Ideological Preservation Part 2: Ignorance and Dismissal

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

– Robertson Davies

One of the most basic mechanisms of ideological preservation is simple ignorance. If conflicting facts are not presented, then there is no need to explain them. This is primarily done in classrooms and academia because it is extremely simple to do so: just don’t mention it. Of course, the purpose of a university (in theory…) is to present multiple views on a subject to encourage critical thought. However, at least in my experience, this has not occurred. In my sociology classes throughout the year, it took until nearly the end of the last quarter to bring up any criticism of Marxism. If students do not seek out criticisms, whether they do not want to or do not know where to look, then the ideas in the classrooms are presented as a singular entity. One of my professors said “If you don’t think Thomas Kuhn is correct, then you’re just wrong!” I suppose Alan Sokal is just wrong then…

Media of course plays easily into this role as well. I already went into detail about how social media ruins any critical thought. Obviously, the media is in control of the narrative. They for example, won’t make headlines stating that Obama banned all Venezuelan immigrants (as of the time of writing the search “obama venezuela immigration” only returns Reddit results). This is because they want to keep the narrative that Trump banning entire countries from immigrating is unacceptable. It is also why feminist websites will never post about Hillary Clinton’s foundation pay gap.

When these facts are brought to light, the next step is dismissal. The easiest way, at least in academia, is to simply say that they are wrong. The source is unreliable or ill-argued. This is done from a position of power and nothing else. We are trusting that the professors be unbiased, and take their word for it. They do not need to justify any complaints that something is wrong. The classic way to dismiss is to simply label the work. Saying that a work is “outdated” or even conservative (God forbid that someone has a different belief system!) is another simple method of dismissal which requires no substantive explanation or defense of one’s own ideology (Kimball, Roger – Tenured Radicals pg 20). When you’re out of ideas, one can fall back on the good-old fashioned tried and true method of comparing things you don’t like to Hitler (Tenured Radicals pg 5).

Feminism gains far more power by accusing something of being racist or sexist. These are simple yet powerful words. They still hold no meaning, especially in academia. Stating that something is sexist does not necessarily make it so. In my opinion, only the intent matters in acts. The problem is that otherwise, such terms become nebulous and tricky to define. Does one person calling a view sexist make it so? Does it have to be two or more? Does it have to be every female professor? If one person does not find the view sexist, is it enough to cancel it out? If a female professor agrees that it is not sexist, does that cancel it out? There is no way to determine if something is sexist or racist. There is no definable objective test as to whether a view is sexist or not, it can only be subjective in nature. As such, it is ripe for abuse, as one can then simply claim any view they don’t like is sexist or racist (Tenured Radicals pg 20).

Ignorance is bliss. By ignoring conflicting facts and reason, the ideology preserves itself quite well. Marxism and feminism are, in universities, presented as the only correct view. This also applies to other current paradigms such as postmodernism or critical theory. This is dangerous, as it means no other interpretations are considered. Putting all the problems in these paradigms aside, all of these ideologies are just one method of interpreting the world. Encouraging and implanting one world view is detrimental to the university experience as well as in real life. Of course, the ideologues are far more concerned with the upkeep of their ideology, rather than considering other points of view.

Dismissal is also dangerous to individuals as well. When something is dismissed, it is done through a position of power. Power is then used as the justification. When a professor says a view is incorrect or wrong, they do so with presumed authority. Of course, this does not mean that professors can’t correct an incorrect presumption or view, they just have to do it factually and rationally. Simply saying it is wrong is not enough. Referencing their own ideological positions are not enough either, especially when such ideology is also easily debunked. The classic feminist line is “educate yourself and check your privilege!”. This is also done from a position of power, as it is presuming that the one using the line is more informed about the subject. The main issue is that it increases animosity towards other points of view. If you’re view is right, why should you have to explain it? You’re clearly the more informed one. Anyone who brings out criticisms must not know what they are talking about! In that regard, dismissal then plays multiple roles. It preserves the ideology by giving a simple, inarguable reason to get rid of opposing views. It also functions as a recruiting tool, as dismissing from a position of power, especially when they are a professor, makes one want to learn the “right” way of thinking. When ignorance and dismissal fails, that’s when the reshaping process begins…

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