Critical Constructivism—popularised as “wokery”—cuts off any route to what works
Getting paid to Fail is a proven formula for financial, career success and prestige.
At this point in America nearly a hereditary Title, certainly a multi generational business.
An enjoyable read.
The Crowdpac scores say it all. The Media and Entertainment industries and their nurseries in academia are the problem. First they replaced religion as the source of cultural norms then they moved to making money out of air head narratives and other entertainment.
They are now jealous of their apparent dominance. Of course they are not really in charge, its their owners.
I pick out these two snippets from this excellent essay: "It has great appeal for those who don’t attempt to make things work, who don’t have to wrest value from physical reality, .....who don’t provide physical goods or services. In other words, it’s for folk insulated from the consequences of their decisions......This means we end up demanding to know what footballers think about same-sex marriage, without seeing such demands as totalitarian nonsense."
Chilling observations indeed!
In my own most recent post I explore how Critical Constructivism has also led (paradoxically) to the mad fad of Deconstructivism; blighting the world's great cities with billion-$ buildings defined by nothing other than their sheer wanton perversity: https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/deconstructing-deconstructivism
"If one is playing a purely conceptual game, one can always “find” racism, as one simply construes events as instrumentally convenient."
Just as the Birchers found communists everywhere they looked and the SPLC finds prejudice everywhere they look. Hmm, reminds me of something someone wrote about the human gift for self deception.
I'm sure it is worthwhile, but I got no more than 15% thru and my brain wanted to melt and my eyeballs bleed.
Lenin read Hippolyte Taine’s “The Origins of Contemporary France” in 1906 and it changed his game to Jacobinism.
Taine wrote it in 1870s as a warning in part, he did interview many survivors for his work.
The methods are more useful than the drama and “terror” etc.
A brilliant and comprehensive explanation of what Western civilization is up against now. Critical Constructivism/wokery is the perfect philisophical virus for capturing the hearts and unthinking minds of our bloated, bureacratic institutions.
This is a pretty good essay, i must admit. I think however that it rests on a wrong assumption. It is not lazy thinking within academic philosophy that is the general cause of woke ideology prolifirating through society. Poststructuralism and critical theory has been met with far greater acceptance in many humanities and social science departments throughout the west. As many of its practioners have been more interested in doing political activism as opposed to pursuing knowledge.
Rather i think it is the result of ideological capture by far left academics and activists in various humanities departments. Which is not surprising, as Marx was skeptical of traditional philosophy, as it goes back to Plato and Aristotle, from the onset. The point was for Marx to transform society in some desired direction, not just interpret society, leaving society unchanged. Hence Marx desire to do transformative social science and abandon traditional philosophy.
In the linked article to Hegel, the author describes him as an anti-philosopher, who stopped asking questions when he purported to have discovered the laws of history. More akin to a prophet or a preacher.
The point of poststructural theory is to regard any epistemology based on reason or logic, which are the traditional hallmarks of philosophy, with the outmost suspicion. It is yet another anti-philosophy movement posing as scholarship.
Standpoint epistemology is not based on any objective theory of knowledge, but subjective experience and social relations.
My general point is that marxism in all its forms is a rejection of all traditional philosophy. Its adherents want to replace reason and logic with ideology and dogma. Ideology and dogma is the antithesis of philosophy.
I have found critical theory to be a useful intellectual tool, when used in good faith, and when its complexities are understood and applied rigorously. The problem with woke imbecility is that critical theory is used for wicked ends by stupid people. Note how critical theory is never applied to their own ideologies. For instance, a central tenet of critical theory is that the meanings of words are contested and interrogated. Oh, but not when they're words used by wokesters. They make me sick.
I fully agree with your assessment of feminism. It is more of political project than a school of thought or an epistemology.
Poststructuralism treats logic and reason as potential tools of power and suppression. This is offcourse a simplification. But crudely put, knowledge claims based on logic and reason are met with a
degree of skepticism. I would personally Go so far as to claim that the movement has become some kind of political movement masquarading as a form of skeptical epistemology. In that sense it bears a certain semblance with feminism. And there is certainly some overlap between the two.
The article hints at an exit from the “wokery” philosophy when it mentions the “later caveats about the alleged objectivity of oppression.” As I understand it, postmodernists claimed that there were no objective truths. They argued that truths are socially constructed, typically for the benefit of those in power or for the benefit of those seeking power. Black theorists pushed back, arguing that white postmodernists had no authority to deconstruct Black truth, Black oppression. As a result, oppression became the one accepted objective truth, the one conceded reality.
But if oppression is an objective truth, then it must be objectively true that there are oppressed people. And if the oppressed objectively exist, then oppressors must also exist. Means of oppression must also be part of objective reality, for without them there can be no oppression, and neither oppressors nor oppressed.
But if means of oppression exist in objective reality, then the tools needed to implement them must exist. But if tools of oppression exist, then the materials and mechanisms required to make those objects must also objectively exist. And if they exist…, and so on, until we concede reality.
As soon as we concede the objective existence of anything, we‘ve opened the door to the world.
The Crowdpac Score chart seems right to me. My father was a mining engineer and I worked at a couple of mines during summers while I was in college. There are a hundred things in an open pit mine, and even more underground, that can kill or maim. A miner is unlikely to see any of them as “social constructs.” Nor is someone learning how to charge a blast hole likely to believe that words are related only to other words and not to physical things. While there may be an infinite number of ways in which to interpret a text, very few will keep you alive when dealing with explosives.
I spent most of my career as a systems analyst, way over on the left side of the spectrum. In my job, I worked with computer programs, which really were “constructs.” If I made a mistake, no one died. I just debugged the program and ran it again - the luxury of endless do-overs, a luxury that people working on the right side of the spectrum don't have.
As we advance technologically, we deal increasingly with abstract symbols and less with physical objects. While manipulating symbols (paradoxically) increases our power over objects, it comes with a price: we lose our contact with, respect for, and a healthy fear of the physical world.
The idea of wokesters or broadly speaking some ideology you object to being downstream from philosophy is an interesting idea but certainly not a new one (see Dialectics of Enlightenment). What irks me is that the conception of philosophy you’re presenting doesn’t resemble in the least how it’s practiced in Anglo-American Universities. Your attacking a straw man here and playing into peoples preconception of the field that they probably picked up from the family guy