When feminists say: “Science must fall”
In public discussions, I sometimes posit that there are considerable groups of people who aim at destroying Western civilization as such. It gives me problems to say so, because ordinary people do not believe it. Most people believe that student protesters, radical feminists etc. enjoy all the benefits of living in a prosperous, Western society, and all they want is to correct certain injustices and cases of discrimination. But one should take statements by radical feminists seriously, statements about what they want to destroy.
In 1980, an academic feminist, Adrienne Rich, wrote an influential and widely cited paper about compulsory heterosexuality and concluded her paper by stating that feminists need “to undo the power men everywhere wield over women, power which has become a model for every other form of exploitation and illegitimate control”. This shows that once feminists come into opposition to the sexual moral of the establishment, they may get motivated to see all cases of unequal status everywhere in society as something to revolt against. As the feminist Andrea Dworkin wrote in 1974: “We want to destroy patriarchal power at its source, the family, in its most hideous form, the nation-state. We want to destroy the structure of culture as we know it, its art, its churches, its laws . . . ” (cited from here).
Although such opinions at that time were expressed by radical extremists, they have since then gradually slipped into mainstream thinking of the politically correct left. For instance, the paper by Adrienne Rich referred to above is endorsed by professor Sylvia Walby, who is coordinator of the Gender Equality Research Network International and the UNESCO Chair in Gender Research.
A recent academic paper from 2016 said: “Given the tremendous potential to produce emotional responses in others, to directly impact student lives, and to elicit emotion in the course content, what, then, are the pedagogical priorities of women´s studies? We posit that one future pedagogical goal of women´s studies is the creation of students as symbolic “viruses”, capable of infecting and unsettling the academic spaces around them.”
We can see that such counter-movements from the radical left have indeed grown so much in strength recently that some of society´s core values are being eroded. Especially the integrity of science is being eroded.
Student organizations everywhere on Western university campuses protest against the dominance of white men. A girl may for instance protest that her curriculum in philosophy is full of “dead white men” with whom she cannot identify. She wants to study female philosophers (although this would not remedy her situation). The problem is that all, or almost all, of the most important philosophers have been men; if the male philosophers are excluded from the curriculum, very few important philosophers are left. If such a girl should have her demands met, it would mean that what is important is not what philosophers say, but who they are. The person becomes everything, the academic content nothing. To subscribe to that idea is to discard the whole purpose of science and universities.
A protest against too many “dead white men” in university curricula started in California a few years ago and has created a wave of uprising against the “whiteness”, Eurocentric domination and lack of diversity, for instance at the British universities in Bristol, Birmingham, and Manchester.
In the US, students at Yale University have been calling for the English department to abandon a course requirement to study authors such as Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton. They argue: “It is unacceptable that a Yale student considering studying English literature might read only white male authors.” So they want to be educated in English literature without knowing some of the most famous English authors. As for the natural sciences, nearly all contributors to the major knowledge of modern science were middle-class men of European descent – for reasons explained in part 2; the protesting students fail to recognize that the knowledge that these men uncovered transcends their identity group. That the advances made by the likes of Newton, Einstein, Darwin and Faraday are not culturally specific is evidenced by the number of people around the world who daily board airplanes, drive cars, undergo surgery and use computers.
When universities cave to demands for greater diversity, this may damage science. At Swedish universities, it is now mandatory to include at least 40 % female authors. This has caused absurd problems. The Swedish term for the new policy means “equality integration” – that is, gender equality must be integrated into all activities. This includes also university courses and research projects. To ensure “equality integration”, scientific projects have to document that they include the gender perspective. For instance, a biologist wanted financing of a project comparing wild and captive trout. He was not given any grants before he had explained how he would put a gender perspective into this study.
Equality integration covers not only student courses and scientific studies, but also management, budgets and recruitment. Recruitment on the basis of merit has been overruled by recruitment on the basis of gender. So science in Sweden is no longer free, but governed by a small, but strong group of feminist bureaucrats. The same interference hits the government, the military defense, and other institutions.
