Posts in social justice
From Chapter 5: The Seduction of Theory: Excerpt from Springtime for Snowflakes: "Social Justice" and Its Postmodern Parentage

Had my dad understood it, my graduate school enrollment in “Literary and Cultural Theory” would have struck him as tantamount to madness, like self-commitment to an insane asylum. After the Ginsberg apprenticeship, which definitively ended any remaining prospects I had for medical school, he wouldn’t have had tears left to cry…..
So, twelve years after the Ginsberg apprenticeship and after work- ing in broadcast advertising for nine years, by my early thirties, I finally decided to become a literature professor. Read more…

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Chapter 1: Introducing the @antipcnyuprof: Excerpt from Springtime for Snowflakes: "Social Justice" and Its Postmodern Parentage

On September 12, 2016, I established a Twitter account with the name “Deplorable NYU Prof” and the official handle @antipcnyuprof. This Twitter identity – replete with Friedrich Nietzsche avatar – represented a satirical character wielded by a self-proclaimed but anonymous NYU professor apparently gone rogue. As with all satire, the mockery was over-the-top, but the intended effect was serious criticism. The Twitter account allowed me to air views that I felt reluctant to issue under my real name, and to render them without undu circumspection.
As an NYU professor for nine years, I had grown concerned about. recent developments within NYU and academia at large. With greater frequency, screeching mobs and the “no-platforming” of speakers essentially nullified freedom of speech. Speech codes and “bias reporting hotlines” curtailed the expression of entire communities. On matters of gender, sexuality, and identity broadly construed, whole avenues of inquiry were foreclosed on the basis of sacrosanct tenets deemed immune from scrutiny. Freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of inquiry were under attack and in full retreat.

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Libertarianism(s) versus Postmodernism and "Social Justice" Ideology (Video)

A peculiar phrase recently introduced into the political lexicon by media cognoscenti describes a new corporate philosophy: “woke capitalism. Coined by Ross Douthat of the New York Times, woke capitalism refers to a burgeoning wave of companies that apparently have become advocates of social justice. Some major corporations now intervene in social and political issues and controversies, partaking in a new corporate activism. The newly “woke” corporations support activist groups and social movements, while adding their voices to political debates. Woke capitalism has endorsed Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo Movement, contemporary feminism, LGBTQ rights, and immigration activism, among other leftist causes.

The Ludwig von Mises Memorial Lecture, sponsored by Yousif Almoayyed. Recorded at the Mises Institute on March 22, 2019. Includes an introduction by Joseph T. Salerno.

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“Social Justice” and Its Postmodern Parentage

At the moment postmodern theory lay dying in the academy, it bore a child, namely, “social justice.” Social justice gestated within the university as postmodern theory ruled the roost. It was nursed during the Occupy movement and the Obama era. The financial crisis left its hapless followers in search of empowerment. It took root on the internet on social media. But because its parent had taught it that the object world is not real, or else that the world at large was beyond one’s purview, the child of postmodern theory could only change itself, as well as, so it imagined, those who bore signs of its oppressors. In Academic Questions. 31.2. (10 April 2018): 130-139.

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Why Political Correctness Is Incorrect

The term “politically correct” is one of the most incendiary phrases of contemporary political jargon. Advocates for values deemed politically correct — anti-racism, anti-misogyny, anti-transphobia, and so on — suggest that being politically correct is simply that: correct. Why would anyone want to be anything else — unless, that is, they are motivated by bigotry, or something worse?
This position appears reasonable enough, and it might even be undisputable if it didn’t seek to obscure an underlying impulse — for political correction. Under regimes of political correctness, political correction is the typical response for those voicing “incorrect” opinions. Indeed, imposing “correct” ideas by the “necessary” means is precisely the crux of the problem.

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A Critique of "Social Justice" Ideology: Thinking through Marx and Nietzsche

In an earlier essay, I offered a brief sketch of the genealogy of social justice mechanisms and beliefs. To date, however, I have yet to examine the philosophical premises of the creed, or formally to offer a theoretical framework or set of frameworks for critiquing and refuting it. This essay represents a first effort at doing both.
First, I will briefly trace a Soviet and a few postmodernist contributions to social justice ideology. Then, I will turn my attention to two major thinkers: Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche – in order to find ways that the two thinkers may be adduced to provide resources for understanding and critically assessing the social justice ideology….In CLG News. 20 July 2017.

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(Part of The New Thought Police – Social Justice Warriors) (Video).

As a growing body of scholars and public intellectuals suggest, nothing less than a moral revolution is underway in liberal society, broadly construed. The old rules of speech and behavior are giving way to a new package of moral and political imperatives. As illustrated regularly on college campuses and beyond, the advocates of this new moral creed aim to enforce adherence to their beliefs with the ferocity of religious zealots. The political and quasi-religious creed is known as “social justice,” and the rationale for its enforcement is to protect and promote the members of marginalized identity groups. Far from being limited to a few student activists and keyboard warriors, the social justice creed has been adopted by a majority of North American university administrations and codified in university policies. And social justice has also traveled far afield of academia, exerting a growing influence on social media, mass media, corporate America, and other elements of the broader culture….Vox News. 14 June 2017.

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Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces, Bias Reporting: The New Micro-techniques of Surveillance and Control

A singular orthodoxy has infiltrated the discursive parameters of U.S. and other universities and colleges. This orthodoxy now constitutes the ethical vocabulary of academia. Adopted from feminism, anti-racism, and LGBTQ theory and practice, the language, doctrines, and mechanisms of this orthodoxy now dominate academia's policies, procedures and handbooks. The terminology has become the vernacular among the swelling ranks of administrators, especially the relatively new cohort of chief diversity officers, directors of diversity, associate provosts of diversity, assistant provosts of diversity, diversity consultants, and so on and so on. I refer not merely to the orthodoxy of "diversity," but in particular to "diversity" initiatives as they are currently administered, using a particular set of policies, procedures, and mechanisms: trigger warnings, safe spaces, bias reporting, and the like.

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On the Origins and Character of “Social Justice”

One of the great ironies of Western political history involves the term “social justice.” Although a core idea within liberalism and socialism for at least 175 years, the background and origin of “social justice” was a cultural and political conservatism. The irony of the “cultural appropriation” of social justice by liberalism and socialism has recently redoubled. Suggestive of a seemingly undeniably intangible good—that is, of just, fair, well-ordered, and harmonious social relations—social justice is now implicated in fierce and sometimes violent antagonisms. Social justice crystallizes in two words some of the most contentious issues roiling North American politics today. Contemporary social justice bears little resemblance to the original social justice or even more recent movements that have gone by the same name.

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