How can an academic subject as ostensibly abstract and non-ideological as maths become needlessly politicised? Quite easily, these days.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) is an independent body which advises British universities on course content and assesses their value according to its own self-defined criteria. If your university does not teach according to the arbitrarily-designed checklist of how the QAA *says* it should be teaching, then it will be marked down as delivering a poor education to students, whether it truly is or not.

Accordingly, some mathematicians were alarmed by a draft document entitled “Subject Benchmark Statement on Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research (MSOR)” which the QAA released in September 2022. The document had ballooned in size since its previous 2019 iteration, from 23 pages to 34. Yet most of the additional content concerned not maths-related issues at all, but Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) considerations, many centring upon the highly contested sub-field of Critical Race Theory (CRT). What had happened in the interim? In May 2020, George Floyd had died, suddenly changing absolutely *everything*–including, it would appear, the very structure of mathematics itself.

**Strange Figures**

Thinking that this just didn’t add up, some sceptical academics penned a pair of open letters to the QAA in November 2022 and May 2023. The latter replied to a final draft of the QAA scheme which appeared in March, objecting to its Orwellian instruction that “Values of EDI should permeate the [maths] curriculum and every aspect of the learning experience.” According to the dissenters: “We believe the only thing that should permeate the mathematics curriculum is mathematics … Students should be able to study mathematics without also being required to pay for their own indoctrination [via tuition-fees].”

One key signatory was Dr. John Armstrong, Reader in Financial Mathematics at King’s College, London. He noted that QAA guidance now implied that mathematics itself was an inherently white colonialist pursuit, a form of alien rationality cruelly imposed from above upon hapless non-white subject-peoples against their express numerical will.

However, “Colonialism is irrelevant to the validity of mathematics,” Armstrong argued, complaining that, “strange as it may seem,” those QAA leftists who disagree “don’t believe rational knowledge is superior to other kinds of knowledge. In this worldview it is not insulting to suggest non-Europeans prefer ‘other ways of knowing’ to rationality and science.”

And here we have the crux of the matter. The attempt to deconstruct and delegitimize maths as yet another deviously encoded form of white Western colonial supremacism is just another way of attempting to deconstruct and delegitimize the entirety of Western society itself–even down to the previously wholly innocuous and fundamental-seeming proposition that 2+2=4.

In 2020, U.S. academic Laurie Rubel, then delivering a course for trainee teachers in Math Education at Brooklyn College, New York, became briefly notorious after launching a campaign on Twitter, #takebackmath, which aimed to reclaim the entire field from its alleged capture by white heterosexual males. According to Rubel, “the idea that math (or data) is neutral or in any way objective is a MYTH.”

Correctly anticipating the likely “‘of course math is neutral because 2+2=4’ trope” plus “the related (and creepy) ‘math is pure’ and ‘protect math’” objections to her line of thought, Rubel opined that any such line of argument “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.” As far as it is possible to follow Rubel’s thinking, the idea that math should be kept “pure” was “creepy” because it echoed the desire to keep the white race pure too.

Instead of teaching children how to add up properly, “I’d rather think on nurturing people & protecting the planet (with math in service of them goals),” Rubel signed off her campaign, accompanied by emetic emojis of Planet Earth and a string of little coloured love-hearts.

**Geometrical Imprecision**

How did we ever end up here? One man with an answer was James Lindsay, a mathematician and writer who runs *New Discourses*, a website devoted to exposing the Long March of CRT dogma through all our institutions. According to him, on June 8, 2020, he had posted a ‘Woke Mini,’ a series of short, sharp, dictionary anti-definitions of a common idea or thing, designed to satirise Far-Left Critical Theory and go viral online. This particular one read: “2+2=4: A perspective in white, Western mathematics that marginalizes other possible values.”

Unfortunately, says Lindsay, this particular meme went a little too viral and so “I had inadvertently introduced a conceptual virus into the Woke Matrix.” Various left-wingers actually agreed with Lindsay’s joke perspective, such as Michael J. Barany of the University of Edinburgh, who had anticipated Lindsay’s meme himself in 2019 with an eerily similar tweet reading “1+1=2 is a hegemonic discourse and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”—the difference being that, unlike Lindsay, Barany actually meant it.

