29 March 2021

intellectual monopoly —> authoritarianism

For many people, doing 'research' in the humanities seems to mean: generating support for the answers they want to hear. The idea that research might be about truth, or providing a balanced picture, or at least maintaining a plurality of perspectives, has become passé.
   It is not clear whether unbiased, value-free humanities research is even possible. If it isn't, the ultimate answer may be for the state to stop supporting it. Why should taxpayers finance biased research? Especially when the direction of the bias is predictable: it is likely to reinforce the role of the state, and to favour increases in intervention.
   Until such time as the state gets out of the humanities, there is an ongoing need for alternative perspectives. Every year, billions of pounds/dollars/etc. are poured into the academic humanities, using money compulsorily collected from taxpayers. And the overall conclusions generated by all this 'research'? Subject to some minor internal variation, basically that:
- capitalism is bad,
- conservatism is bad,
- there needs to be more state intervention.
   By now, the academic humanities are, for all intents and purposes, an ideologically mono-cultured monopoly. Those who disagree with the ideology are derided, insulted and demonised. In one sense, this is not surprising. We know that monopoly power, once acquired, tends to be jealously guarded and not readily surrendered. Potential rivals can expect to be treated in a ruthless and underhand fashion.
   The humanities professors, facing no serious criticism from within their own ranks, and having authority on their side — after all, they are officially appointed representatives of authorised truth-institutions (universities) — can get away with intellectual authoritarianism. If you show signs of dissent, the professors are certain to call you out. That is now, it seems, their principal role: to monitor for ideological correctness, and to censure deviation.
   What about those who wish to present alternative viewpoints? They are forced to scurry around for private support outside the system (which is used by their critics as ammunition against them) or to rely on their own means. Private support for pluralist perspectives is in any case scarcely available. Billionaires have, it appears, have bought into the dominant ideology and don't see any need for a plurality of viewpoints; like everyone else, their priority has become virtue signalling. Any funding they contribute simply goes into reinforcing the monoculture.
   The dominance of Marxism and Marxist-style feminism in many areas of the humanities is a major contributor to the rot. Marxism doesn’t seek truth, it already 'knows' the truth; dissent is therefore wrong and to be discouraged. Culture must promote the right kind of social change — if it does not, it is sure to be what Marxists label as 'oppressive'. Anyone who disagrees with the orthodoxy can therefore be presumed to be a moral villain, providing a convenient excuse for censorship.