Science, Silence, and Subjectivity: A Critique of Secular Humanist Scientism

Dear reader, it is time for a confession.

I was once a fan of the New Atheists.

fourhorsemen

In my defense, I was always super critical of their politics (which are ghastly), but I nevertheless found their critiques of religion convincing and compelling. I was unable to see through the smoke and mirrors of their rhetorical appeals to science and rationality. However, over a longer time than I would like to admit, I was eventually able to steer myself out of the philosophical muck of New Atheism by examining their ideas more closely.

Unfortunately, particularly since becoming Muslim, I’ve discovered that a lot of seemingly intelligent people are soaked to their core with this unexamined ideological baggage.

As Slavoj Žižek has argued elsewhere, the dominant ideology often isn’t what it seems – Christianity seems to continue to be the dominant ideology in the West, whereas, in reality, Secular Humanist Scientism is the dominant ideology of the day. We could point to any number of pieces of evidence, but let’s leave it with the fact that Daniel Dennett has already made a similar argument.

This reversal is important to recognize, because it reveals that the New Atheists are not the subversives they claim to be. They aren’t killing sacred cows, they’re flogging their corpses and replacing them with the sacred cows of post-religious modernity – science, reason, and progress.

And what makes Scientism as an ideology so influential is that it is so omnipresent in Western culture that it serves as some sort of common sense. People don’t unpack their own premises, because they don’t even think that there are premises. It’s not ideology – it’s fact. This covers up the huge leaps of faith that are required in order to make Scientistic claims about reality.

What makes this particularly dangerous is when people misidentify or misdiagnose a societal problem and then draw up absurd solutions to said “problem”. Those Secular Humanists (who misidentify the problem as “religion”, “irrationality”, or having any “non-scientific” views about reality) want to stamp out all forms of dissent from the dominant paradigm.

And it just so happens that the dissenters are often Black and Brown People and their “irrational” beliefs about the world.

Is it any surprise that the Secular Humanists tend to be White Men?

This essay (the first of a series covering a defense of why I became a Shi’i Muslim) is aimed at revealing the substantial contradictions at the heart of the dominant ideology in the West. The goal here is to illuminate the weak foundations upon which Secular Humanist Scientism is built and how the ideology itself is not as liberatory as it may appear.

Part 1: Secular Humanist Scientism

Scientism, the underlying outlook of the New Atheist crowd, is critically defined by Thomas Burnett as “a speculative worldview about the ultimate reality of the universe and its meaning.” According to Burnett, this is separate from science, which is merely “an activity that seeks to explore the natural world using well-established, clearly-delineated methods.”

To unpack Scientism a bit, I would like to define it here as: the belief that science as a discipline can account for all meaningful questions, whether natural or philosophical.

Indeed, this belief has even led some, like Stephen Hawking, to declare the death of philosophy.

Apparently, Hawking was unable to see how his own worldview was submerged in the ocean of philosophy. After all, Hawking and his ilk are not even simply science-nerds. They are disciples of a supremacist vision for humanity and bring with them the apparent moral charter for that viewpoint – Secular Humanism.

According to the Center for Inquiry (CFI), a Secular Humanist organization, Secular Humanism “is a nonreligious worldview rooted in science, philosophical naturalism, and humanist ethics.”

This is the working definition that I will be using for this essay.

The Secular Humanist value system, according to the CFI, is based on “integrity, benevolence, fairness, and responsibility, and [Secular Humanists] believe that with reason, goodwill, the free exchange of ideas, and tolerance, we can build a better world for ourselves and for future generations. Secular humanism calls upon humans to develop within the universe values of their own. Further, secular humanism maintains that, through a process of value inquiry informed by scientific and reflective thought, men and women can reach rough agreement concerning values, crafting ethical systems that deliver optimal results for human beings in a broad spectrum of circumstances.”

By that definition, Secular Humanism illustrates its deep connection to Scientism. Scientism offers the epistemological and ontological justification for Secular Humanism and Secular Humanism offers the moral justification for Scientism. You really can’t have one without the other. This is a point on which the New Atheists are consistent – their dominant philosophical trends aren’t explicitly contradictory.

However, this consistency, along with the nearly universal acceptance in the West of both ideologies, masks the enormous holes in their logic.