Shraddha Shirude, an ethnomathematics teacher and an official with the Washington State Ethnic Studies Program, tried to turn the tables on the “haters” who agreed with Lindsay’s scepticism by asking her followers how they could turn the manifestly incorrect sum 2+2=5 into a “true statement.” Perhaps a better question might be “Why would anyone even want to try?”

Lindsay’s answer was that, as a result of destabilising previous near-universal norms of social meaning, the general public would eventually be in need of a special priest-caste enlightened enough to step in and interpret reality for them. Naturally, these high priests would be the deconstructionist academics themselves, who would be only too happy to inform the ignorant proles around them that, for example, 2+2 really does equal 5, or that women can have penises.

As Lindsay explained, such academic hierophants do not wish to prove 2+2=5 as such, as readers of Shirude’s tweets may initially presume, but rather to demonstrate “that 2+2 *can equal 5, though it doesn’t have to*,” just like a penis *can* equal male, but now also doesn’t *have to*, according to the tenets of contemporary Critical Theory. So, just as gender and sex now supposedly exist on an infinite spectrum, so too does the answer to 2+2; it could just as easily be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or maybe even 12,569.333³, just like a penis could now be male, female, genderqueer, intersex, or one of a thousand other wholly made-up options too.

Consider the April 2023 assertion of Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the left-wing UK opposition Labour Party, that “99.9% of women of course haven’t got a penis.” In fact, 100% don’t have a penis, as they are women. Yet, to say this would now be considered exclusionary to many of those on the Left, so that the prospect of 0.1% of women having penises has to be left hanging open to potential doubt. In years to come, perhaps Mr. Starmer may be further led to argue that “99.9% of 2+2s don’t equal 5,”—it is precisely the same kind of ‘logic’ at play here. Yet, once this dubious statistical proposition is admitted, men with penises can suddenly be allowed into women’s sports.

**Getting Your Sums Wrong**

But how *could* it possibly be proven that, on the odd occasion, 2+2 may indeed equal 5? Lindsay catalogued some of the suggested online answers to Shraddha Shirude’s impossible challenge. Needless to say, they were incredibly stupid.

Perhaps, it was suggested, you might possess some electronic scales which are mildly inaccurate, measuring only to the nearest gram. Putting 2.3 grams of sugar on, it would measure only 2. Then, putting another 2.3 grams of sugar on, it would measure 2 again. But if you put both 2.3 gram portions on at the same time, it would add up to 4.6 grams, which would then be rounded up by the scales to 5 grams, the nearest whole number. Therefore, you have just added 2 grams to 2 grams and got 5. Except you haven’t, have you? Your scales just don’t work properly.

Lindsay’s favourite non-answer to Shirude’s impossible challenge was that “2+2=5 when the symbol ‘2’ [actually] refers to the value ‘2.5,’” which is akin to saying ‘purple’ means ‘orange’ when the word ‘purple’ actually refers to the colour ‘orange,’—in other words when you have severe aphasia.

Yet, as Lindsay demonstrated, the application of such thinking to mathematics is only an extension of what the woke have already done to all other spheres of human life: the word ‘woman’ generally means ‘adult human female,’ for instance, except on those odd occasions where it doesn’t, and it suddenly begins to mean ‘Dylan Mulvaney’ for some reason instead. This is, analogically, just the same as saying that ‘2’ generally means ‘2,’ except for those rare times when it doesn’t.

**Only a Fraction of the Truth**

A key early document in this bizarre project of social dissolution via numerical means came in the educational academic Alan J. Bishop’s paper “Western Mathematics: The Secret Weapon of Cultural Imperialism,” which appeared in the (non-mathematical) journal *Race & Class* in 1990.

Bishop admitted that standard mathematical truths “have universal validity.” Yet certain aspects of these universal truths were nonetheless mere arbitrary cultural artefacts, he said. Yes, the internal angles of any triangle may always add up to 180 degrees, but who determined what constituted that specific measurement called ‘a degree’ in the first place? (Actually, it was the Babylonians and Sumerians, not white Europeans.) Indeed, who ever said that we should be “interested in triangles and their properties at all?”

