Following up on the incredulous attempts to prove that 2+2=4 might not be true, I have now concluded that we were wrong about what to fear from George Orwell’s “1984“. It was not all pervasive surveillance – though that is dangerous in and of itself – it is the attack on reason and truth.
The activists’ point comes in three stages.
First, it is that a statement like “2+2=4” is just one mathematical truth among many, and this seems to be a point that many mathematicians who should know far better are eager to help them make.
Second, it is that “hegemonic narratives” don’t get to decide it objectively, and thus that nobody can say that “2+2=4” is objectively true, which is, of course, patently ridiculous.
Third, it is that narratives that have been considered hegemonic in the past or present (e.g., “2+2=4”) should be regarded with extreme suspicion going forward into the future, and people who can make a claim to being oppressed by “hegemonic narratives” at all get to have the say on how we should think about those narratives and their specific contents, including simple matters of quantity.
That is, the activists are seeking a radical rewriting of the entire rational project, and any reason that doesn’t forward their favored actors as the sole arbiters of what is true and correct needs to be deconstructed by rhetorical tricks and marginalized by moral and, perhaps, physical force and intimidation. They’re seeking a revolution.
So, now I’ve written well over 8000 words on the stupidest topic I could possibly have imagined ever having to write about, but it matters—and there’s a point to take away from all this. It is that postmodernism, particularly in the hands of the ideology of Critical Social Justice, is not at all interested in truth.
It is only interested in power, which it will establish through its attempted revolution, which it in turn knows it can only achieve by turning otherwise intelligent, well-meaning people into “accomplices” by manipulating their good will, charity, fear of being disliked or ostracized, and, especially, unawareness of what is actually going on beneath the rhetorical tricks they’re being served up with intentionally limited context.
— James Lindsay, “2+2 Never Equals 5“