Author(s): Pluckrose, Helen, Lindsay, James,
Date of Publication: 10/09/2020,
Pagination: 352 pages,
Imprint: Swift Press,
Published By: Swift Press,
Book Classification: Political science & theory
Have you heard that language is violence and that science is sexist? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge the very logic of Western society?
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay document the evolution of the dogma behind these ideas, from its origins in French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields.
Today this dogma is recognisable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and social-media pile-ons, as by its assertions, which are all too often taken as read in mainstream media: knowledge is a social construct; science and reason are tools of oppression; all human interactions are sites of oppressive power play; and language is dangerous. As they warn, the unchecked proliferation of these beliefs present a threat not only to liberal democracy but also to the fruits of the Enlightenment itself.
While acknowledging the need to challenge the complacency of those who think a just society has been fully achieved, Pluckrose and Lindsay break down how often-radical activist scholarship does far more harm than good, not least to those marginalized communities it claims to champion.
Only through a proper understanding of the evolution of these ideas, they conclude, can those who value science, reason and consistently liberal ethics successfully challenge this harmful and authoritarian orthodoxy.