A new worldwide trend for university courses is decolonization. The motivation is the shared experiences of colonialism across the globe. Decolonizing education addresses “in particular the colonization of the mind, of knowledge, language, and culture, and the impacts of colonization at personal and collective levels of physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and intellectual experience”. Student activists are raising these questions at many universities, e.g. in Scandinavia. What decolonization may mean in practice is evident from a video of a student gathering at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. A black woman lectures the audience that Western knowledge is totalizing – for instance, the only way to explain gravity is through Newton – you cannot avoid him. So science must fall. As an alternative, she says, “we are going to decolonize by having knowledge that is produced by us . . . so decolonizing the science will mean to do away with it entirely and start all over again” (e.g. by including African knowledge on voodoo).
These examples must suffice to illustrate that the increasing animosity or hatred against men, especially “dead white men”, is a threat to science as such. If you disregard all science produced by men of European descent, you disregard practically all science. As the black female student activist says: “The only way to explain gravity is through Newton.” So what is underway is more or less discarding all scientific progress made during the last centuries. And some influential feminists, like Sandra Harding, the “grand lady” of the field (mentioned in part 4), do indeed want to do away with Newton and with the entire Enlightenment and with all science made during the last 350 years. Harding has written this explicitly. She has even written that Newton´s laws might better be renamed “Newton´s rape manual.” And what is the reaction to this from the university system? To promote her to professor. It is as if though Western men have lost all their backbone and are just letting the ongoing corruption of science happen.
Another prerequisite for science is to have free exchange of ideas – an exchange that may stimulate people to think in new ways. This prerequisite is also under stress.
The freedom of speech is currently being severely curtailed by feminists and social justice activists. They act along the line laid down by Herbert Marcuse. In their own opinion, these groups know for certain what is right and good. Therefore any opponent must necessarily be a bad person, and it is OK to prevent bad persons from having any influence. This way of thinking typically leads to a totalitarian, oppressive system, and indeed what is gaining ground is what has been called “velvet totalitarianism”, a mild form of totalitarianism – people are not killed, they only lose their job, their income, or their possibility to speak.
This is, of course, fundamentally at variance with the principle behind much of the political and scientific progress in the West – the principle that you admit the possibility that your opponent may know better or has an important objection.
Assaults on free speech are seen in the many cases when invited speakers, e.g. at universities, have been shouted down by activists, or even been stopped by the instigation of violent riots. Such cases are known especially from North America, but also from Europe, for instance Germany.
After their final exam, the cohorts of young people that have followed women´s courses at the universities can be found in all kinds of jobs in society at large. They are the product of “the long march through the institutions” – for each new generation, universities become more and more taken over by feminists and social justice activists, who then are able to indoctrinate ever larger cohorts of young people to fight men´s influence. Some of them then get jobs in the media – electronic media, newspapers, and publishing companies. Here they are able to prevent men from expressing their opinions on feminism. There is a widespread feminist censorship throughout the Western world so that it is very difficult, bordering on impossible, for men to publish books that oppose feminism.
Other contingents of people educated at women´s studies departments have entered the Silicon Valley tech industries. Companies like Google, Mozilla, YouTube and PayPal have established “diversity policies” or “diversity programs” that aim at increasing the proportion of underrepresented groups of people, such as women and people of color. Thereby these companies have become permeated by the way of thinking that is taught by “politically correct” teachers at the universities. A politically correct monoculture has arisen. Not only has this led to intolerance of non-politically correct persons such as James Damore at Google. The politically correct environment may also have led Google to manipulate search results. A former Google engineer says he personally witnessed efforts from leftists within Google to bias YouTube’s algorithms to push anti-PC content off the platform’s “related videos” recommendations. He also says: “I know there are efforts to demote anything non-PC, anti-communist and anti-Islamic terror from search results. To what extent that has been successful, I don’t know.” We don´t know to what extent this former employee speaks the truth, but in the light of recent events, it has become more likely.
The recent events are that more and more politically incorrect persons are becoming de-platformed. Companies that channel crowdfunding money to internet personalities have removed the accounts of people that they don´t like, and a dominant company in this field has declared that it doesn´t ascribe to the ideal of free speech. It also seems that the major credit card companies are now exerting pressure to have censorship of what videos can be paid for, with the intent to ban politically incorrect videos.
