Ed Driscoll

As Always, Life In Academia Imitates Orwell

Amy Alkon links to a blogpost by a Canadian professor that should sound eerily familiar to anyone who’s an Inner or Outer Party member. As Amy writes, “Bye, Bye Western Civ!”

Gad Saad, Canada’s Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption, blogs at Psychology Today on the death of common sense and what’s taking its place:

Several years ago, my wife and I had gone out for a celebratory dinner with one of my doctoral students and one of his female friends. The friend in question was a committed postmodernist and a staunch academic feminist. At one point during our dinner, I gently asked her whether she genuinely believed the postmodernist foundational tenet that there are no universal truths. The astute reader might notice the logical problem here, as the latter tenet is itself construed as a universal truth! Setting aside this embarrassing conundrum, she retorted with complete assuredness that indeed all knowledge is relative.

He asked the lady deconstructionist (deconstructionism being the belief that reality is a linguistic construction) whether it’s a universal truth that from any vantage point on Earth, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West:

She proposed that I was putting labels on things, and she refused to play such games. She did not know what I meant by “East” or “West”. These were arbitrary labels. What did I mean by “sun”? That which I called the sun, she might refer to as “dancing hyena” (her actual words!), to which I wryly replied: OK, the dancing hyena rises in the East and sets in the West. Better yet, the dancing hyena gives me a dancing hyena burn on my fat stomach if I lay out too long without any dancing hyena protection!

If you think that this is an isolated incident that is otherwise unrepresentative of postmodernists, academic feminists, or deconstructionists, you’d be wrong. These anti-science movements have spent the greater part of the past four decades polluting the minds not only of bright academics but also of generations of students who were otherwise impressed by the obscurantism and fake profundity of these intellectual charlatans.

From Orwell’s 1984, written over sixty years ago:

‘What are the stars?’ said O’Brien indifferently. ‘They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.’

Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did not say anything. O’Brien continued as though answering a spoken objection:

‘For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?’

As always, our academicians are doing their damnedest internalizing the concept, to the point where for them, it’s like breathing. If indeed they acknowledge that. (Oh wait, breathing causes “global warming.” Nevermind!) In any case, let me check with Antonio Gramsci and get back to you.