you’re told, to censor differences of opinion, to impose authoritarian restrictions on free speech as is happening now, speech that can involve slips of the tongue, is a slippery slope in an allegedly democratic society.

Jim Garrison of JFK fame said that we live in a doll’s house of propaganda where the population is treated as children and fantasies have replaced reality. He was right.

So how can we break out of this deeply embedded impasse?

This is the hard part, for digital addiction has penetrated deep into our lives.

I believe we need to disrupt our routines, break free from our habits, in order to clearly see what is happening today.

We need to slip away for a while. Leave our cells. Let their doors clang shut behind. Abandon television. Close the computer. Step out without any mask, not just the paper kind but the ones used to hide from others.  Disburden our minds of its old rubbish. Become another as you go walking away. Find a park or some natural enclave where the hum and buzz quiets down and you can breathe. 

Recall that in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four the only place Winston Smith can escape the prying eyes and spies of Big Brother, the only place he can grasp the truth, was not in analyzing Doublethink or Crimestop, but “in a natural clearing, a tiny grass knoll surrounded by tall saplings that shut it in completely” and bluebells bloomed and a thrush sang madly. 

Here he meets his lover and they affirm their humanity and feel free and alive for a brief respite.  Here in the green wood, the green chaos, new thoughts have a chance to grow.  It is an old story and old remedy, transitory of course, but as vital as breathing.  In his profound meditation on this phenomenon, The Tree, John Fowles, another Englishman, writes:

It is not necessarily too little knowledge that causes ignorance; possessing too much, or wanting to gain too much, can produce the same thing.

I am not proposing that such a retreat is a permanent answer to the propaganda that engulfs us. But without it we are lost. 

Without it, we cannot break free from received opinions and the constant mental noise the digital media have substituted for thought.  Without it, we cannot distinguish our own thoughts from those slyly suggested to us to make us “available.” Without it, we will always feel ourselves lost, “shipwrecked upon things,” in the words of the Spanish philosopher Ortega Y Gasset.

If we are to take a stand against the endless lies and a world-wide war waged against regular people by the world’s elites, we must first take “a stand within the self, ensimismamiento,” by slipping away into contemplation. Only then, once we have clarified what we really believe and don’t believe, can we take meaningful action.

There’s an old saying about falling or slipping between the cracks. It’s meant to be a bad thing and to refer to a place where no one is taking care of you. The saying doesn’t make sense. For if you end up between the cracks, you are on the same ground where habits hold you in learned helplessness. Better to slip into the cracks where, as Leonard Cohen sings, “the light gets in.”

It may feel like you are slipping away, but you may be exploring your roots. (read more)

2021-06-07 d

A Primer for the Propagandized: Fear Is the Mind-Killer

“Totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere.”
—George Orwell

The noose is dangling gently around our necks. Every day, they cinch it tighter. By the time we realize it’s strangling us, it will be too late.

Those who – gradually and gleefully – sacrifice their freedoms, their autonomy, their individuality, their livelihoods, and their relationships on the altar of the “common good” have forgotten this is the pattern followed by every totalitarian regime in history.

Everyone wonders how ordinary Germans could have been manipulated to participate or stand dumbstruck while their government was transformed into a genocidal juggernaut. This is how. Read
Sebastian Haffner’s Defying Hitler memoir to see how this can happen anywhere—including here.

Everyone wonders how Russians could have permitted and even zealously reported fellow citizens for imprisonment and execution under Article 58, the penal code invented to incarcerate anyone who dared express the slightest whisper of noncompliance under Stalin’s homicidal state. This is how. Read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s meticulously documented The Gulag Archipelago to witness this progression of authoritarian lunacy.

Everyone wonders how Hutus could have suddenly started axing their Tutsi neighbors to death after being inundated with waves of anti-Tutsi propaganda from Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines. Read Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.

The list goes on. And on. And on. From Machiavelli’s The Prince to Étienne de la Boetie’s The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude to Edward Herman’s and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent (and accompanying documentary) to BBC’s The Century of the Self, mechanisms of mass control have been chronicled for millennia.

George Orwell wrote,

As far as the mass of the people go, the extraordinary swings of opinion which occur nowadays, the emotions which can be turned on and off like a tap, are the result of newspaper and radio hypnosis.”

Can you imagine what master propagandist Edward Bernays would have done with access to today’s mainstream media conglomerate combined with the global surveillance infrastructure of Big Tech? And you really think that’s not happening now—with another century of psychological, neurological, and technological research under their belts?

The present ability to curate reality and coerce obedience is unprecedented, far beyond what Orwell envisioned in 1984, Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451, Huxley in Brave New World, and Burgess in A Clockwork Orange.

A textbook example of Problem Reaction Solution, the current tsunami of worldwide hysteria is the latest and potentially most threatening example of mass control in history.

The recipe is simple. Take a naturally occurring phenomenon, say a seasonal virus, and exaggerate its threat far beyond every imagining—despite exhaustive evidence to the contrary. Suppress, silence, ostracize, and demonize every individual who dares present facts that expose the false mono-narrative.

Whip up a witches’ brew of anger, envy, and, most importantly, fear, escalating emotions to a boil so as to short-circuit our faculties of reason and logic.

Isolate us from one another, supplant real-world interactions with virtual feuds, label nonconformists as a threat to the group, and pump the public with a disinformation campaign designed to confuse and atomize. In essence, foster a cult-like mentality that shuts down thought to guarantee assent.

Cultivate and wield our cognitive biases—especially ingroup bias, conformity bias, and authority bias—against us in a comprehensive divide-and-conquer policy that keeps us too busy squabbling amongst each other to recognize and unite against those corralling us into a Matrix-like collective delusion that enables the powerful to extract our resources for their own gain.

This ideological mass psychosis is religion—not science. If this were about science, the Media–Pharmaceutical–Big-Tech complex would not be memory-holing every dissenting voice, vilifying every thought criminal, and censoring every legitimate inquiry in quest of the truth.

Mark Twain said, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

He also said:

>“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

The next time you’re watching the news, reading a social media post, listening to a friend repeat a scripted talking point, pay attention. Learn to identify the earmarks of propaganda, the clickbait used to trigger your emotions, the mechanisms employed to engineer your cognitive biases.

Don’t let your pride prevent you from seeing—and admitting—the Emperor is naked. We are losing our last sliver of opportunity to resist authoritarianism.

This is not a partisan issue. Those who wish to control us have made it such because disunited lemmings are easier to steer than independent, critical thinkers.

This is a human issue. This is about crushing the middle class—the backbone of a democratic republic—and transferring trillions from the middle and lower classes to the ruling plutocracy. This is about demolishing the foundations of a free society and building it back—not better, but better-controlled.

I will close by recommending a series of illuminating videos on menticide (“the systematic effort to undermine and destroy a person’s values and beliefs … to induce radically different ideas”) throughout history by Academy of Ideas. This analysis of mass psychosis is nonpartisan and of value to every thinking human being.

Dare to question. Dare to disbelieve. Dare to defy ideology in favor of science while you still can. (read more)

2021-06-07 c

71% of Democrats think healthy people should continue to stay home: poll

A whopping 71 percent of Democrats in the United States want healthy people to stay home “as much as possible,” even as vaccinations soar and new coronavirus infections have plummeted, according to a new survey from Gallup.

In contrast, 87 percent of Republicans surveyed and 64 percent of independents said it was time for people to start living normally after more than a year of pandemic [of lies] shutdowns and working from home.

The partisan divide continued for questions about how quickly respondents had jumped back into their normal routines.

As of May 2021, 57 percent of Democrats said their lives had fully or somewhat returned to how it had been before the pandemic. That number was 77 percent for Republicans and 68 percent for independents.

But in a bright spot, American optimism about the overall trajectory of the coronavirus situation in the United States reached a new high, with 84 percent of respondents saying things were getting better, while fears about contracting the virus reached a new low.

“Americans’ concern about the coronavirus has greatly diminished as the majority are now at least partially vaccinated, cases have been dropping, and state and local restrictions on public activity have been cut back significantly or removed completely,” Gallup said in an overall assessment of the data. (read more)

2021-06-07 b
"For one thing, look around, some Americans are still diligently wearing masks. They’re wearing them alone, outside, even post-vaccination."

Was mask-wearing pointless after all? Fauci must be forced to answer

Did we ever need masks?

It’s a touchy, complex question. People may not want to learn that millions of us covered our faces for 15 months for no good reason after all. But asking the questions is exactly what we must do.

Last week, a trove of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails were released to the public. In a Feb. 5, 2020, email to a Team Obama health official, the ­virus guru wrote that masks were for infected people, and that “the typical mask you buy in a drug store is not really effective in keeping out the virus, which is small enough to pass through the material.”

Fauci now claims that new information emerged in the time since that email proving the efficacy of masks. But did it? What was that new information?

Did the virus magically grow in size, so that the masks could contain it? When he referred to masks in the drug store at that point, he meant medical masks. But most Americans spent more than a year wearing cloth masks. If medical masks couldn’t contain the tiny ­virus, how could the cloth ones? Can Fauci point to any studies showing that masks made a significant difference in containing the coronavirus?

These are questions that should be asked of Fauci today. Instead, we have an adoring press that ­refuses to do its job.

Scoring the first interview with Fauci after the email release, MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace made sure to compliment the discredited doc, saying, “The true mark of someone is if they look good even when their personal emails come out, so you pass the test very few of us would pass.”

I’m sorry, come again? Was she interviewing her bestie for the school paper before prom? Or did the nation need serious answers from the top doctor who determined our pandemic response?

Our news cycles move incredibly fast. We get over things. We move on, for good and ill. And it’s understandable not to want to look back at the difficult days we went through to figure out what we did wrong. What difference, at this point, does it make, right? But before we bury the fact that we may have needlessly worn face coverings for more than a year, we need to get some answers. It matters.

For one thing, look around, some Americans are still diligently wearing masks. They’re wearing them alone, outside, even post-vaccination. If Fauci terrified these people to the point where they feel safer wearing a mask, despite never having needed one in the first place, we have a duty to help them leave irrationality behind by exposing the truth.

