A long read but an excellent piece of writing by Brendan O’Neill. If you don’t have time, I’ve tried to pull together the essence of it in my cut and past —-
“..Lived experience’ is the great incontestable.
No doubt may be expressed about a person’s lived experience. It is the truth and nothing but the truth.
We’ve witnessed this over the past few days as people have been demonised, hounded and in some cases even sacked for having had the temerity to question Meghan Markle’s ‘lived experience’ of royal racism and mental-health problems.
The UK police actually discourage the pursuit of evidence that a crime was driven by identarian hatred. Their Hate Crime Operational Guidance stresses that PERCEPTION ought to be the deciding factor.
‘Evidence of… hostility is not required for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate crime or hate incident’, it says.
‘The PERCEPTION of the victim, or any other person, is the defining factor… the victim does not have to justify or provide evidence of their belief, and police officers or staff should not directly challenge this perception.’
You must not challenge their perception… This could be the rallying cry of the ideology of lived experience. Perception rules. Feeling is king. Objectivity be damned. This is a central function of the cult of lived experience — to shift public discussion from the terrain of truth and objectivity and into the realm of subjective interpretation.
Worse, a realm of subjective interpretation underpinned by a pre-existing ideology that says racism is rife, ‘phobias’ are widespread, and the masses must have their emotions, beliefs and interactions managed by a new elite. The subjective sensation of a few is sacralised to the end of more closely controlling the behaviour and beliefs of the many.
This leads to another key role of the ideology of ‘lived experience’ — to establish the authority of a new elite who desire nothing less than a monopoly over how society is understood.
Through the denigration of people’s genuine experiences as unimportant or ‘false’, and the supplanting of objective public discussion with a new feudalism of subjective sensation, the new elites can position themselves as the only people truly capable of understanding reality and who thus must be charged with patrolling the borders of identity and the relations between groups and individuals.
What they seek, in the words of James B Meigs writing in Commentary magazine, is ‘rhetorical supremacy’. The elite-selected groups that get to ‘claim the status of victim, or that of protector of victim’, have ‘bulletproof moral authority’ conferred upon them, says Meigs.
This authority allows them, he says, to ‘invalidate any opposing argument, and banish the arguer from the realms of legitimate discourse’, without ‘having to deploy a single fact’.
It goes deeper than that. From this position of authority, dubiously earned via the ideology of lived experience, the new elites can divide and rule (deciding which identity groups are oppressed, or good, and which are privileged, or bad); police public discussion (via cancel culture); educate a new generation to embrace the hierarchy of identity and the need for thought control in the name of social peace (via the education system and in universities); and even define reality itself.
Apparently, our reality — our experiences, our understanding of the world we live in, our truths — does not matter. It has been falsely planted; it is based on lies or ignorance. They, on the other hand, can see reality as it truly exists.
They have a borderline religious insight into the ‘real truth’ of society — beyond all those apparently questionable surveys, studies and experiences that the rest of us cling to — which we lack. This positions them above us, in a neo-priestly fashion, with their gospel of lived experience striking down objective truth and mere ‘experience’.
This is what makes it so grimly ironic that these elites constantly use the word ‘gaslighting’ against their critics. If anyone is gaslighting, if anyone is trying to convince others to discount the reality before their eyes in favour of bending the knee to an entirely invented ‘reality’, it is them.
Such is the new elites’ moral arrogance that they now seek to assume moral and social control over how reality and experience themselves are understood. This is the dire accomplishment of the ideology of lived experience…”