I'll Burn That Bridge When I Get To It!: Heretical Thoughts on Identity Politics, Cancel Culture, and Academic Freedom

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I'll Burn That Bridge When I Get To It!: Heretical Thoughts on Identity Politics, Cancel Culture, and Academic Freedom

I'll Burn That Bridge When I Get To It!: Heretical Thoughts on Identity Politics, Cancel Culture, and Academic Freedom

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But if the likes of Marx wouldn't qualify for a tenured appointment at a first-rank university, isn't that a reductio ad absurdum?

Similarly, the idea of "loving one's people" is odd, first in that it amounts to "loving one's self writ large," which, in its narcissism, hardly seems like a noble thing. Second, one would certainly not love all the individuals who are alleged to constitute "one's people. Doesn't it conclusively demonstrate the inanity of a standard commanding restrained and temperate language?In the second part, he considers a related subject with which he is intimately familiar: academic freedom. Originating as a response to the 2020 publication of "A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" in Harper's, Finkelstein's new book I'll Burn That Bridge When I Get to It takes aim at both "cancel culture" and "identity politics".

Moreover, the very idea of being "proud" of what group one happens to belong to—proud of being black or a woman or gay or trans—is puzzling. Not for the race; not for color, but for man and manhood alone, they labored, fought and died… It is better to be a member of the great human family, than a member of any particular variety of the human family… I put my foot upon the effort to draw lines between the white and the black…or to draw race lines anywhere in the domain of liberty. Shouldn't one aspire to transcend the 'inevitable' part—the color of one's skin—so as to be judged by the 'free part'—the content of one's character? A poor condition book can still make a good reading copy but is generally not collectible unless the item is very scarce. In an adaptation of Emma Goldman's "If I can't dance, I don't want your Revolution," Finkelstein declares: "If I can't laugh, I don't want your Revolution.

If "woke" liberals embraced him, it was because, beneath his hip veneer, Obama was a sure bet to prop up the corrupt status quo. It counsels Black people not to trust whites, as their racism is so entrenched and so omnipresent as to poison their every thought and action. So, when someone says that they will “burn that bridge when [they] get to it”, they expect to deal with an upcoming difficulty badly which will result in permanently cutting ties or alienating other people involved. To make (some) sense of what blending these two expressions might mean, let us first look at what they mean on their own.

Who is to say your definition of "socially harmful" is, in all cases, the right one, or that your application of it is always right? Moreover, if the "harmful" speech is socially marginal such that hardly anyone believes it, what's the great danger in letting someone say it now and then? One might argue that in this chapter Finkelstein's profound contempt for the "Elmer Gantry in blackface" at the head of this gaggle of amoral mediocrities gets the best of his prodigious literary gifts, since the ruthless mockery goes on and on and becomes somewhat tiresome, but it can't be gainsaid that it's all well-deserved.The fight against racism must focus…not on the intangible, impalpable, unchangeable, invisible, or unprovable, but, instead, on what's substantive, meaningful, and corrigible. His defense of a regime of nearly untrammeled free speech is rooted, first and foremost, in his conviction that this is the surest way to Truth. It disturbs her that white feminists are presumptuous enough to speak for black women, but she "seems less concerned or, for that matter, even conscious that a high-achieving Black woman speaking for Black working-class women might also be problematic. On Amy Goodman (whom he doesn't name): "Goddess of Wokeness…a woke machine, churning out insipid clichés as her mental faculty degenerates to mush. Eugenics and forced sterilization were once considered a very enlightened movement, being supported by progressives like Bertrand Russell, Helen Keller, Jane Addams, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

while Kendi singles out for praise Harry Truman, Michelle Obama, Eldridge Cleaver, Pam Grier, Bo Derek, Kanye West, etc. Many or most of them one would likely personally despise—just as, on the other hand, one would "love" many people belonging to a "different group. In a long, scathing chapter, Finkelstein analyzes the cult surrounding Barack Obama, which he reveals as the ultimate product of identity politics. I would place myself, and I would place you, my young friends, upon grounds vastly higher and broader than any founded upon race or color… We should never forget that the ablest and most eloquent voices ever raised in behalf of the black man's cause, were the voices of white men.

We hear, since emancipation, much said by our modern colored leaders in commendation of race pride, race love, race effort, race superiority, race men, and the like… [But] I recognize and adopt no narrow basis for my thoughts, feelings, or modes of action.

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