There also were people who were ticketed and publicly humiliated for not wearing a mask; businesses that didn’t enforce mask-wearing faced fines. The question of whether masks made a difference in fighting COVID is one that matters very much to them. In New York last spring, Mayor Bill de Blasio was forced to reconsider policies that had police fining or actually arresting people who ­refused to mask.

On Friday, New York state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker sent a letter to Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ­informing her that the Empire State was going to allow school districts to make masking optional. Yet the New York City Department of Education almost immediately rejected the idea that Gotham school kids could unmask.

So yes, the growing possibility of a grand Faucian error continues to matter. It matters to a 5-year-old forced to mask on a New York pavement in 90-degree heat during recess.

You don’t have to think Fauci is evil to believe that he made some glaring errors that now need to be corrected. He was constantly on TV, frequently contradicting himself and often causing confusion. It isn’t some conspiracy theory to say so. This is what happened: He is a poor communicator and a control freak, and a fawning media magnified his flaws.

The lack of real questions was a problem throughout the pandemic. Now that we are almost on the other side, it’s fair to demand real answers. (read more)

2021-06-07 a

“The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders.”

— John Taylor Gatto

-06-06 f
HOMICIDAL FEELINGS from a Pakistani psychiatrist with issues  (Imagine if a white person were to say such things about blacks.)

'The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind'

A psychiatrist lecturing at Yale's Child Study Center spoke about 'unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way.'

A few weeks ago, someone sent me a recording of a talk called “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind.” It was delivered at the Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center by a New York-based psychiatrist as part of Grand Rounds, an ongoing program in which clinicians and others in the field lecture students and faculty. 

When I listened to the talk I considered the fact that it might be some sort of elaborate prank. But looking at the doctor’s social media, it seems completely genuine.

Here are some of the quotes from the lecture:

  • This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil. (Time stamp: 6:45)

  • I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a fucking favor.  (Time stamp: 7:17)

  • White people are out of their minds and they have been for a long time.  (Time stamp: 17:06)

  • We are now in a psychological predicament, because white people feel that we are bullying them when we bring up race. They feel that we should be thanking them for all that they have done for us. They are confused, and so are we. We keep forgetting that directly talking about race is a waste of our breath. We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks that they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. It ain’t gonna happen. They have five holes in their brain. It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. It’s just like sort of not a good idea. (Time stamp 17:13)

  • We need to remember that directly talking about race to white people is useless, because they are at the wrong level of conversation. Addressing racism assumes that white people can see and process what we are talking about. They can’t. That’s why they sound demented. They don’t even know they have a mask on. White people think it’s their actual face. We need to get to know the mask. (Time stamp 17:54)

Here’s the poster from the event. Among the “learning objectives” listed is: “understand how white people are psychologically dependent on black rage.”


We’ve uploaded the lecture so you can listen to the whole thing yourself. Apologies for the less-than-stellar audio quality.

The talk, which was delivered via video in early April, was open to the public. But after it was delivered, Yale made the tape available only to those with a school ID. It was posted along with a trigger warning for “profanity and imagery for violence.” 

Katie Herzog, who wrote yesterday about the spread of wokeness in medicine, interviewed the psychiatrist who delivered the talk, Dr. Aruna Khilanani.


K.H.: Clearly the national conversation has changed a lot. I think in 2007, 2008, there were probably very few people who knew what anti-racism was. There was a lot more ignorance on the part of white people. Do you think things have changed in any meaningful way? 

A.K.: In some places things are starting to change, in other places, they really can’t reflect on themselves because there’s a lot to lose. I have a question for you. 


Is what you're writing going to be from a conservative perspective?

Well, I’m not conservative so, no.   

I ask because I actually think that conservatives are psychologically healthier. 


They are more in touch with their anger and negative feelings. They can articulate it. They can say it, they’re not covering it up or like “Oh my god, I’m amazing, I love all people.” There's not all this liberal fluff of goodness. Conservatives can go there. They can say things that are uncomfortable that I think liberals would shirk at or move away from or deny. 

I would feel more comfortable hanging out with Ann Coulter than a lot of liberals because she’s unlikely to do anything. She’s in contact with her anger and her hatred, and I think that needs to be worked through, don't get me wrong, for the country to heal, but she's actually in contact with those feelings that a lot of people can't say out loud and that's a safer space. Now do I agree with her? No. But liberals have no access to that at all. The thought is forbidden. 

It sounds like what you're saying is that you think liberals would be healthier if they expressed racism. 

Absolutely. Well, not racism, because racism is an action. Racism occurs in a couple situations: when you are unaware of aspects of your unconscious, then it will come out in the form of an action. So if you are not aware of your own hatred and rage, it’s going to come out in an action if the feeling is not metabolized. For people who can say that they hate something and work through that feeling, then there’s more hope there. That’s where the work really needs to happen. I can’t really help the liberal who says, “There’s no problem here.” I can't do that much with that person. This country doesn't really give white people the tools to deal with their negative feelings. 

I know you have a background in critical theory. How did you go from academia to psychiatry? 

My masters is in humanities and the focus is largely on critical theory. I don't know if you’re familiar with the University of Chicago, but it was very critical theory-heavy when I went. I did pre-med stuff in undergrad and had always been thinking of these issues. I also majored in English Lit and wondered about other ways of thinking. And I was interested in the unconscious for a long time, so it wasn't that big of a jump for me. 

From my experience, therapists tend to act pretty neutral. Is your practice like that? 

Not at all. I think that's a part of the racist aspect of psychoanalysis, this idea that people are neutral is, I think, a complete fiction. But I would say that who I am inside the room is exactly who I am outside the room. My patients have a pretty good sense of who I am. I’m not the stereotype of the psychoanalyst where I’m withholding or won’t say anything or will just be there as a sounding board because that sounds really fucking cold and empty. That sounds awful. I do have people sit with their emotions and get into unconscious stuff but I’m there as myself to be with them. 

Talk to me about the unconscious. What is this? 

Critical theory is about how you are positioned in the world. Ever since I was a little kid, since I’ve interacted with people who are white, and especially white women, I would notice that things were really off. So what I’ve done by going through psychoanalytic training, which is all about getting in touch with the unconscious, is literally work backwards. I'm like, “Ok, I’ve noticed that white people tend to put me in certain roles. White women will experience me this way, white men will experience me this way.” I'm going to use psychoanalysis to work backwards and treat all of this as a projection to see what I can learn about their mind.

What do your sessions look like? 

I don’t do CBT [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy], I don’t do DBT [Dialectical Behavioral Therapy], I don’t do med management, except like once every three months. I only do intensive psychotherapy or intensive psychoanalysis with or without meds. I largely work with the unconscious. What does it look like? It's different for everybody, but the way people organize their anxiety is usually very meaningful. And the narrative they tell me about it is how they are uniquely suffering. I feel like it's my job to help them with that. 

Do you think that it’s your mission or your job or your duty to get to the root of a white person's racism or deal with their whiteness? 

No. That makes it seem like it’s for me. If I were to do that it would be selfish as fuck. Do I focus on ways I think race is seeped into everything, yes, but it’s not for me. I can actually see how white people are suffering in a way that is very unique and different from people of color. 

What is the difference between white peoples' suffering and the suffering of people of color? 

People of color, myself included, suffer from being positioned in the world, psychologically, and the stuff that goes with it: violence, this, that. Now, white people suffer from problems of their own mind. They suffer with trust, they suffer with intimacy, they suffer with closeness, shame, guilt, anxiety. They suffer with their minds. Don’t get me wrong, people of color are also neurotic and have their own stuff and ups and downs. But there is a fundamental issue I think that is very unique to white suffering and I think that’s their own mind. 

What would you say is the cause of this? 

I think it’s colonialism. That history. If you do this much lying to yourself it's going to have an effect on your mind. There's no way it can’t. 

How does that work? Are you talking about some kind of epigenetics or the passing down of the collective unconscious? I’m an American, a white woman, I don't have any direct experience with colonialism although I’m sure I've benefited from it in some ways, but it’s hard to see how I would be traumatized by this thing that happened before I was born. 

I don’t think you do feel traumatized. White people experience this as normal. That’s their level of functioning that feels normal but it’s picked up in everything. It’s picked up in history, it's picked up in all aspects of culture. 

Could you give me an example? 

Of what? 

Of how this is picked up in all aspects of culture. How do you see the after-effects of colonialism manifesting itself in the white mind today? 

It’s going to be hard for me to give you a one sentence soundbite on this but I would say, a high level of guilt. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Other than in white people not eating bread, an incredible level of shame. Feeling really exposed all the time. A lot of perfectionistic tendencies. Not letting themselves move forward. Experiencing themselves as passive a lot. 

So you think this is the effect of history?

I don’t think it’s an effect of history, I think it’s the effect of telling the lie. If you commit these acts, I don’t think someone is going to bitch slap you in the future. What got passed along were these lies about what actually happened. And those lies are internalized and become part of the culture. 

What lie specifically are you talking about? 

One lie would be that any time white people say they discovered something. Any time they steal something they use the word “discovery.”

You mean like food? Culture? 

This country. That’s part of the rhetoric — “We discovered a country.” You haven’t discovered shit! But this idea is everywhere. Look at food bloggers who are like, “I invented something new,” and you're like, “Oh so you added flaky salt. You added a twig of parsley.” Everything else is stolen.

It does seem like you generalize a lot about white people but also people of color. Why do you do that? 

What do you feel is a generalization? 

Like white people having a high level of guilt or not eating bread. That’s true for some people, for sure. But I eat bread. 

You asked me before, what is the unconscious? I think the unconscious is coming out right now between you and I. This idea that I’m the one that's generalizing is, I think, a defensive reaction to my talking about whiteness. You feel put on the spot and so I'm the one that's generalizing. 

So you don’t think that you are generalizing? 

This idea that I’m the one generalizing is actually defensive. Do I really believe on some level that every single white person is racist? No. Clearly. I have one percent left of that friend group. [In the lecture, Dr. Khilanani explains she has cut most of her white friends out of her life.] So no, I don’t. At the same time, I'm saying how it functions psychologically when someone says “You can’t say that,” and “Not all of us,” what you’re saying subconsciously is “I’m the exception to what you just said and you made me feel like I'm a racist and I don't experience myself that way. I do not want to experience myself as a racist and I'm going to turn the tables on you and say you're the racist because you're generalizing and that’s what a racist does."

