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At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Below is the fourth and final part of my interview with leftist academic, Dr. Leon Marlensky.

JK: Getting back to my original question: If women and—

LM: At the risk of sounding rude, may I interject just one more time?

JK: I doubt that I could stop you even if I wanted to.  What is it?

LM: Even I have been using the word “women” to describe the estrogen-endowed members of the human species.  But “women” and “woman” both reflect and further Western patriarchy. Both terms are parasitic upon, or derivative of, “man.”  There is no surer way to guarantee the preservation of the systemic misogyny to which women have forever been subjected in the West than by continuing to use this awful word: woman.

JK: Then why have you been using it?

LM: This is the thing about structural injustices.  The injustices, like sexism, are embedded in our very concepts, in our very language.  “Woman” is a term of convenience. But you are correct—

JK: I am?!

LM: Yes. For now on, I will use, and will urge others to use, “estrogen-endowed” in place of “woman.” 

JK: Wonderful.  You can probably detect the sarcasm in my voice when I say that I’m glad that I finally got through to you on this score.

LM: Understood loudly and clearly.

JK: Now that that’s established, maybe I can finally return to my question.

LM: I know where you were going Jack.  It is true that I think that people of African descent, other racial minorities, and the estrogen-endowed living in what European men chose to call “America” are indeed just as guilty as white men for White, Male, and Christian Supremacy.  Regardless of the place that they occupy in our social hierarchy or the rhetoric to which they resort, everyone and anyone who continues to reap the benefits of the injustices that had been done to minorities and women, anyone and everyone who eagerly avails her or himself of the blood money on which America and the West were built, has blood on her or his hands.

JK: Wow. So whether it is Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell, or Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright—

LM: They are sellouts all of them.  Ditto with whether it is Gloria Steinberg or Phyllis Schlafly of whom we speak.  Farrakhan, Wright, Obama, Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey—they decry racism out of one side of their necks while basking in the fame and fortunes that whites make possible.  The “black” writer George Schuyler once said of Malcolm X that Malcolm should’ve “loved the white folks,” for without them, no one ever would’ve known his name.  I am saying something similar here.

Yet, of course, it isn’t just famous and rich people of African descent, other non-European lineages, and the estrogen-endowed who legitimize the oppression and exploitation of minorities and the estrogen-endowed.  It is every single such person who enjoys the higher standard of living in what men of European stock insist upon calling “America” who are also guilty of this crime.

JK: So even those who style themselves radicals, progressives, or revolutionaries are actually nothing of the sort.  Is this what you are getting at?

LM: Progressive?! Who is progressive?!  Barack Obama?!?! Hillary Clinton?!?!  It makes about as much sense to say of Obama and Hillary that they are progressive as it would make sense to say of a Jew who became one of Hitler’s Brown Shirts that he or she—uh, she or he—was progressive, or a person of African descent living in what whites call “America” who enslaved other people of African descent that she or he was progressive.

If the Obamas and Hillaries of the world can be called “progressives,” it is only because they advance the progress of White Male Supremacy.  Our radicals are a la carte radicals.  They are cafeteria revolutionaries.  They arbitrarily select some features of the West to condemn as racist, sexist, etc. while relying upon—clinging to—others that are no less racist and sexist.

JK: I must admit,Leon, you are nothing if not consistent.

LM: Hold it. Logical consistency is an intellectual virtue only in the West.  It assumes a rigorous dichotomy between being and non-being.  It assumes that the world consists of individual, distinct “substances.”  These, however, are assumptions that Eastern peoples reject.  For Hindus, Confucianists, Taoists, and other philosophical traditions of the East, the world is a single harmony, each part being inseparably linked to every other.

The so-called “law of contradiction,” then, far from being the most fundamental principle of all thought, is but another Eurocentric construct that has been imposed upon all peoples everywhere.

JK: So, you are not consistent?

LM: I refuse to play this game.  Whether you commend me for my consistency or criticize me for my inconsistency, you still approach me through an incorrigibly Western frame of reference. You continue to elevate a culturally-specific conception of Reason above all others. 

JK: Ok, ok.  We are about out of time, Leon. So that my readers can know a little more about you, would you care to briefly share with us your research interests?

LM: It would be my pleasure. My interests lie in two areas. 

