One of the most iconic scenes in George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “1984”, is the battle between protagonist Winston Smith and his torturer (name withheld to avoid spoilers) as the torturer repeatedly holds up four fingers and demands that Winston agree to the state dictate that “two plus two equals five.”
It’s a few years after 1984, but it seems as if at least one Social Justice Warrior has reached into the Orwellian playbook – for real.
As revealed in a July 5 Tweet that, soon thereafter, she hid from public eye but which others captured and republished, self-avowed teacher and Rutgers PhD student Brittany Marshall corrected some wayward “normies” who were under the mistaken impression that two things added to two other things equaled four things. She wrote:
Nope the idea of 2 + 2 equaling 4 is cultural and because of western imperialism/colonization, we think of it as the only way of knowing.
Which is a bit of a non-sequitur because “knowing” is a determination that can be achieved by utilizing paths of induction and logic and/or deduction, empirical observation and further inductive reasoning. “Two plus two equals four” is not a “way” of knowing; it’s something to be known.
Regardless, Ms. Marshall’s comment appears meant to put all us barnyard animals in our intellectual pens through that underhanded postmodernist technique of semiotics, in which the “wise critic” takes something normative and decries the user for being racist or sexist, or some other dastardly thing, as a means of minimizing the opponent and gaining the political high-ground.
People like this are a reason why there’s a need for written instructions on shampoo bottles.— Garbage Human (@GarbyJooman2020) July 7, 2020
Also, she’s a teacher. pic.twitter.com/yDbi3mU9PH
Hence, a few years ago, we saw a D.C. administrator lose his job after he employed the word “niggardly”, which a number of political opponents said was a racist slur, even though the word means “stingy”, can be found in the writing of Chaucer and dates back to, at least, the 14th Century, when it likely stemmed from Scandinavian and Norse “nig” and “hnoggr”, meaning “miserly.”
As with the D.C. case, Ms. Marshall seems to have fallen into the “I’m above you” mentality, which adopts the mantel of intellectual superiority and omniscience. By eschewing the normative and promoting the “deeper historicism” of an historical re-write, she can place the opponent in a position of weakness, both intellectual and ethical – and move towards winning the political power battle.
Just like Winston Smith’s torturer. The claim of “two plus two equals five” might not be true, but there’s a “deeper truth” that Winston "just cannot see," a truth that exposes numerals, sums, and simple math as rooted in evil, something that bald-facedly stares the West in its anthropomorphic and collectivized WHITE face.
In fact, the "sensitive" Marshall could be referring to the oft-claimed accusation that accounting through addition and subtraction is a vestige of Western “Imperialism” and its “slave trade”.
But, despite this canard being promulgated in numerous books and at many leftwing universities, anyone with a spare, oh, ten seconds, can either look up or logically deduce that accounting, math, and numerals existed long before “Western Imperialism” or the slave trade – a trade which, of course, also existed as far back as ancient Babylon, and, later, saw many white Europeans enslaved by African Muslims, and most of the slaves sent to the US being captured by… black Africans.
There is some dispute as to which ancient tribes invented numerals, but the concept of addition likely preexisted all named ancient civilizations. As WhoInventedIt notes:
Numbers or symbols used for counting have existed since man learned to count. Archeologists and historians estimate that numbers were first used around 32,000 years ago. They base this theory on archeological findings such as bones and rocks with marks on them. These may have been counting or tally signs used to keep track of time or quantities of objects, such as food or livestock.
So, unless “Western Imperialists” have invented a time machine to plant “counting” into the heads of ancient people circa 30,000 B.C., it’s unlikely that Ms. Marshall’s claim is correct.
Then there’s the whole “base ten” thing – obviously conjured-up by radical “Western Imperialists” when tallying their slave-trade loot.
A couple of ancient civilizations invented number systems with place values. The oldest was the Mayan system with 60 at its base, around 3400 BC. The Egyptians invented a 10 base system in 3100 BC. The modern place value system also has 10 as its compression figure. It came from India by way of the Arabs.
Darn those “Western-Eastern-North-African” Imperialists! How dare they tear down the edifice of Ms. Marshall’s claim?! That, itself, is an historical microaggression predicated by the male-centric ancients and adopted by modern man to keep women like Ms. Marshall under their thumbs.
Of course, facetiousness aside, it wouldn’t matter if “Western Imperialism” was the source of the truism that “two plus two equals four”. All that matters is whether, upon repeated tests, it holds as valid.
Shoot, to win a debate, one need not play at being “intellectually superior” or try to undercut a basic axiom in some abstruse attempt to gain the upper hand.
All one need be is truthful.
But that is something that the atheistic, collectivist, angry left abandoned a long time ago.