A totalitarianism masquerading as beneficence

Novelist and former Time editor Michael Walsh has published a new book entitled The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West.  It’s about how critical theory–the notion that all cultural and linguistic expressions are to be “deconstructed” as mere impositions of power–has brought Western thought to the point of nihilism.  Kathryn Lopez interviews Walsh at National Review Online.  Read the whole thing, but I excerpt after the jump an exchange about how the radical left has become “Satanic” and how the canons of “political correctness” are being used, in the Marxist way, to suppress thought.  I especially like Walsh’s line about how the left has become “a totalitarianism masquerading as beneficence.”
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Democrats surging to the left–as is the country?

Democrats in Congress voted against the wishes of their own President in in opposing the free trade bill, which has advanced thanks only to Republicans.  Meanwhile, the socialist Bernie Sanders has all but caught up with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and Iowa, attracting some of the biggest crowds of any candidate so far.

Political columnist Dana Milbank says that President Obama and Hillary Clinton may be “on the wrong side of history” (an old Marxist line often used by the president, the assumption being that “history” is inexorably headed to the socialist utopia).

Mr. Milbank also says that the country itself is trending to the left, out of revulsion for conservatives.  Do you think that is true?  Or would a far-left Democratic platform–assuming Mrs. Clinton goes there to fend off her primary challengers–would be the best hope for a Republican victory? [Read more...]

Liberals vs. Leftists on political correctness

Both liberals and leftists share the goal of social and economic equality and other progressive ideals.  But liberals believe those can be attained in terms of the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, human rights, and democracy.  On the other hand, Leftists (think Soviet Union, Maoists, other Communists, etc.) believe that liberty, human rights, and democracy must be restricted in order to attain those goals.

That’s one takeaway from a fascinating study of “political correctness” by William Voegeli in The Claremont Review of Books, who begins by discussing an article on “How the Language Police Are Perverting Liberalism.”

Notice how those who want to punish opponents of gay marriage, restrict religious liberty, not allow certain opinions to be argued, and in other ways emulating the tactics of the Soviet Union, are leftists.  Which covers quite a few people today who present themselves as liberals.

Read Voegeli’s article excerpted and linked after the jump.

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Having a loving family as an unfair advantage

The evidence is overwhelming that growing up in an intact, two-parent  loving family confers huge advantages on children as they grow up.  The normal response has been to encourage strong families among those who lack those advantages.  But, looked at another way, through the usual leftist prism that sees all inequality as oppression, it can be argued that loving families need to be abolished.

British philosopher is not quite saying that–despite how his argument is being taken in some circles–but in asserting that reading bedtime stories to one’s children contributes to social inequality, he comes close. [Read more...]

Totalitarian discourse

Charles Krauthammer gives the name for handling disagreements by silencing and punishing those who hold opposing ideas:

The left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition.The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced. [Read more...]

Replacing academic freedom with academic “justice”

The hard-core left just does not believe in the concept of individual freedom, as is evident wherever that ideology has had its way (in the former Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, Cuba, etc., etc.).  So it shouldn’t be surprising that the concept of academic freedom as it applies to conservatives is under interrogation. [Read more...]