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Doing Justice to the Classics

Study of ancient Greek and Latin promoted by Racists and Homophobes

Intellectual Takeout is a site that offers “to serve as a refuge for those who want to pursue truth, rediscover the wisdom and traditions of the past, discuss ideas calmly, and apply what’s been learned to their own lives.” A recent post advocates for an educational curriculum based on “those great works of the past which were produced by the classical culture” and suggests that learning Latin and Greek will both “make up for our mediocre educations” and will “be a key to the renewal of Western Civilization.” What’s not to like for those who value the study of Latin and Greek? A lot, in fact, when you look at some of the other material on the site.

Pharos has documented all kinds of hate groups appropriating Greco-Roman antiquity in support of their regressive politics: white supremacists, misogynists, xenophobes, anti-Semites. A site like Intellectual Takeout is not as explicit as a neo-Nazi trying to make the Sieg Heil palatable by calling it the “Roman Salute,” but it nevertheless reveals the insidious ways that many traditional arguments for promoting the study of Greco-Roman antiquity can be aligned with hateful political positions.

Intellectual Takeout features the following articles (written by their own staff and reproduced from other sites) alongside this one promoting the study of Latin and Greek (all links are to archived versions of the articles, so clicking will not generate traffic for their site):

Racist posts:

An article giving “5 causes of the Civil War (besides slavery),” an argument frequently made by those wishing to minimize the racist history of our nation.

An article claiming that structural racism does not exist and is just a political ploy to “keep the left in power.”

An article advocating the idea of America as a “melting pot,” a metaphor that has been used to justify the erasure of non-white cultural identities in the U.S.

Homophobic posts:

An article decrying the campaign asking Disney to “Give Elsa a Girlfriend” in the forthcoming sequel to Frozen. The article tells Disney to “forget about giving Elsa a girlfriend. Give her a prince charming – and give the kids a break.”

An article calling corporations that oppose anti-gay legislation “bullies” for “abandoning neutrality” and promoting companies with homophobic policies like Chik-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby.

An article arguing for a false equivalence of polygamy and gay marriage.

Misogynist posts:

An article entitled “Milennial men want stay at home wives, but that doesn’t make them cave men” that argues that “men who seek stay-at-home wives” are “true progressives because they recognize past mistakes and are seeking to rectify them instead of charging forward in the name of gender equality.”

An article quoting with approval a book published in 1948 arguing that “Women have been misled by the philosophy of activism into forgetting that for them, as custodians of the values, it is better to ‘be’ than to ‘do.’”

There’s also a defense of Milo Yiannapoulos, who waged a racist and misogynist campaign against comedian Leslie Jones.

Like many other hate sites Pharos has documented, Intellectual Takeout assumes that “western civilization” is in decline. For example, another article promoting the study of classical antiquity claims that “Most people today feel that the West is in decline.” This attitude, as Pharos has argued in connection with the alt-right’s appropriation of Sparta and admiration for “Roman masculinity,” should be understood as regressive and self-serving nostalgia for the inequalities of the past.

Intellectual Takeout does not have advertisements but we have linked to archived versions of their pages to avoid generating traffic for their site. The unarchived version of the article being documented is here.

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