Professor Troll, again

It seems that Paul Lillrank intends to use his stay in India for contributions to the discussion in Hbl: after his IDAG column on 5.02.16 which I was already commenting on under the headline ”Professor Troll”, he was already publishing a rather long letter to the editor about the same topic as before on Ons 10.02.16.

His headline was ”Oset från brännmärken är nutidens stöveltramp”. This is of course as such a not unreasonable idea. Although it is somewhat ironical that he comes up with this formulation just after having tried his worst to brännmärka the red-green political direction as belonging to the same category as fascism. And then there is his somewhat surprising excitement about the phenomenon of brännmärkning, as if the phenomenon had not been with us since a long time, regularly, and both in the political and the usual social sphere. Just think of the label ”conspiracy theory”, which is in politics, in the media, and also in private discussions a label which prevents any further discussion – as if there had never ever been any conspiracies in the world …

Well, in his piece he seems to honestly try and go deeper into the problem of racism. After some rather simple and bold formulations, such as ”Dagens brännmärke är rasism” (are there no others, such as, e.g., ”fascism”?), ”Alla som läst sin Orwell borde veta att samhällets nedgång börjar med att språket korrumperas” (well, was there ever some golden age when language did NOT change?), and ”Rasism är en form av mänsklig ondska” (which indicates rather undifferentiated ideas about ”mänsklig ondska” – psychologically it IS a bit more complicated), he does go into more detail: ”Rasism är en uppfattning med följande logik: (a) Mänskligheten kan indelas i vad som kallas raser på grund av medfödda och synliga tecken, typ hudfärg eller skallform, (b) dessa raser kan rangordnas enligt olika kriterier, som genomsnittlig intelligens, duktighet, eller moral och (c) de högre raserna har rätt att härska över de lägre, och den högsta över dem alla. Punkterna (a) och (b) är empiriska spörsmål. Att studera mänskliga fenomen med hjälp av data är i sig ännu inte likvärdigt med rasism. …”. In a way not unreasonable, but there is of course the problem of simply not being aware of the psychological mechanism of imprinting, by which people rather automatically pick up at a very young age their culture (which in turn is a product of environment, social conditions, history and similar), so that it is simply an error to assume that the criteria by which one may be tempted to ”rangordna” people (which, e.g., every employer is doing routinely to applicants for a job) have anything to do with ”hudfärg eller skallform”. And the step to usual racism is then indicated by the syllable ”-ism”. An ”ism” denotes sometimes a philosophy (which is an attempt at ORIENTATION over some problem), but more often an ideology (which can be defined as a cohesive system of JUSTIFICATIONS for whatever appealing thought might come to mind, also for whatever seems ”necessary” to overcome resistance against some ”higher good”). And after trying to put the Marxist class analysis into the same category as usual racism (as if the different roles of employers and employees would not ACTUALLY provide material for conflicts which are NOT based on ignorance), he continues his piece with quite a list of actually rather reasonable suggestions and demands. The term ”Professor Troll” is in this sense less justified than about his previous piece – I just used the term to make clear that this my present piece is a continuation of the discussion about Lillrank’s ideas concerning racism.

Finally, I do think that there should be some reasonable answers to Lillrank’s pieces in the pages of Hbl. After all, there have up to now been only assurances that nobody has really given up being horrified about rape (should one assume that otherwise people were rather happy with Lillrank’s brännmärkning of red-green ones?). Unluckily I am not able to write those reasonable answers in publishable Swedish, but I do hope that somebody else could do it, and I also hope that I have here contributed some useful ideas for the enterprise.

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