When it comes to specific systems of mathematical *notation* and *calculation, *Bishop is correct to observe that contemporary Western methodology “is not the only mathematics that exists.” However, in pointing to Papua New Guinea and lamenting that white European techniques of counting have now replaced native systems like “body counting, where one points to a part of the body and uses the name of that part” instead of a number, he neglects to mention this process of displacement occurred for the very same reason Arabic numerals like 1, 2, 3 once replaced (or ‘colonised,’ if you insist) Roman ones like I, II, III for us in the West–namely, the new imported method was more practical, efficient, and useful.

Yet to Bishop, this was really just a cunning means of European imperialists imposing capitalism on foreign lands. If you, like an olden-day Papua New Guinean, couldn’t count out specific sums of money to pay for consumer goods, and could only say that such items quite literally cost an arm and a leg, then this made you of limited use as a cog in the wheel of global trade.

Meanwhile, exact systems of measurement also eluded some natives; rather than saying that two fields were each exactly 356m² in area, they might simply say that each looked ‘about the same,’ with no precise means to measure whether or not this was actually so. This was of limited use when parcelling out property rights or calculating land values.

The very same mathematical practices which allowed Europeans to outgun non-Westerners with precision-engineered Maxim guns, whose design required very specific and accurate measurements and formulae to produce, was also an intellectual weapon that allowed Westerners to colonise their victims’ very minds and souls, not just their physical territory.

For Bishop, Western mathematics was rooted in a mode of thought termed “objectism,” derived from Greek atomism, which viewed all things as discrete separate objects, “able to be removed and abstracted, so to speak, from their context” and thus transformed into representative numbers. So, a Westerner might scoop up 10 million grains of sand, then 10 million more, add them all together, and deduce he has 20 million grains.

However, for non-Westerners, “if your culture encourages you to believe, instead, that everything belongs and exists in relationship with everything else, then removing it from its context makes it literally meaningless.” For such an individual, the true mathematics here would not be “10m grains of sand + 10m grains of sand = 20m grains of sand,” but “10m grains of sand + 10m grains of sand = a beach.”

By being introduced to mathematical modernity, said Bishop, subject peoples “were educated away from their culture and away from their society,” alienating them from their ancestral heritage. “With its focus on deductive reasoning and logic, it [mathematics] poured scorn on mere trial and error practices, traditional wisdom and witchcraft.” In other words, Western maths’ main problem was that it *actually worked*.

“Should there not be more resistance to this cultural hegemony?” Bishop asks in conclusion. Only if you want non-Western engineers to start building bridges which immediately fall down, or begin measuring GDP in unworkably abstract terms like ‘a whole beach-worth of bahts,’ maybe.

**Marxism by the Numbers**

Cranks like Bishop increasingly hold positions of actual institutional power which they seek to leverage to inflict their curious illusions upon society at large. In 2021, the Oregon Department of Education encouraged American teachers to undertake training in an alleged new discipline called “Ethnomathematics.”

According to Oregon’s educators, “white supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer,” as one website summarised their ideas. Related teacher-training documents stated that “the concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even less so.” Even worse, “upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers [to sums] perpetuates objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

In 2020, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) agreed, putting out a statement that “it is time for all members of our profession to acknowledge that mathematics is created by humans and therefore inherently carries human biases.” Pseudo-Marxist Critical Theory alone is the only field of human endeavour which does not possess any bias at all, it would appear, being conveniently unique in its possession of complete and utter epistemic objectivity.

The MAA is a leading body representing school and college-level teachers of mathematics across America, and their statement was signed by several (previously) reputable university professors, who encouraged their members to engage in “uncomfortable conversations” about the need to decolonise their curricula.

Britain’s QAA is not the only Western mathematical body currently seeking to actively destroy its own discipline. Let us hope they do not succeed–otherwise, the West’s days really are numbered.

