Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Useless Liberals

From Useless Liberal Intellectuals:
I have my set of words and you have yours. When we mean the same things, we can reason together to a conclusion. But suppose there are other people with other meanings for those words. They talk to each other and reach a different outcome. How can the two groups work together? They do not share a common language, and each distrusts the meanings assigned to the words of the other. Worse yet, the deconstruction crowd raises issues about the stability of words used to describe facts, so that even facts are subject to debate.
Now suppose a group like Occupy wants to make decisions in this theoretical environment. If they fall prey to the academic process of the deconstructionist-poststructuralists, discussing every word, trying to strip out the repressive meanings, and searching for ways to examine every fact, nothing will happen but process. There is no way to make a decision. Even if they start with a good deal of agreement, the process is unwieldy and irritating. And when they get done, how can they use that result to impact the decisions of others? Do they have to repeat the process of masticating every word 50 times every time they add a new person, or attempt to persuade some random person? Thank the heavens they don’t. Confronted with a disaster, they act, as in Red Hook, New York, and Rockaway.
Deconstruction and poststructuralism have proved to be a disaster for participatory democracy. They are a disaster for the public sphere. This is the outcome of the life’s work of academic “liberals” trying to solve the problem of the hegemony of words.
Meanwhile the real hegemony, the hegemony of capitalists and oligarchs, dominates the world, wrecks the global economy, crushes the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and tramples democracy into the ground. Academic liberals wring their hands, but they have nothing to contribute to understanding or a method for change.
For the most part, I certainly agree with the author's assertion.  The author dies not go far enough in examining why such theories have been allowed to thrive.  Ultimately useless intellectuals are a by-product of an academic systems which promotes their stupidity as a means to ensure nothing ever changes.  Conservatives are often used as a bogey-man to explain counter-revolutionary impulses in society, but liberals are far more likely to stymie real change.  Liberals ensure that nobody does anything but sit around and talk.  Therefore nothing ever happens and nothing changes except through reaction (which is the home turf of conservative impulses).

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