Let's talk about your practice. You've mentioned that you treat a lot of white people and you treat “whiteness.” What is the distinction between the two? 

I wouldn’t say there is a distinction. For example, for white women, I do help a lot with passive-aggressiveness — not being able to use their voice, say things, feeling like there will be a negative consequence. White people have an intense level of guilt. I have never seen a level of guilt that I see among white people. I mean, white people don't eat bread. Think about that. There have been wars all over the world over grains and bread and only here, white people are depriving themselves. Think about that shit. Everyone has this gluten allergy and you're like, what the fuck is a gluten allergy? That's a psychosomatic symptom. If you actually talk to a GI doctor, they're going to say, “Well, there’s Celiac and there's everything else” with a wink, and you know what the “everything else” is. It’s all the guilty gluten people. 

Sure. There are lots of white people who don't eat bread, although I am not one of them. I exclusively eat bread, and I’m also skeptical of some claims of gluten intolerance but my assumption has always been that they’re just buying into pseudoscientific B.S. and following health trends. You think it’s white guilt? 

On an emotional level, absolutely. Like, if I raise an eyebrow at a white person around bread, the first response is like, “It’s real.” What does that mean? They mean it’s not psychological.

Right. It’s a medical issue, not a mental one. 

I don’t deny that people may get symptoms, but how is it that all these people suddenly now, after all the violence has occurred, are not eating bread. It’s like the weirdest fucking thing. 

But what does bread have to do with violence? What’s the connection there? 

I think the bread is about guilt and needing to keep them in a state of deprivation and stay guilty. 

Do you think white people should feel guilty? 

No, I think guilt is the most useless emotion on the planet. What function does it serve? It's not helpful. 

Let's talk about your talk, “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind.” How did you get invited to do Grand Rounds at Yale in the first place? 

I was invited to do it. A big part of my practice is also doing consultations for marginalized people and how they've been harmed in treatments, usually psychiatric or psychological treatments.

Ok so the talk was in April, and it was public? 


So walk me through what happened. You get invited, you give them the title of the talk, and then what?

Nothing. There was not a response for a long period of time. I was kind of surprised because usually people want to know a lot of details. And then I think, and I’m not sure about this, maybe they only put the announcement out the day before. 

So not a lot of notice.  

I’m not sure. This is what I think because I only got the concerns as relayed to me from the dean right before. I didn’t hear any concerns prior to that. 

Let me pull up the email you forwarded me from the dean real quick. The message is from someone in the department to the dean and it says: “Good morning, I was surprised to see the announcement for tomorrow’s grand rounds. I imagine replacing the words ‘white mind’ with ‘Asian mind’ or ‘gay mind’ as we work towards equity and inclusion and unity. I wonder what impact this presentation will have.” Let's just address that. “Imagine replacing the words ‘white mind’ with ‘Asian mind’ or ‘gay mind’ as we work towards equity and inclusion and unity.” What’s your response to this? Does this person have a point? 

I think part of the anxiety is my using the word “white” and them having to reflect on that. And there was the use of the word “equity.” When I’m breaking this down psychologically, what they’re saying on some level is like, “We need things to be the same. If you can say ‘white,’ we can say ‘Asian.’” Psychologically, they’re actually making a false equivalence. What they’re doing psychologically is obliterating the difference between white and Asian, and if you obliterate the difference there’s no fucking problem here so shut up, you're the real racist. That’s how it functions psychologically. 

Let’s go through a bit of your talk here. You write: “This is the cost of talking to white people at all. The cost of your own life, as they suck you dry. There are no good apples out there. White people make my blood boil. Around five years ago, I took some actions. I systematically white-ghosted most of my white friends. And got rid of the couple white BIPOCs that snuck in my crew too. I  stopped watching the news. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I have less than one percent left.  It was also a public service. I had fantasies of unloading a revolver into the head of any white person that got in my way, burying their body, and wiping my bloody hands as I walked away relatively guiltless with a bounce in my step. Like I did the world a fucking favor.” I can imagine that for some people the response to hearing a respected professional like yourself say that white people suck you dry and there are no good apples is going to be shame.

I think what a lot of people felt wasn’t shame but horror that I was in touch with aggressive feelings. 

Sure. That makes sense. Do you find that this sort of rhetoric is effective or do people reject what you're saying because it is violent? 

Before I gave the talk, I said, I want you to observe your thoughts and feelings as I talk. I said, there's a difference between a thought, a fantasy, and an action. Now, my reflection on my own rage was actually that I was feeling impotent. So that's where I was going with that. And kind of normalizing feelings of hatred. This is stuff that exists and I need to dive deep within myself to reflect on how it is that I got here. So there is a reality here, like did I actually cut white people out of my life? Absolutely.

When you were going through this process of cutting white people out of your life, what specifically would lead you to that decision? 

Having the same conversations with people on repeat. People getting defensive, needing to argue, being unable to take in what I’m saying. An ability to say they’re not racist. And on repeat. I think my favorite responses were, “Well, you’re really sensitive. You’re over-reacting.” Focusing on my feelings. White women will often tell me that I’m really edgy and I’m like, “That’s so interesting that you're focused on my edginess. Have you reflected on why they might be?” But they can’t go there. 

This reminds me a bit of Robin D’Angelo's writings, where she talks about how often in her trainings, the response from white women in particular is being defensive and shutting down. She calls this “white fragility,” but I'm curious about the effect. Do you find this is effective? 

It depends on who my audience is. Do I think that that is effective for someone who is not in a place where they think there’s a problem with them? No, I don’t. Do I think it's effective for people who are a little bit scared but also kind of curious? Yeah, I do. I know my audience and what my own limits are. I’m for the people who want to walk into the other room and see how we view you. That’s who my audience is. In a private practice setting, no, I don’t do that and that’s because it's a fucking asshole thing to do. I need to be where they are at. When I’m speaking publicly, I need to invite someone into my room. This is how I talk with other people of color, this is how I talk with my black friends, this is how I talk with my Asian friends. This is how we talk about you. When I have patients, it's the other way around. I need to be humble and be where they're at. I need to sit with them and understand what they are going through. I feel like I've deepened a lot of my empathy for how much white people suffer from my white patients. 

Let’s go through some other sections of the talk. 

Did you have any reaction to it?

I found parts of it difficult to hear, for sure. I also found it refreshingly honest. There was one part that I really liked. You say: “White people love talking about race right now. You cannot get them to shut the fuck up. It makes them feel good. And, they also imagine it makes us feel good to see their true enlightenment. Talking  about racism is a form of self-congratulatory masturbation. White people exchange pleasantries,  without really addressing racism. It serves no purpose in connecting other than to jerk themselves off.” 

I’m surrounded by people who do that, especially on social media. I find it very performative and it seems disingenuous. It also just seemed to appear overnight after the death of George Floyd. It's like every one I know decided to be an anti-racist the next day. They might not have known what that meant but they bought “White Fragility” and Ibram Kendi and maybe read them or maybe just posted photos of them on social media. It felt very performative and self-congratulatory and trendy to me. But I am curious about what you see is the solution here, because you say that white people love talking about race but in another part, you say that talking with white people about race is a “waste of our breath.” You say, “We are asking a demented, violent predator who thinks they are a saint or a superhero, to accept responsibility. They have five holes in their brain. It’s not going to happen. It’s like banging your head against a brick wall. Not a good idea.” But you do talk to white people about race. You were doing it at Yale. Walk me through that. 

I’m saying that talking about race right now like white people are doing, like occupying that much space for something they’ve never actually gone through but see themselves as self-appointed experts as, it serves a defensive function to not feel a negative feeling because if you're teaching about it and you're able to give and help, you don’t actually have to do the thing that is harder, which is feel negative feelings. So when I was saying that talking to white people is useless, I'm not actually really saying it's useless because if I really thought it was useless I wouldn't devote time to doing this. I'm talking about an experience that I have, that people of color have, of futility when coming up against a psychological defense. So it’s an experience of futility.

So do you think white people who talk about racism all the time, and I think we could probably picture the stereotype of how that might be, do you think that they're easier to reach because at least they acknowledge the existence of racism? 

No, I think they’re harder to reach. Their defenses are up, right? You have to be very arrogant to imagine that you're suddenly a teacher of something you're never gone through. That is an incredible level of arrogance. Your psychological defenses are high, they’re intact, they’re rigid. So that is actually harder. People are feeling very upset right now that what they thought they were going to have — a job, a position — is suddenly now being threatened by people of color. Now actually talking about that and saying that out loud is healthier because they can say it. They're like. “I’m mad. I thought that I should be able to get this thing and now I feel like it's been taken away from me.” That’s a lot of people’s experience right now. Suddenly they feel like what should be rightfully theirs has been taken away. But actually what's happening is that the playing field is being leveled and they have to go through a loss as they lose their unearned advantage. That’s hard. But if someone doesn't have access to that feeling and can't get mad or feel pissed off because they don't think that exists, that’s harder. That's going to be harder for them emotionally. They’ll be like, “It’s fine, I’m fine.” How could you be fine? Your entire world operated one way and suddenly what you thought was certain and what you thought was going to be yours, you are no longer sure is going to be coming your way. That's scary. 

When you talk about it like that it does seem like you think that white people are going to have to give something up for equity. Do you think that's true and if so what is that thing that white people are going to have to give up? 

It’s not a thing. It’s a way of being. It's a level of certainty and control that just kind of came for them before. 

Are you talking about jobs or money or . . . ?

Yeah, a lot of things. But I also think there's a loss they have to go through that is psychological, too, and this might be the harder thing. If you know one way of existing and that's been your way of existing and suddenly that feels like it’s changing on you, that’s terrifying. 

A lot of people say that the election of Donald Trump was a reaction to this, but then Donld Trump had a higher share of black and Latino votes in 2020. How do you explain something like that? 

It’s internalized whiteness. After a period of time, you're going to start internalizing these things because you're attacked. 

You say in your talk, “I got rid of the couple white BIPOCs that snuck in my crew too.” What is a white BIPOC?

It's someone who has internalized a lot of these thoughts. It's the same thing.

The way that you talk about whiteness, it’s almost like it’s a state of being. Is that correct?

