Friday, June 28, 2019

Hmm …

… 1984, by George Orwell: On Its Enduring Relevance - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… many on the left now share an unacknowledged but common assumption that a good work of art is made of good politics and that good politics is a matter of identity. The progressive view of a book or play depends on its political stance, and its stance—even its subject matter—is scrutinized in light of the group affiliation of the artist: Personal identity plus political position equals aesthetic value. This confusion of categories guides judgments all across the worlds of media, the arts, and education, from movie reviews to grant committees. Some people who register the assumption as doublethink might be privately troubled, but they don’t say so publicly. Then self-censorship turns into self-deception, until the recognition itself disappears—a lie you accept becomes a lie you forget. In this way, intelligent people do the work of eliminating their own unorthodoxy without the Thought Police.
Packer, unfortunately, seems to take it for granted that our “elites” are indeed elite. But being taught what to think — and thinking accordingly — is not the same as learning how to think.

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