Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Orwellian World of Hate Incidents

I noted earlier, in "People Wonder Why I Quit University Teaching...", that I haven't followed Mark Steyn's legal case all that closely (the background is here).

But I have been getting a kick out of some of the various commentary on the case, however.

Blazing Cat Fur's got some posts up (
here and here) suggesting an Orwellian project at work, designed to suppress conservative critcism of Islam. Note, for example:

The latest police state efforts to exercise totalitarian control over citizens are contained in the recommendations of this report:

Addressing Hate Crime in Ontario

Final Report of the Hate Crimes Community Working Group to the Attorney General and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services...
Blazing Cat Fur also loves the language of Ontario Human Rights Commission, for example, in its coverage of "institutional racism" in its report, "Concepts of Race and Racism and Implications for OHRC Policy":

For many modern neo-Marxist theorists, especially those influenced by postmodernist and poststructuralist paradigms, racism is best understood by theorizing about ‘difference’ and ‘othering’. In fact, “the construction of difference” and the “process of assigning value to difference” are central to the understanding not only of racism, but many other forms of oppressive beliefs....

Difference can be expressed in several ways. For example, the most common is the belief that the ‘races’ or ‘sexes’ differ in their essential natures – this basically biological influenced belief leads to the common stereotypes that Blacks, for example, are less intelligent, are by nature lazy, and other such stereotypes. Another form is the notion that ‘races’ differ by morality and ethics, which lead to stereotypes that Blacks are promiscuous and, more recently, are disposed to criminal activity. Finally, difference can by defined by culture, values, and norms, which lead to the stereotype that Blacks come from inferior cultural backgrounds. Needless to say, all of these notions of difference are based on the erroneous belief in what has been called ‘essentialism’ – namely that differences in the human species are natural, biological, immutable and that they form the ‘essential’ nature of various groups.
Well, we know a little bit about postmodernism, and how it relates to reality. See Dr. Sanity, for example:

To the modernist, the "mask" metaphor is a recognition of the fact that words are not always to be taken literally or as directly stating a fact--that people largely use language elliptically, metaphorically, or to state falsehoods, that language can be textured with layers of meaning, and that it can be used to cover hypocrisies or to rationalize. Accordingly, unmasking means interpreting or investigating to a literal meaning or fact of the matter. The process of unmasking is cognitive, guided by objective standards, with the purpose of coming to an awareness of reality.

For the postmodernist, by contrast, interpretation and investigation never terminate with reality. Language connects only with more language, never with a non-linguistic reality....

For the postmodernist, language cannot be cognitive because it does not connect to reality, whether to an external nature or an underlying self. Language is not about being aware of the world, or about distinguishing the true from the false, or even about argument in the traditional sense of validity, soundness, and probability. Accordingly, postmodernism recasts the nature of rehtoric. Rhetoric is persasion in the absence of cognition....
These are just random, mostly unconnect musing, but fascinating in any event.

More later as it comes to me.