“Social science” on prejudice etc.

John Ray, an anti-leftist social scientist in Australia, has a couple of blogs for his academic papers (here and here—I don’t know why he has two). Many of the papers are concerned with debunking social science theories advanced in support of efforts to combat what is called “bigotry.” What he finds in the world of social science is the same as what we see in the world around us: people who complain about “bigotry” are usually bigots, people who speak of “stereotypes that are impervious to empirical evidence” are likely to be in the grip of stereotypes that are impervious to empirical evidence, and so on. (See, for example, the paper posted today, April 25.)

The result isn’t surprising. What could be more of a “stereotype,” more of a “demonized other,” more of a club to keep people in line, than the image of “the bigot”? What better way to stop discussion and get rid of someone or force a desired result than to make accusations of “racism”? It should be obvious that the self-image of post-Civil Rights Movement morality doesn’t capture the whole truth about that way of thinking. In particular, what antibigots say about their opponents is true of themselves.

The issue is an important one. Post-Civil Rights Movement morality has greatly influenced the outlook of many Christians, in some cases becoming almost the whole substance of their faith. Nonetheless, the essence of that morality is a highly un-Christian demand for the abolition of all principles of social organization other than human desire and formal procedures, like markets and bureaucracies, that are designed to bring about the satisfaction of desire.

The reason that is so is that any other principle of organization would involve making discriminations now considered forbidden. An obvious example would be family life, with its age and gender roles and its restraints on sexual expression. Another would be human culture as such—it’s always local and particular, so letting it play any role at all in social life would offend against the multiculturalist demand that no culture ever be given the preference over another inconsistent culture.

The effect of “inclusiveness” is thus to flatten out the social and moral world and reconstruct it based on a sort of technocratic egalitarian hedonism. It is utterly opposed to Christian and especially Catholic morality, and in fact to any tolerable human way of life. Nonetheless, it’s supported by strong tendencies in modern life and thought, and by extremely powerful institutional interests. All the world’s bureaucrats, experts and money-grubbers favor it, for example, because it eliminates things that complicate their unconstrained control over social life.

Inclusiveness is also supported by an apparatus of pseudo-scholarship about “prejudice” and the like that everyone accepts as scientific although it won’t stand up to a moment’s examination. Dr. Ray’s contribution is to demonstrate the shoddiness of that apparatus. The contribution is an important one, because a big selling point of inclusiveness is the claim that it is scientific. It’s even treated as a precondition of rational discussion—academic institutions feel justified in forbidding “racist,” “sexist,” and “homophobic” discourse, and some claim their mission requires them to do so. As a result, it’s likely to remain impossible to discuss these issues until the view that inclusiveness is a simple matter of rationality is forcibly called into question. And that Dr. Ray is helping to do.

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