A reader wonders if she made an honest mistake and simply doesn't realize that telling people to exclude authors from their reading list based on skin color or the ability to correctly identify one's own genitalia sounds a tad bigoted.
No, she did not make a mistake, and no, she does not realize how she sounds. George Orwell says something apropos:
In the last twenty years western civilization has given the intellectual security without responsibility, and in England, in particular, it has educated him in scepticism while anchoring him almost immovably in the privileged class. He has been in the position of a young man living on an allowance from a father whom he hates. The result is a deep feeling of guilt and resentment, not combined with any genuine desire to escape. But some psychological escape, some form of self-justification there must be, and one of the most satisfactory is transferred nationalism. During the nineteen-thirties the normal transference was to soviet Russia, but there are other alternatives, and it is noticeable that pacifism and anarchism, rather than Stalinism, are now gaining ground among the young. These creeds have the advantage that they aim at the impossible and therefore in effect demand very little. If you throw in a touch of oriental mysticism and Buchmanite raptures over Gandhi, you have everything that a disaffected intellectual needs. The life of an English gentleman and the moral attitudes of a saint can be enjoyed simultaneously. By merely transferring your allegiance from England to India (it used to be Russia), you can indulge to the full in all the chauvinistic sentiments which would be totally impossible if you recognized them for what they were. [more...]
That was then. Orwell wrote these words in an analysis of a book denouncing British rule in India. The political landscape has changed, but the type of intellectual Orwell describes is still with us; he has merely changed his allegiances once again to fit the current fads.
This intellectual still hates his father, that is, Western Civilization, and so still seeks for something that opposes it to which he can give his his heart, even as he reaps all the benefits Western Civilization affords him. Bradford, for example, frittered away her time in college studying interpretive dance or something similar. Then she held a real job for a short space, and then she threw the job away to go to Clarion, after which she spent a few years touring around the country and living off the hospitality of others.
The cozy, comfy lifestyle she leads, and the small-minded things she is able to say without serious consequence, are luxuries won for her mostly by exactly the sorts of people she hates, white Christian men. She does not know or care that most people in most times and places have not had these luxuries. She does not know where the luxuries come from and does not care, and if anyone tried to mansplain to her where they came from, she would RAGEQUIT.
After Marxism failed, there were Gramsci and Cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt School, which expanded Marx's vision of a war between oppressive Capitalist and oppressed worker beyond anything Marx ever dreamed of, because Marx, perhaps in a failure of imagination, never realized it was possible to distort every relationship in the same way he had distorted the relationship between laborers and their bosses. Thus we have Second-Wave Feminism, which sees men as always oppressors and women as always oppressed, or race-baiters who see whites as always oppressors and everyone else as always oppressed, and so forth. The Cultural Marxists believed that if they tore down Western Civilization, a sparkly unicorn kingdom would magically take its place.
At least they had a theory and a goal, even if the theory was wrong and the goal impossible. But we are now in the "Third Wave," which is made up of the Second Wave's useful idiots, who've now taken over the nuthouse. There is no apparent goal, no apparent endgame, just an endless witch-hunt, an increasingly shrill series of demands, and a shocking amount of backstabbing. They hate the West and love everything that opposes it, and only that can explain their contradictory infatuations, such as their simultaneous love for sexual disorders and Muhammadanism. They never realize that if the West goes, their luxuries and stupid ideas will go with it, because ideas like theirs cannot survive except in the lap of the luxury that the West has afforded them. They are hothouse flowers, shielded from the harsh winds of reality by their smartphones and their air-conditioners and their rich buddies.
That's why these silly theories grow and metastasize on college campuses, where reality is carefully kept at bay. What comes out of a department with "Studies" at the end of its name has nothing to do with real life, but that does not matter to the people who run such departments, because they are intellectuals who have security without responsibility. It's only their students who have to crash into reality when they leave the hothouse behind.
That is, if they leave the hothouse. Some never do. Some tour the country and crash on friends' couches, or they find other ways to keep reality at a safe distance.