Monday, March 30, 2009
Deconstructing the Hebrew University
Deconstructing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
by Steven Plaut
24 June 2003
This past week the Hebrew University of Jerusalem decided to grant an
honorary PhD to Jacques Derrida, the godfather of the pseudo-philosophy of
"Deconstruction" or .Deconstructionism..
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem decided to make itself into an even
bigger laughingstock than it already has been thanks to its legions of Far
Leftist and Anti-Zionist professors. This past week it decided to grant
an honorary PhD to Jacques Derrida, the godfather of the pseudo-philosophy
Deconstruction is a shallow form of Non-Thinking that has gained
popularity among some of the more simpleminded disciplines of the academic
world. Essentially the same as .post-modernism. (how is that for a true
nonsense word, something no woodchuck could chuck?), Deconstruction
argues that there do not exist any such things as facts, truth, logic,
rationality, nor science. Nothing in the world exists beyond subjective
.narratives,. each as legitimate as the next. Language is the ultimate
form of tyranny and source of control of us oppressed folks by those evil
elites. There are no false narratives, just different subjectivities.
And the only thing we can be truly certain about in this meaningless world
is that the United States and Israel must be destroyed.
Deconstruction was defined nicely by Robert Locke: .It is also known
as poststructuralism, but don.t ask what structuralism was, as it was no
better. It is based on the proposition that the apparently real world is
in fact a vast social construct and that the way to knowledge lies in
taking apart in one.s mind this thing society has built. Taken to its
logical conclusion, it supposes that there is at the end of the day no
actual reality, just a series of appearances stitched together by social
constructs into what we all agree to call reality. But not agree
voluntarily, for society has (this is the leftist bit) an oppressive
structure, so we are pressured to agree to that version of reality which
pleases the people in charge.. Left-wing pseudo-intellectuals love
substituting polysyllable-invention for thinking and analysis.
Among the .founders. of the .School. of Deconstructionism was Yale
professor Paul de Man, a close friend of Jacques Derrida's, who had
published pro-Nazi collaborationist and anti-Semitic articles in two
Belgian newspapers in the early Forties. The other Deconstructionists
have always tried to deconstruct the Nazism of de Man so that it would not
look too bad.
Deconstruction has long been linked with Marxism, a rather strange
combination - given the insistence by deconstructionists that they should
never claim to .know. anything. Marxists claim to know everything, based
on ridiculous .theories. by Marx disproved 150 years ago, making the
Marxist-Deconstructionist axis rather queer. It also sometimes calls
itself post-colonialism, apparently because some of its Frenchie inventors
came from Algeria, although I have never understood how it can be certain
that anything or anyone was ever colonized or colonizer.
For deconstructionists, proof and disproof are unimportant. They accept
as axiomatic the claim that social power structures control everything in
the world, I guess including all .narratives,. and that literature and art
are nothing more than reflections of or protests against such power and
oppression. Never mind that the Decon conmen have no way of measuring nor
assessing power, control, class, nor privilege; they are SURE that these
things are out there and control the world like the Council on Foreign
Relations in a Barry Chamish conspiracy .theory..
Robert Locke has said that Deconstruction is the opiate of an obsolete
intellectual class. It is little more than sophistry and absolute moral
relativism. Deconstructionists insist that even words themselves have no
meaning. Hence we all live in a meaningless universal in which we are
all no better than noisy mutts, making silly barking sounds, which of
course is already obvious to any of you out there who have listened in to
comparative literature courses from lefty profs. As one critic pointed
out, all of Deconstructionism is founded on the paradox of using language
to claim that language cannot make unambiguous claims (John Searle, "The
World Turned Upside Down," The New York Review, October 27, 1983).
Deconstructionists oppose being .judgmental. about anything except the
absolute evil of capitalism and America, which is why it is popular these
days mainly among American tenured leftists (the French berets have by and
large moved on to other amusements). They believe in an absolute
justice, although cannot tell you what and where it is, nor how to achieve
it. They think it is something we all simply need to sit back and await,
like a Messiah on a deconstructed donkey, although we can hurry it along
by joining the Far Left. Deconstruction attracts a certain sort of
adolescent mind (regardless of the age of the accompanying body) because
of its cynicism and dismissal of rational thought and science. In Locke.s
wonderful words, .It raises to the level of a philosophical system the
intuition that everything grownups do is a fraud. It is the metaphysics of
Holden Caulfield. It enables the practitioner to tell himself that he is
among the privileged group of insiders who know that the Wizard of Oz is
behind the curtain..
