New Discourses means two things—a kind of play on the word “discourses.” These two things relate to one another. On the one hand, discourses are how we talk about things, the dialogues we’re having, and even the dialogues we’re not having or not able to have honestly. On the other, discourses is a technical term within the academic literature that means, roughly, ways things can be spoken about legitimately within a particular context. For example, the ways lawyers speak about law and the practice of law can be referred to as legal discourses. The discourses, in this formal sense, can shape, define, or limit the discourses, in the sense of dialogue, that we are having and are able to have. Thus, the name of New Discourses fits.
The goal of New Discourses is to provide means and opportunities to have new discourses, in both senses of the word. Our social, political, and cultural conversations have, in many ways, become stagnant, even while they flourish in whole new ways thanks to the internet, media, and social media. Conservatives are expected to say conservative things; progressives are expected to say progressive things; and people are struggling to communicate effectively with one another. We need some new discourses.
A big part of this problem comes from the culture war, including the aspect of it that is sometimes called “politically correct.” This is one discourses-defining tool and mindset that bears a lot of relevance on our existing conversations and capacity to have them. Other variations exist too and apply in other social and political movements, and all such things are impediments to having productive, free, and open dialogue because they all seek to limit what is and is not legitimate to say—and how to say it—for everyone. One of the goals of New Discourses is to break this problem open and enable some new discourses, in the other sense of the term.
Here at New Discourses, we are, as you’ll find, particularly concerned with the current attempt by the movement sometimes called Critical Social Justice to control the discourses of our society, in both senses of the term. Unsurprisingly, this movement does this largely through using heavy-handed, even bullying tactics, many of which only make sense in the Age of the Internet. Many don’t realize, however, that it also does this through having changed the meanings of many words themselves, so that they speak almost an alternate version of whatever language they are speaking. If you change the meanings of words, as it happens, you can change the discourses that arise from those words.
We’re very concerned about this and the effect it is having in our society. Thus, in the spirit of free inquiry, free speech, and free association—without guilt—New Discourses hopes among its missions to elucidate the ways by which the Critical Social Justice movement is attempting to and succeeding at defining and controlling our discourses on their terms. Thus, much of what New Discourses aims to do is to offer education and educational resources about these new terms.
We hope our efforts allow people to understand the ways their language has a specific usage under Critical Social Justice. To accomplish this, we aim to expose the ways these terms have been defined and redefined and then to explain what they mean and how they’re being put to use. We also hope to articulate alternative ways to think of and talk about these issues and provide people with the tools they need to have these important conversations in completely new ways. We believe it is necessary to do this if we want to be able to get to a place where we can truly have new discourses.