“Diversity based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity are foundational sacraments in the Cult of Diversity. On the other hand, intellectual and political diversity are heretical ideas that need to be expunged.”
That one paragraph sums up the heart of Gad Saad’s 191-page “The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense.”
The infectious ideas are Political Correctness and Wokeness.
These are unusual ideas from an academic, which Gaad is, but he is an unusual academic: Having actually lived under authoritarian despotism, he knows it crushes economies and destroys souls.
He is a Lebanese-born Jew whose family fled to Canada during Lebanon’s civil war, when his family feared death because of their religion.
He pulls one little sleight-of-hand when he says he is Canadian and therefore neutral on U.S. politics and culture.
He is Canadian, but he is a conservative and is not neutral to cultural and political changes in the U.S. He is not neutral, and shouldn’t be.
One other point of disagreement I have with him is his idea that symbolic protests on social media, say, are pointless and useless. Changing your Facebook profile to a Ukrainian flag, as an example.
Given that his academic specialty is marketing and consumer behavior, he should know better.
The use of the Ukrainian flag makes a statement of where your sympathies lie, joining a community of like-minded individuals, and creating a brand.
We can’t all pick up a rifle to fight the Russians, and not all of us can afford to make a donation to the Ukrainian cause. The profile picture may be as significant as writing a letter to the editor (that may not be published) or writing a letter to your elected representatives (that may not be read).
So much for the bitching.
The rest of the book makes a variety of points, and presents a cache of ideas, starting with the notion that freedom of speech is the mainspring of America, the value that clears the way for all the rest, and it should be ferociously defended against all comers.
To put this in a different context, if you live in an entirely sanitized world, any little germ will knock you off your feet, and maybe kill you. Having your feelings hurt is the price we all pay for free speech, which the Founders realized was even more important than guns. That’s why they made free speech, association, religion and peaceful protest the First Amendment. Guns were 2nd (written, many believe) to enforce the first.
Anyway, back to “Parasitic,” and I don’t want this to come off like Oprah’s book club, but after investing a lot of time in reading a book, I have a yen to share.
In one paragraph, he assembles most of the bad ideas (“parasites”) that infect many minds:
“Postmodernism posits that all knowledge is relative [no objective truths] while generating obscure and impenetrable prose that is tantamount to random gibberish… Social constructivism proposes that the great majority of human behaviors, desires, and preferences are formed not by human nature or our biological heritage, but by society, which means, among other things, that there are no biologically determined sex differences, but only culturally imposed ‘gender roles.’ Radical feminism asserts that the gender roles are due to the nebulous and nefarious forces of the patriarchy. Transgender activism purports that biological sex and ‘gender’ are non-binary fluid constructs… all of which,” he says, are based on demonstrable falsehoods.
He then provides examples.
Sometimes, he reduces it to hilarity by simply recounting facts.
Such as Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s promise that her choice for Secretary of Education would be cleared by a 9-year-old transgender boy. She actually said it.
If you agree with her, turn the page. There is nothing I can say that will cure you.
Saad allows for actual transgender people, but questions the improbability of the large number of people who claim that status.
The number of non-binary people has gone through the roof in recent years, and I questioned why in a column last year.
Naturally, asking questions about the numbers gets us called “haters” or “transphobes” by people who have suppressed their intellect in their surrender to an ideology. To me, that summarizes the woke belief that demands that all actions must be seen through the prism of race.
A short list of things that wokesters have called “racist” includes math, meritocracy, apple pie, mass incarceration, grammar, Apple watches, gentrification, and boot strap theory.
Gaad’s message is not to shrug off these idiotic ideas, but to fight back, and expunge the heretical ideas. He does that, I do that, and we hope you do, too.
16 thoughts on “Don’t submit to woke, academic urges”
Sad to say, all of this is true. There are definitely a large number of far left numbskulls who refuse to entertain an alternate point of view from their own or even discuss it. Of course the same can be said about the morons on the far right as well.
