'Exposes the surprisingly shallow intellectual roots of the movements that appear to be engulfing our culture' Steven Pinker
Have you heard that language is violence and that science is
sexist? Or been told that being obese is healthy, that there is no such thing
as biological sex, or that only white people can be racist? Are you confused by
these ideas, and do you wonder how they have managed so quickly to challenge
the very logic of Western society?
Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay
document the evolution of the dogma behind these ideas, from its origins in
French postmodernism to its refinement within activist academic fields. Today
this dogma is recognisable as much by its effects, such as cancel culture and
social-media pile-ons, as by its assertions, which are all too often taken as
read in mainstream media: knowledge is a social construct; science and reason
are tools of oppression; all human interactions are sites of oppressive power
play; and language is dangerous. As they warn, the unchecked proliferation of
these beliefs present a threat not only to liberal democracy but also to the
fruits of the Enlightenment itself.
While acknowledging the need to
challenge the complacency of those who think a just society has been fully
achieved, Pluckrose and Lindsay break down how often-radical activist
scholarship does far more harm than good, not least to those marginalized
communities it claims to champion. Only through a proper understanding of the
evolution of these ideas, they conclude, can those who value science, reason
and consistently liberal ethics successfully challenge
this harmful and authoritarian orthodoxy.