The first is the treatment—the theologization—of erectile dysfunction in texts of the Medieval and early Modern eras.

JK: I didn’t know that this issue was addressed at all in the literature from these periods.

LM: Oh, it’s addressed all right, just not explicitly.  But once these texts are deconstructed, however, it becomes plain that the surface discourse, the dominant voice, suppresses other discourses, discourses regarding the sterility, the impotence, and the delayed ejaculation of their authors’ contemporaries—and maybe even the authors themselves.

JK: Uh…ok.  And your other interest?

LM: The specieism involved in fighting bacterial infections. 

JK: What?!

LM: A bacteria is a living species, correct?  Like all living things, it is has an interest in preserving itself.  This interest should be respected, even if it may at times be necessary to kill bacteria. But to eliminate it without batting an eye, as human beings routinely do, is to elevate our own species above that of bacteria.

There is another problem.  When species prey upon one another, their numbers are controlled and the world is safe. But inasmuch as humans spare not a moment to destroy bacteria before it destroys them, the human species threatens the planet with overpopulation. 

JK: Not that I wanted to get into this now, but I am curious: What, in your judgment,Leon, should be done about this?

LM: I think that, eventually, in order to spare Earth from the ravages of the sort of virulent specieism that humans—white humans especially, via the Father of all instruments of domination, science—unleashed upon all other species, and bacteria particularly, the federal government needs to launch a massive program by which it determines when it is permissible to combat bacteria and when it is not permissible to combat it.

JK: Well, thank you Leon, but, by now, I have definitely heard enough.

LM: Has it dawned on you that the word “heard,” like the words “seen” and “saw,” are ableist?  Not everyone can hear, after all.  And not everyone can—

JK: Thank youLeon!        

 

 

This, the third installment of my interview with leftist par excellence, Dr. Leon Marlensky, was supposed to be my last.  It took an unexpected turn, though.  The fourth installment will be the conclusion of the interview.

JK: So,Leon, you think that racial minorities and women in America are just as culpable as white men for promoting what you call “white supremacy?” 

LM: I declare them just as guilty as those white men of today who benefit from White Supremacy as well as those of yesteryear who enslaved people of African descent and slaughtered the indigenous peoples of what we today call America.  I declare them just as guilty as those white men who forced segregation upon women and people of African descent—

JK: Whoa. Excuse me. I know what you mean when you refer to the segregation of blacks—

LM: Correction: people of African descent.  In earlier times, whites relied upon their whips, guns, and knives to corral so-called “blacks” into slave ships and then plantations.  Today, whites continue to corral folks of African descent, except now they have traded in the physical weaponry for the ideological weaponry of abstract, homogenizing categories like “black.” And whites have turned from the slave ships and plantations to the ‘hoods, all offices of government, Hollywood, academia, professional sports and every and any other area of our society where they can ease their own racist fears by keeping a close eye on the objects of those fears.

JK: Well– -uh, wait. You have said a couple of things that I would like for you to elaborate upon.  The race thing we can talk about in just a minute. As for women—

LM: Jack, there are no “races.”  The concept of race is an exclusive term devised by whites to justify their oppressive designs over the rest of the world. It is an instrument of Eurocentric power.

JK: Ok, ok. Moving right along.  What did you mean by “the segregation” of women?

LM: Uh, Earth to Jack: have you not noticed that nearly fifty years after the “whites” and “colored” signs came down we still have “men” and “women” signs hanging over restrooms all across this country?  Haven’t you noticed that there remains gender segregation in virtually every department store in America?  There is a clothing section for men and a clothing section for women; shoes for men, and shoes for women, sports leagues for men, and those for women, etc.  Hell, even parenting is segregated along gender lines!  Only a woman can be a mother, and only a man can be a father. 

Have you ever considered any of this?

JK: No, I can’t say that I have.  But let’s leave this behind.  I want to return to something you said a moment ago. If today’s black—uh, if those people of African descent who are today politicians, academics, businessmen—

LM: Ah hem.

JK: Uh, businesspersons?

LM: Well, that’s not as inappropriate as businessmen, for it isn’t only men who are in business.  But if you think about it, even “businesspersons” is less than acceptable, for—

JK: Leeeeon, please, I just want to spit out this one question for you!

LM: I’m sorry, Jack. We can get right to it after I make this point.  Just as our everyday language is contaminated with racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and Christocentric bigotry, so too is it ridden with specieism.  Your last remark confirms this. 

