This is the 4th and a half draft of this week's DivThu ... a much more simplified version. I did have a very long post, but decided that was unnecessary. It was better, especially with Part 2 - the Navy's Reading List - added below, to keep this rather simple as I think it speaks for itself.
Part 1: Navy Task Force One.
If you were going to try to get the temperature of race relations in our nation, probably the worst time to do it in the last 35 years would have been over the summer and fall of 2020.
As our Navy reflects the society it comes from, it would be only natural that the high emotions, cultural climate, and all that happened in that time period would come in to the study as you took the temperature.
If you were looking at a worst case snap shot, you would be hard pressed to pick a more opportune time. Keep that in mind and adjust accordingly.
To add to that, you had leadership in self-preservation mode decoupling themselves from the people they assigned to Task Force One and were unlikely to push back on any of the overreach.
We have what we have. I think it would be best if you read the entire thing for yourself, but I wanted to put just one screen capture out there to outline to you where I stand.
There are five points to the pledge. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th are fairly harmless, but the 2nd and 5th are poison pills.
I pledge to advocate for and acknowledge all lived experiences and intersectional identities of every Sailor in the Navy.
Nope. Never. You have to understand the terms "lived experience" and "intersectional identities."
For me, this spoils the whole thing. Pick a few good items, but dismissing the rest as the political exercise it is.
Regular readers here understand the term, "Cultural Marxism." Well, as I warned you years ago that it was coming - here it is, red in tooth and claw.
First, "lived experience":
...the first google result on difference between “experience” and “lived experience” comes from Geek Feminism Wiki: “The term lived experience is used to describe the first-hand accounts and impressions of living as a member of a minority or oppressed group.”
Anytime there’s language employed almost exclusively by adherents to a certain set of ideas, there’s a two-fold danger. The first is that those who are inclined to object to the perspective will not understand what is being gotten at by the terminology (i.e. they’ll assume redundancy and just replace “lived experience” with “experience” in their minds) or worse not take it seriously (i.e. scoff “as if there’s a kind of experience that isn’t lived!”). On the other hand, there’s the risk of those who use it to take it so much for granted that they don’t scrutinize what claims its rhetorical force is masking (e.g. a few recent titles I quickly scanned through on google books about “lived experience” never define what is meant by the term).
So in this post I want to try to give a brief history of the word. A disclaimer is that this (and everything I write here) should be taken as a first draft and nothing should be taken on authority as it comes from just googling for a couple of hours. The main service, though, that I hope to accomplish is to convince you that there is a very simple reason why people use the term “lived experience” and thus that it shouldn’t be dismissed offhand as “just one of those in-words SJWs say.” A secondary aim is that learning a bit about the various ways the word “lived experience” has been viewed over time might suggest some ways of thinking about how it should be viewed today. This is important because the way we think and talk about “lived experience” today raises many difficult questions about the status of knowledge, representation, and agency in what we hope is the creation of a more just society.
In other words, it is not fact based. It is opinion based. It is a point of view. So, the Navy wants everyone to accept, without question, something that may be false when faced with facts. No, worse than that, the Navy wants you to advocate for it.
Next, "intersectional identities":
Intersectionality is the buzzword to end all buzzwords, the term that launched a thousand hot-takes, a discursive sinkhole where political disputes go to die. Depending on who you ask, it’s the most important theoretical innovation in feminist history; the cancer that’s killing the left; a critical tool in on-the-ground organising; or a totally meaningless liberal shibboleth. I am not overly invested in trying to claw back some kind of clarity on what intersectionality “means”. Like much of the work done by feminists and queer theorists around the same time, there is a certain ambiguity to intersectionality, if only because many of the people interpreting it come from this poststructuralist milieu.
Back in the good old days we had simple, honest labour movements, the kind of vulgar Marxist or social-democratic workerism that anyone could understand. Some time in the 1970s postmodernists and other wreckers took over, junked the notions of universality and the totality of social relations that powered labourism, and replaced them with a weak, defeatist politics of difference and contingency.
Intersectionality is like flypaper for this kind of analyst. A hefty seven-syllable academic megalith intended to do the work of reform under capitalism, beloved by rich liberal college students and the extremely woke and incredibly online: if it didn’t exist, they’d have to invent it.
Nope. Never. Not going to pledge to get involved in that socio-political swamp and would never ask anyone to do so.
The entire report is bat this link.
Read it all if you want. I think if you did, you might be a step ahead of Navy's uniformed leadership. Well, perhaps that is an unkind assumption on my part, but that would be about the only acceptable excuse for putting your name on this. If they did read it and put their name to it afterwards, well, that tells you about all you need to know.
Part 2: The Navy Reading List: I know it is no longer called the "CNO Reading List" or somesuch, but a Navy reading list is his reading list, so let's run with it.
I want you to look at the bottom of the list, on "Sailors"
You can read the whole list a this link;
As this has become kind of my wheelhouse, I'll go there.
Why in the hell are we injecting the poison of Critical Race Theory and sectarian political fads in to our fleet?
"How to be Anti-Racist" by the highly problematic Ibram X. Kendi as "Foundational?"
The most threatening racist movement is not the alt-right’s unlikely drive for a White ethnostate but the regular American’s drive for a “race-neutral” one… there are ideas that express hierarchy and inequality. There are policies that create equity and inequity. The other aspect of it that is troubling is that there’s no such thing as a “not racist.” There is only racist and antiracist.
Then for "Advanced" the CNO wants to inject "Sexual Minorities and Politics" by Pearson in their heads?
"Capstone" it all with "The New Jim Crow" by Alexander?
Well, there you go.
This is political. This is taking a side. At least we know.
Captain Second Rank Ivan Yurievich Putin is watching.
The social engineering stuff may be over the top, but here's what's unforgivable. All of the classics have pretty much been removed. Six Frigates is still there, but where is The Caine Mutiny, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Winds of War, The Red Badge of Courage? MCPON section has Run Silent Run Deep, but where are Mahan, Clausewitz, Sun Tzu. Leaders Eat Last by Sinek is great, but go watch his Ted Talk, it's shouldn't be held out as Capstone.