## Irrational Numbers: The Calculating Scam of ‘Ethnomathematics’

How can an academic subject as ostensibly abstract and non-ideological as maths become needlessly politicised? Quite easily, these days.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) is an independent body which advises British universities on course content and assesses their value according to its own self-defined criteria. If your university does not teach according to the arbitrarily-designed checklist of how the QAA

saysit should be teaching, then it will be marked down as delivering a poor education to students, whether it truly is or not.Accordingly, some mathematicians were alarmed by a draft document entitled “Subject Benchmark Statement on Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research (MSOR)” which the QAA released in September 2022. The document had ballooned in size since its previous 2019 iteration, from 23 pages to 34. Yet most of the additional content concerned not maths-related issues at all, but Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) considerations, many centring upon the highly contested sub-field of Critical Race Theory (CRT). What had happened in the interim? In May 2020, George Floyd had died, suddenly changing absolutely

everything–including, it would appear, the very structure of mathematics itself.Strange FiguresThinking that this just didn’t add up, some sceptical academics penned a pair of open letters to the QAA in November 2022 and May 2023. The latter replied to a final draft of the QAA scheme which appeared in March, objecting to its Orwellian instruction that “Values of EDI should permeate the [maths] curriculum and every aspect of the learning experience.” According to the dissenters: “We believe the only thing that should permeate the mathematics curriculum is mathematics … Students should be able to study mathematics without also being required to pay for their own indoctrination [via tuition-fees].”

One key signatory was Dr. John Armstrong, Reader in Financial Mathematics at King’s College, London. He noted that QAA guidance now implied that mathematics itself was an inherently white colonialist pursuit, a form of alien rationality cruelly imposed from above upon hapless non-white subject-peoples against their express numerical will.

However, “Colonialism is irrelevant to the validity of mathematics,” Armstrong argued, complaining that, “strange as it may seem,” those QAA leftists who disagree “don’t believe rational knowledge is superior to other kinds of knowledge. In this worldview it is not insulting to suggest non-Europeans prefer ‘other ways of knowing’ to rationality and science.”

And here we have the crux of the matter. The attempt to deconstruct and delegitimize maths as yet another deviously encoded form of white Western colonial supremacism is just another way of attempting to deconstruct and delegitimize the entirety of Western society itself–even down to the previously wholly innocuous and fundamental-seeming proposition that 2+2=4.

In 2020, U.S. academic Laurie Rubel, then delivering a course for trainee teachers in Math Education at Brooklyn College, New York, became briefly notorious after launching a campaign on Twitter, #takebackmath, which aimed to reclaim the entire field from its alleged capture by white heterosexual males. According to Rubel, “the idea that math (or data) is neutral or in any way objective is a MYTH.”

Correctly anticipating the likely “‘of course math is neutral because 2+2=4’ trope” plus “the related (and creepy) ‘math is pure’ and ‘protect math’” objections to her line of thought, Rubel opined that any such line of argument “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.” As far as it is possible to follow Rubel’s thinking, the idea that math should be kept “pure” was “creepy” because it echoed the desire to keep the white race pure too.

Instead of teaching children how to add up properly, “I’d rather think on nurturing people & protecting the planet (with math in service of them goals),” Rubel signed off her campaign, accompanied by emetic emojis of Planet Earth and a string of little coloured love-hearts.

Geometrical ImprecisionHow did we ever end up here? One man with an answer was James Lindsay, a mathematician and writer who runs

New Discourses, a website devoted to exposing the Long March of CRT dogma through all our institutions. According to him, on June 8, 2020, he had posted a ‘Woke Mini,’ a series of short, sharp, dictionary anti-definitions of a common idea or thing, designed to satirise Far-Left Critical Theory and go viral online. This particular one read: “2+2=4: A perspective in white, Western mathematics that marginalizes other possible values.”Unfortunately, says Lindsay, this particular meme went a little too viral and so “I had inadvertently introduced a conceptual virus into the Woke Matrix.” Various left-wingers actually agreed with Lindsay’s joke perspective, such as Michael J. Barany of the University of Edinburgh, who had anticipated Lindsay’s meme himself in 2019 with an eerily similar tweet reading “1+1=2 is a hegemonic discourse and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”—the difference being that, unlike Lindsay, Barany actually meant it.

