The PC Left’s Pathologizing of dissent Reply

By Aleksey Bashtavenko  of Academic Composition

Back in 2007, I was very much a young man, as I had only existed for two decades.

I knew next to nothing about politics or how the real world worked, but I was quite disturbed by the jingoist propaganda that the Bush administration spouted. From start to finish, that bore a lurid semblance to the political events that shaped my consciousness, where I couldn’t walk down the street for a half a mile without stumbling upon some sort of a monument commemorating the fallen heroes of World War II. With a sense of dread, I still recall how my first grade teacher took a classmate to task for failing to do his homework, insisting that had this been the “patriotic war”, the Nazis would have slaughtered him a long time ago. A year or so later, I recall how that same classmate was fortunate enough to enter a foreign exchange student program that took him to the U.S for a year. Upon returning to Russia, he walked in a more upright posture, made eye contact and didn’t feel in the slightest bit intimidated by his teachers. Needless to say, they hated him even more for it, as there was an air of dignity about him that the Russian politico-economic system was designed to suppress on every level.

About 15 years earlier, the USSR lost their “people’s artist”, Vladimir Vysotsky.

In the 1970s, he arrived in Hollywood to deliver a performance. Without comprehending a single word, the listeners could not help but sense the spell-binding mystique he exuded with every utterance. In his inimitable, deep and raspy voice, Vysotsky became a legend ridiculing the commissars, the absurdity of life under socialism and gross corruption of the system.

When Spassky lost his crown to Fischer, Vysotsky released a song lampooning the communist party leader who threatened to “physically crush Fischer, be it by checkmate or not”. In a similar vein, his song on clowns with down-syndrome was an obvious caricature of Brezhnev, the senile Soviet premier who presided over the infamous “era of stagnation” that is now well known to be the leading cause of the collapse of the USSR. His other less well-known performance aptly titled as “the hunt on wolves” satirized the KGBs relentless persecution of political dissidents.

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Paradox of the devil’s advocate Reply

By Aleksey Bashtavenko  of Academic Composition 

On Liberty” is widely regarded as a classic of political philosophy. Therein, John Stuart Mill argued that there is a fundamental similarity between scientific and political discovery. As Karl Popper evinced, scientific discovery must be falsifiable. In other words, science does not prove what is true, it only shows what is false. As a result, there is an evolution of knowledge where scholars routinely challenge each other to produce the strongest possible theories. By definition, science is an empirically informed academic metier and because of that, scientists can often refute one another’s findings by simply showing how they are not compatible with the tangible reality. As dull and monotonous as laboratory work may seem to the students of humanities, its saving graces are not to be underestimated.

On the other hand, theology and ideology are grounded in abstraction rather than experimentation. Just like scientists, theologians and political thinkers are passionate about their beliefs and that is why they are willing to devote a great deal of effort to justifying them. In stark contrast, the practitioners of the abstract disciplines cannot subject their views to a critical test in an environment where it is determined whether their views are compatible with reality. Due to this, theologians and political thinkers are much more vulnerable to the confirmation bias than the bona fide scientists.

John Stuart Mill was fully aware of this problem and he was quite disconcerted by the dogmatism of political philosophers and theologians alike. In light of the absence of comprehensive falsifiability of purely abstract ideas, it is all the more important to subject them to the most rigorous standard of proof possible. To do that, it is imperative for even the staunchest of believers to play “devil’s advocate” by forming the strongest possible arguments in defense of their own views. Only by virtue of such an exercise it will be possible for believers to regard their worldview as the “living truth” rather than as the dead dogma.

Mill went so far as to claim that although the Catholic Church was one of the most oppressive institutions of his day, the clergy always made it a point to play the devil’s advocate before inducting one of their peers into sainthood. By engaging in this exercise, the Catholic elites were able to find plausible reasons on which their beliefs were predicated and in turn, this strengthened their convictions. On the other hand, Christians of lesser distinction participated in rituals without understanding their significance and predictably, their beliefs degenerated into a “dead dogma”.

Today, liberal professors of humanities outnumber their conservative peers by a ratio of 12:1. Instructors of such disciplines who even  dare to question the orthodoxy face grave, if not career-ending consequences. In such scholarly milieus previously famed for their objectivity and scholarly neutrality, the act of questioning the liberal orthodoxy is just as risky as being openly gay was in the 1950s. Consequently, the academic environment has become an echo chamber where the ideological orientation of the academic left has become a dead dogma rather than a living truth.

In light of these developments, the professors of the humanities should not be surprised that even many of the moderate Democrats have refused to support Hillary Clinton. When they abandon their pedagogic duties in favor of their mission to indoctrinate students into the view that represents the consensus of the elites of their group,  they deprive even their staunchest supporters of opportunities to become true believers in their cause.

The Central Metaphors of the PC Left Reply

By Aleksey Bashtavenko of Academic Composition 

Politicians, scholars and political pundits are almost unanimous in their belief that their political views are entirely objective. As such, they often maintain that those who disagree with them are either misguided, ignorant, plain obtuse or worse. They are entirely oblivious to the fact that much of their political reasoning is motivated by the subconscious biases that shape their temperament. In light of this premise, George Lakoff argued that our political attitudes are defined by the “central metaphors”, which are shaped by the process of socialization. Hence, our earliest interactions with family members tend to define the core attitudes that constitute our political temperament.

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The Faux Individualism of Social Justice Warriors 1

By Aleksey Bashtavenko with Academic Composition

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is widely regarded as one of the best self-help books of the 20th century. Indeed, Carnegie’s work is deservedly known as a modern classic because it is founded on powerful insights about social psychology. Today, there is no shortage of seminars and business classes teaching people to embrace the potent lessons of human nature that he has uncovered. Among these notions is the idea that “nobody wants to be told what to do” and that it is necessary to make people “glad to do what you want them to do”. It is difficult to appreciate this idea without fully understanding its subtlety and the many ways in which it can become enormously effective across all social contexts.

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