JK: Once more, Leon, I’m not following you.

LM: “Businesspersons” may be gender-neutral, but it is not species-neutral.  However, there have been and remain both non-human animals as well as plants that have been involved in business ventures of various sorts.  And yet “businesspersons” glosses over this fact.  Non-human animals and plants appear in television shows, commercials, films, and so forth. 

Not only do we marginalize non-human animals and plants via the word “businessperson.” But the unrelenting anthropomorphism of our Disney culture insists upon imposing human traits upon them in popular art.

I would prefer that we drop “businesspersons” as well as “businessmen” and, instead, opt for the word “businessbeings.

The fourth and FINAL part of my interview with Leon Marlensky will be published soon.

 

Barack Obama’s second term is now officially underway.  His speech on Monday, in addition to his first term, makes it all too clear that his promise to “fundamentally transform”America is one promise that he’s determined to keep.

Sadly, and incredibly, far too many moderate and conservative-minded folks—including commentators!—still fail to grasp exactly what Obama meant when he made this now infamous pledge.  Not Rush Limbaugh, though.  Rush most certainly did grasp Obama’s meaning.  Moreover, he was one of a relatively small handful of prominent figures on the right who had the backbone to translate its meaning out loud.

Obama, Rush told his listeners, wants to ruin the country. This is why he hoped that Obama would fail.

Rush knew what those first Western philosophers from before the time of Socrates knew: fundamental transformation involves the extinction of one being and its replacement by another.

That which has been fundamentally transformed essentially ceases to be.

Rush, along with others, has repeatedly insisted that Obama wishes to destroy the country as we have always known it.  Not quite.  Obama, rather, wishes to destroy the country as he has always known it.  There is a huge difference between these two perceptions of America. 

Being the committed leftist that he is, the America of old as Obama sees it is a place mired in iniquity. It is a place that is and has always been too white, too Christian, too racist, too sexist, too homophobic, too xenophobic, and so forth.  The America of old, the pre-Obama America of the President’s leftist imagination, consists of “Second Amendment absolutists,”—John Wayne type gun nuts and knuckle dragging Bible thumpers.  This is the America that was founded in the genocide of America’s indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africa’s.

And this is the America that must be, as Obama euphemistically puts it, “fundamentally transformed.”

This is the America that must be destroyed.

In its place, Obama seeks to replace it with another idea of America, the sort of utopian land for which leftists the world over have been longing for as long as leftist ideology has been with us. 

In this new America, the gross inequalities in income and wealth that arose courtesy of “the individualism,” “states’ rights,” and “capitalism”—i.e. constitutional government—of the pre-Obama America will be forever remedied.  The so-called “browning” of America that began in earnest nearly fifty years ago with the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 will be perfected as the new America becomes the first genuinely “multicultural” country on the planet, the country of which, as Time magazine put it in explaining why it chose to make him its Man of the Year, Obama is both “symbol and author.” 

But for all of this to occur, the old America must be fundamentally transformed.

The country’s “fundamentals”—the Constitution and the federalized structure of government that it delineates—must be destroyed.  

Note, change, even dramatic change, is not the same thing as a fundamental transformation. As even the great apostle of conservatism, Edmund Burke, observed over two centuries ago, not only is change inevitable.  Insofar as it is indispensable to the conservation of society, it is desirable.  Fundamental transformation, though, is something else entirely.

For instance, the Jack Kerwick of 2013 is dramatically different, in all sorts of respects, from the Jack Kerwick who was born almost forty-one years ago in 1972.  But I am still, ultimately, the same person today as I was then.  Thus, I am justified in describing these changes as changes that occurred to me, changes that I experienced over the course of my lifetime.   These changes have been gradual and continuous, not abrupt and radical. 

The example of marriage should suffice to show the chasm between change and fundamental transformation.  Anyone who has ever been married knows that unless spouses make changes in themselves, their marriage will be doomed. Similarly, anyone who has been married knows equally well that unless spouses refrain from even suggesting that their partners undergo a fundamental transformation, the marriage will be doomed.  

The desire on the part of one spouse that the other undergo a fundamental transformation is nothing less than the desire for a new spouse.

And the desire for one’s country to undergo a fundamental transformation is nothing less than the desire for a new country.