Shraddha Shirude, an ethnomathematics teacher and an official with the Washington State Ethnic Studies Program, tried to turn the tables on the “haters” who agreed with Lindsay’s scepticism by asking her followers how they could turn the manifestly incorrect sum 2+2=5 into a “true statement.” Perhaps a better question might be “Why would anyone even want to try?”

Lindsay’s answer was that, as a result of destabilising previous near-universal norms of social meaning, the general public would eventually be in need of a special priest-caste enlightened enough to step in and interpret reality for them. Naturally, these high priests would be the deconstructionist academics themselves, who would be only too happy to inform the ignorant proles around them that, for example, 2+2 really does equal 5, or that women can have penises.

As Lindsay explained, such academic hierophants do not wish to prove 2+2=5 as such, as readers of Shirude’s tweets may initially presume, but rather to demonstrate “that 2+2

can equal 5, though it doesn’t have to,” just like a peniscanequal male, but now also doesn’thave to, according to the tenets of contemporary Critical Theory. So, just as gender and sex now supposedly exist on an infinite spectrum, so too does the answer to 2+2; it could just as easily be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or maybe even 12,569.333³, just like a penis could now be male, female, genderqueer, intersex, or one of a thousand other wholly made-up options too.Consider the April 2023 assertion of Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the left-wing UK opposition Labour Party, that “99.9% of women of course haven’t got a penis.” In fact, 100% don’t have a penis, as they are women. Yet, to say this would now be considered exclusionary to many of those on the Left, so that the prospect of 0.1% of women having penises has to be left hanging open to potential doubt. In years to come, perhaps Mr. Starmer may be further led to argue that “99.9% of 2+2s don’t equal 5,”—it is precisely the same kind of ‘logic’ at play here. Yet, once this dubious statistical proposition is admitted, men with penises can suddenly be allowed into women’s sports.

Getting Your Sums WrongBut how

couldit possibly be proven that, on the odd occasion, 2+2 may indeed equal 5? Lindsay catalogued some of the suggested online answers to Shraddha Shirude’s impossible challenge. Needless to say, they were incredibly stupid.Perhaps, it was suggested, you might possess some electronic scales which are mildly inaccurate, measuring only to the nearest gram. Putting 2.3 grams of sugar on, it would measure only 2. Then, putting another 2.3 grams of sugar on, it would measure 2 again. But if you put both 2.3 gram portions on at the same time, it would add up to 4.6 grams, which would then be rounded up by the scales to 5 grams, the nearest whole number. Therefore, you have just added 2 grams to 2 grams and got 5. Except you haven’t, have you? Your scales just don’t work properly.

Lindsay’s favourite non-answer to Shirude’s impossible challenge was that “2+2=5 when the symbol ‘2’ [actually] refers to the value ‘2.5,’” which is akin to saying ‘purple’ means ‘orange’ when the word ‘purple’ actually refers to the colour ‘orange,’—in other words when you have severe aphasia.

Yet, as Lindsay demonstrated, the application of such thinking to mathematics is only an extension of what the woke have already done to all other spheres of human life: the word ‘woman’ generally means ‘adult human female,’ for instance, except on those odd occasions where it doesn’t, and it suddenly begins to mean ‘Dylan Mulvaney’ for some reason instead. This is, analogically, just the same as saying that ‘2’ generally means ‘2,’ except for those rare times when it doesn’t.

Only a Fraction of the TruthA key early document in this bizarre project of social dissolution via numerical means came in the educational academic Alan J. Bishop’s paper “Western Mathematics: The Secret Weapon of Cultural Imperialism,” which appeared in the (non-mathematical) journal

Race & Classin 1990.Bishop admitted that standard mathematical truths “have universal validity.” Yet certain aspects of these universal truths were nonetheless mere arbitrary cultural artefacts, he said. Yes, the internal angles of any triangle may always add up to 180 degrees, but who determined what constituted that specific measurement called ‘a degree’ in the first place? (Actually, it was the Babylonians and Sumerians, not white Europeans.) Indeed, who ever said that we should be “interested in triangles and their properties at all?”