Part 2: Exposing Scientism

Scientism, as a philosophy, is really a perverted Logical Positivism – or, the idea that “[a] statement is meaningful if and only if it can be proved true or false, at least in principle, by means of the experience.” Logical Positivism, the philosophical movement that drove early 20th century scientific inquiry (and arguably continues to do so), has been thoroughly discredited by scientists, philosophers, and anthropologists, but apparently the New Atheists never got the memo.

In order to believe that science ought to be the privileged methodological framework in all times and places, regarding all subjects of inquiry, one must make enormous assumptions.

First, in order for the scientific method to work, we must assume that cause-and-effect is philosophically stable and metaphysically reliable (even though causality can’t be tested using the scientific method).

Second, in order for science to serve as the prime (or only) modus operandi, one must accept the uniformity of nature (despite the obvious problems with such an idea, as David Hume figured out a long, long time ago).

And third, similarly to religion (and really every other system of knowledge), science is post-metaphysical and contains the problem of induction.

Regardless of the inevitable problem of induction though, Scientism’s adherents present science as a method to something untouchable. Listening to these people talk, one would think that science’s methodology was created by (dare we say it) some perfect, omnipotent being, rather than by a bunch of White European Cis-Men at the peak of colonialism.

Poking holes in Scientism is not as difficult as it may appear. Many have attacked it from different angles and I’m going to present some of these individuals and their arguments to show that, regardless of one’s position, Scientism is not the infallible philosophy that it masquerades as.

Paul Feyerabend, a philosopher who coined the term “epistemological anarchism”, makes a damning critique of the elevation of science as a discipline over other forms of knowing. Describing himself as an epistemological anarchist, Feyerabend writes in his book, Against Method, about the history of Galileo and the Catholic Church and shows how rationalism, not religion, hindered the development of a new scientific revolution and why that was.

Feyerabend was writing as a contemporary of Thomas Kuhn, a physicist and probably my favorite philosopher of science of the 20th century.

Kuhn, by all measures, published perhaps the single greatest wrecking ball to logical positivism with his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. In it, he argues that the history of science is defined by paradigms and paradigm shifts, which are constructed and deconstructed in a variety of ways. Kuhn shows that science hasn’t delineated any objective progress. Instead, paradigms (such as the Copernican Revolution, competing geometries, or Newtonian and Quantum Physics) are simply better at answering some questions, but may be worse at answering others.

Kuhn’s critical stance towards the history of science paved the way for the philosophical death of logical positivism and the birth of a series of arguments about the subjectivities that are inherent in supposedly “objective” science. This post-positivism isn’t a complete rejection of the desire to find some objectivity, but rather an acceptance and deep awareness of subjectivity.

A powerful example of the subjectivity in supposedly “objective” science is exposed by Feminists like Emily Martin, an Anthropologist of Science. In her article The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles, Martin demonstrates that “gender stereotypes [are] hidden within the scientific language of biology.” (p. 486).

Londa Schiebinger shows that Feminism has even changed science (particularly medicine and primatology), by “uncovering sexism in the substance of science”. (p. 1171)

If this is the case, then what do we get when we construct our value systems based on “science”, like the New Atheists claim to? The result is, of course, a feedback loop of our own cultural hang-ups. So our culture speaks back to us, including its racism, sexism, queer/transphobia, ableism, and other oppressive ideologies.

Science, in other words, is not value-neutral.

I would argue that in many cases, we can’t even begin to talk about objectivity, because we don’t even know what objectivity would look like.

Admittedly, at the time that I was leaving New Atheism, I was barely engaging with these Post-Modernist or Feminist critiques. Instead, I was reading a lot of Anarcho-Primitivist literature.

Ahhh, Anarcho-Primitivism – perhaps the cissiest, whitest, and malest of all the anarchos.

A lot of Anarcho-Primitivist literature that was based on a critique of technology and a critique of civilization, but often went further to criticize the scientific project itself.

I find that Anarcho-Primitivism, although no longer resembling anything like my political ideology, nevertheless continues to uphold an unanswered critique by the true believers of Scientism (or even of science itself).

Anarcho-Primitivism very modestly asks, “Who the hell do we think we are?”

