Thursday, June 10, 2021

Dismissal Strategies in Political Thought

Many political philosophies have what we might call "dismissal strategies". A dismissal strategy, as I define it here, is a set of propositions which are meant to allow the person who holds that ideology to ignore criticisms of their view and to conclude that the critics are not worth engaging with.
For instance:
Marxists : I can ignore criticisms of my views because obviously the critics are corrupted by bourgeois ideology.
Rawlsians: I can ignore criticisms of my views because obviously the critics are "unreasonable".
Critical theorists: I can ignore criticism of my views because obviously my critics are racist oppressors who have internalized oppression.
In my experience, philosophical Marxists are less likely to indulge in dismissal strategies than Rawlsians or Critical Theorists. Ironically, public reason theorists are especially likely to employ such strategies, which flies against the very foundations of their view. But that's probably because PRL is a degenerate research program.

What might a libertarian dismissal strategy be? The best candidate is probably this: "Oh, we know that nearly all academics are either directly employed by the state or indirectly depend on state funding for their own incomes. At elite colleges with elite students, the professors also get their money by educating future government leaders. So, of course, statist and authoritarian academics are merely lapdogs to their masters. And one doesn't need to reason with or argue with lapdogs."