I would say it’s a state of mind that affects how you think consciously and how you think unconsciously. 

Are all white people afflicted by whiteness?

It’s impossible to not be. You would have to do an incredible level of work to not be. 

It sounded like your talk was very well received by the audience. But what happened afterwards?

There were a lot of delays before Yale posted it. They said they were going to put out the talk the following Monday and that they had received a ton of requests for this talk so they wanted to get it up quickly. And then it didn’t happen. People started emailing them requesting the talk and they got very different responses. First they were saying that there were some technical difficulties and then they told another person that this was a chronic issue and that there are many other talks that need to be released and they need to go in order. That was brand new. Like, if you’ve been working on this for six weeks, why not say that before? “It’s white amnesia, I just suddenly remembered that we are having this IT difficulty. Whoops!” Then I begin to hear from different people that there is this stuff going on at Yale about the talk, that there’s pressure building, that a lot of the people wanted to know what was going on, so people started to complain internally and demand that the video be put up. Then they released it internally only. Of course they didn’t call me during any of this. 

When we were corresponding via email you said people were afraid. What are they afraid of?

I guess it would be retaliation. It's sort of like that question you asked me about racism when I was in residency, and it's like this stuff happens to me every minute of every day. They get very angry if you start to stick up for yourself. It really elicits a lot of rage and a lot of retaliation. 

And this was people trying to get access to the video, they were afraid to ask for it?

I think people were afraid to put their names on things, that kinda thing. 

It’s interesting that you say that because I’ve been interviewing clinicians for this series who are opposed to social justice ideology in medicine and who see the need for progress but who don't like what’s going on. And nobody will put their name on anything. A lot of people talk about how cancel culture is stifling discourse and people are afraid of consequences, so it’s interesting to me that we’re talking about two different groups of people and these people who aren’t woke are afraid and you’re saying that the people who are woke are afraid, too. What does that tell you about the moment that we’re living in right now?

That everyone is scared to change, I think. People of color are scared of retaliation and consequences for speaking and owning their own thoughts. It’s a responsibility issue, too. If you are opposed to social justice, why wouldn’t you say that? 

Because they’re afraid. They all say the same thing, they think they’ll be penalized if it's known that they oppose antiracism. They’re afraid of retaliation. 

They’re afraid of retaliation or afraid of being judged?

Probably both. There have been examples of people who’ve lost their jobs. You see people fired for a bad tweet or lost their attending privileges because of a tweet. 

Everyone is terrified and it might be different what that terror is, but for the people who are opposed to it, I wonder if they’re doing any work with their thoughts and feelings or their own, what their fears and anxieties are. (read more and listen to the recording)

Reader Comment: nancy2001
How on earth did this dangerous, mentally disturbed woman ever get into a psychiatry training program, let alone graduate from one? She spews forth a toxic word salad about her fantasy of committing a mass shooting along racial lines, her resentment about not getting some vacation time years ago and her rage about people's gluten free diets. I once spent time with a woman who was having a psychotic breakdown, and the resemblance is striking. What was Yale thinking?

2021-06-06 e

Stop Saying ‘Of Course, Racism Still Exists, But . . .’

Today, that “but” is the biggest elephant in the room.

Recently, a liberal friend of mine, after reading one of my articles on some aspect of “woke” overreach, sent me one of those “OK, yeah, but of course, racism is still very much real today, and here’s a recent study about ongoing discrimination against minorities” responses.

And if I were of the same mind as many other well-meaning traditional liberals, moderates, and even conservatives, I would have responded in kind, with an anodyne acknowledgment that, “Yes, of course, racism still exists, but . . . ”

Instead, here is what I said.

I think to talk about racism being “very much real” today is sort of like a Bolshevik, some 20 years after the 1917 Revolution, saying, “Don’t forget that the oppression of the proletariat is still very much real today,” implying that our main task remains to fight the capitalist oppressors.

The statement is, strictly speaking, true in both cases. I’m sure the Bolshevik could’ve easily found many examples of continuing anti-proletarian bias and oppression just like you did in the case of racism, but both statements are, in a more fundamental sense, off their rocker. They’re missing the much larger elephant in the room.

We’re living in the midst of a hysterical race war, we have nursery schools shamelessly teaching four-year-olds to become hyperconscious of their and others’ skin pigments; we have universities and employers shamelessly using overt, legal discrimination in admissions, hiring, and promotion; we have blatantly anti-white rhetoric being spouted by all the organs of the mainstream media, the entertainment industry and woke capital; we have the mayor of Chicago openly saying she’s only going to grant one-on-one interviews to minority journalists.

And in such an environment, you’re sending me a study showing continuing individual bias against minorities?

We are perpetually fighting the last war instead of this one. We were slow on the uptake and late to intervene when the shades-of-gray clashes of World War I were displaced by the stark good-versus-evil apocalypse of World War II. We were still de-Nazifying when the iron curtain of Soviet Communism descended to divide the world in twain. We were still committed to the bilateral superpower geopolitics of the Cold War when loose networks of non-state-actor Islamic jihadi terrorists flew into town on guided missiles fashioned out of our own airplanes.

And on and on it goes.

Today, many of us—ironically, those who consider themselves most forward-thinking—are mired in a backward, all-guns-blazing struggle for racial justice that might have made sense in 1765, 1865, or 1965. But waging that battle in the 2020s is about as sensible as expending our resources to mount an aggressive defense against the prospect of Great Britain invading to take back its wayward colonies.

Most humans, alas, are not great at changing up our overarching paradigms. As the influential philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn argued, governing paradigms, as a rule, don’t get shifted even in academic settings until the generation reared in one paradigm ages into retirement and is replaced by new blood. If academics, our purported stewards of the “examined life,” our supposed models of inquisitiveness and open-mindedness, fail so glaringly in this respect, what hope is there for the rest of us?

We live our lives immersed in the haphazard stream of events unfolding in our midst, and our local existences interface with the global only when mass cataclysms and other earth-shattering events strike or else in the unsystematic dribs and drabs we get from the distorting lens of whatever media we might consume. Our impressions, once formed, are slow to die, and propaganda that capitalizes upon those impressions is like a virus latching on to receptors primed for its infiltration.

This is the reason the Left wants us to stay narrowly focused on what happened centuries ago—on slavery, on 1619.

It is time to wake up and look around.

Look at what is happening now, today.

Look at our universities, our schools, our media, our public policy. The relics of anti-black racism that still linger today are just that: relics. Like all relics, they are often out of sight, stashed away in attics, basements, and odd corners. As such, they are perfect targets for relentless relic-hunters, who will rush in like triumphant conquering heroes and hold up for all the world to see yet more finds they have unearthed, giving them Orwellian names like “systemic racism” and “institutional racism” and “structural racism” and racism so microscopically tiny that it follows the laws of quantum mechanics and materializes only when the dedicated professional race-hustler peering at thin air with an electron microscope wishes it into existence. And the game is great for these profiteers because it is necessarily neverending, as we are so eager to find buried treasure that we will, again and again, mistake worthless baubles for the real thing.

 So, yes, of course, racism still exists, but . . .

But everything. That “but” is everything. Nearly 60 years of Great Society benefits entailing a massive wealth transfer from white Americans to black Americans. Decades of affirmative action that was supposed to be a temporary fix to level the playing field but slyly morphed into a policy of permanent legalized discrimination. Diversity quotas in nearly every major American institution. Black people overrepresented on TV, in film, among the student bodies and governing boards of our most elite universities.

Mass “antiracism” propaganda campaigns by nearly every organ of government, media, academia, public education, and the entertainment industry. Mandatory (and demonstrably counterproductive) diversity training at nearly every major American institution to remind all members of the white majority that they must now play the part of second-class citizens in their own country. Flagrant, rampant, anti-white hate being broadcasted out from every literal and figurative American megaphone. Attacks upon “white” this and “white” that: white people, white privilege, white fragility, “whiteness” itself. It is almost clever enough to be a diabolical plot to get people who are being slapped in the face again and again, all while being told they are the aggressors, to radicalize, rise up at last and raise the white supremacist battle flag that the race-hustling minions have been waiting for all along, just to snarl their smug I told you so’s to the world as they point at the long-vanquished ghost finally returned to the realm of the living.

We need not fall for the provocation. But we also need not go around apologizing to or even genuflecting before the race-hustling bigots trying to turn us into guests who’ve outstayed our welcome in our own country. It is time to stop giving ground to the race bullies whose Twitter avatars look big and tough but who will be no match for the far larger community of good people of every race who can—and must—stand united against the hate. (read more)

-06-06 d

Five Ugly Truths About Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory is currently getting a ton of attention on the national and international stage, which is long overdue, but there are also many misconceptions about it. Here are five questions that many people are asking about Critical Race Theory along with straight answers, explanations, and a raft of proofs from the Critical Race Theory literature itself. My hope is that people will be able to use these proofs to show people that Critical Race Theory is every bit as bad as its critics contend.

Since these proofs run rather long in some cases, here are the questions and answers as a summary:

1.Is Critical Race Theory racist? Yes.
2.Does Critical Race Theory advance the vision and activism of the Civil Rights Movement? No.
3.Does Critical Race Theory say all white people are racist? Yes.
4.Is Critical Race Theory Marxist? Yes and no.
5.Is Critical Race Theory an analytical tool for understanding race and racism? No, not really.

Question: Is Critical Race Theory racist?

Answer: Yes.

Critical Race Theory begins by asserting the importance of social significance of racial categories, rejecting colorblindness, equality, and neutrality, and advocating for discrimination meant to “level the playing field.” These things lead it to reproduce and enact racism in practice. It also explicitly says that all white people are either racist or complicit in the system of racism (so, racist) by virtue of benefiting from privileges that they cannot renounce.


“We all can recognize the distinction between the claims “I am Black” and the claim “I am a person who happens to be Black.” “I am Black” takes the socially imposed identity and empowers it as an anchor of subjectivity. “I am Black” becomes not simply a statement of resistance but also a positive discourse of self-identification, intimately linked to celebratory statements like the Black nationalist “Black is beautiful.” “I am a person who happens to be Black,” on the other hand, achieves self-identification by straining for a certain universality (in effect, “I am first a person”) and for a concommitant dismissal of the imposed category (“Black”) as contingent, circumstantial, nondeterminant. There is truth in both characterizations, of course, but they function quite differently depending on the political context. At this point in history, a strong case can be made that the most critical resistance strategy for disempowered groups is to occupy and defend a politics of social location rather than to vacate and destroy it.” From “Mapping the Margins,” Stanford Law Review, by Kimberlé Crenshaw, p. 1297.

