Monday, May 13, 2013

Fetishizing Dialogue


I'm interested in the way the rough shape of an essay can emerge from a set of tweets. Here's one from this morning prompted by a Harvard Crimson editorial criticizing anti-rape and anti-hate protests at Dartmouth College, where I teach.

Harvard Crimson scolds Dartmouth protesters for failing to pursue "dialogue." Student self-repression.

The assumption that "dialogue" solves all problems is profoundly paternalistic -- & naive.

The fetish for "dialogue" above all -- including legit anger & actual inquiry -- is a politics of presumption.

Fetish for "dialogue" assumes those you disagree w/ lack only your insight; assumes they want to "compromise." As if they have no agency.

I hear this from students all time; they forgive bigotries on assumption bigots lack approp "culture." Cant believe hate can be chosen.

David Creech, a religious studies scholar at Loyola University Chicago, wrote: What alternative to dialog do you propose?

Demand for alternative to "dialogue" assumes solutions always at hand. Sometimes whats needed is diagnosis, nt prescription.

Student fetish for "dialogue" a form of technocratic optimism based on free market myth of "exchange" as end in itself.

Creech wrote: Dialog for me implies also listening, the possibility that I might be changed by your insight and experience.

That's great when it's an option. But it assumes a desire for common ground. Which is a form of paternalism.

Creech: Desire for common ground as paternalism... Intriguing suggestion... I will have to chew on that for a bit.

The desire for common ground isn't paternalim; the assumption that others share it is.

Take the example of Uganda's "kill-the-gays" activists. Some assumed they needed dialogue. They thought that funny. 1/2

2/2 because they knew the arguments against homophobic genocide. Knew them & rejected them. Not looking for my "insight."

Defenders of "dialogue" as end in itself see only other option as brutality. They fail to imagine possibility of open-ended problem.

A perfect example of chosen bigotry: Heritage Foundation's Harvard-powered, race-based, anti-immigration "study."

Well-intentioned liberals always ask how we can "educate" haters. Elite haters don't need "education"; they need to be challenged.

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