I think that such intolerance and censorship is a direct consequence of what is taught at women´s studies in universities. My reason for believing this is that women´s studies have been organized in different ways in different places. Back in the 1970s in the USA, there were heavy debates in the National Organization of Women about how to organize women´s studies. One point of view was that women´s studies should be a mainstream strategy and should be integrated into the general curriculum; another point of view was that women´s studies should be an autonomous subject, separate from the mainstream. The latter point of view won, and separate women´s studies departments were established at the universities. This has led to many such departments becoming breeding grounds for radical feminism or echo chambers where women rile each other up and develop an ever-increasing hatred towards men. In such an echo chamber they become convinced that their own ideas are unequivocally right, and anybody out there in society with widely diverging ideas is considered a bad person.
The same formation of autonomous women´s studies departments was made in Sweden and in many British universities, with the same effect. Today, precisely these countries see a widespread dissemination into the greater society of quite radical feminist and social constructionist attitudes, and it is just in these countries that we see a large impact of these attitudes in many sectors of society. In my own country, Denmark, and some other countries, women´s studies have generally been integrated into larger departments and in the general education. And here we have much less of a trend for cadres of radical feminists invading all sectors of society. This implies to me that radicalized spaces of women´s studies do produce cadres of brainwashed students that are unable to cope with other people having differing opinions.
Summing up, I find evidence that there are indeed groups of people in Western societies who want to undermine and destroy these same societies. Unlike the revolutionary Marxists a hundred years ago, they do not try to do this by violent revolt. Instead they are cultural Marxists who aim at changing people´s minds in order to make a gradual and nearly imperceptible cultural revolution. These radical cultural Marxists have many followers that do not at all subscribe to such revolutionary thinking, but who nevertheless have been persuaded to support the radicals.
Up to now, science is one of those elements of modern Western culture that is most threatened by such radicals. They encroach on one chunk after another of scientific integrity. This is most severe in the humanities and social science departments that have been taken over to a large extent by left-leaning academics that subscribe to the ideas of postmodernism and social constructionism. As mentioned in part 3, these ideas have no solid evidence to support them and much evidence to contradict them. But that does not bother postmodernist “scientists”. They just ignore such evidence that speaks against their tenets, and by the way, they think that there is no objective truth, so it does not matter if they do not contribute to discovering any truths. They accept or even welcome that science is becoming gradually more strictly controlled by ideologically flawed censorship. They accept or even welcome that free speech becomes more and more restricted to such an extent that free exchange of ideas in scientific debates is no longer possible.
One of the reasons that this erosion and undermining of science is possible is that women constitute a larger share of academics than ever before. Although many women are clever scientists and understand fundamental principles of how science should be carried out, more women than men do not have such understanding, which means that the undermining and decline of science is facilitated the most in those areas where the proportion of women is the highest. It is more common for women than for men to focus on persons rather than abstract principles, that is, they tend to abandon focus on merit and on rational reasoning; instead, they tend to focus more on who says something than on what they say. This opens up for identity politics and it violates the basic principle that scientific results should not depend on who produces the results. When scientific results depend on who advances them, then we, as a society, can no longer have trust in these results, and science has ceased to be science.
The way I see it, you can only make objective science if you are able to look at yourself from the outside. You must have the capacity for self-deprecation and for laughing at yourself. And you must also be able to stand firmly on what you believe to be the truth. Giordano Bruno did that, and we know today that his claims were indeed the truth – the Earth does indeed circle around the Sun. On the other hand, his opponents – the inquisition – acted like a mob, like people who are more focused on moralizing and on having the same correct opinion as all others that are in power. That conflict is popping up again today. We have on one side persons with a strong self who rely on their own investigation of what is the truth, and on the other side a moralizing mob that acts as a great impediment to scientific progress.
When science ceases to be science and turns into moralizing and mobbing, the motor that has brought our civilization to such impressive progress stops working. When science becomes subjective and depends on the involved persons, then it is transformed into identity politics. This will in many ways bring a halt to our advanced civilization – precisely that which certain groups hope for.