“The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist. … The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” From How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi (pseud. for Henry Rodgers), p. 19.

“Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, p. 3.

“Critical race theorists (or “crits,” as they are sometimes called) hold that color blindness will allow us to redress only extremely egregious racial harms, ones that everyone would notice and condemn. But if racism is embedded in our thought processes and social structures as deeply as many crits believe, then the “ordinary business” of society—the routines, practices, and institutions that we rely on to effect the world’s work—will keep minorities in subordinate positions. Only aggressive, color-conscious efforts to change the way things are will do much to ameliorate misery.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, p. 22.

(See also below, in proofs for the question of whether Critical Race Theory says all white people are racist.)

Question: Does Critical Race Theory advance the vision and activism of the Civil Rights Movement?

Answer: No.

Critical Race Theory refers to that vision as “traditional approaches to civil rights” and calls it into question. The Civil Rights Movement called for living up to the foundational promises of the United States (and other free nations) and incrementally changing the system so that those original ideals were met. Critical Race Theory rejects incrementalism in favor of revolution. It rejects the existing system and demands replacing it with its own. It rejects the liberal order and all that goes with it as being part of the system which must be dismantled and replaced. It is therefore fundamentally different than the Civil Rights Movement (and is explicitly anti-liberal and anti-equality).


“Crits are also highly suspicious of another liberal mainstay, namely, rights.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, p. 23.

“Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, p. 3.

“We all can recognize the distinction between the claims “I am Black” and the claim “I am a person who happens to be Black.” “I am Black” takes the socially imposed identity and empowers it as an anchor of subjectivity. “I am Black” becomes not simply a statement of resistance but also a positive discourse of self-identification, intimately linked to celebratory statements like the Black nationalist “Black is beautiful.” “I am a person who happens to be Black,” on the other hand, achieves self-identification by straining for a certain universality (in effect, “I am first a person”) and for a concommitant dismissal of the imposed category (“Black”) as contingent, circumstantial, nondeterminant. There is truth in both characterizations, of course, but they function quite differently depending on the political context. At this point in history, a strong case can be made that the most critical resistance strategy for disempowered groups is to occupy and defend a politics of social location rather than to vacate and destroy it.” From “Mapping the Margins,” Stanford Law Review, by Kimberlé Crenshaw, p. 1297.

Question: Does Critical Race Theory say that all white people are racist?

Answer: Yes.

More specifically, Critical Race Theory says that all white people are either racist or that they are complicit in a “system of racism” (so, racist) that they wittingly or unwittingly uphold to their own benefit unless they are “actively antiracist” (and usually even then). Those benefits of “whiteness” are labeled “white privilege” in general and are said to be outside of the scope of things that white people can intentionally renounce. The most they can do is “strive to be less white” and to become aware of and condemn “whiteness” as a system.


“Wildman and Davis, for instance, contend that white supremacy is a system of oppression and privilege that all white people benefit from. Therefore, all white people “…are racist in this use of the term, because we benefit from systemic white privilege. Generally whites think of racism as voluntary, intentional conduct done by horrible others. Whites spend a lot of time trying to convince ourselves and each other that we are not racist. A big step would be for whites to admit that we are racist and then to consider what to do about it.”” From Being White, Being Good: White Complicity, White Moral Responsibility, and Social Justice Pedagogy, by Barbara Applebaum, p. 15.

“The relevant point for now is that all white people are racist or complicit by virtue of benefiting from privileges that are not something they can voluntarily renounce.” From Being White, Being Good: White Complicity, White Moral Responsibility, and Social Justice Pedagogy, by Barbara Applebaum, p. 16.

“The white complicity claim maintains that all whites are complicit in systemic racial injustice and this claim sometimes takes the form of “all whites are racist.” When white complicity takes the latter configuration what is implied is not that all whites are racially prejudiced but rather that all whites participate in and, often unwittingly, maintain the racist system of which they are part and from which they benefit.” From Being White, Being Good: White Complicity, White Moral Responsibility, and Social Justice Pedagogy, by Barbara Applebaum, p. 140.

“The white complicity claim maintains that all whites, by virtue of systemic white privilege that is inseparable from white ways of being, are implicated in the production and reproduction of systemic racial injustice.” From Being White, Being Good: White Complicity, White Moral Responsibility, and Social Justice Pedagogy, by Barbara Applebaum, p. 179.

“Here we find a claim about complicity that is addressed to all white people regardless of and despite their good intentions. What I refer to as “the white complicity claim” maintains that white people, through the practices of whiteness and by benefiting from white privilege, contribute to the maintenance of systemic racial injustice. However, the claim also implies responsibility in its assumption that the failure to acknowledge such complicity will thwart whites in their efforts to dismantle unjust racial systems and, more specifically, will contribute to the perpetuation of racial injustice.” From Being White, Being Good: White Complicity, White Moral Responsibility, and Social Justice Pedagogy, by Barbara Applebaum, p. 3.

“White privilege protects and supports white moral standing and this protective shield depends on there being an “abject other” that constitutes white as “good.” Whites, thus, benefit from white privilege in a very deep way. As Zeus Leonardo remarks, all whites are responsible for white dominance since their “very being depends on it.’” From Being White, Being Good: White Complicity, White Moral Responsibility, and Social Justice Pedagogy, by Barbara Applebaum, pp. 29–30.

“Many critical race theorists and social scientists alike hold that racism is pervasive, systemic, and deeply ingrained. If we take this perspective, then no white member of society seems quite so innocent.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, pp. 79–80.

“…a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.” From White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo, p. 149.

Question: Is Critical Race Theory Marxist?

Answer: Yes and no.

It is accurate to say that Critical Race Theory is mostly Marxian but not specifically Marxist. It is more accurately adapted from neo-Marxism, which is in turn adapted from Marxism.

The main difference is that Marxism is concerned primarily with economic class and rejects racial categories in favor of workers’ solidarity. What this means is that Critical Race Theory operates like Marxism but using race instead of economic class as the line of “social stratification,” above which people are “privileged” or “oppressors” and below which people are “marginalized” or “oppressed.” This social order is assumed in Critical Race Theory as “the ordinary state of affairs” and analyzed in the same way Marx analyzed across class stratification. Namely, Marx’s “conflict theory” (a.k.a. “critical philosophy,” so Critical Theory of Race, i.e., Critical Race Theory) is the tool for analyzing society, which is assumed to be totally racialized (by white people).

For those who understand Marxism, where Marxism sees capitalism as a superstructure that organizes society and determines the outcomes of the privileged (bourgeoisie) and oppressed (proletariat) classes, Critical Race Theory sees “white supremacy” as a superstructure that organizes society and determines outcomes of the privileged (white) and oppressed (BIPOC) classes. From there, it is functionally identical except that it operates primarily in the realms of cultural production rather than in the realm of economic and material production.

Critical Race Theory is most accurately “critical constructivist,” which is to say a form of race-based neo-Marxism (Critical Theory) with some postmodernist (social constructivist) characteristics.


“The critical-thinking tradition is concerned primarily with epistemic adequacy. To be critical is to show good judgment in recognizing when arguments are faulty, assertions lack evidence, truth claims appeal to unreliable sources, or concepts are sloppily crafted and applied. For critical thinkers, the problem is that people fail to “examine the assumptions, commitments, and logic of daily life… the basic problem is irrational, illogical, and unexamined living” (Burbules and Berk 1999, 46). In this tradition sloppy claims can be identified and fixed by learning to apply the tools of formal and informal logic correctly.

“Critical pedagogy begins from a different set of assumptions rooted in the neo-Marxian literature on critical theory commonly associated with the Frankfurt School. Here, the critical learner is someone who is empowered and motivated to seek justice and emancipation. Critical pedagogy regards the claims that students make in response to social-justice issues not as propositions to be assessed for their truth value, but as expressions of power that function to re-inscribe and perpetuate social inequalities. Its mission is to teach students ways of identifying and mapping how power shapes our understandings of the world. This is the first step toward resisting and transforming social injustices. By interrogating the politics of knowledge-production, this tradition also calls into question the uses of the accepted critical-thinking toolkit to determine epistemic adequacy.” From “Tracking Privilege-preserving Epistemic Pushback in Feminist and Critical Race Philosophy Classrooms,” Hypatia, by Alison Bailey, p. 881.

“Our analysis of social justice is based on a school of thought known as Critical Theory. Critical Theory refers to a body of scholarship that examines how society works, and is a tradition that emerged in the early part of the 20th century from a group of scholars at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany (because of this, this body of scholarship is sometimes also called “the Frankfurt School”). These theorists offered an examination and critique of society and engaged with questions about social change. Their work was guided by the belief that society should work toward the ideals of equality and social betterment.

“Many influential scholars worked at the Institute, and many other influential scholars came later but worked in the Frankfurt School tradition. You may recognize the names of some of these scholars, such as Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Jürgen Habermas, Walter Benjamin, and Herbert Marcuse. Their scholarship is important because it is part of a body of knowledge that builds on other social scientists’ work: Emile Durkheim’s research questioning the infallibility of the scientific method, Karl Marx’s analyses of capitalism and social stratification, and Max Weber’s analyses of capitalism and ideology. All of these strands of thought built on one another.” From Is Everyone Really Equal?, by Özlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo, second edition, p. 50.

“As the reader will see, critical race theory builds on the insights of two previous movements, critical legal studies and radical feminism, to both of which it owes a large debt. It also draws from certain European philosophers and theorists, such as Antonio Gramsci and Jacques Derrida, as well as from the American radical tradition exemplified by such figures as Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Black Power and Chicano movements of the sixties and early seventies.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, p. 4.

Question: Is Critical Race Theory an analytical tool for understanding race and racism?

Answer: No, not really (there’s a tiny sliver of yes here, in a misleading sense).

Critical Race Theory describes itself as a movement of activists and scholars. This is not exactly what one would expect from a mere “analytical tool.”

