Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Social Construct" is a Social Construct

Have you ever been hit with the "That's just a social construct" argument?  It's pretty meaningless, since virtually everything any of us ever says is at least in part a social construct or dependent on social constructs, including the very language it's expressed in.

Well, there's no "just" about it. A social construct is a social construct, and it's as valid in its way as any other concept.  The only question about a social construct worth asking is whether it's a valid or useful social construct, and whether contradictory social constructs might be more valid or useful.

I expect nonsense like "just a social construct" from left-wing idiots, but it depresses me to hear it from libertarians, who are supposed to be logical.  I dealt with that annoyance HERE.  And over at they have a longer treatment of the subject:

Hey bro, socially constructed reality is freakin’ awesome

by Michael Enoch

A persistent meme that floats around in radical left-wing, anarchist, communist and libertarian intellectual circles is the idea that there is something inherently bad and wrongwith “socially constructed” reality. The reality we live in — so the argument goes — is built on a series of socially constructed norms that are not only not necessary for human society, but are downright destructive. The enlightened thinkers that focus on this gravest of social issues have of course escaped this oppressive matrix and are prepared to tell us what a true, natural, healthy and fulfilling human lifestyle wouldreally look like. If only “everyone would wake up” or X oppressive group (government, capitalists, white people, conservative talk radio hosts etc.) would just disappear from the scene entirely.

To a more careful and discerning thinker the most baffling aspect of this trend is that the social constructs that come under assault are not actually subjected to rational scrutiny based on merit, social utility or any other criteria. They are recklessly attacked simply for the fact of being accepted and perpetuated by mainstream society. The a-priori assumption is that social constructs are bad just because. No other reason is given or needed. Often just crying “social construct” when discussing a particular social phenomenon is enough to disqualify it as invalid in the minds of these self-annointed would-be philosopher queens.

As we would expect given the value system of these habitual complainers, the social constructs that come in for abuse are members of the usual leftist rogues gallery: hierarchy, private property, gender, patriarchy, privilege, religion, trade, currency, race (with the caveat that ethnicity can be celebrated if and only if it is non-European), and so on. In place of these chimeras it is claimed that a “true” or “non-alienated” human existence would be characterized by egalitarianism, non-binary gender neutrality and some kind of democratic worker-managed cooperative environmentalist communism. It is a supreme irony that these crude quasi-intellectuals maintain a conceit of themselves as champions of “the little guy” while they attempt to destroy everything that might make his life meaningful. It is laughable that they proclaim a staunch support for political democracy while turning their noses up and contemptuously sniffing at anything that reeks of vulgar mainstream sensibilities. (Keep reading HERE.)
Late-breaking:  "Baloo" has designed an appropriate T-shirt, mug, cap, etc. HERE.

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