The arrogant certainty evinced by political correctness and woke ideology suggests that its purveyors have a crude authoritarian theory of knowledge. Certain groups, especially oppressed groups, have special access to the truth, a royal road to knowledge. They feel that they inhabit islands of safe, justified belief.
Through this lens, the origin of an idea constitutes either its unchallengeable justification or its unquestionably damned refutation.
Karl Marx held that the working class had a special direct connection with the truth. Only the workers could understand the future interests of society. Woke and Critical Race Theory ideology is a re-purposed version of Marx's idea that the working class has a privileged consciousness. The peak of this epistemic idiocy is that you must be right if you are black and wrong if you are white. From a PC-speak angle, you're wrong if someone imagines that your ideas emanate from "incorrect" feelings, they offend someone, or even if someone merely imagines that they might offend someone else!
Life is a process of learning from one's mistakes, through which one may, step by step, mature and flourish. However, in the Woke philosophy, you aren't allowed any leeway to make mistakes, because a mistake defined by the Woke or PC-Speak crowd brands you, as its source, as inherently erroneous. Any venom they feel for the idea is then directed at the person, who must be cancelled, rubbed out. A young person makes a silly remark on a social media platform but is persecuted for it many years later in a radically different stage of his life. Such persecution makes nonsense of Shakespeare:
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."
In the absurd PC world, all stages of life are but one: the whining schoolboy, the emotional lover, the devoted soldier, the wise judge, the old man...all compressed into a unity in the small mind of the PC fanatic.
I think that the blinkered certainty of these ideologies explains their relentless persecution of those imagined to have fallen short of their correct and certain "criteria".
Most people who have been infected by these ideologies are unaware of their philosophical presuppositions. How apt is Plato's oft-cited aphorism: The unexamined life is not worth living. Basing your life on imagined absolute certainty can only engender conflict with others who disagree with you for, since you hold the truth to be manifestly obvious, they must be lying to you and cannot be reasoned with, but only opposed.
But, as Karl Popper has taught us, if we look at the scientific method, what counts is not the origin of ideas or their emotional pedigree, but how ideas are treated once we have produced them. And in science, we separate them from the person and treat them with unstinting criticism.
Both I and David Deutsch talk separately about the parallels between the trials and errors involved in Darwinian evolution and the trial-and-error method of science. This, I think, helps to show the ubiquitous necessity of a conjecture and refutation approach to our problems.
Once this is admitted it is easier to see that, like other positions, PC and Woke ideologies are conjectures and, if we are interested in the growth of knowledge, should be treated as ruthlessly in criticism as we treat scientific hypotheses. There are no safe, justified islands of privileged knowledge.
(Note. Here, David Deutsch is speaking specifically about scientific problems. However, I'm generalising David's points here, and I think the same approach should apply whether we are talking about scientific problems or those outside science proper: government or business proposals, plans, technological projects, world-views and ideologies. The lesson of Darwinian evolution can be used outside of science. In science we use controlled observational experiments to test the metal of our ideas; outside it, our ideas must still face demanding standards of coherence, etc. Nothing is out of court.)
Are we in danger of sacrificing our liberty, bit by bit, for increments of illusionary security?
Our answer is that the least secure existence is one in which we have sacrificed our personal autonomy. We recall Immanuel Kant's conception of Enlightenment, which flows from the individual, not the state or any other external guide.
"Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another.
The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! [Dare to be wise!] Have courage to use your own understanding!
Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance (naturaliter maiorennes [Those who have come of age by virtue of nature]), nevertheless ...
Alex and Ray at Bold Venture Park, Darwen, United Kingdom. Darwen was one of the centres of the industrial revolution, a fundamental catalyst of the Enlightenment. Samuel Crompton, the inventor of the spinning mule, lived here for part of his life. It was a thriving town of cotton goods production, coal mining and quarrying, connected by canal and rail to nearby hubs of invention and production- Bolton and Manchester.
In this video, we see a wonderful carving in the local strata outcrop in one of the large parks that adorn Darwen. Transporting us back in time to the people who worked in the burgeoning revolution that gave us so many life-transforming benefits, the sculpture depicts a quarryman lying on the boat that will carry him across the Styx. By the side of the sculpture is the inscription: Who Pays the Quarryman? Many quarrymen lost their lives in this work and a play of words alludes to the myth of the journey across the Styx and the Ferryman who guides the boat across.
Accepting the state's incremental totalitarianism through its allurements to "safety" is to embrace a child-like dependency and shun the risky but beneficial adventure of the growth of knowledge.
Embracing risk is part of the price of one’s emergence from the delightful delusion of absolute safety - the repeated allurement of state intervention. But shunning absolute security is rewarded by the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of nebulae and reach out and stretch the boundaries of the known - and, paradoxically, enhance our safety by degree. The more knowledge we have the more control we have, the more control, the more secure we are against future threats. No knowledge growth without risk.
A discussion of the "Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development".
Alex Brocklehurst raises the question is human expansion, economically, psychologically, spiritually, technologically etc, in principle better than contraction?
Alex, Roger and Ray discuss. Alex and Ray push the progressive, enlightenment view, while Roger takes the dual role of a stick-in-the-mud, devil's advocate. Roger hates mud! : - )
Alex Brocklehurst has just had a chapter published in the book Jordan Peterson: Critical Responses.
Roger outlines the Ukrainian crisis, placing this delicate strategic confrontation in its historical and demographic context. Ukraine is a vital strategic interest to the Russian state, but not to the United States of America. Roger argues that states typically regard security as paramount, trumping economic interests and will accept a great deal of damage maintaining their vital strategic interests, and so the West’s threat of economic sanctions are impotent. Is the West playing a losing hand, given that Ukraine is perceived by Russia as a vital buffer zone right on its doorstep, but is 5000 miles from the US? Roger asks us to imagine a mirror of the situation for the US: Russia stations forces in Mexico and Canada, or simply establishes alliances with those countries. Such a move would be intolerable for the US state under the well-established Monroe doctrine.
(Some sources —for example, the omniscient POLITIFACT, argue that NATO has reneged on an agreement suggested by ...
Defending the Enlightenment through animated philsophy.
"Animated" = Full of life or excitement; lively, vigorous.
"Philosophy" = Love of truth.
An autonomous life is one in which we can make a difference according to our own aims and plans. This is the personal aspect of the enlightenment. However, this is under threat from a perverted alliance of governments and the tech giants.
Enlightenment Defended will repel the dark nihilism of “post-truth”, woke culture, identity politics, and PC-Speak, which are feeding this rotten symbiosis of state and tech giants. To counter this backward step in our society, Enlightenment Defended will catalyse the bright flame of the enlightenment —liberty, reason and progress.
Enlightenment Defended will create a realm that frames our deepest thoughts about life through articles, documentary, animation, poetry, humour, music and myth and philosophical debate. People are many-sided in both apprehension and enjoyment.
Enlightenment Defended will ...