More accurately, Critical Race Theory is a worldview, not a means of analysis. Critical Race Theory begins from the underlying operating assumptions that race is constantly being imposed by a “white supremacist” society (“systemic racism”) and that racism is therefore the ordinary state of affairs in society. It believes further that racism is effectively impossible to eradicate within the existing “white supremacist” system and therefore that it has merely hidden itself better, when it seems to be diminished or less impactful. Critical Race Theory is the tool that allows the people who have awakened to a “Critical Consciousness of race” (i.e., Critical Race Theorists) to detect hidden racism in everything. This is a way of viewing the world, however, not a way of analyzing the world as it is.


“Racism exists today, in both traditional and modern forms. All members of this society have been socialized to participate in it. All white people benefit from racism, regardless of intentions; intentions are irrelevant. No one here chose to be socialized into racism (so no one is “bad’). But no one is neutral – to not act against racism is to support racism. Racism must be continually identified, analyzed and challenged; no one is ever done. The question is not ”did racism take place”? but rather “how did racism manifest in that situation?” The racial status quo is comfortable for most whites. Therefore, anything that maintains white comfort is suspect. If you are white, practice sitting with and building your stamina for racial discomfort” -Robin DiAngelo (Link)

“The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars interested in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies discourses take up, but places them in a broader perspective that includes economics, history, context, group- and self-interest, and even feelings and the unconscious.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, pp. 2–3.

“First, [most critical race theorists assume] that racism is ordinary, not aberrational—“normal science,” the usual way society does business, the common, everyday experience of most people of color in this country. Second, most would agree that our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material. The first feature, ordinariness, means that racism is difficult to cure or address. Color-blind, or “formal,” conceptions of equality, expressed in rules that insist only on treatment that is the same across the board, can thus remedy only the most blatant forms of discrimination … The second feature, sometimes called “interest convergence” or material determinism, adds a further dimension. Because racism advances the interests of both white elites (materially) and working-class people (psychically), large segments of society have little incentive to eradicate it.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, p. 7.

“Many critical race theorists and social scientists alike hold that racism is pervasive, systemic, and deeply ingrained. If we take this perspective, then no white member of society seems quite so innocent. The interplay of meanings that one attaches to race, the stereotypes one holds of other people, and the need to guard one’s own position all power- fully determine one’s perspective. Indeed, one aspect of whiteness, according to some, is its ability to seem perspectiveless, or transparent. Whites do not see themselves as having a race, but being, simply, people. They do not believe that they think and reason from a white viewpoint, but from a universally valid one—“the truth”—what everyone knows. By the same token, many whites will strenuously deny that they have benefited from white privilege.” From Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, first edition, pp. 79–80.
(read more)

See also: Hegel, Wokeness, and the Dialectical Faith of Leftism

2021-06-06 c

Gaslighting the Concerned Parents of Trans Children—A Psychotherapist’s View

I first met Jo and Carol in Manchester two years ago, when I spoke as a clinician on a panel at what is believed to be the first conference dedicated to the issue of detransitioners (people who once presented themselves as transgender, but then decided to live in accordance with their biological sex). At this event, seven young women spoke publicly about why they transitioned, why it wasn’t successful, and how they came to the decision to detransition. All of these women had undergone mastectomies, and some had hysterectomies and even oophorectomies (the removal of both ovaries). They had all taken testosterone, which permanently deepened their voices, and gave rise to new forms of body and facial hair. Although they had experienced much in their lives, none was over the age of 25. As you might imagine, these testimonials were shocking and harrowing.

Jo and Carol both have daughters embroiled in the trans-activist cause. (As at all points in this piece, I am using terms such as “girl,” “boy,” “son,” and “daughter” in reference to a person’s biological identity.) After hearing the detransitioners’ stories, they approached me to ask whether any help could be provided for parents whose lives had been ripped apart by a child’s gender-related distress. As a psychotherapist who has worked with many such families, and as a woman who had my own challenging experiences with gender confusion as a young girl, I agreed that these people needed more help. This meeting led me to become involved in setting up two groups—the Gender Dysphoria Support Network (GDSN) and the International Association of Therapists for Detransitioners and Desisters (IATDD).

The therapeutic work of the latter group is trauma-oriented, as most of the clients we serve are young adults who’ve gone through a medical transition that they regret, and so require a deep healing process. As with the panel members in Manchester, their bodies and their voices have changed, often irrevocably, and it can take time to come to terms with this.

By contrast, work at the GDSN is faster-paced and more intense, as we deal with parents who are urgently seeking to help distressed children confront their emotional challenges before they commit to a full medical transition. We also hold reflective meetings for parents of children who’ve already medicalised—these parents tend to move into a different mental space once their children take cross-sex hormones and begin the process of medical transition.

Since Jo, Carol, and I set up the GDSN a year ago, hundreds of parents have attended our online therapeutic support meetings. And the demand is growing: We run meetings for parents four or five times a week, as well as further meetings for siblings. We are also in the process of rolling out a program for detransitioners. The parents are from all over the world, and from all political camps. Perhaps because Jo, Carol, and I are generally liberal in our political attitudes, however, the majority of parents we serve generally skew progressive and left-leaning. They approve of same-sex marriage, often have marched for gay pride, and have happily waved LGBTQ+ flags.

I note this by way of indicating the self-selection bias at play in regard to the observations that follow. Presumably, more conservative parents seek parent groups that tend to be more politically right-wing than ours.

* * *

The ongoing series of Quillette essays by Angus Fox, When Sons Become Daughters, describes the pain experienced by many parents of trans-identified children. Fox came by these accounts through journalistic interviews, while I facilitate in a psychotherapeutic capacity at parents’ support meetings. Yet our conclusions are similar. Like Fox, I have yet to hear a single truly bigoted remark over the course of my many meetings. “Blindsided” is the most common word parents use to describe their response to a teenage child’s sudden and unexpected announcement that they are transgender. These kids typically are already very troubled, and present with a variety of pre-existing emotional problems. Gender dysphoria often feels like another diagnosis on a list that’s already quite long.

These parents are seeking a deeper understanding of their children’s gender identity. Most are well-educated and -informed, and are put off by simplistic slogans that don’t make much sense. “How can my son be born in the wrong body?” asked one woman. “We’re in our bodies when we’re born … there’s no other option.”

These parents also tend to feel misunderstood and vilified by others around them. In some cases, they’ve been shunned by family and friends simply for expressing concern that their child’s autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, and other comorbid conditions might be connected to these sudden expressions of gender dysphoria.

They also feel frustrated when friends casually presume that medical transition is somehow analogous to coming out as gay, an impression that is easy to get from the way that the media covers the issue. Being gay doesn’t carry a heavy medical burden; nor does it require a wholesale revision of years of childhood memories, so that documents from the past accord with newly picked pronouns. Coming out as gay will not risk rendering you infertile, nor will it impair your sexual functioning, negatively impact your heart, or weaken your bones in the way that medical transition often does.

Gender dysphoria is a real condition experienced by those who persistently wish to be the opposite sex. I experienced what would now be described as gender dysphoria as a child from roughly the age of three to 10: During these years, I was loud and proud in my overt desire to be perceived as a boy. But like roughly 80 percent of children who experience early-onset gender dysphoria, I eventually grew out of it. (For a child who begins the process of medical intervention, on the other hand, that figure falls to roughly two percent.) Puberty was difficult for me, but also necessary, as it was through my sexual development that I came to be comfortable in my own skin.

The process of desistance, whereby a trans-identified child comes to no longer identify as the opposite sex, often is viewed by parents as the best option, as it frees the child from life-long medicalisation of their body. But it also runs contrary to the ideologically approved belief in many circles that the best—and, indeed, only—option when a child presents as gender dysphoric is to enthusiastically “affirm” the child’s desire to transition, and to cheer them along every step of that transition.

There is no uniform outcome following transition. Some children end up having surgical interventions, continue to take hormones for the rest of their lives, and live happily ever after. Some choose to stop taking hormones—in some cases because of unpleasant side effects, but still remain trans-identified. Some regret transitioning, but remain transitioned because they believe they’ve passed the point of no return. Still others, as noted, will detransition.

Many trans-identified children say they possess what is now commonly called a “gender identity”—a soul-like quality that exists outside the observable biological realm. Others reject this, and say that gender is a combination of roles, behaviours, and expectations imposed upon us by society. None of this makes for easy conversation.

Those who demand that trans-identified individuals (including children) must immediately have their new identity affirmed typically embrace the unprovable (but also unfalsifiable) idea that we all possess some innate gender identity that is distinct from our biology. Of course, adherents should be free to espouse this understanding of human identity. But in doing so, they too often dismiss detractors as presumptively bigoted (i.e., transphobic). Many parents who reject gender identity theory (as some call it) are agnostics (in the usual non-religious sense), and have difficulty endorsing ideas that seem very much like a new take on the traditional Christian idea that we all possess some divinely imbued spark of identity.

The young people who seek to transition, by contrast, tend to be in a different place. They typically haven’t given much thought to such gender theories. Nor are they usually aware that they are buying into an ambitious and unproven form of ersatz spirituality.

Almost all of the parents at GDSN meetings describe their children as experiencing what Dr. Lisa Littman has termed Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), which she discussed in a 2018 study of parents’ accounts of teenage children who suddenly announce themselves to be transgender after a childhood in which (in most cases) they hadn’t shown any sign of gender-related distress. In many cases, these announcements are done in dramatic style, by means of a boilerplate manifesto of the type that one may find on the many Internet sites devoted to this movement.

ROGD is not a formal diagnosis, but rather a description of a phenomenon that seems to manifest among a certain, identifiable type of quirky, highly intelligent, isolated, socially awkward teenager. The growth in the numbers is startling. For example, there was a 53-fold rise in the numbers of (biologically) female children presenting at the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service in the UK over the last decade. Nobody knows exactly why so many lonely children with this particular personality type are seeking transition. But to some extent, simple behaviourist principles are at play: children who announce as trans often find themselves the focus of positive attention and support within the same Internet communities that encouraged them to transition in the first place (and typically provided them with the road map for doing so).