Among the forms of knowledge dismissed by them, especially in the case of
the Deconstructionist .philosopher. Michel Foucault, is medicine, because
medical science is merely an elite knowledge system that confers power on
doctors. I have long believed that one of the funniest things in life
must be a Deconstructionist professor of comparative literature in need of
an emergency root canal, being treated by a deconstructionist dentist.
(.Your pain is not real, it is subjective, let me narrate about it to you,
there is no pain in reality, Novocain will interfere with your
Jacques Derrida is one of the fathers of this .school. of
Deconstruction. (Do not confuse it with Reconstructionism, which
differs from Deconstructionism mainly in the fact that it is spelled with
an .R..) He is best known for his attack on .logocentrism;. that is, on
the cruel oppression by rational thinking. What a poster boy for the
Hebrew University! He even dismisses Stalin as a logocentrist, which
explains the Gulags and Red Terror that ruined what otherwise would be the
great blessings of Marxism. We should all seek salvation through
resistance to logic.
As Deconstruction has become regarded more and more as a laughingstock
even among French leftwing intellectuals, it has gained popularity in some
of the darker corners of American and Israeli campuses. Israeli leftists
and media columnists (pretty much the same people) like to toss around the
Newspeak of Deconstructionism, and long ago decided that the whole war is
because those insensitive Jews refuse to accept the Palestinian .Other..
Palestinians blowing up dozens of young .Others. on buses do not seem to
bother them much.
The weaker the level of intellectual analysis and formal standards of
scientific evidence and proof, the more popular Deconstruction is.
This is why professors of comparative literature have trouble controlling
their sexual excitement stimulated by it, professors of education adore
it, sociologists sometimes applaud it, and members of all real scientific
fields tend to place Deconstruction in the same category as the Ra-El
To Derrida.s credit, he never bought in to the Stalinism so popular among
most French .intellectuals.. And Derrida is only one of the better-known
clowns in the three-ring Deconstructionist Big Top. Michel Foucault is
perhaps even better known than Derrida. He was a great celebrator of
psychedelic drug use, sado-masochistic anonymous gay sex, cruelty and
violence as expressions of liberation and deepness. He , however, could
not be honored this week by the Hebrew University - because he died from
AIDS in 1984. There have been allegations that after discovering that he
had picked up AIDS, he intentionally continued .cruising. the San
Francisco gay scene to infect as many gay men as possible with the virus.
In the autumn of 1983, after Foucault's health had collapsed and less than
a year before his death, he continued to frequent gay bathhouses and bars.
He is best remembered for his motto: .Sex is worth dying for.. According
to Mark Lilla (The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics), Foucault
laughed at the idea of 'safe sex' and apparently said, 'To die for the
love of boys: what could be more beautiful?'
Derrida is only the latest example of Israeli universities honoring
fatuous trendy leftist know-nothing Eurotwit pseudo-thinkers. A few
years back Tel Aviv University gave a similar honorary doctorate to German
.philosopher. Jurgen Habermas. Habermas' theory is watered down
Peres-ism, where there are no actual conflicts of interests on earth,
where all conflicts in the world are the result of poor communications,
and where all conflict may be resolved through .communicative actions.
(psychobabble for talking it out). I would like to see Herr Habermas get
himself out of a mugging situation in gang turf in some of my old
Philadelphian stomping grounds using communicative action. But Habermas
had at least been a vocal critic of German skinheads and neonazis,
creating some sort of figleaf for Tel Aviv University honoring him.
Derrida has no such track record. He has not even renounced de Man.
While technically born Jewish, Derrida has a long record of endorsing the
Left.s sets of liberation solutions to the .problem. of Israel.s
existence. Far-Left Haaretz defines him as a Zaddik, which pretty much
tells you everything you need to know about his position on Israel.
Hebrew University was once the leading academic institution in Israel.
It has long since been surpassed in most fields by Tel Aviv University,
the Weitzmann Institute, and other institutions. Its campus is
increasingly dominated by Tenured Radicals and leftist extremists among
the faculty. So - on second thought, and I mean this in the most
anti-logocentric sense of the word - perhaps the honoring of Derrida by
the Hebrew University makes a great deal of sense after all, or at least
it is a telling .narrative...
Steven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa.