This article originally intended to be about some intellectuals on Twitter arguing that 2+2=5. I do have an interest in the math topic as such, but these people aren’t interested in math. It’s merely the facade of something much deeper that expands into many areas of ideas and politics. I’ve stripped the math discussion out of this article because it takes away from the main point. Whether the talking point is about decolonizing math, science, the police, the courts, etc, or whatever happens to be the main point in the future - the goal is the destruction of objective truth. They’re not concerned that you think 2+2=5 is true, what they want from you to is to believe that 2+2 doesn’t equal 4.
Don’t be confused by the stature of these intellectuals, or their conceptual/linguistic games to prove their point. They’re not talking about math, science, or whatever the topic. They’re only interested in convincing you that truth is simply unknowable.
Throughout this article, I’m going to refer to these people as disintegrators. I realize the more popular terms are woke, postmodernists, or Marxists - but I think disintegrator is a good descriptor.
Who is the Final Authority?
In some form or another, the real question being presented to you is who is the final authority? It could be as simple as there are many ways of understanding, who decides that 2 + 2 only ever equals 4. A question or statement like this is bundled with ideas and premises that often elude the casual observer. When did you stop beating your wife? works exactly the same way.
Subjectivism is the hidden premise in such questions/statements. It’s the fluidity of reality, subjectivism, that they’re trying to smuggle into truth. Nothing is certain. Your way and my way are just different, but equal intellectual approaches. The way one approaches truth is merely a preference and there are many equally valid ways of finding that truth. It’s important to state that this isn’t subjectivism like I like vanilla ice cream, you like chocolate. This is epistemological subjectivism.
Disintegrators are not that interested in subjectivism as an end. They are smuggling this idea into mathematics and other areas to try to erode the foundation of objective truth. Subjectivism alone can’t destroy truth, but once you’re at the area of the fluidity of truth then you’re only a few steps away. At least a subjectivist can pursue truth - even if it is just for themselves.
Who is the final authority? No one. Whoever can prove it is what matters. Just as Kepler’s and Galileo’s truth about heliocentrism didn’t require any other person to be the authority on that truth. They proved it, without the need of appeasing the masses or the prevailing institutions of their time (Catholicism).
What you’re seeing is the struggle between reality, your mind, and knowing it? Does the world exist independently of us? Or is reality just a state of consciousness, where truth is merely the feelings of our consciousness? Or is it something we create? This is based on Kantian ideas, which are dominant in intellectual circles.
It’s difficult to explain the views of Immanuel Kant without history to explain what the prevailing views were at the time. At this point in history, you could divide all philosophers into one of two categories: reality is something that one can know and reality is something that one cannot know. Immanuel Kant paved the way for the skeptics of today by forwarding the idea that we shouldn’t even care about knowing reality, it’s unimportant. The big ideas of Kant’s time were empiricism (David Hume) and rationalism (Rene Descartes).
Empiricism: You can only really know what you perceive. You see the sun rose in the east and set in the west today, so you know that is true for today. You cannot know that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west tomorrow. In short, there’s no way for you to inductively know things.
Rationalism: You can only gain knowledge through deductively deriving it in your head. There is no knowledge that can be gained from sensory experience.
Without going into too much detail, Kant takes some parts from rationalism and empiricism. His idea was related to form and matter. Matter being the things out there and form is putting it all together into conceptual pieces like chair or tree. Kant viewed that our senses were perceiving the real world and our rational faculties had innate filters that automatically put the pieces together into concepts. It’s this world that your head creates is what we understand and come to know. With the example of a chair, you see pieces of wood, a cushion, but since it is arranged like a chair our brain innately conceptualizes a chair. In his view in the real world, there is no chair, no time, no causality, no triangles - there is just matter and in your head, you have a chair, time, causality, and triangles.
A decent way of thinking about this phenomenon is that of an oil pipeline. Our sense data (the information from our senses) just flows through a pipeline into your head. It’s just a lot of various pieces of data: colors, shapes, sounds, taste, feelings, etc in vast quantities flowing into your head - just like a gushing pipeline of oil. Before this torrent of data becomes a conscious experience to you, your pre-conscious mind starts to organize this data into something orderly and that is the world you’re experiencing. There’s a lot more detail that could be said Kant’s ideas, such as the noumenal and phenomenal worlds, but that would take us off course with this article.
An important attribute to take away is that our mind doesn’t discover the laws of nature, it creates those laws. This is a distinct point I want you to remember as you continue reading.
