Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Living in Judith Butler's So-Called Mind

Meanwhile back in the USA.

While the Chinese are beating us at supercomputers we have become the uncontested world leader in gender dysphoria. We have fallen behind in semiconductors but we have invented dozens of new gender identities, thus allowing our ever-more-decadent young people to choose any gender and to force the rest of the world to treat them accordingly.

According to New York Magazine this madness comes down to us from the fevered brain of a dimwitted academic named Judith Butler.

You might think I am being unkind in calling Butler a dimwit. I am actually being more than generous. Back in the day Butler was awarded a prize for being the worst writer in America. This sentence, dutifully quoted by New York Magazine demonstrates the depths of intellectual degradation into which the American academy has descended.

Butler won her award for writing:

The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.

Surely, Butler is the queen of diversity quotas. Being both female and gay she has had a distinguished career that has nothing to do with ability or achievement. She is an empty-headed bullshit artist whose unintelligible rantings are lauded as works genius. Why else can no one understand them?

While going on for an excessively long time about how much gender confusion Butler has produced, New York Magazine fails to note that Butler has a strange affinity for anti-Semitic causes, like the Boycott, Divestment Sanction movement. Butler also stated that Hamas and Hezbollah were “progressive” movements, members in good standing of the international progressive left.

To be fair, she qualified the statement by adding that she does not support all “progressive” movements. But how much intelligence does it take to understand that terrorist organizations devoted to destroying the state of Israel and killing Jews are not progressive, but reactionary and extremist. They have nothing to do with progressivism, in any form.

Now, New York Magazine might reply that the debate over Israel does not belong in an article about gender dysphoria. And yet, don’t its readers have a right to know that the spiritual leader of the gender confusion movement has expressed sympathy for anti-Semites? And that she has promoted the view that terrorist organizations belong within the political mainstream?

It all makes its own kind of sense. Judaism played a pivotal role in founding the Western civilization that Butler despises. When she supports movements that wish to destroy Israel she is being consistent with her own radical theories. When she promotes gender dysphoria she is trying to destroy the social fabric by throwing all rules and roles into doubt. By sowing confusion she has helped produce nationwide anomie. Much of our current politics can be understood as a desperate attempt to overcome said anomie.

Benjamin Weinthal and Richard Landes summarized Butler’s positions in the Wall Street Journal:

Her theory views Western civilization as a peculiarly sinister form of imperial domination, and believes that "subverting" that "hegemony" constitutes an act of liberation. Postcolonial theory tells her that Israelis are imperialists, using apartheid laws to oppress Palestinian "subalterns." Her interpretation of diasporic Judaism tells her that Jews should "oppose violence of all kinds, including state violence."

This means that Israel should not defend itself and that it is at fault whenever it does.

Weinthal and Landes continue:

Therefore she favors dismantling the Jewish state as we know it, in favor of "multi-cultural co-habitation," reminiscent of Buber's "bi-national democratic state." In her latest book, "Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism," she nods to the prodigious forces of hatred and intolerance militating against her solution: "It may be that binationalism is an impossibility, but that mere fact does not suffice as a reason to be against it."

Would that Ms. Butler contented herself with abstruse publications. She is also a highly vociferous public critic of Israel. Participating in an "Anti-War Teach-In" at Berkeley in 2006, Ms. Butler answered a question about Hamas's and Hezbollah's place "in the global left." These are two of the most belligerent movements within the warmongering, anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic world of Islamist jihad. Yet while criticizing violence and "certain dimensions of both movements," Ms. Butler told the students that "understanding Hamas [and] Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the left, that are part of a global left, is extremely important."

Butler herself was sorely offended at this and other attacks.  She is Jewish herself and therefore cannot be anti-Semitic. And, she was deeply aggrieved to see that her theoretical positions were being dismissed because she had declared Hamas and Hezbollah—misogynistic and homophobic besides being anti-Semitic—to be part of the progressive left.

In support of co-habitation between Israel and Hamas, she offered this:

In my view, there are strong Jewish traditions, even early Zionist traditions, that value co-habitation and that offer ways to oppose violence of all kinds, including state violence. It is most important that these traditions be valued and animated for our time – they represent diasporic values, struggles for social justice, and the exceedingly important Jewish value of “repairing the world” (Tikkun).

This is a formula for surrender. Butler does not seem to notice that Hamas and Hezbollah have no interest cohabitation, that they have devoted themselves to state violence and that they do not practice “social justice.” If Butler had been living in Gaza she would now be hanging from a lamppost. Apparently, this thought has never passed through her empty head.

As for the charge that she supports Palestinian terrorism, she responds that even though she called Hamas and Hezbollah as progressive leftist movements, that does not mean that she supports them. She might support their goals of destroying the state of Israel, but she wants it to happen nonviolently.

She might have noticed, but naturally she did not, that the only place in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs live in relative harmony is Israel.

