Yascha Mounk and Eboo Patel on pluralism

An interesting Persuasion interview (text and audio). I expect to disagree with Patel in many respects, but I found his comments thoughtful and well expressed. One excerpt from the beginning:

What happened is an interesting critique that turned into a paradigm that then turned into a regime. Anti-racism is an interesting criticism. Here’s what you’re not talking about: you’re not talking about structural racism; you are not talking about oppressed peoples; you’re not talking about oppressors, etc. So I think that’s an interesting criticism.

But when it becomes a paradigm, it tries to explain all the facts of the world. And now you’re in trouble, because there are a lot of things that anti-racism doesn’t explain. It doesn’t explain why 57% of people in higher education are women and only 43% are men, right? That’s not meaningfully explained by any of the classical left-wing views on patriarchy, structural racism, and so on. It doesn’t explain the opioid epidemic in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, rural Ohio, and so on.

Once you lock yourself into an explanatory framework or a paradigm, you are now in the position of distorting the facts of the world to fit your worldview, which I believe is the cardinal sin of an intellectual. .

But what has actually happened is that in some places it has become even worse than a paradigm; it became a regime. Now it suddenly has coercive power and the ability to punish: We are going to require you to write a DEI statement that aligns with our perspective so that you can be considered a faculty member at this university. We’re going to advertise our bias response team and we’re going to encourage you to report what we consider bias so that we can start some sort of investigation.

Personally, while I don’t agree with them, I think oppressor-oppressed frameworks are interesting to bring to the table. It’s a useful perspective. It should not be a paradigm and it absolutely should not be a regime – that is what has happened in the last decade.

And another one:

I want to tell you all the ways I am inspired by Islam. It is not Islamophobia that makes me a Muslim. It is Islam that makes me a Muslim. I don’t want to tell a victim story. That’s humiliating. I want to tell an inspiring story.

The whole thing is very much worth reading, I think.