Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bulverism

In an article I published with the Charles Colson Center, titled 'The Shadow of Ezekiel Bulver', I mentioned about Theodor W. Adorno (1903 – 1969) and the Frankfurt movement. I pointed out that Adorno set in motion the tendency to consider that those who held conservative views were not just wrong, but neurotic; and not just neurotic, but neurotic in a fascist sort of way. By converting ideas into pathologies, the Frankfurt school set in motion the trend of psychologizing political opponents as a substitute for critical engagement.
   
Consider: Following in the footsteps of Adorno and the Frankfurters, one does not need to show how a truth claim is false provided that it can be identified as being “sexist,” “homophobic,” “patriarchal,” “logo-centric” or even “Islamophobic.” Terms such as these can be bandied about to short-circuit rational debate, even as Ezekiel Bulver’s mother closed down her husband’s discussion with the unanswerable exclamation, “Oh you say that because you are a man.’”

Because our public discourse implicitly attaches a greater premium on diagnosis than argumentation, whole swathes of public assumptions become immune to critique. The result is frequently to induce a state of affairs described by George Orwell when he remarked that “at any given moment, there is a sort of all-pervading orthodoxy – a general tacit agreement not to discuss some large and uncomfortable fact.”

To read more, visit my article, 'The Shadow of Ezekiel Bulver' at the Charles Colson Center.


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