Butler is trafficking in legalism. If you are progressive you would naturally feel some affinity for progressive causes. Surely, you do not have to accept all of their tactics, but the truth is, there is nothing progressive about Palestinian terrorism, except in the minds of useful idiots like Western leftists.

Similarly with the BDS movement. Butler supports some of it and does not support other parts. It’s like saying that you support certain parts of Naziism and not others. So what. She is merely exculpating herself for the horrors committed by groups she helped legitimized. It reminds us of famed philosopher Martin Heidegger, a man who supported and promoted Nazism and who then declared that he was not responsible for the bad things it did.

Butler wants to have it both ways:

For me, BDS means that I oppose investments in companies that make military equipment whose sole purpose is to demolish homes. It means as well that I do not speak at Israeli institutions unless they take a strong stand against the occupation. I do not accept any version of BDS that discriminates against individuals on the basis of their national citizenship, and I maintain strong collaborative relationships with many Israeli scholars. One reason I can endorse BDS and not endorse Hamas and Hezbollah is that BDS is the largest non-violent civic political movement seeking to establish equality and the rights of self-determination for Palestinians.

Butler thinks that she has the right to think that her own personal BDS means what she wants it to mean. It’s like saying that she likes certain parts of Communism and doesn’t like certain others—point that anyone can make about any political cause.

Yet, if BDS has singled out Israel for special opprobrium, it is an anti-Semitic organization. Surely it is not all bad. Nothing is. We can certainly find lines in the Communist Manifesto we agree with. They have often been trotted out to dupe the gullible.

And yet, when Communism was put into action noble sentiments were drowned in the horrors it unleashed on the peoples of the world. In terms of body count Communism ranks with the bubonic plague. Saying that it was not all bad, that it was fighting for social justice and equality is nothing more than a mealy-mouthed effort at self-rationalization… by an academic whose reputation vastly outstrips her very limited abilities.


Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ares Olympus said...

Point of clarity for the uninitiated - I see BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,_Divestment_and_Sanctions

And her opinions on Hamas and Hezbollah are discussed on her wikipedia bio:
Comments on Hamas and Hezbollah

Butler was criticized for statements she had made about Hamas and Hezbollah. She had described them as “social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left”. She was accused of defending "Hezbollah and Hamas as progressive organizations" and supporting their tactics.

Butler responded to these criticisms by stating that her remarks on Hamas and Hezbollah were taken completely out of context and badly, if not wittingly, distort her established views on non-violence. She has repeatedly condemned the violence and non-democratic actions of these groups while clearly advocating for a politics committed to non-violence.

In a recent interview she explained that Hamas and Hezbollah are "progressive" insofar as they do address infrastructural needs that are quite acute under occupation. Precisely because such groups are supplying important social services, it becomes harder—yet more urgent—to find ways of persuading people not to support their violent tactics.

Butler describes the origin of her remarks on Hamas and Hezbollah in the following way: "I was asked by a member of an academic audience a few years ago whether I thought Hamas and Hezbollah belonged to “the global left” and I replied with two points.

"My first point was merely descriptive: those political organizations define themselves as anti-imperialist, and anti-imperialism is one characteristic of the global left, so on that basis one could describe them as part of the global left.

"My second point was then critical: as with any group on the left, one has to decide whether one is for that group or against that group, and one needs to critically evaluate their stand."

Sam L. said...

We have a new Queen of Bafflegab! Or...something. It appears that Ares might agree with me on this, somewhat.

"To be fair, she qualified the statement by adding that she does not support all “progressive” movements. But how much intelligence does it take to understand that terrorist organizations devoted to destroying the state of Israel and killing Jews are not progressive, but reactionary and extremist. They have nothing to do with progressivism, in any form." Au contraire, mon ami; progressivism progresses to killing people in warehouse-size lots.

Anonymous said...

Redundant. The Laputa Left has emitted lakes of ink saying the same things since VN at least.

"WCiv is the Cancer of History" -- Susan Sontag, 70's (I think. Must google.)

At least she had other, more interesting ideas.

This fabulist isn't worth our attention. The mag itself is witless. -- Rich Lara

Anonymous said...

She reminds me of Masha Gessen.

Anonymous said...

"Her theory views Western civilization as a peculiarly sinister form of imperial domination.."

I agree with her. To the extent that the West exports her kind of craziness, it must be a sick kind of civilization.

She is blind to her own imperialist influence on the world.

She isn't spreading liberation but subjugation to PC that has taken hold of the West.

Anonymous said...

"The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony..."

Reading that is like watching Jeanne Dielman.,_23_quai_du_Commerce,_1080_Bruxelles

Anonymous said...

"If Butler had been living in Gaza she would now be hanging from a lamppost."

She lives in the US and is showered with privileges and given power over entire academic institutions.

I wonder which side is nuttier.

Ones who would hang her from a lamp post or ones who would put her on the throne on national gender policy.

There has to be third way between the extremes.