Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Wrath Toward Khan

I've read Razib Khan's blog for a few years. I find him insightful on a number of topics, including religion, history, and culture, and I found his perspective as a self-identified conservative very helpful as I attempted to make sense of the people now commonly known as social justice warriors (even there, it often seems like his conservatism is motivated largely by opposition to the politically correct left as much as anything; this particular spleen-venting doesn't sound any different from the themes Freddie deBoer, an avowed socialist, specializes in, a fact noted by one of his commenters.)

I have no opinion on whether he's racist or not. I'm not nearly educated enough to follow his posts about genetics. I certainly recognize that there's enough circumstantial evidence to construct the sort of guilt-by-association hit piece that Gawker used to get the NYT to drop him like a hot potato, but I also note a distinct lack of any direct, damning quotes from the man himself. I certainly recognize that he has clearly signaled either his openness to taboo thoughts about race and biology, or his sheer refusal to play politics when it comes to science. The real point is, I don't care. I have enough faith in my own thinking ability to not get tricked into believing in some kind of malevolent "race science", even if he were trying to subtly indoctrinate his readers with it, and there's too much good stuff on his blog to avoid it for the sake of appearances. More importantly, I'm just sick of the shrieking and the demands for collective shunning that dominate online discussions.

It almost surprises me to admit that. At this point, I would prefer a conversation with a mild reactionary to one with a self-righteous progressive who only knows enough to master the dynamics of high-school cafeteria politics. Too many people assume they already know everything they need to know, and the only thing left to do is make a big public display of which team you're on. To hell with that.

In the midst of this otherwise disheartening fracas, I did snicker at this comment:

The left argues that while no governmental law is explicitly racist, governmental and societal institutions have racism built into them. So this is what enables leftists to decry racism even though there are no governmental laws explicitly permitting it. The left calls this “institutionalized racism.”

The same argument applies to free speech. While it’s true that there is no governmental law explicitly preventing Razib from expressing his views, governmental and societal institutions have built into them mechanisms that prevent Razib from expressing his views. Perhaps we should call this institutionalized censorship.