When it comes to specific systems of mathematical

notationandcalculation,Bishop is correct to observe that contemporary Western methodology “is not the only mathematics that exists.” However, in pointing to Papua New Guinea and lamenting that white European techniques of counting have now replaced native systems like “body counting, where one points to a part of the body and uses the name of that part” instead of a number, he neglects to mention this process of displacement occurred for the very same reason Arabic numerals like 1, 2, 3 once replaced (or ‘colonised,’ if you insist) Roman ones like I, II, III for us in the West–namely, the new imported method was more practical, efficient, and useful.Yet to Bishop, this was really just a cunning means of European imperialists imposing capitalism on foreign lands. If you, like an olden-day Papua New Guinean, couldn’t count out specific sums of money to pay for consumer goods, and could only say that such items quite literally cost an arm and a leg, then this made you of limited use as a cog in the wheel of global trade.

Meanwhile, exact systems of measurement also eluded some natives; rather than saying that two fields were each exactly 356m² in area, they might simply say that each looked ‘about the same,’ with no precise means to measure whether or not this was actually so. This was of limited use when parcelling out property rights or calculating land values.

The very same mathematical practices which allowed Europeans to outgun non-Westerners with precision-engineered Maxim guns, whose design required very specific and accurate measurements and formulae to produce, was also an intellectual weapon that allowed Westerners to colonise their victims’ very minds and souls, not just their physical territory.

For Bishop, Western mathematics was rooted in a mode of thought termed “objectism,” derived from Greek atomism, which viewed all things as discrete separate objects, “able to be removed and abstracted, so to speak, from their context” and thus transformed into representative numbers. So, a Westerner might scoop up 10 million grains of sand, then 10 million more, add them all together, and deduce he has 20 million grains.

However, for non-Westerners, “if your culture encourages you to believe, instead, that everything belongs and exists in relationship with everything else, then removing it from its context makes it literally meaningless.” For such an individual, the true mathematics here would not be “10m grains of sand + 10m grains of sand = 20m grains of sand,” but “10m grains of sand + 10m grains of sand = a beach.”

By being introduced to mathematical modernity, said Bishop, subject peoples “were educated away from their culture and away from their society,” alienating them from their ancestral heritage. “With its focus on deductive reasoning and logic, it [mathematics] poured scorn on mere trial and error practices, traditional wisdom and witchcraft.” In other words, Western maths’ main problem was that it

actually worked.“Should there not be more resistance to this cultural hegemony?” Bishop asks in conclusion. Only if you want non-Western engineers to start building bridges which immediately fall down, or begin measuring GDP in unworkably abstract terms like ‘a whole beach-worth of bahts,’ maybe.

Marxism by the NumbersCranks like Bishop increasingly hold positions of actual institutional power which they seek to leverage to inflict their curious illusions upon society at large. In 2021, the Oregon Department of Education encouraged American teachers to undertake training in an alleged new discipline called “Ethnomathematics.”

According to Oregon’s educators, “white supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer,” as one website summarised their ideas. Related teacher-training documents stated that “the concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even less so.” Even worse, “upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers [to sums] perpetuates objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.”

In 2020, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) agreed, putting out a statement that “it is time for all members of our profession to acknowledge that mathematics is created by humans and therefore inherently carries human biases.” Pseudo-Marxist Critical Theory alone is the only field of human endeavour which does not possess any bias at all, it would appear, being conveniently unique in its possession of complete and utter epistemic objectivity.

The MAA is a leading body representing school and college-level teachers of mathematics across America, and their statement was signed by several (previously) reputable university professors, who encouraged their members to engage in “uncomfortable conversations” about the need to decolonise their curricula.

Britain’s QAA is not the only Western mathematical body currently seeking to actively destroy its own discipline. Let us hope they do not succeed–otherwise, the West’s days really are numbered.

Steven Tucker, a UK-based writer, has written for various publications in print and online. The author of over ten books about overlapping fields, his most recent works,Nazi UFOs(Frontline/Pen & Sword) andThe Saucer and the Swastika(Amberley) debunk and expose the bizarre lies of various modern-day neo-Nazi UFO cults and the neo-Gnostic fascist pseudo-religions their legends have helped spawn.## READ NEXT

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