If we accept evolution and say that we are nothing but bipedal primates, then why should humans control and dominate nature? We are a part of nature (whatever that means), right? And why on earth are we so convinced that our ape minds can even achieve something like objectivity? How can we possibly think that our understanding is somehow outside of and superior to nature? Our mental faculties are not so special.

That’s a powerful critique if you take it all the way. Jacques Ellul (about whom I posted last month) argued that science had become the sacralized discipline of the West, replacing religion. Ellul’s criticism centered on how technology and science has become the dominant ideology in the West and remain completely unexamined. The opening line of his book Propaganda reads: “True modern propaganda can only function within the context of the modern scientific system.

Indeed, as I brought up at the beginning of this essay, the faithful followers of Scientism have elevated science to an untouchable level – a level equivalent to the role that God played (and continues to play) in deeply religious societies.

Michel Foucault, in many ways developing Nietzsche’s line of thought, makes another important critique of science on the basis of the relationship between power and knowledge. Foucault advocated using genealogies as a method of tracing the development and diachronic advances of discourses.

As Foucault argues in his Two Lectures: “genealogies are therefore not positivistic returns to a more careful or exact form of science. They are precisely anti-sciences. Not that they vindicate a lyrical right to ignorance or non-knowledge: it is not that they are concerned to deny knowledge or that they esteem the virtues of direct cognition and base their practice upon an immediate experience that escapes encapsulation in knowledge. It is not that with which we are concerned. We are concerned, rather, with the insurrection of knowledges that are opposed primarily not to the contents, methods or concepts of a science, but to the effects of the centralizing powers which are linked to the institution and functioning of an organised scientific discourse within a society such as ours.” (pp. 83-84)

In other words, science and Scientism are not universals.

Science is embedded in institutional (and cultural) power.

And only when we recognize its embeddedness can we extract its usefulness.

Those acolytes of Scientism who insist on science’s universality cover up exactly what the rest of us seek to lay bare, that science is now (and has always been) dependent on Western institutions. When Richard Dawkins castigates Muslims for not having enough Nobel Prizes, he does so without acknowledging the limited resources, brutalities of colonialism and imperialism, and the cultural divides between England and, say, Somalia.

We could also mention here that there is no objective (scientific) reason to value Western knowledges over non-Western knowledges and that, in reality, the frameworks of thought of people in Nicaragua, Burundi, or Sri Lanka are not any less valuable than the frameworks of thought of White People living in the First World.

And who the hell cares about a Nobel Prize in the first place?

How can someone think about earning a Nobel Prize if they have to worry about war and famine?

And why are the people who worry about war and famine not valued equally?

Scientific “evidence” for a proposition exists only insofar as it is observed and interpreted. We interpret phenomena as we interpret everything else – culturally.

In other words, there is no objective, a priori, non-ideological lens. After all, if we accept (dubiously) that the scientific method works as we are told, then we must recognize that the first step of the scientific method – the hypothesis – is already colored through a cultural lens. We construct questions within (not without) our cultural frameworks.

And these frameworks establish, to parrot Kuhn, our paradigms. Science, in other words, is not culturally neutral.

And, of course, we know that science is often anything but morally neutral. This leads us to the moral system that is supposed to guide humanity to a supposedly better future. 

Part 3: Deconstructing Secular Humanism

The assumption made by the New Atheists and many other Secular Humanists is that if someone is religious and she then ceases to be religious, then she will “naturally” become a Secular Humanist.

As though this was the default moral and philosophical foundation embedded in human biology.

The fact that this is essentially the case made by an evolutionary biologist of Dawkins’s caliber is a joke that should be lost on no one.

After all, why should we be Secular Humanists simply if we cease to believe in God? Why not Nihilists? Why not Existentialists? Why not (perhaps most frighteningly for the White Bourgeoisie) Marxist-Leninists?

Louis Althusser correctly identifies Marx’s anti-humanism in his 1964 article Marxism and Humanism. Althusser points out that there is an ideological component to humanism that masks the realities of capitalism. Althusser draws our attention to the relationship between the base and the superstructural element to ideology.