 

 

 

 

This is the second part of my interview with Dr. Leon Marlensky, as committed a leftist as any that I have ever encountered. In the interest of promoting the market place of free ideas that I always complain doesn’t exist, I thought it only right to provide Marlensky with this forum to express himself to people who he otherwise would have never been able to reach.

JK: Leon, you are not at all unlike any of your ideological ilk on the left insofar as you believe that racism, sexism, and classism are great evils and that, ultimately, they transcend even the best of intentions of individuals.  That is, these great evils are “structural” or “institutional,” correct?

LM: Well, you are partially correct.

JK: Uh oh. 

LM: [Chuckles] Relax, Jack, relax.  Yes, it is true, that “the evils” to which you allude are systemic.  Yet it is not true that they are evils.

JK: What?  You have no moral objections to them?

LM: Now I didn’t say that. What I said is that they are not evil.  You see, as Nietzsche correctly noted, “evil” is a concept invented by the champions of the penultimate “slave morality”—Christianity.  In blasting this or that as evil, you act no differently than those Christians, like the Crusaders, say, of times past who converted unbelievers to their faith under pain of violence and death.  In fact, the continual usage of concepts like that of “evil” is a form of violence.

JK: Let me make sure that I understand you: it is actually immoral to use “evil” as a synonym for “immoral” because in doing so, I use a term coined by Christians and, hence, impose Christianity upon those who may not accept it.  Is this right?

LM: By Jack, now you’ve got it! 

JK: So, then, racism and the rest are immoral, not evil, correct?

LM: Well…not exactly.

JK: So racism and sexism and classism, etc. are morally permissible?!

LM: No, no.  Let’s make this simple by focusing on just one thing: say, racism.  And what applies to racism will apply to sexism, classism, homophobia, Christocentric bigotry, and so forth, ok? 

JK: Uh…ok.

LM: Why is it widely thought in contemporaryAmericathat racism is immoral?

JK: Well, racism is thought to be wrong because race is thought to be irrelevant to a person’s true worth, his character.  All human beings are created equal by God, we are all His creatures.  Ultimately, we are all members of one race, the human race.

LM: I think that you are right, that these are the sorts of reasons that people usually come up with to justify their belief that racism is immoral. What they don’t realize is that these reasons embody and, thus, perpetuate racism. And, for the record, they embody and perpetuate sexism and Christocentric bigotry as well.

JK: Wait…..what?!?!

LM:  You heard me rightly.  The idea that racism is immoral turns on the idea of a common humanity.  Agreed?

JK: That’s right.

LM: But the idea of a common or universal humanity, the idea that race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and religion are impertinent to the humanity that one shares with all other members of the human race is itself a Eurocentric, specifically Christian, construct. As a culturally-particular device posing as universal and neutral, it advances White, Christian, Male dominance while pretending to speak on behalf of all peoples.  

JK: I’m flabbergasted.  So, the belief that racism is immoral is itself immoral?!?!

LM: In short…yes. And, of course, the belief that sexism, classism, homophobia, and Christocentric bigotry are immoral is just as immoral, for it relies upon the Eurocentric idea that there is a common humanity that trumps considerations of race, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic station, and religion.  To reiterate, this idea in turn perpetuates the oppression of women and minorities and the hegemony of white, heterosexual, Christian men.

JK: But the standard of living for women and minorities of all sorts in the West, and America especially, is far higher than it is for their counterparts elsewhere in the world. 

LM:  So?  This doesn’t negate anything that I’ve said. What it does show, however, is that women and minorities are just as complicit in the promotion of Eurocentrism as are white men.

JK: How so?

LM: America’s unprecedented standard of living derives from its economic system: capitalism.  Capitalism not only reduces all human beings to commodities or things.  It thrived because of its brutal exploitation of Africans [slavery] and its genocidal treatment of “the New World’s” indigenous peoples. 

Simply put, the opportunities and the riches to which Americans of all colors, sexual orientations, religions, and both sexes have access today are the equivalent of “blood money.”  If America is illegitimate because it was built on the backs of slaves and the corpses of indigenous peoples, then every single American who continues to benefit from these ghastly crimes is just as guilty as the original perpetrators.

The third and final part of my interview with Dr. Leon Marlensky will be published soon.   

 

 

 

 

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