The Personalist Project

A Victor Davis Hansen post at NRO about Massachusetts Senatorial Candidate Elizabeth Warren and her risible claim of minority status as a Cherokee Indian neatly captures the truth-denial at the heart of post-modernism.

Warren’s statement is simply untenable and will have to be withdrawn, because if it is not, then we are essentially saying facts are what we choose to say facts are, and we can write or say anything we want and claim it as truth by reason of rumor, or serial insistence, or good intentions. Warren says all this is a distraction from her otherwise sterling academic record, but an academic career is nothing without allegiance to facts and honest scholarship; in fact this weird con is a window into her soul — and the logical and ultimate expression of what the entire diversity/affirmative-action industry has become.

We find a more egregious instance of the same radical subjectivism in the proliferating lawsuits around transgender claims.  Gender, apparently, is no longer tied to biology.  It is increasingly taken to be a matter of subjective impressions.  Whatever sex you feel like is the sex you are.  And everyone else has a duty to respect and accommodate your subjective impressions. Your body may indicate to the world that you are a man.  But if you feel like a woman, then you might need to sue your school for the right to use the women's bathroom.  And the United States Justice Department may need to intervene on your behalf.

We are rapidly devolving into complete chaos and irrationality.  The prime personalist task in a situation like this seems to me to help reconstitute the link between subjectivity and objectivity.  Reality is something.  We don't make it; we find it.  And we perish or flourish according to how we relate ourselves to it.

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Comments (2)

Devra Torres

#1, Jun 1, 2012 8:53pm

That's it!--a misunderstanding of subjectivity, as if what goes on within the person's consciousness is not part of the objective world, and therefore not tethered to the facts.  It's hard to know where to begin detangling this one, though.

Jules van Schaijik

#2, Jun 1, 2012 9:46pm

I think also Kierkegaard's understanding of "defiance" applies here: the refusal to accept reality as it is, coupled with an obstinate effort to refashion it according to our liking. We no longer want to start "at and with the beginning, but 'in the beginning'".

In other words, we want to be God.

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