The average person that thinks of Karl Marx’s ideas tends to focus on the political and economic ideas he’s presented. There were underlying ideas in epistemology that gave forth to the political and economic ideas. The one idea I want to focus on is something Mises referred to as polylogism. Not a very common term as I’ve only heard Mises use it, but none-the-less accurate. It simply means that knowledge isn’t some objective truth, but something a group holds for the benefit of that group. In Marx’s view, the bourgeois (those that hold the means of production) had their own knowledge. This knowledge is something that benefits the bourgeois and helps keep their power in society. The proletariat (the exploited working class) also had their own knowledge, that was for their benefit and their power in society. Bourgeois knowledge is of no use or benefit to a proletariat and vice versa.
There is a related thread here with Marx and Kant. As Kant was focused on a mind, Marx took it a step further to a collective body. This is a very simple step to take since one is just born with these innate structures in their mind that produce this reality they experience. If you notice that some people gravitate to owning the means of production and others find themselves working for these people - economic determinism - it’s easy to conclude that this is a result of the various worlds that people are creating. Neo-Marxists have expanded beyond economic classes to various racial, gender fluid, and other culturally malleable classes.
From Kantianism to Everything is Racist
The big question now is how do you get from something like 2+2 != 4 to 2+2=4 is racist? This transition happens when you take Kantian metaphysics & epistemology and add in egalitarianism. Egalitarianism simply means that the moral good is people being equal. In some form, this idea does exist in politics, such as equality under the law. There is a difference here for the disintegrators. They believe in equality of outcome.
There happens to be a metaphysical element of this form of egalitarianism. They expect that people should and would end up relatively equal by nature. The fact that people, and in this particular case - collections of people, are unequal is proof that there are injustices being committed. In the Marxist view of various battling groups for societal control, this inequality is a product of this battle and the other groups doing better. Success, in their view, is a zero-sum game and a group’s loss is caused by someone else’s win.
This is what leads us to some of the most incoherent statements that I had a hard time understanding why someone would utter. Math, as it is today, is a tool of white supremacy. That autopsies can uphold white supremacy. It also applies to this notion of systemic racism parroted around the police and courts. It’s not like there is something observable to identify here. The view is math is white. It’s not so much that it was created by a race, but that white people have benefited from it and that’s all this math is for. The same is true of autopsies.
It’s not about uncovering objective truth, it’s all about which group benefits and that’s all that matters.
“I reject that scientists currently pursue truth above all else.”
“I reject the pursuit of truth is more important than serving our society.”
“I reject that merit is how we should decide.”
It’s important to identify the nihilism of these statements. When you get down to the core of nihilism, they are people at war with truth. If you look at these statements, one thing to take away is their view that truth is some kind of weapon. A weapon that is antithetical to the people of society. As if truth and knowing it doesn’t benefit people.
Merit in this context is one of the sound epistemological approaches to figuring things out. For example, that experimentation with as many fixed variables as possible is appropriate, which is different than using your feelings to figure it out. In this case, who is to say feelings isn’t the best approach - the only reason merit has won out is due to the societal power of a dominant group.
Well, let’s put this all together. Objective truth is not to be pursued. Reality is something that is truly unknowable and fluid from person to person. All that is out there are groups of people and the things they use to reinforce the dominance of their group. This power is all there is and the only thing that is being talked about.
If you believe this and look out at the world, you see people acting, believing and, engaging in this world using knowledge about it. These things not being real, how do people end up believing this stuff? Power.
Concepts like anti-racism and slogans like white silence is violence exist purely because of this power. If just being your predetermined race is racism, then obviously not actively engaging in standing up to this power (being silent) is racism.
At this point, I’m not entirely sure how to end this article. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time going through the ideas presented and I think I’ve hit the main points. Concluding the article is not the easiest for me, so I thought I should end on a positive note.
Objective truth is not something we create. It is something discovered by perceiving the world outside of us and conceptualizing knowledge from it. It’s not subjective or fluid. These truths give us knowledge that enables us to act toward the values we seek. Once humanity embraced truth and our ability to know it, prosperity improved for humans. The last hundred years have brought on the greatest growth in the improvement of man ever. Rational thought, science, learning, and the shedding of mystic revelation resulted in human progress. It didn’t matter what race, gender, sexuality and beyond. Truth is real. Truth benefits. Truth matters.