Thursday, July 28, 2016

"The Wrong Side of History"

I have a friend who tells me my social views (which would be considered ultra-conservative in San Francisco and ultra-liberal in Salt Lake City, so I consider them "moderate") place me on "the wrong side of history".  Such phrasing is reminiscent of "check your privilege", one of those phrases that's supposed to bring all discussion to an immediate halt, with the recipient leaving the field in clear and obvious defeat.

As they would say in the 90's, "homey don't play that game".

The American Conservative published a great piece on the culture wars; the author is far more eloquent than I, but captured my sentiments perfectly:
You hear this kind of thing a lot from social liberals who genuinely believe that nothing serious is at stake in the culture war. If conservatives would just roll over and accept that the liberal view is naturally, obviously correct, we could get back to our “real” problems. Thiel is the sort of person who looks at pro-Brexit voters and cannot imagine why they didn’t understand that their material interests were with the Remain side. What people like Thiel — really intelligent people, let us stipulate! — don’t understand is that not everybody values the things they do. Real, important things are being struggled over...

Culturally speaking, to be born in many places in the US is to suffer an irreversible lifelong defeat. If you come from a culturally conservative region, or family, you understand that the people who make the decisions in this culture are on the other side. At best they regard you as irrelevant. At worst, they hate you, and want to grind your nose in the dirt. Whatever the case, the things you value, that are important to your identity, and your sense of how the world is supposed to work, are either fading away or being taken from you — and you can’t do anything about it...

There is a widespread sense that the way the socially liberal globalist perceives the world is the end of history, as opposed to something constructed and particular to this time and place...

Back to Thiel’s assertion that the culture wars are not real. They are certainly real, in that they define what it means to be human, what it means to be a member of society, how we are to live together, and so on. I doubt a gay man in 1980s rural Alabama would say the culture wars aren’t real. Similarly, a traditionalist Catholic living in San Francisco in 2016 wouldn’t say the culture wars aren’t real. “Universal culture” only seems so to people who live in its artificial bubble.
By the way, I'm sure "wrong side of history" and "check your privilege" are types of logical fallacies, but I can't identify which type specifically.


Anonymous said...

Brings to mind Pelosi's "guns, gays, and God" statement.

BT said...

Wrong side of history can be thought of as an appeal to authority. IE In the future (when we'll know the truth) we'll see I was right all along. However, this is really more of a prediction and not an argument at all (even a fallacious one)

Check your privilege is similarly not even a fallacious argument. It's a bit of ad hominum but I tend to think of it more as a non-sequitur
"The sky is blue"
"Check your privilege"
"What does that have to do with anything?"

Here's the thing, check your privilege isn't meant to further an argument, or even to "win" an argument (though some people clearly think that it does). It's point is to stop an argument. Prevent the other person from even attempting to posit their point of view or logic. It is the way of the coward and the person with no logic of their own.

KauaiMark said...

(...where's your thumbs up button...I think I saw it around here somewhere)