A short while ago I made an appearance in a Dutch newspaper article by journalist Wierd Duk about Cultural Marxism. The point of this text will not be to give an in-depth contemplation on the subject of Cultural Marxism, but instead to describe some of the reactions that were given to the article and my contribution in particular, that I think very accurately show some of the problems Western-European societies are facing when debating sensitive subjects.

I will give you some context to understand what happened exactly. Last week the Dutch essay bundle “Cultural Marxism: A spectre is haunting The West’’ written by professor Paul Cliteur and others, appeared in Dutch bookstores. Roughly, it covers the phenomenon of “Left-winged” dictation of thought through education, media, cultural institutions and politics. 

For this particular article on Cultural Marxism, my contribution was a short interview about my experiences with political correctness as an LL.B graduate at University. After four years of studying one can imagine that I had my fair share of examples at the ready. For that matter, one of the two examples that were used, was the same one I gave you in my introductory piece:

“As early as two weeks into my Law Studies, I started noticing the apparent do’s and don’ts of the academic debate. During a course of Philosophy of Law, our professor asked us to give our opinions on whether we thought it was appropriate that a Muslim man was rejected for a job as a high school janitor, because he did not want to shake hands with women. Not even touching on the subject of feminism or religion, I diplomatically – or so I thought -, answered: “Well, if it is part of his job responsibilities to welcome both the students’ father and mother, he simply does not meet the requirements for the job.” At the end of the class, my professor called me to his desk to inform me about a new test that had been developed in the US, which measures how ‘’subconsciously racist’’ a person is. ‘’You should take it,” he said.”

The newspaper article got a lot of positive response in Holland, but of course, it got its fair share of expected “criticism”. The use of quotation marks is because most criticism was not directed at the actual subject of the article, and consisted of a flow of sophism after sophism. It made me think, what are the main tactics people use to discredit a person outside of their political box, without ever touching on the actual content of that person’s argument?

Tactic #1: Disbelief

This was the main tactic used to discredit the aforementioned newspaper article. According to some left-wingers, the anecdotes that I had given, absolutely could not be true. A well-known Dutch left-winged reporter, Joshua Livestro, even accused the journalist who interviewed me of not honouring the principle of audi alteram partem. However, the fact that I merely spoke about my personal experience, and moreover, that I didn’t even mention the name of the professor obviously took away the need for an adversarial procedure.

Apparently, this journalist also knew this deep down, since he later asked me to expose the professor. Contrary to his ways, I don’t really enjoy the concept of naming and shaming, so I declined. It did make me think though, how easy it is to discredit someone’s story or argument by simply stating that what they are saying is factually untrue. Simply say: ‘’there is no evidence for what you are saying’’, and you’re basically done. The concept of innocence until proven guilty apparently doesn’t apply and neither does the principle of integrity. Because an accusation of fraud based on an assumed “lack of evidence“, seems acceptable to be made without any underpinning by evidence itself.

Tactic #2: The moral high-horse

Ah, one of my favourites. If you’ve ever seen a debate about politically touchy subjects you have probably noticed that, like clockwork, there will be a moment where the left will say: ‘’You can/may not say that!’’. Usually, this one appears in debates concerning immigration and religion, sometimes even when you merely try to call out a certain issue by its name. You’ll be told that your opinions are non-inclusive, demonise people and are sometimes even “dangerous’’.

If you then elect to continue your message, in the worst case you’re at risk of being silenced or aggressed. And when that does happen, it’s your own fault, because ‘’by saying those things, you brought it on yourself’’.

Tactic #3: Alleged brainwashing

This one can sometimes almost be cute really, if it wasn’t so annoying. You’re having a lovely conversation with someone you just met, you’re getting along really well and all of the sudden politics makes its way into the conversation. Assuming that you will, of course, confirm them in their ideas, they start saying something along the lines of how diversity is such an enrichment to society, how bad we are handling our lovely planet and how unbelievable it is that we live in a time where Donald Trump is the president of the United States.

Immediately you’re contemplating whether you should say what you actually think or if you should stay back to spare some energy. You choose a middle ground. Moderate as you are, you show them about 20% of what you actually think. Can’t go wrong now, you think to yourself, until you see the confusion and disbelief growing in the eyes of the person in front of you. They start laughing a little and awkwardly assume you must be kidding. However, when the realisation that you were being serious dawns on them, they assume that what you say is not what you actually think. You could not possibly have come up with these ideas yourself. And kind as they are, they begin to offer you a cure: ‘’if you just read this book, or listen to this person on youtube, or read this study…All order will be restored.

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