As Althusser concludes, the focus on the human subject’s emancipation (or, as the CFI elaborates “men and women can reach rough agreement concerning values, crafting ethical systems that deliver optimal results for human beings in a broad spectrum of circumstances.”) is a product of the material conditions of capitalism. Instead of a focus on humanism and attempting to achieve emancipation under capitalism, the only way to truly attain human emancipation is by accomplishing communism and overcoming class struggle.

Indeed, there’s a reason that none of the New Atheists are communists. Secular Humanism and Communism are competing ideologies – and only one can serve as the dominant ideology of neoliberal capitalism.

We don’t need to take a strict Marxist perspective to see the failures of Secular Humanism.

Alternatively, we could follow the path of the Post-Colonialists and the Post-Structuralists who questioned the validity of the subject.

Frantz Fanon saw the “subject” as the figure of the colonialist, specifically the White Man, who established the “subject” as diametrically opposed to the “object” of the colonized person. Foucault saw the “subject” as the discursive creation of the Enlightenment. We could, for example, take Foucault’s critique of science mentioned above and see the extension in his critique of humanism. Indeed, in The Humanism Effect, one of the best articles on the subject, Anthony Alessandrini argues that both Franz Fanon and Michel Foucault were engaging in a “movement towards a critical ontology of ourselves, a critical ontology that they both suspect to be impossible.” (p. 74)

As a side note, there are plenty of solid Feminist and Third Worldist critiques of this process of de-centering the “subject” in philosophy that I won’t go into right now. And certainly anyone who has spent any amount of time reading this blog will notice very quickly that I have no problem with meta-narratives.

Suffice it to say that the Post-Modernist attempt at attacking the “subject” isn’t full-proof, but nevertheless it is an extremely powerful critique of Secular Humanism.

Furthermore, even if we accept the value system of the Secular Humanist paradigm, it has largely failed as a project in achieving its own goals. Secular Humanism and the Enlightenment project more generally contain the trappings of those problems which they sought to solve.

As Shabbir Akhtar writes in The Qur’an and the Secular Mind, “Secular humanism was intended to aggrandize humanity but ironically, in a secular industrialized society, no one needs to reduce the self to size since society does it for us – automatically, decisively, casually. As people jostle for places on an underground train or queue to receive unemployment benefit, they know they are nothing. No religion has negated the self, in all its pride, as effortlessly as modern mass society.” (p. 115)

But doesn’t Secular Humanism have some liberatory potential?

For example, doesn’t Secular Humanism save women suffering under religious tyranny? After all, as the CFI feels comfortable arguing, “Religion in general and Islam in particular are women’s enemy.”

Lila Abu-Lughod responds to such claims in her seminal article Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?:

“Projects of saving other women depend on and reinforce a sense of superiority by Westerners, a form of arrogance that deserves to be challenged. All one needs to do to appreciate the patronizing quality of the rhetoric of saving women is to imagine using it today in the United States about disadvantaged groups such as African American women or working-class women. We now understand them as suffering from structural violence. We have become politicized about race and class, but not culture.” (p. 489)

So, it turns out that the language of science is infused with misogyny, as demonstrated by Emily Martin, and the language of Secular Humanism is similarly infused with misogyny and imperialism. If we become politicized about culture, as Abu-Lughod says we should, then we can also become politicized about the consequences of that culture – like science, reason, and progress, which are not neutral concepts.

What can we see here then? Secular Humanism can’t save Muslim women or, indeed, any women, which is not even its primary intention.

In the end, there is absolutely no reason to accept Secular Humanism if one becomes an atheist (as Nietzsche pointed out over a century ago). However, if one accepts Scientism (and all of its flaws), then Secular Humanism (and all of its flaws) seems far more appealing.

What kind of value system is this anyway?

Look at how joyfully the New Atheists cheer when Western countries drop bombs on Muslims. We can clearly see that the discourse of Secular Humanist Scientism is intertwined with the discourses of neoliberal capitalism and Western imperialism.

To pretend otherwise is not only to ignore history, but also to ignore the voices of real living (predominantly Black and Brown) people around the world.

Conclusion

Scientism and Secular Humanism feed into each other. Science provides the basis of Secular Humanism and Secular Humanism powers science in liberal democratic capitalism.

