Tuesday, January 10, 2006

How to get from Relativism to Hate Speech Codes

Liberals don't believe in objective truth. They think that all opinions must be treated as equally valid, equally deserving of respect, and not to be judged. Therefore to treat a conservative opinion as an opinion among other opinions would be implicitly to validate it. It is difficult for a liberal simply to argue that an opinion is wrong, because liberals don't believe that there is a right and wrong. Therefore, if there is an opinion that the liberals strongly dislike and want to reject utterly, they have to deny that it is an opinion. They must treat it as an act of bad faith, a ploy, a hoax, an attempt to "divide America," or a symptom of pathology or prejudice.

So writes Lawrence Auster, an occasionally creepy but usually insightful writer. Though I protest against classifying this habit of thought as liberal, Auster certainly nails the petty would-be thinkers of many a college campus and editorial page. The retreat from the battlefields of thought into the bunker of armchair psychoanalysis is too common, and I am not sure what weapons can be consistently deployed to bust such fortifications.

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