At the GDSN, we try to nurture a non-judgmental atmosphere at meetings, so that parents feel free to discuss fears about their beloved kids. Unlike children with early-onset childhood dysphoria (that is, who presented as gender non-conforming from an early age, as I did), ROGD kids tend to have other conditions that, even on their own, are difficult to manage. These parents wish to understand why their children would suddenly come to believe that transition could be the answer to all of these complex and intractable problems. As noted above, the parents I’ve dealt with are typically liberal themselves, and so these meetings often will feature them grappling with what they regard as their own internalised bigotry, privilege, and so forth.

Hovering over everything is the ideologically-mandated insistence (often by a child’s educators and therapists) that most or all of their children’s problems can be chalked up to the difficulties associated with inhabiting a transphobic society—a claim that casts the parent as villain (or even oppressor) if he or she responds in any way that is not seen as instantly affirming of a child’s newly announced demands. The parent must either accede to this judgment and pretend to endorse a course of treatment that he or she knows is wrong, or speak up and thereby go to war against his or her own child (not to mention that child’s entire enabling ecosystem of supporters).

I should emphasize that ROGD children tend to follow different paths than those followed by children with early-onset childhood dysphoria. Experts in gender non-conforming children have pointed out that, in the latter case, “the whole town” usually can observe that the child is non-conforming. Many of these gender non-conforming kids could be described as “pre-gay,” as they often end up being gay, lesbian, or bisexual as teenagers and adults.

* * *

The difference between sexual orientation and gender identity is an important one. Being gay refers to the nature of a person’s outward sexual attraction—whether toward male bodies or female bodies—while being transgender refers to an internally felt condition that has no uniformly exhibited behavioural characteristics. The popular confusion over this difference is one of the reasons why parents at our meetings are so concerned. Many suspect that internalised homophobia has driven a child to repress their sexuality (which is real and unchangeable) in favour of gender identity, which operates on the basis of self-declaration.

After all, a closeted gay boy who announces as a trans girl suddenly becomes (nominally) straight. “I’m fully sure my child is a butch lesbian,” said one mother, “but she is 13 years old and just isn’t ready to own this yet. Her sexuality hasn’t fully flowered, and she thinks lesbians are disgusting. It’s much cooler to be a brave trans kid than a clichéd butch lesbian.”

As the GDSN meetings unfolded over the last year, it became clear that there were distinct differences between the manner in which ROGD boys typically present, as compared to ROGD girls. It was for this reason that we decided to provide two different meeting schedules, one for parents of boys and another for parents of girls. As Fox noted in his reporting, ROGD boys seem to be drawn to a sense of self-understanding whereby they feel encased by softness, gentleness, and other attributes that are stereotypically associated with being female. Prior to declaring as transgender, many such children were teased as shy “momma’s boys.” The ROGD girls, by contrast, often tend to hunger for power, strength, and confidence.

One enormous irony at play here, in fact, is that while the concept of gender identity is presented as a highly progressive phenomenon, it is largely animated by a stereotypical 1950s-era understanding of what it is to be a man or a woman. And it is notable that many older men who come out as transgender in middle age will often embrace an aesthetic that is typical of their mothers’ (or even their grandmothers’) fashion era.

There are other differences between the two groups, as Fox notes. At our meetings, the average age of the ROGD boys being discussed is 18, while the average age for the girls is 14. In practical terms, this makes a big difference, as anyone who is 18 or over can begin medical transition without a parent’s permission.

The girls also tend to exhibit the same preoccupation with appearance as non-trans girls, except in inverted form. While many girls of a certain age wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without carefully applied makeup, some of these girls feel uncomfortable leaving the house without a binder—a tight, constrictive piece of fabric that winds around a girl’s body and flattens her breasts. (Generally speaking, breasts can be a source of deep shame for ROGD girls—far more than the actual genitals. And some parents, having read up about the dangers associated with testosterone treatments, have encouraged their girls to get a mastectomy rather than take such drugs.) Likewise, the proper shoes, sweatshirts, jeans, hair style, and even toiletries become an important part of exhibiting a stereotypically casual male teenage look. Ironically, these self-described trans boys exhibit an attention to detail that would be alien to most biological boys. They tend to perceive gender as performative and spare no effort to stay in character.

ROGD boys, too, can tend toward performative flourishes, though this more often is manifested through the creation of (sometimes unsettling) online communications that garner support and attention within their digital subcultures. In general, they tend to be more forward-looking, and less inclined to show an interest in the aesthetic fripperies of gender. In their view, they are transwomen, full stop, and so need access to hormones as soon as possible. Some of them don’t want to mess around with nail polish or makeup.

At this stage, the boys can be terrified of attracting too much attention—although, later on, when they begin their medical transition, they sometimes begin to revel in it. It can be a two-stage process. For some ROGD boys, the female paraphernalia at first feels too much like a fake act. What they want is access to real therapies that will physically transform them in a way that aligns with their desires. Once that process begins, they sometimes will shift to a performative style, and come around to the view of many ROGD girls that clothes, shoes, hairstyle, deodorant, and other superficial elements are what maketh the man or woman.

As one examines these cases over time, there is sometimes a quantum shift in the degree to which the child will go public with their trans identity. ROGD girls, in particular, might keep their transgender identification a secret, or confine the knowledge to a close circle of friends. At this stage, they might ruminate at great length about their “true” gender identity, trying to figure out whether they are non-binary, genderqueer, trans-masc, or any of the dozens of other fissiparous gender classifications. Yet part of them also longs to become publicly vocal about their newfound identity—as many, in fact, do—so that they can encourage others to come out publicly, experience a sense of belonging and camaraderie within their newfound tribe, and do their part to fight (as they see it) the transphobia that suffuses society.

Like everyone else their age, these children seek answers and advice online. As Fox notes, this can lead to the child becoming alienated from his or her parents. This is because members of self-styled trans-support communities often persuasively present themselves as having the child’s true interests at heart—while mothers, fathers, and siblings are said to have nefarious and transphobic motives.

The sexual histories of these teenagers can be obscure. The parents I have spoken to are often struck by the way in which their trans-identified children seem uninterested in sex (and may even find the topic unmentionable), even though these are typically liberal households in which candid discussion of sexuality, straight or not, is encouraged. Whether this arises from a deep-rooted sense of shame or from a repressed libido remains unclear.

Many ROGD girls in their mid-to-late teens seem to have never been kissed (or wanted to be kissed). When they find a boyfriend or girlfriend, there seems to be little sexual interplay, but rather a lot of talking about sex. Some parents assure me that their boys have not yet developed sexually. But other parents observe the opposite phenomenon: Their children’s online history betrays endless forays into obscure fetish-porn communities—including the variant sometimes described as “sissy hypno,” in which men in lingerie are forced to submit to feminization rituals. Some of the boys, who describe themselves as lesbians, will seek to engage in elaborate forms of sexual interplay with older transwomen. They also tend to be deeply enmeshed in fantasy subcultures such as Japanese anime, whose narratives and characters they adapt in symbolic ways.

These kids appear to be desperately unhappy, and it isn’t surprising that many are searching for a simple answer to their distress through medical technology. As one parent asked, “Is there anything more alluring in life than to be told, ‘Take this medication and you can leave yourself behind, leave behind your old identity, and become a completely different person?’” Even in the period that precedes medical treatment, the child can take some superficial solace in the belief that his or her anxiety and depression is caused by external hatred imposed by non-trans individuals, as opposed to internal issues that will be challenging to resolve.

The ideology itself, in other words, provides a psychological means of externalizing a child’s negative emotions. Many boys will spend long hours in the bathroom, removing their body hair, while ROGD girls dream about the day when they will have a strong jaw and a beard. Either way, there seems to be an expectation that these rituals, if conducted with sufficient care and dedication, will provide some quasi-mystical form of deliverance from their pains.

* * *

So what should parents be doing to help their gender-questioning children? First of all, they should tread carefully, slowly, and compassionately. There is no high-quality medical evidence to support aggressive medical intervention as a baseline response. Indeed, there will rarely be any sort of grandiose one-size-fits-all solution—and that includes a solution involving flatly denying the child’s dysphoria.

It is wiser to treat this as a long-term process that may take years to resolve itself (as most cases do). A much-repeated mantra in our GDSN meetings is “heavy on boundaries, heavy on warmth,” meaning that the parent needs to be clear and consistent with the behavioral boundaries they do impose (in regard to what sites the child can visit, or what they can post online, for instance), while also placing a strong emphasis on love and affection. It is very lonely to be a misunderstood teenager. Even the knowledge that parents have tried to connect, albeit in a clumsy or unsuccessful way, can ease a teenager’s sense of isolation.

Although parents are generally in a rush to find the best therapist, there is a shortage in the field, as there are few therapists who are well-informed about gender issues. Sending your distressed child to a professional who is poorly informed, or who reacts to your child’s case with a simplistic perspective, may do more harm than good.

Moreover, some of the most useful advice I give parents is basic, and doesn’t require clinical supervision: Don’t forget the importance of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and the development of high-quality friendships in a child’s life. In some cases, simple improvements such as these can help a child realize that identity issues connected to gender don’t always lie at the root of his or her unhappiness.

It is essential that parents involve themselves in their children’s online behaviour if they are to gain an understanding of the underlying emotional distress. This may feel like snooping in some cases. But never before have young, naïve children had access to such a vast pool of misinformation, nor so much exposure to manipulative actors. Even as adults, many of us are living in echo chambers that read back to us our attitudes. So imagine how this process can play out for a teenager who lacks self-awareness and is desperately looking for someone to provide positive reinforcement.

More generally, it’s important that parents honour their own instincts, even as they honour those of their children. One of the unfortunate themes encoded within prevailing ideologies surrounding gender is the idea that parents are entirely ignorant—and in many cases, even actively malevolent—in regard to a child’s basic identity. The most strident gender ideologues try to convince sceptical parents that they are bigots who must reform their attitudes, lest they drive their child to further sorrows, or even suicide; and that all their parental observations and opinions about their sons and daughters, developed over many years of parenting, suddenly become void once a child announces new pronouns.