Because of the material conditions upon which this ideology has formed, Secular Humanist Scientism inevitably accompanies a whole set of troubling implications about the world, including the depraved arguments made by individuals like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris (who correctly take their premise to its logical conclusion) when they support imperialist projects to bomb Black and Brown People into accepting the Western order.

Do these conclusions require us to reject science and all pursuits of objectivity? I certainly don’t think so. However, they do require us to reject Scientism, to reject the belief that science is the only means of gathering information about the world and developing some moral system based off of that false belief.

It also should lead us to take the Post-Modernists seriously when they encourage us to hold a general skepticism towards meta-narratives. Unfortunately, the New Atheists who claim to uphold skepticism fail to turn that skeptical gaze toward their own presuppositions.

The idea that Secular Humanism is somehow philosophically neutral or objective is self-evidently ridiculous. Just as science is infused with subjectivities, Secular Humanism can often lead a person to be wrong.

And we should never forget that Sam Harris is wrong about everything.

Listening to the voices of women, people of color, queer people, and people from the Third World requires a more sophisticated consideration of the questions of knowledge and power. Feminists, Post-Colonial Theorists, Marxists, and Post-Structuralists all have demonstrated the decrepit foundations upon which the New Atheists have chosen to build their homes.

After all, what do we mean when we talk about science, reason, and progress?

In the end, the many critiques of Secular Humanist Scientism demonstrate that it is important that we scrutinize any claims to truth made by Straight White Cis-Men (including myself and those cited in this text) with immediate suspicion. By echoing the voices of these men, the adherents of the True Faith of Secular Humanist Scientism effectively silence the voices of most of the world.

This is what I had failed to do when I was a fan of the New Atheists and their apparently “common-sensical value system” and “objective” truth claims.

As part of my confession here, in good Roman Catholic tradition, I would like to atone for my sins.

Please forgive me for ever having subscribed to such a worldview and thinking that I had found the “Truth” as preached by these Straight Cis-White Men from the First World.

“Truth” and claims to it will be discussed more thoroughly in the next post.

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On Hybrid Warfare

Imagine that you are a large country and that you want to destabilize an adversarial government.

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#syriaisgoingtobefreesoon

What tactics would you employ aside from direct invasion?

It’s not that hard to figure out a basic plan.

Step 1: Paint that government as bad (anti-democratic, for example).

Step 2: Support the opposition and give them positive media coverage (democratic, for example). Perhaps go as far as sending them weapons.

Step 3: If and when the enemy government suppresses the opposition, stage, along with your allies, an “international” outcry and call it “the international consensus”.

This is hybrid warfare.

The added bonus, of course, is that when that adversarial government blames you, then you can always claim that they’re crazy.

“The president is actually a crazy blood-thirty dictator!”

After all, isn’t it interesting that all “dictators” are presented as crazy? You’d think that there’d be at least one “dictator” who was at least a little in touch with reality. Stalin? Crazy. Castro? Crazy. Mao? Crazy. Gaddafi? Crazy. Khomeini? Crazy. Khamenei? Crazy. Saddam, after the Gulf War? Crazy.

Of course, the real fuckers (the ones supported by the West) are all hailed as being good leaders. Suharto? Strong, sensible. King Salman? Reformer, reasonable. Saddam, before the Gulf War? Clever, clear-headed.

The hypocrisy is mind-blowing.

Anyway, back to the point. This isn’t a conspiracy. This is logic.

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Soviet Propaganda: “Stop the Aggressor!”

After years and years of these repeated representations of the opposition as good and the government as bad, something inevitably starts to stick. After all, here we are in 2018 and where are the “enormous” protests in Venezuela? They’re gone.

But we all know that the next time that protests take place in Venezuela, they’ll revive the ghosts of 2017. No matter the situation, We$tern conservatives and liberals alike will cry out for the Venezuelans. Not for their suffering under imperialism, but for their apparent need to be rescued by imperialism.

And the conservatives and liberals will demonstrate that there is really no difference between them and they’ll say, “Remember 2017? Remember that one time? Remember?”

After all, isn’t this what happens in Iran?

Every time there is a protest, the West is quick to stump for a revival of the Green Movement of 2009. Every protest (that gets media coverage) is an “anti-government” protest, of course. Is that why the striking Bazaar shopkeepers (who aren’t We$tern-backed liberals) barely get any media coverage?

