I’m busy today with paperwork, letters of recommendations, and winter ducks, so I’ll probably just highlight some articles that you might want to read. Who cares if I didn’t write them?—I’m professor, not a professional writer.
Sarah Haider‘s new Substack column, “Hold that thought“, promises to be a place to bookmark, as she’s published two good pieces in a row. Like many of us, Haider won’t embrace the full-on principles of “progressive” liberalism, but remains a liberal nonetheless. She is, of course, an ex-Muslim, co-founder of the Ex-Muslims of North America, and is quite critical of her old faith. That alone makes her unacceptable to the Woke, who valorize Islam in the face of its extreme regressive principles, ignoring this regressivism because Muslims are seen as People of Color.
Well, so is Haider, so she has both the ethnic and political bona fides (she’s a Democrat) to give her credibility. But of course she hasn’t accrued as much as she deserves simply because she’s an apostate. To counteract this, Haider has, in the past, peppered her talks with those bona fides: “I’m a liberal so you can take what you’re about to read or hear seriously.”
In this new piece she’s decided to give up this “throat-clearing”, as she calls it, and will just give her argument.
I, too, have been wont to “clear my throat” here and in talks, but Haider’s piece makes a convincing case that it’s useless to try to get on the liberal audience’s good side by touting your liberal views and accomplishments. In fact, I’m going to stop doing that myself because her piece is so persuasive. I think this would be a good policy for readers, too, and I especially urge them to work on creating an atmosphere here where you don’t need to tout your background before advancing an idea. One thing I will no longer tolerate is people who dismiss an argument or an article simply because of where it appeared (usually in a Jewish or conservative publication) or who makes it. That is the equivalent of an ad hominem argument. I can’t stand hearing words like “I’m not going to read this because it’s from the National Review, and the whole enterprise is garbage.” That’s the sign of a closed mind.
Click the screenshot below to read, and subscribe if you like it. I have a feeling she’s going to develop well as a “blogger”:
Here’s her version of throat clearing:
Before touching on any perspective that I knew to not be kosher among other Leftists, I tended to precede with some version of throat-clearing: “I’m on the left” or “I’ve voted Democrat my whole life.”
I told myself that this was a distinction worth insisting on because 1) it was the truth and 2) because it helped frame the discussion properly – making clear that the argument is coming from someone who values what they value.
But there was another reason too. My political identity reminders were a plea to be considered fully and charitably, to not be villainized and presumed to be motivated by “hate”.
The precursor belief to this, of course, is that actual conservatives should not be taken charitably, are rightfully villainized, and really are motivated by “hate”.
But I’m done sputtering indignantly about being mischaracterized as “conservative”, or going out of my way to remind the audience that I really am a good little liberal.
Here is why.
She then gives four reasons, explaining each, but you can read the explanations for yourself (indented stuff is hers):
1.) It doesn’t work
2.) Throat-clearing is a tax on energy and attention.
3) Throat-clearing is bad for you
4.) It is bad for the causes you care about
So I’ll join Haider in a resolution to stop doing this stuff; let’s see if I can stick to it.
At the end of her piece she decries the secular community’s embrace of Islam, and also criticizes in the American Civil Liberties Union’s conversion to a “progressive outlet” that’s “surrendering its once most cherished cause–free speech.”
Which brings us to the next reading. .