Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Commentary and Review #109 Fascism: the F-Word of Choice, Transgender Juggernaut in South Dakota, Houellebecq Tosses Another Grenade,

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Our political culture abounds in empty signifiers, leading to much confusion in the prevailing discourse. “Racism” is the greatest secular sin, but when asked to define it, no one can. In place of precision comes the most loose of definitions, often cancelling each other out, leaving as much room as possible for interpretation by the individual making the charge. This is by design, because to accuse others of mortal sins is to place a moral judgment upon them, effectively eliminating the need to listen to what they are actually saying and ending any potential debate.

We think we know the definition of the term racism, but we are then treated to the most ridiculous charges of it, leaving us wondering how a term that requires precision in definition can be deployed in such a cavalier fashion. We all agree that rounding up a specific racial group due to their membership in that race is racism, but then we are told that asking others where they are from is also racist. The distance between the two is so immense as to make the term all but meaningless….but meaningless does not equate to uselessness. If a moral charge is left ambiguous, a person is under constant threat of violating the moral code that upholds society, leaving one in a constant state of social paranoia. In our society, to be accused of racism is tantamount to being accused of the greatest evil known to Man.

The uses (and abuses) of empty signifiers continue to proliferate precisely because they are so effective. The latest one is ‘transphobia’, another secular sin that simply does not actually exist, but is being forced as a concept on us in a top-down fashion. “Homophobia” is popular one, “Islamophobia” another, sitting next to its more popular relative, “Anti-Semitism”. All of these charges are secular sins in our post-Christian modern world, all deployed well outside of the strict confines of their original meanings.

This opened-ended use of moral judgment isn’t strictly related to perceived biases and prejudices, but is also applicable to worldviews as well. Take the example of the term ‘fascism’, a political philosophy with a very strict definition that is nonetheless applied wholesale to broad swathes of the political spectrum, often hilariously misapplied and indicating the political and historical ignorance of the person tossing out that charge, but still carrying utility regardless. Stanley Payne (author of THE COLLAPSE OF THE SPANISH REPUBLIC: 1933-36) takes a look at the historical illiteracy of the “f-word” hurlers:

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