And don’t Iranian government officials sound crazy when they accuse the U.$. of supporting the liberal protests?

This the history of Iran. Denials from the Amerikkkans and the British go back to Operation Ajax in 1953 and the overthrow of Muhammad Mossadegh, the democratically-elected Prime Minister and his replacement with a brutal Amerikkkan puppet dictator – the Shah.

But Ayatollah Khamenei has a big white beard and wears a turban, so he must be insane, right?

The blueprint is so obvious that it barely requires discussion. And this is the key: for years, the U.$. denied Operation Ajax – chalking it up to a conspiracy theory as well. It was only recently (more than half a century after the fact) that it finally admitted to gutting Iranian democracy and installing a imperialist tyrant.

As it was in 1953 in Iran and 2018 in Nicaragua, the West is the master of Hybrid Warfare. Of course, it’s a tactic used by everyone, including the junior imperial partners, Russia and China. And it’s a tactic that everyone uses, because it works.

The propaganda is so effective that you don’t even realize that it’s there. The propaganda is so effective that the people making it don’t even realize that they’re making it.

It’s worth repeating – there is no conspiracy here. It doesn’t take any conspiracy to point at the facts. The CIA chief admitted to trying to destroy Venezuela last year.

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These old Tricontinental posters are my favorite, though.

And there’s no big media conspiracy here either. Journalists and reporters aren’t intentionally lying or manipulating the truth (usually). They’re simply following rational ideological positions. Anyone can go pick up a copy of “Manufacturing Consent” at the library and figure that out fairly quickly.

Journalists in Klanada and Amerikkka often continue to parrot the apparent threat by the Iranian government that they were going to “wipe I$rael off the map”. On the one hand, these are journalists who don’t speak Farsi, of course. On the other hand, in their worldview, it makes sense that Khamenei or Ahmadinejad would say that.

But following these ideological positions, journalists mistranslate and distort facts.

Indeed, the Iranian government never threatened to “wipe I$rael off the map“.

But again, news stories that sensationalize the apparently “crazy” statements of the Iranian leadership just act as another drop in the bucket. Another drop towards war against Iran.

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

And when I$rael bombs Iranians in another country, everyone is quick to justify it. It’s a whole web of bullshit, legitimized slowly and steadily over a long period of time. Critical thinking is replaced by blind hatred for a perceived enemy. People become willing to believe anything

The propaganda works and, therefore, repeats itself.

Every once in a while on social media or forums like Reddit, a meme appears that shows women in Iran before the Revolution and women in Iran after the Revolution. Of course, the meme never shows regular women before the Revolution. Instead, it focuses on the glamorous, mini-skirted upper-class party-goers.

(A similar meme is now being used with regards to Afghanistan.)

The argument of the meme goes something like this: before the Iranian Revolution, women were free to wear whatever they liked, then Ayatollah Khomeini made everyone wear hijabs, because Islam = bad and the Iranian government is repressive.

The CIA doesn’t need to post this meme on Reddit or Facebook (although it might be doing that), because regular Euro-Amerikkkan people are ready and willing to attack Iran (and all the other countries challenging We$tern hegemony).

Of course, the idea that Iranian women are worse off completely ignores how the Iranian government has actually facilitated women in the public space, how the lives of regular Iranian women have improved dramatically since the Revolution, how middle-class and upper-class protestors wore hijab during the Revolution as a sign of solidarity with regular women, or how literacy rates for women jumped from 29% in 1976 to 87% in 2005.

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Just another powerless Iranian woman.

And this narrative, most important, also ignores We$tern patriarchy and, more specifically, We$tern patriarchy directed at Iranian women and what they wear.

Academics, journalists, and politicians are overly willing to believe nonsense, provided that it aligns with they’re preconceived notions about the world. This was demonstrated through the extraordinary claim recently that China has detained over a million Uyghurs and is housing them in re-education camps, where they are being forced to renounce Islam and accept the Communist Party as a symbol of ideal crimson infallibility.

Of course, in the end, this turned out to be nonsense. China is doing no such thing. The UN never said that China was doing such a thing, but reporters pounced on the story for its liberal sex appeal.

