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1. Thread. Political language. Many ideological terms have at least two meanings, one to get you to sign up and one to promote a radical cause. “Black Lives Matter,” “Feminism,“ and “diversity” are all great examples.
2. Let’s start with feminism. In everyday discourse, it now suggests a commitment to a narrative that comes quite close to denying biological differences between men and women. However, if you say “I’m not a feminist,” the you will be assailed.
3. Your assailant will say, “Feminism just means you believe in equal rights for men and women!” This is the innocuous meaning, which is used to berate people who resist the more expansive and less attractive political agenda of feminism.
4. “Black Lives Matter” operates similarly. It is a radical political movement that subscribed to many erroneous ideas about the world (including that the police basically hunt people of color) and is at the fringe of the radical progressive movement.
5. However, if you say that you don’t like “Black Lives Matter,” then you will be sharply criticized for literally not thinking that “black lives matter.” Again, it’s the inoffensive meaning that activists use to bludgeon you so you will sign up for the more radical meaning.
6. “Diversity” also means at least two things. Operationally, it means a progressive program to get more people of color into jobs and schools. It is thus obsessed with one kind of diversity: melanin diversity. However, if you oppose “diversity,” then you will be criticized.
7. And your critic will say, “You don’t think it’s better to have a diversity of voices and experiences?!” This is the much more praiseworthy goal activists pretend they care about to get people to sign onto the radical policy of preferring one race to another.
8. These ambiguities are used to gain widespread assent for otherwise quite unpopular movements. Amazon, for example, tells me that “Black Lives Matter.” What do they mean by that? Do they support the radical agenda or do they just mean that black lives literally matter?
9. Powerful companies and politicians are all about feminism. Do they deny that men and women are different? Or do they just want equal rights for both? Everybody from Google to Harvard seems to admire and praise diversity.
10. Do they mean basically racial quotas or do they mean all kinds of diversity? Well, they’ll tell you one thing (all kinds), but they practice another (racial).
11. These are all like a motte-and-bailey fallacy whereby two positions are conflated, one (motte) that is easy to defend and another (bailey) that’s more bold and difficult to defend. The motte is what you get ridiculed with when you reject the bailey publicly.
12. To make things simple, I have given up on these terms. I’m not a feminist; I don’t want diversity; and I don’t support Black Lives Matter. But, tbc, I support equal rights, think real diversity is interesting, and of course strongly believe that black lives matter.
13. Critics of course will accuse somebody who rejects the radical part of each political cause of being morally repellent and of rejecting the laudable part. That’s how the language game works.
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