I woke him up and the moralizing of everything

The two most powerful elements of wake are its project to moralize everything (this makes it so distinctly post-Protestant) and its project to politicize everything. Regarding the latter, to use one of the favorite expressions of the woke, there are no safe spaces for the non-political for the simple reason that this category is claimed not to exist, or that it is a mask for the politics of supremacy, race, patriarchy, and exploitation that are it. woken up, tries to take him down. What this does and will do for the pursuit of knowledge is one of the most interesting questions raised by the awakening. “Check your privilege” is no longer enough. In the most advanced line of gender militancy, the idea of ​​”checking your privilege” is increasingly common, that is, asking yourself if you don’t want to sleep with someone, as in the case of, for example, a straight man or a lesbian (let’s say in the classic way ), not wanting to have sex with a trans woman with a penis is an act of transphobia.

I think this expresses at the deepest level the belief that not only is being human more important than anything else, but that personal kindness is essentially a political act. Not surprisingly, this is the widely held view in the liberal professions, and it has migrated into the STEM world to the extent that a white doctor painfully stated years ago in the pages of the now-wide-awake The lancet that “If we white doctors want to heal others and ultimately the health care system, we must first heal ourselves.”

That this doctor wants to flaunt her virtue in an exhibitionist way is her doing (the decision to publish the material from The lancet is something else). But what is new and harmful in all this is the metaphorization of the idea of ​​healing, because it blurs any useful distinction between being good at what you do and being a good person. To put it bluntly, that this doctor, according to her own diagnosis, needs to be cured or cured of her racism is not as important as the treatment of one of her leukemia patients. And yet he seems to think the opposite is most likely the case: “If we white doctors want to heal others and ultimately the health care system, we must first heal ourselves.”

The problem is that this gets things the other way around: not only is it possible, but it’s far more important for a doctor to cure a child’s leukemia than her own racism. This is the difference between healing and “healing,” but the triumph of metaphor is so complete in this society that the distinction is no longer part of the judgment of adults. Meanwhile, the moral sensibilities of this age seem to find it intolerable to accept the fact that it is entirely possible for a racist to make a scientific discovery that benefits humanity. Instead, however, the modern tendency is to argue that if bad people seem capable of doing something better than good people, the problem lies in the definition of doing something better. So if biologist David Sabatini is found guilty of sexual misconduct that outweighs any contribution he may have made, he was sidelined. But since that leaves the question of the importance of his contribution unanswered, the answer is to say that the idea of ​​genius is hierarchical nonsense, and therefore firing someone who is said to have behaved immorally and oppressively will do no harm. .

Another expression of this moralizing is the relaxation of exam requirements and, in one recent case, the dismissal of a science professor whom his students (and possibly his university’s administration) deemed too rigorous. But given the current spirit, it is hard to be otherwise. Yes, maybe we can learn from sports that being good at something and being a good person don’t have much to do with each other. But at this point, at least, the pressure to pretend it doesn’t apply to medicine or physics, or, for that matter, sculpture or poetry, is irresistible. If we judge people by their goodness instead of their ability, or, to put it another way, by their goodness it is their ability, then rejecting someone based on their grades is an insult his humanity, since accepting someone despite their moral offenses (real or imagined) is an insult to ours humanity.

It seems obvious that we are entering a world whose good intentions will destroy the good in this civilization without improving the many cruel and monstrous things it also has.

Originally published on the author’s blog: https://davidrieff.substack.com/p/desire-and-fate-c1e

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