Were the reporters intentionally lying? Obviously not. They were simply reporting information that seemed plausible to them, despite the fact that there was no evidence and the sources were unreliable.

But, as any journalist will tell you, retractions don’t matter. People don’t remember the corrections to the lies.

Khatami thinks Americans are smart

Never forget the time that Khatami thought Amerikkkans read Alexis de Tocqueville.

So you can write a sensational headline that’s full of shit and then back-track later. The ghosts of the headlines haunt every occasion.

Journalism has already served its necessary role in the system of hybrid warfare. And you don’t even need to back-track later, if you can celebrate hybrid warfare itself!

For example, when President Nazi-Clown plans a coup in Venezuela, the New York Times is quick to write about it with nice imperialistic undertonesthe problem with a coup is that it could backfire! And, after reading any other New York Times article about Venezuela, any reader can put two and two together.

Looking around the world today, the signs of hybrid warfare are everywhere. The color revolutions in the Post-Soviet Republics (Ukraine, Georgia, etc.), the instability in the Middle East (Syria, Iran, etc.), and the attempt to dismantle the Pink Tide in Latin America (Venezuela, Nicaragua, etc.) demonstrate this most clearly.

Imperialism has evolved. Today, people embrace the nice, trendy language of the academy: “The Global North is embracing neoliberalism, which marginalizes people in the Global South blah blah blah.” No one wants to talk about imperialism or oppression. No one wants to utter the dreaded verbatim of the Cold War: “The First World” or “The Third World”. This new language masks a stark reality, as far as I can tell.

Therefore, this blog, I can promise you, will continue to use these terms as long as they remain applicable.

The First World oppresses and exploits the Third World through imperialism.

And that is something we must fight.

In the end, there’s one country that needs regime change most. Take it away, Howard:

Russia = Bad

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Russia is a bad, bad place. Russia is bad. Russia does bad things. Russia, a bad country, is full of bad stuff.

The government of Russia is bad. The president of Russia is bad. Vladimir Putin is a bad man. Russia is bad. Everything there is bad.

Because of Russia, which is bad, Donald Trump is the president, which is bad.

Donald Trump is bad, bad, bad.

The American president is supposed to be good, because the American people vote for the president, which is good.

The American people are good. Democracy is good. But the American president is bad. That’s because of Russia, which is bad. After all, Russia is bad. If Russia wasn’t bad, America wouldn’t have a bad president.

But Russia is bad.

Vladimir Putin, who is bad, is a dictator, which is bad. He is a dictator, because he is bad. He is a dictator, which is bad, even though Russians voted for him, which is bad. Russians are bad. Russia is a bad, bad place.

The American government is still good, but the president is bad. It’s bad.

Russia hacked, which is bad, the elections, which are good.

Hacking is bad. Computers are bad. Elections are good, but Facebook is bad. Vladimir Putin, who is bad, ordered Russian hackers, who are bad, to hack the American elections, which are good. There is a lot of evidence, which is good, but we can’t share it with you yet, which is bad.

Robert Mueller is good. Paul Manafort is bad.

Hillary Clinton is good. Julian Assange is bad.

George W. Bush is good. Donald J. Trump is bad.

America = good.

Russia = bad.

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

What are we to do when “democracy” is the signifier and “imperialism” is the signified?

0825-NICARAGUA-daniel-ortega

In Nicaragua the past few months was plagued by protests. The “Nicaraguan people” were protesting for “democratic reforms” and “the United States” was “deeply concerned about… the violence perpetuated by security forces against demonstrators.” Daniel “I-used-to-be-super-cool” Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, was facing an onslaught of slanderous attacks at the bidding of the Amerikkkan state. But the attacks continue.

Hell, even Noam “My-politics-are-unreliable” Chomsky jumped on board. This is the man who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sandinistas against imperialism not that long ago.

The Huffington Post warns us that “we may be witnessing the rise of fascism in Nicaragua.

Remember when there really was fascism in Nicaragua? For decades, the country was ruled by the Somoza family dictatorship as a U.$. client state. Following the revolution in 1979, the Sandinistas came to power and returned Nicaragua to the people.

Like all good Marxist-Leninist governments, the Sandinistas completely reformed the country – increasing literacy, access to healthcare, women’s rights, nationalizing industries, and improving housing, education, and working conditions for everyone.

