Etwas Hass

Gemeinsamkeiten der linken „Radikalen Theorien“

Ein interessanter Artikel befasst sich mit verschiedenen Strömmungen, die alle dem poststrukturalistischen linken Strömmungen entstammen:

The labels proliferate: new historicism, cultural materialism, materialist feminism, ecofeminism, postcolonialism, deconstruction, structuralism, poststructuralism, race theory, gender theory, queer theory, postmodernism … the list might go on. This extensive list of labels seems to signal genuine range and diversity; however, in terms of their ideas, these approaches are somewhat narrower in scope and focus than one might expect. Virtually every approach listed here lays claim to be ‘radical’, which is to say politically of the left or even hard left – with roots in Marxist theory – hostile to capitalism, the Enlightenment, classical liberalism, liberal humanism, and even to the West itself. Virtually all are also committed to ‘social justice’. It must be noted that, since about 1980, these labels accurately register the genesis of literary studies as a discipline, but what they do not register is that, as they were rising, dissenting voices were systemically hounded out of the academy.

Er führt dann verschiedene Beispiele an, bei denen Leute, die Kritik äußerten einen Mob gegen sich hatten.

Dazu stellt er fest:

Again, I was struck by reasoning that seemed based entirely on what Aristotle would have called ‘ethos’, that is, the judgement of the person’s character as opposed to their arguments.

Es steht also nicht die Auseinandersetzung mit den Argumenten, sondern mit der Frage, ob das Ergebnis gewollt und „ethisch“ ist. Er fasst die Grundlagen der gegenwärtigen Ansätze dann wie folgt zusammen:

Despite significant differences, all the approaches I listed above assume that:

  1. There is no universal human nature.
  2. Human beings are primarily a product of their time and place.
  3. Therefore, power, culture, ideologies, and the social institutions that promulgate them have an extraordinary capacity to shape and condition individuals.
  4. In Western societies, since these institutions have been dominated by people who were predominantly rich, straight, white, and male it has tended towards pushing the particular interests of rich straight white men to the detriment of all other groups.
  5. Furthermore, these rich straight white men have done this by acting as if their sectional interests were universal and natural – a flagrant lie.
  6. Importantly, however, few if any of these rich white straight men were consciously aware of doing this, because they were themselves caught in the matrices of power, culture, ideologies and so on.
  7. Where subordinated groups have gone along with these power structures, they have been exploited and the victims of ‘false consciousness’.
  8. Now is the time to redress this balance by exposing the ways in which old texts have promoted the sectional interests of the rich straight white men and by promoting the voices of the historically marginalised groups.

Das beschreibt aus meiner Sicht durchaus den theoretischen Gedankengang innerhalb der Theorien.

Once this basic structure is understood, one can quickly see that the extensive list which seems like it represents a diverse range of approaches, in fact only promotes different flavours of a single approach. All that changes from one to the next are the specific groups of oppressors and oppressed as well as the structuring principle to which all individuals are invisibly in thrall. One might begin to represent it as follows:

Er hat dann die folgende Tabelle eingefügt:

Das wurde auch hier schon so häufiger angeführt, es sind im grundlegenden ganz gleiche Strukturen, auch wenn (hallo Leszek) hier nur simplifizierte Grundstrukturen aus dem Marxismus übernommen worden sind, die ein „echter Kommunist“ so nicht vertreten würde.

We might continue the table to list other approaches, but the point is made. It is also obvious that these various critical schools might easily be combined, because they represent variations on the same basic idea. What is interesting to me from a philosophical point of view is that all of them are hermetically sealed, which is to say that if you accept the eight premises I outlined above, there is no way to attack them. We are all ‘always already’ in ideology, in the patriarchy, under power, which is implicitly white supremacist and heteronormative. And there’s no way out of this except to recognise it and to do our best to mitigate it. This is not a scientific hypothesis that can be falsified or a philosophical argument that can be countered with other philosophical arguments, it is more of a theological proposition.

In der Tat ist das einer der „Vorteile“ dieser Theorien, die man in Diskussionen auch immer wieder erlebt: Es ist ein geschlossenes Weltbild, in der jede Kritik das System stützt oder deutlich macht, dass der andere das System nicht verstanden hat.

In fact, it functions in a near identical way to John Calvin’s notion of ‘total depravity’ and original sin:

To man we assign only this: that he pollutes and contaminates by his impurity those very things which were good. For nothing proceeds from a man, however perfect he be, that is not defiled by some spot.9

We are each ‘contaminated’ and ‘defiled’ by capitalism, patriarchy, power, white supremacy, and heteronormativity.

(…) Either you are with the oppressed, and therefore on the side of the angels, or you are implicitly supporting the side of the oppressors, and a damnable and unrepentant sinner. It is a straightforward binary moral choice and its missionaries will take no prisoners.

Auch diese Nähe zur Religion war hier schon häufiger Thema und auch die Binarität solcher Ansätze: Es gibt keinen Raum für feinheiten der Bewertung der Lage innerhalb einer Kategorie: Entweder man ist Täter oder Opfer, Gut oder Böse.

Er äußert dann auch, warum er diese Studiengänge besorgniserregend findet:

One wonders whether the students that the academy is producing today could if asked to, provide the arguments of their ideological or political counterparts, without resort to crude caricature or ad hominem. My concern is not so much that some or even all of these 1980s postmodern approaches are taught at undergraduate level – they have undeniably each had their own impact on the discipline – it is rather that students seldom, if ever, encounter any of the available counter arguments. And there are many powerful ones, underpinned with empirical data: from evolutionary theory, from economics, from philosophy, from history, and so on. Such studies seldom make it onto recommended reading lists, let alone onto syllabus lists.

In der Tat: Es ist eine geschlossene Welt, in der Gegenargumente nicht eindringen. Ist dabei erst einmal eine Indoktrinierung erfolgt, dann können alle Gegenargumente auch schlicht abgetan werden. Es ist kein wissenschaftlicher Ansatz, es ist eine Glaubenswelt.

Später heißt es:

Critical thinking cannot flourish in conditions in which students cannot question the material they are being taught. We should not expect or even encourage students to inherit our own ideas, least not of all political beliefs. Universities are places to learn how to think not what to think. It seems somewhat ironic that a set of literary approaches so committed to deconstructing and uncovering the supposed processes of social indoctrination should also be so oblivious to their own role in indoctrinating a generation of students.

Ja, das ist in der Tat schade.