Ponder this bit, from an article about how identity politics has infiltrated archaeology:

[T]he archaeologist Bruce Bourque recently published a lengthy essay on Quillette about his attempts to decipher the genetic identity of an ancient maritime New England tribe (called by archaeologists the “Red Paint People”) that lived in the region about four thousand years ago. Present-day Penobscot Indians succeeded in getting the Robert S. Peabody Museum at Phillips Academy Andover to relinquish the skeletal remains of the Red Paint People in their possession. The Penobscot Indians do not have any traceable connection to the Red Paint People; on the testimony of dna evidence, the two groups are entirely unrelated. It is bad enough that the museum capitulated, but a greater source of disappointment for Bourque is the bizarre willingness of fellow archaeologists to buy into the ideology of “whatever they say goes.” He cites the Brown University anthropologist Robert Preucel, who in 2019 presided over a panel that declared archaeologists should pursue a “commonly agreed set of best practices” with “descendant communities.” This commitment apparently holds even when conclusions based on genetics “challenge, or conflict with, community knowledge about the past. Folklore and myths must be taken into account, and we must discourage the idea of science ‘controlling the narrative.’ ”

In short, some four thousand year old bones were found in New England. The Native American tribe that most recently populated that region of the continent prior to the European arrivals asserted an ancestral claim to those bones, despite scientific evidence that refutes any connection or commonality, and the scientific community said ‘we have to elevate their assertion above the science.’

The entirety of human history has been that of migration. Whether it be war, weather, population pressure, resource depletion, or simple wanderlust, humans have moved around ever since they came to exist, and certainly before farming supplanted hunting-gathering as the primary source of sustenance. An assertion that the Penobscot occupied that area for three thousand years, to the exclusion of all others, runs contrary to everything we know about the human species. And, we know that the Americas were populated by migrations across the Siberian land bridge, that the Penobscot were semi-nomadic, that their history included conflict with other tribes (Iroquois and Mohawk, to name two), and that their population was perhaps 10,000 prior to European arrival. None of this supports a 3500 years-long occupancy of a particular bit of geography, and the DNA non-match affirms this conclusion. Yet, because indigenous tribes have been deemed a protected class (and a single one at that – all those with pre-Columbian ancestry in North America, no matter centuries or millennia of conflict, are considered as one for the purposes of our social arbiters), an assertion wholly unsupported by the evidence is deemed valid.

This one example affirms the state of “science” today.

All around us, political and cultural ends influence, and often override, scientific knowledge. “Science” is a heckle that the cabal of political leaders and cultural arbiters that shape policies, and more importantly the Orwell-sheep that repeat what they’re told, use to bully anyone who questions those policies. Joe Biden’s pledge to “follow the science” is an even bigger lie than Nixon’s “I am not a crook,” Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” or Obama’s “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.”

In other words, “Science!” as it is used by leftists and progressives is nothing more than a heckle, a bludgeon with which to stifle discourse, disagreement, and dissent. “I follow the science” is a clear putdown that directly implies anyone who disagrees with me doesn’t, and therefore does not deserve to be listened to or even heard.

Were the “science” being leveraged for dialectical supremacy a slam-dunk (e.g. gravity, evolution; the rough sphericity of the earth, the age of the universe), it’s fair and reasonable to grant little heed to those who advance a contrarian, counterfactual view.

That’s not what’s happening here. Instead, we have a modern version of Lysenkoism, where “science” is subordinate to political ideology. Thus, the Penobscot Indians get to make a claim that overrides what the actual science tells us, because identity politics requires deference to groups that have been granted protected status based on an “oppressed vs oppressor” criterion by a small cadre of (self-appointed, elite, rich, white, but let’s not let that bother us…) arbiters.

Most people have an innate sense of things, a “gut-check” as to legitimacy of an idea or assertion. Sometimes, those gut-checks are wrong, and in many of those cases, that wrongness is born of simple ignorance and easily remedied with new information. But, oftentimes, those gut-checks are correct, not necessarily to the last bit of detail, but generally.

Today, oftentimes, gut-checks that reject a new narrative are reflexively dismissed as the product of racism or other bigotry, and dissociated from individual experience by the “systemic” modifier. This is, as with the “Science!” bleat, a means of rejecting discourse, disagreement, and dissent. If you don’t accept the Penobscot claim as legitimate despite the DNA telling us otherwise, it’s because you’re the product of a society that’s inherently biased against the various identity groups that have been granted protected status.

Which is a fancy way of calling you a racist.

Which is nothing more than a heckler’s veto.

When you recognize this for what it is, you have an easier time rejecting the heckler outright, rather than falling into the defensive or submissive posture that the heckler aims to coerce. In rejecting the hecklers, we disempower them, and in disempowering them, stand against their ideological excesses.

Columnist Peggy Noonan recently wrote:

A philosophy bubbles up from lived experience and emerges in time; an ideology is forced down into people’s heads from above, and its demands are always urgent.

There is no reasoning with ideologues, there is no debating them into the abandonment of their demanding ways, no matter the “science.” Understanding this unfortunate truth is the key to dealing with them. And deal with them we must, because they have no intention of leaving us alone.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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