Twitter CEO Dorsey created a storm when a posed for a photo with a placard that read “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy”. It was perceived by many, and rightly so, as an attack on Brahmins and following outrage, the legal head of Twitter India issued an apology over the sentiments that were hurt.
Liberals were not exactly happy with Twitter’s apology. Their response was to assert that ‘Brahminical Patriarchy’ was a perfectly acceptable term and that it is a perfectly mainstream term in the academia.
While I had no knowledge of the poster, Brahminical Patriarchy is a fair & entirely mainstream phrase in the way that we now know the intersectionality of Feminism & the critique of upper caste hegemony. It is NOT an attack on Brahmins but on hierarchy much like White Privilege
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) November 20, 2018
— Angellica Aribam Sharma (@AngellicAribam) November 20, 2018
We have no reason to doubt that such is indeed the case. The Economic and Political Weekly, an esteemed journal in left-leaning circles, confirmed the fact through its Twitter handle.
Why is it important to recognise caste privilege? This #thread explores Uma Chakravarti’s article on the relationship between #caste and #gender.
It is available to read here: https://t.co/visfcthdjF [Out of paywall for one week]#BrahminicalPatriarchy pic.twitter.com/yJMdBxR8NU
— EPW (@epw_in) November 20, 2018
The mainstream use of a term as loaded as ‘Brahminical Patriarchy’ in the academia does not make it more justifiable. The Academia is not a Holy goat that can do no wrong. In fact, it only reveals that a terrible rot has set in. If we are to learn anything from history, then we need to understand that Academia is usually the harbinger of bad ideas.
It is not a secret that Eugenics had widespread support among the intellectuals prior to Adolf Hitler’s extermination of Jews. Some of the most famous intellectuals were indeed great proponents of Eugenics.
Henry F. Osborn, then president of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, stated,
“In the US we are slowly waking to the consciousness that education and environment do not fundamentally alter racial values. We are engaged in a serious struggle to maintain our historic republican institutions through barring the entrance of those unfit to share in the duties and responsibilities of our well-founded government. … In the matter of racial virtues, my opinion is that from biological principles there is little promise in the melting-pot theory. Put three races together (Caucasian, Mongolian, and the Negroid) you are likely to unite the vices of all three as the virtues. … For the worlds work give me a pure-blooded … ascertain through observation and experiment what each race is best fitted to accomplish. … If the Negro fails in government, he may become a fine agriculturist or a fine mechanic. … The right of the state to safeguard the character and integrity of the race or races on which its future depends is, to my mind, as incontestable as the right of the state to safeguard the health and morals of its peoples.”
The role of American scientists in spreading the ideas of Eugenics is quite well known. The Eugenics Research Association in affiliation with the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS), The American Eugenics Society, The Eugenics Records Office were all established with the specific purpose of popularizing Eugenics.
In his Textbook of Psychiatry (1924), Eugen Bleuler wrote, “The more severely burdened should not propagate themselves… If we do nothing but make mental and physical cripples capable of propagating themselves, and the healthy stocks have to limit the number of their children because so much has to be done for the maintenance of others, if natural selection is generally suppressed, then unless we will get new measures our race must rapidly deteriorate.”
The famous Psychologist, Edward Thorndike wrote in Education Psychology (1913), “Selective breeding can alter man’s capacity to learn, to keep sane, to cherish justice or to be happy. There is no more certain and economical a way to improve man’s environment as to improve his nature.”
The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenicist as well. In The Pivot of Civilization (1922), she wrote, “We are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all—that the wealth of individuals and of state is being diverted from the development and the progress of human expression and civilization.” She also states, “We should not minimize the great outstanding service of Eugenics for critical and diagnostic investigations. It demonstrates … that uncontrolled fertility is universally correlated with disease, poverty, overcrowding and the transmission of hereditable traits.”
Support for Eugenics wasn’t limited to only a select few popular intellectuals, it was widespread. Helen Keller, H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, all were vocal proponents of Eugenics. It was only after Hitler pursued Eugenics to its logical conclusions that people started realizing the extent of the damage such ideas could cause.
Eugenics is hardly the only evil idea to have widespread support in the stables of Academia. Communism, the ideology responsible for the deaths of over a hundred million people worldwide, had great support among the academia in the 20th century. While the Soviet Union and China and Pol Pot were busy slaughtering millions under communist states, the academia was more concerned with defending communism instead of exposing its vicious bile. In India, in the 21st century, that Communism still remains relevant and that the academia still supports this murderous ideology which has wreaked havoc in our country only goes on to show that the moral compass of the academia is not very bright. Convicted Naxalites are invited at prestigious institutes to deliver keynote addresses.
Therefore, that a particular term is mainstream in academia does not make it any less evil. It only reveals that there’s a deep rot that has set in. There is historical precedent for it. That terms like ‘Brahmanical Patriarchy’ is mainstream in the academia should concern all of us. Because there’s nothing good that could ever come of it. The academia has been hijacked by a particular ideology and that ideology historically leads to mass murder.
The ideology, of course, is Postmodernism. Indian liberals have imported this Western ideology, which is inherently evil, and applied it to Indian society, the massive diversity of which makes it even more problematic.
The academia hasn’t even bothered to check whether this ideology should even be applied to the Indian context. But since Indian liberals are unique in their spectacular lack of creativity and cannot come up with any original ideas of their own, they simply applied Postmodernism to interpret India society. I repeat, that an idea is mainstream in the academia does not imply it’s not evil. Like Eugenics and Communism in the 20th century, Postmodernism may well prove to be academia’s great evil of the 21st. Just like Eugenics had widespread support prior to the Holocaust, the evil idea of Postmodernism effectively dominates the academia.