It’s a form of gaslighting, in other words, and one that works particularly well on liberal parents who already are predisposed to castigate themselves for any number of ideological sins. One of my jobs is to help convince these parents not to succumb to this process of denigration, which can cause them to feel incapable of performing their parenting role. In the end, parents must always listen to their children. But when it comes to choosing the correct path forward, the parent’s voice is also valid and important. (read more)

See also: When Sons Become Daughters: Parents of Transitioning Boys Speak Out on Their Own Suffering
[...] Opinions in the group vary. Some parents take the view that gender dysphoria is real, but grossly over-diagnosed, and certainly so in the cases of their own sons. Others are what it has become fashionable to call “biological realists” or “biological essentialists”: XX means you’re of the fairer sex; XY, and you’re a guy. But the variation of opinion on this topic rarely comes up, being displaced by more pressing matters. The parents simply cannot get their sons’ therapists to deal with comorbidities: in particular, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and poor communicative and social skills, often coupled with an extremely high intelligence, which leaves parents unable to find schooling that can cater to their sons’ needs. In many cases, the boys have fixated on the prospect of sex reassignment, yet seem unwilling to engage in conversation about other options. When one son is confronted with some stubborn, genetic truth that he just can’t overturn, he answers that it is “mere biology” (a dismissive approach to gender dysphoria that the philosopher Kathleen Stock has discussed in some detail). And when parents ask their sons why they want to become women, the answers can be surreal. One reportedly describes testosterone as a toxin that’s destroying society; another says that he likes lesbian porn. The influence of friends, LGBT societies, and online fora is pervasive, but their sons usually treat any discussion of social contagion as heresy. Parents feel vilified. Many of the mothers and fathers have contemplated suicide.

I have yet to hear a single parent say anything bigoted, as that term would be normally understood. Almost all of these people are liberals, certainly in the British sense of the term, and many in the American sense, too. [...] It’s simply that they don’t believe that their sons’ lives will be improved by hormones or surgery. Yet their meetings are clandestine, and the sense of fear they live with frightens me: the spectre hanging over these proceedings is hyper-liberalism at its most intolerant.

The doubts that these parents share typically arise from the way their sons describe what they’re going through. Many of the young men in question have, in moments of candour, hinted that their motivations for transition are unrelated to actual gender dysphoria. They’re lonely; they want affection; they don’t see another way to relate to girls; they don’t want to become the infamous “straight white man.” It’s interesting to me how many of these boys wax and wane: one moment, they are reportedly adamant that they will have surgery as soon as they hit 18; the next moment, they seem to be wavering, only to return to intransigence a few days later, leaving their parents’ heads spinning.

2021-06-06 b

I Act; Therefore I Am. Dear Trans Kids: Stop Feeling and Start Thinking

A few weeks ago, a teacher at my kid’s school shared a bit of wisdom that has rocked my world. She taught the kids that there are four mental stages; feeling, thinking, planning, and doing. People can only be in one stage at a time, and people get frustrated when others are in different stages than they are. If you’ve ever had to bite your tongue while you listened to someone vent, you know this is true. If you’ve ever been married, you know this is true. If you’ve ever parented, you know this is true.

Recently, I joined the twitter world to exchange ideas (that’s the “thinking” stage, there) about the concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) and the impact of this on teen boys. While many people have shared insights and resources, I’ve observed a typical accusation that certain trans-identified people toss out: “You are saying we don’t exist!”

At first, this struck me as a bewildering non-sequitur. Are they really saying because I have different ideas about transgender theories or gender identity, that I must think their bodies aren’t present in the world? How would I explain that their typed grievances are popping up on my screen? Must I subscribe to a complex superstition of phantoms in the machine? Debating the points of trans identity in fact implies the opposite: I don’t spend time arguing about the Loch Ness Monster or fairies or unicorns, because they do not exist.

On second thought, I utilized the old psychology switcheroo to better understand this: projection. This makes sense. These twitter people are actually questioning and barking about their own existence. Somewhere along the line they got stuck. They are frozen in the “feeling” stage, and are under the impression that feelings = existence. And deep inside, despite their passionate feelings, they realize that an existence centered on feelings isn’t very satisfying. They worry that they don’t exist.

As babies, our first mental flickers are indeed feelings. Instinct and our reptilian brain process hunger, cold, discomfort, warmth, rough, cozy, full, poopy. Miraculously, within a few weeks, we begin to think: that face brings comfort. That food tastes good. Soon after, we get to planning: I want that Cheerio on the tray. Then action: I’m going to grab it and put it in my mouth.

Of course, as we all know, mastering this feeling, thinking, planning, acting process can be pretty complex. Impulsively, we leap before we look. We sink into the sandpits of depression. We fill our lives with meaningless activities without stopping to smell the roses. Getting everything right all the time is hard. This is human nature.

And within our lifetimes, we see a broader pattern of this story. Childhood is for mastering feelings. High school and college are for mastering thinking. In our twenties we learn to plan and act. Later in life, we circle around to better know ourselves; our feelings and our thoughts. To wisely evaluate the effectiveness of our planning and actions. To confirm our plans and actions align with our values (aka “thoughts”).

But development on both the individual level and the societal scale requires moving up this ladder from feelings to action. We do not beat the Nazis, cure polio, or reform the justice system by looking at our navels and wallowing. Feeling is just the first step. We think, plan, act. That’s progress.

This is what our parents, grandparents, and teachers have been telling us for years. Get off the couch. Get a degree. Grow that garden, write that book. Yes- your feelings show you are alive. Congrats – you exist just like everyone else. But your thoughtful, considered actions prove you are living. Your obituary will list the things you have done, the relationships you have built, not the emotions you have felt.

To these trans twitter activists, I urge you to pull yourselves out of your sinkhole of emotions. You are more than your feelings, truly. Your dramatic displays of outrage may temporarily satisfy a primal itch, but true self-knowledge and self-actualization comes with some effort and work. It’s got nothing to do with your gender- believe me. Do not circle in that flotsam. No “gender feeling” will ever bring you meaning or true fulfillment.

The only way forward is through your brain — not your sexual organs. You got your “dysphoria.” Fine – that’s a feeling. Now start thinking: why would I suddenly feeling like I dislike my body? Is there something actually physically wrong with it? Is there something appealing about the stereotypes associated with the other sex? Is there some trauma I’ve experienced or observed associated with my sex? Would external changes truly affect my internal feelings? Am I actually trying to avoid sexuality? Or growing up in general?

It’s about your brain and your hands. Get out there and get to work. You’ll feel better, I promise, and you’ll stop wondering if you exist. (read more)

Reader Comments:

Jorg Shmorg
Take away the internet/social media and there would be no more trans. Kids and teens are LEARNING this invented condition online. Transgender is coming from outside themselves and not from within. Child and teen Transgender is a cult invented via the internet. “Wrong body” is not humanly innate; it is politically imposed . Teenage mental illness and other conditions like autism, etc. are being hijacked (transjacked) for political purposes. How can any sane “loving” parent allow this to happen to their child? Cut the internet for your kid. Refuse social media for yourself. Return together to the non-virtual world and re-learn common sense, accept the pain of reality, and embrace the human truth of authenticity through struggle and sorrow.

Jorgensen Shmorgensen
Having fought, lost and then ran screaming from the Trans Wars as a gay man who publicly opposed the Trans Queer Hall Putsch of Gay in the 1990s to early 2000s, I can state from “lived experience” that this entire klusterfuck of krazy is a massive psy ops. Trans Inc. has nothing to do with bodies or sex organs or anything human. It is a political weapon manufactured to assault people’s reality with deliberate forced acknowledgement of a known absurd unreality. Orwell’s 2 plus 2 equals 5. A Mao/Lenin tactic right out of the social control playbook and one of the most successful in the history of totalitarianism.

As others have written here on this topic, bad (indeed criminal) parenting is the catalytic converter at the local micro level of actual trans children “cases”. Munchausen by Proxy Rage/Look At Me-ism has replaced New Age Woo-Woo “I have pretend morals” as the hip new way for super square nobodies trapped in meaningless fetid lives to audition for Oprah specials as this week’s mouseburger- psycho-soccer mom nobodies who trans-form themselves into deranged freak show performers via their children a la Whatever Happened to Baby Jane so these soul-barren women can play-act being alive.

My favourite trans insanity story from the UK was the following.
A woman (with requisite nerdy nebbishchannezzer ninny-pusswuss husbandette cringing in the background) was the mother of a male baby that (she claimed) did not speak one word (or sound) until it was 18 months old when it looked into its mother’s eyes and declared in perfect English: “Me Girl. Me Girl.”

The mother claimed that her son, now daughter (saughter?) could not speak for a year and a half because the infant had been silenced by society’s (“white right wing”) gender fascist tyranny. The child was immediately rushed by its sociopathic stage mother to the Trans Inc. lupron cancer drug puberty blocker genital amputation fast track machine as Mommy Dearest snatched the P T Barnum Freak Crown as the queered toast of talk shows and chat lines for months and months of Proxy celebutante self-importance. Trans is a manufactured lie.

-06-06 a

“We corrupt in order to control.”

— Giuseppe Mazzini

Editor's Note:

American Leftists, aside from their insane insistence that socialism is a viable economic theory, have two hallmarks best described as fetishistic totems.

They believe gender identity is mutable and they believe Caucasians are immutably racist.

Both beliefs are spectacularly wrong. Those beliefs are based on feelings, not facts.

They deny the Cartesian, "I think, therefore I am."

Their hearts so cloud their minds, that they feel, therefore they are. Their irrationality leads to magical thinking - individually and collectively.

Ordinarily, I care not one whit if a navel-gazing fellow human chooses to delude himself, living within a fantasy world. I do, however, draw a line when the fool insists I drink his Kool-Aid and not just tolerate (in its original meaning), but embrace his fantasy as reality.

Above all, the Left fears two things: that we will ridicule them and that we will ignore their beliefs.

Go ahead. laugh at what they say. Tell them how ludicrous they are. Keep laughing at them.

And, don't bother debating a Leftist or appealing to logic. Just say, "You are wrong," or, "That is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard." Don't explain. Just walk away.

Neither they nor their masters are really interested in gender-confused autistic cross dressers, or Confederate monuments, or cultural appropriation, or multi-generational poverty, or the melanin minorities. They just want to control you. THEY WANT POWER. Deny them any power over you.

"The amateur who wants to dominate uses guns, the professional uses social structure."

— Johan Galtung


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