After Ronald “I’m-a-huge-fucking-piece-of-shit” Reagan was elected president by the Amerikkkan people, his regime set out on funding paramilitaries to destroy Nicaragua. The Contras, U.$.-backed terrorists, stalked throughout the country and sowed chaos, murdering men, women, and children with unbelievable savagery.

Ortega lost the rigged elections of 1990 and the Sandinista revolution was dismantled. This is what happens when you hold elections in a country that the U.$. wants to control, but that’s neither here nor there.

Violeta “I’m-an-anti-feminist-asshole” Chamorro became the head of state and instituted Amerikkkan shock therapy, which Wikipedia summarizes thus:

The Chamorro years initiated a period of significant economic and social decline for Nicaragua. From 1990 to 2001, the country fell from 60th to 116th in the world in terms of human development, and has become the poorest of America after Haiti, according to United Nations Development Programme.

But, of course, she was the first elected female head of state in Latin America, so liberals should just love her, right?

In 2006, Ortega ran again and narrowly won to join our comrades in the Pink Tide: Chavez, Correa, Lula, Morales, Zelaya, Mujica, Kirchner, and the list goes on and on…

Of course, by this time, Ortega had made his peace with capitalism (unfortunately). Since 2006, Ortega has simply mimicked much of Chavez’s 21st Century Socialism – food programs, labor programs, social security.

Is it really a coincidence that the protests in Nicaragua in 2018 are so similar to the protests in Venezuela in 2017?

“Student Protests” & (Amerikkkan-backed) “democracy” being “repressed” by “an authoritarian leader” – it’s the same old script.

Interestingly, these new rounds of protests started in April, when the government planned to cut social security and pensions.

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#letsoverthrowsomeshit

You mean the social security and pensions that they created?

That’s exactly what I mean.

And installing some pro-Amerikkkan leader will help them get better social security and pensions!?

Obviously not, dear reader.

But this is all a game, of course.

Some people, such as Jeffrey “Super-wonderful-academic” Gould, are insisting that those of us on the left need to recognize that “Daniel Ortega of today is not the Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista Revolution“, as published in the liberal-left pages of Jacobin.

Gould’s argument is directed at “a segment of the international left whose hatred of US imperialism has affected their capacity for critical thought.”

“Critical thought” here apparently means openly criticizing Ortega’s government and siding with an opposition that, according to Gould, “includes rightists, social democrats, and anarchists, and undoubtedly receives some support from some very dark corners of the hemisphere.”

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It takes so much “critical thought” to be a liberal apologist for imperialism.

Admittedly, anti-imperialists do have a hatred of U.$. imperialism, although it seems to me that the lack of critical thought here is on the part of these pseudo-leftists who are eager to write damning texts about leftist governments in Euro-Amerikkkan journals and blogs primarily written for people in imperialist countries (shout-out to this blog!).

Here’s some critical thought: if we accept that there is an Amerikkkan hand here (which Gould admits), then we ought to side with Ortega against imperialism. Not because Ortega does everything perfectly or because Nicaragua is some utopia, but because imperialism is the primary contradiction. Imperialism is not the solution.

If there is “regime change” in Nicaragua, the situation won’t get better – it will get much, much worse!

Just as it did, by the way, in 1990.

This is the reason that real leftists need to take a step back and analyze the situation before they go around huffing and puffing about “the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of the Ortega administration”.

The international left needs to engage in some real critical thinking, because otherwise this strain of Amerikkkan liberalism is going to continue to establish barricades (like the protestors) to choke out small, poor, leftist countries and replace them with Western-backed regimes.

The United $tates is clearly involved in the attempt here to destabilize Nicaragua, everyone can see that.

Despite Ortega’s willingness to play ball, it isn’t enough (it’s never enough). There are good reasons for leftists to be dissatisfied with Ortega, but the answer is never to side with Amerikkkan fascists dressed up as democrats.

The Nicaraguan people know this and that’s why they came out in huge numbers in the middle of July to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution. What was aptly called a “coup attempt” was soundly defeated, the protests were quelled, and things have already returned to normalcy.

The Nicaraguan people won’t let Daniel be thrown in the lion’s den. We shouldn’t either.