The Church of Intersectionality Offers Nothing for Sinful Man

Aug 3, 2017 by

by Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine:

During the last year of my employment at Nameless College, whose sharp turn away from its Catholic identity and its commitment to the humanities came as a shock to my foolish optimism, I learned of what Elizabeth Corey has shrewdly called “The First Church of Intersectionality.”

You must understand, my sane and ordinary readers, that college professors who want to break into the charmed circle of enlightenment are often followers of names rather than realities: homo academicus nominabundus. The name establishes an ideological category, and then people use the name as you might say “radish” or “heron,” and fool themselves into thinking that the name denotes something real. That relieves them of the more difficult and humbling task, to look at human reality and wrestle with its glory and shame, its fitful wisdom and persistent folly, its deep loyalties and disheartening betrayals.

The idea in this case is pretty simplistic. In any society, including that of liberal college professors, you will have groups of people marked as subordinate or lesser in some respect. I’ll add what the ideologues will not, which is that such people sometimes, but not always, suffer because of a real insufficiency or immorality. A nearsighted warrior among the Sioux, an effeminate man in ancient Greece, an untouchable in India, a convicted felon in Victorian England about to be transported to Australia, women in Saudi Arabia, Samaritans in the time of Jesus, a conservative in academe in the United States, a pro-life physician—you get the picture. Sometimes the opprobrium is just, sometimes not. Sometimes it is a matter of social irritation. Sometimes it involves cruel oppression. I am not excusing it. I am stating a fact.

Now, the founding claim of “intersectionality” is that members of various groups in the United States—women, blacks, Mexicans, gays, people in wheelchairs—are all victims of the same oppressive system or structure, which system or structure works like Adam Smith’s invisible hand, like a ghost in the machine, to deliver power to white men born in America who have the full use of their limbs and who are attracted to women after the ordinary fashion of nature.

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