Yeah, Wanda, moronism is unfortunately not limited to one political philosophy. 🙂
How sad that the first two responses to a wonderful, thought-provoking column degenerate into political-centered stupidity.
From a talk I heard two nights ago: a chair (for example) has ‘chairness.’ I.e., it is meant to be a place to sit. Using it in any other way (for example, as a weapon to beat over someone’s head) is contrary to its ‘chairness.’ The chair is the same, but the use it is put to determines its ‘chairness.’ Same with the human body: a male is a male and a female is a female; they were created with ‘maleness’ and ‘femaleness’ to fulfill the duty of procreating the species. A male may ‘feel’ he is female, or a female may ‘feel’ she is male, but that doesn’t make them female or male (just as an anorexic who ‘feels’ fat isn’t fat).
Or, in the simple way my philosophy professor put it to the class many years ago, “If I told you a sheep’s tail is a leg, how many legs would the sheep have?” It is amazing how many in the class answered ‘five.’ The professor smiled and said, “Calling a sheep’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
Cannot stop laughing at your response. Thinking of many nouns where the same “ness” applies.
I just finished audio book. Very informative.
I’ve been railing against postmodernism and critical theory since the 90’s. In particular, this notion:
“Postmodernism posits that all knowledge is relative [no objective truths] while generating obscure and impenetrable prose that is tantamount to random gibberish…”
It always reminded me of the great philosopher Spinoza’s response to the philosophers of his time who believed that knowledge was unattainable:
“Such persons are not conscious of themselves. If they affirm or doubt anything, they know not that they affirm or doubt: they say that they know nothing, and they say that they are ignorant of the very fact of their knowing nothing… in fact, they ought to remain dumb, for fear of haply supposing which should smack of truth. If they deny, grant, or gainsay, they know not that they deny, grant, or gainsay, so that they ought to be regarded as automata, utterly devoid of intelligence.”
–From Spinoza, “On the Improvement of the Understanding.” Available at https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1016/1016-h/1016-h.htm#para1 Even back then, folks who adhered to this type of ideology were called robots (“automata”).
I haven’t read the book yet, but this is not the first “infectious idea” that society has dealt with, and, according my optimistic outlook, will eventually overcome. The problem with ideologies in general, in my view, is that its adherents mistake AN insight for THE insight. For instance, with regard to CRT, it seems obvious to me that if you break someone’s kneecap and then say “Ok, let’s have a fair race to the finish line,” the race isn’t particularly “fair.” In that case, it could be said that “meritocracy” merely perpetuates the injustice of the broken kneecap. But like all ideologues, they insist on throwing the baby out with the bathwater, deeming the admittedly imperfect as irretrievably “evil” and in need of replacement with something else. Marx wasn’t wrong that the plight of the industrial worker in his time was deplorable, but he was wrong that capitalism needed to be destroyed for there to be any improvement in conditions.
In college (in the ‘60s) it wasn’t broken kneecap, it was having been locked in a box.
Broken knee caps heal. How long does it take? And if it is never, then that person should not be given a place on the track team.
If merit is OK for pro sports, it’s good for the rest of society.
Stu,Can you explain”locked in a box”?Does it pertain to the academy ‘s ideology at the time?
I don’t understand the question
In the first sentence of your reply to Tom A’s comment, you reference in
college( in the 60’s) “…having being “locked in a box”( versus a broken kneecap)
I am not sure what you mean.
Thank you. My Soc prof said if someone were locked in a box for 400 years, then freed and told to compete in a race, that would ne unfair.
Read ‘Harrison Bergeron’ by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s a brilliant short story (more than 60 years old) about how society levels the playing field, to assure all are ‘equal.’ It is easy to find online, and will give you insight into the madness of trying to legislate equality.
I’ll try to find it. Meantime, 1984 and Animal Farm will suffice
You’ll find ‘Harrison Bergeron’ to be a lot of laughs as well as enlightening. Can’t say the same for 1984 or Animal farm, thought both were brilliant.
Found it, read it. Very dark and not so funny. Harrison should have seen it coming.
Either you have a recalcitrant sense of humor, or I should see a shrink.
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