This 'Latest Academic Craze' Is Threat to US Democracy

Andrew Sullivan argues against intersectionality
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2017 2:26 PM CDT
Intersectionality Is America's Newest Fundamentalist Religion
Middlebury College students turn their backs to Charles Murray, who they call a white nationalist, during his lecture in Middlebury, Vt., Thursday, March 2, 2017.   (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

There's a new religion popping up around American universities, and if it takes root "our experiment in self-government is over," Andrew Sullivan writes for New York. The name of the "latest academic craze" is intersectionality. Sullivan describes it as the idea that social oppression isn't just against a race or sexual orientation or gender but against all of them at once in an "interlocking system of hierarchy and power." But, he argues, as put into practice by protesters at universities around the country, intersectionality is more like a fundamentalist religion. There's original sin—belonging to a group that has power—and a way to atone for that sin—recognizing that privilege and working to counteract it.

But also like fundamentalist religions, specifically old-time Puritanism, intersectionality "controls language," "enforces manners," and is "obsessed with upholding" its idea of virtue, Sullivan writes. Intersectionality has no use for debating facts with people who have differing viewpoints—mainly that ideas can exist outside of the notion of white supremacy—because those people are seen as "immoral" heretics who must be banished. In fact, intersectionality has no use for facts, in general, when they don't uphold its ideology. Sullivan argues that this is why protesters shouting down campus speakers they don't agree with seem to be performing a ritualistic exorcism. He concludes that this raising of ideology above facts is dangerous to democracy no matter your politics. Read the full piece here. (More Andrew Sullivan stories.)

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