Tone Policing

A fascinating article into the morass of Leftist discourse, feminist branch, is found in The Nation. It concerns how bitchy they are to each other, and the special little rules which, if broken, call for expulsion, name-calling, and witch hunts. It is called “Feminism’s toxic twitter wars”.

The discussion centres on “intersectionality” – do not worry what the word means; it is tripe,  but read this choice morsel:

Online, however, intersectionality is overwhelmingly about chastisement and rooting out individual sin. Partly, says Cooper, this comes from academic feminism, steeped as it is in a postmodern culture of critique that emphasizes the power relations embedded in language. “We actually have come to believe that how we talk about things is the best indicator of our politics,” she notes. An elaborate series of norms and rules has evolved out of that belief, generally unknown to the uninitiated, who are nevertheless hammered if they unwittingly violate them. Often, these rules began as useful insights into the way rhetorical power works but, says Cross, “have metamorphosed into something much more rigid and inflexible.” One such rule is a prohibition on what’s called “tone policing.” An insight into the way marginalized people are punished for their anger has turned into an imperative “that you can never question the efficacy of anger, especially when voiced by a person from a marginalized background.”

And so forth.

In my darkest period I once married a leftist,  feminist (of the toxic variety)  woman. Yes, I know, you are incredulous. So am I, now. I can attest from many painful experiences that the style of discourse is always about what is the matter with you, and never what is the matter with your argument, or about anything actually under discussion. In fact, reason is never appealed to, so far as I recall. Agreement was a fibrillation of anxiety not to be out of step with what was Correct, the Line. It was not about a rational process of discussion, persuasion and respect for difference. Obey or die. You think I exaggerate.

Take a trivial but revealing example. I had bought a set of glasses before our relationship. They were not pretty but they were, after all, just cheap breakfast glasses. You could drink from them and when they broke, you could toss the shards into the garbage with no regret. No big deal.

I was informed one day that “there is something the matter with your soul” for having bought those glasses. Not: “those glasses are really ugly, let’s get rid of them”. Or “Honey, do you mind if we get some new glasses?” No, my soul was wrong.

Every  disagreement about anything took this form. There was no objective standard or standards. Thus when Leftist women attempt to debate with one another, they have no standards of truth to which they can appeal. There is no truth; there is only “what is our line on this subject?” and a series of line-drawers, each more fanatic than the last, seeking to expel, humiliate, punish, and exclude.

It was David Horowitz, the former editor of Ramparts. who wrote in his autobiography after he had “converted” from Leftism, that the only freedom of discussion he encountered was outside the Movement. Conservatives and liberals could write for and against the Viet Nam war,  and no one was excluded from discourse. He found it strange and refreshing.

Contrast the exiliration of freedom after captivity to this. From the Nation article again:

Preening displays of white feminist abjection, however, are not the same as respect. “What’s disgusting and disturbing to me is that I see some of the more intellectually dishonest arguments put forth by women of color being legitimized and performed by white feminists, who seem to be in some sort of competition to exhibit how intersectional they are,” says Jezebel founder Holmes, who is black. “There are these Olympian attempts on the part of white feminists to underscore and display their ally-ship in a way that feels gross and dishonest and, yes, patronizing.”

It is like a Communist Party meeting, without the KGB. How they manage it, is beyond me,