Sunday, September 30, 2007

Political correctness must die -- I

Vanishing American has lately published an exceptional series of posts grappling with a topic that seems to weigh more heavily with every passing year: political correctness. See here, here, and here. Her posts have attracted an unusual number of passionate comments, many of them showing evidence of a prolonged and painful attempt to understand political correctness (hereafter PC) and its implications. PC obviously leaves her readership, mainly traditionalist conservatives, in chronic pain.

I recommend you look into the posts linked to above, along with the comments. I'd like to take up the subject here, as briefly as possible consistent with what I think needs to be said. Today I'll talk about the nature of PC; in the next posting (or one to come soon) about what can, should, and must be done about it.

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Many traditionalist conservatives feel, with growing unease, that they are living in a closed society. It doesn't have the usual trappings of tyranny or dictatorship: there are no death squads roaming the country, the outward forms of democracy continue. But there is an underlying sense of dread, its cause all the more serious for being camouflaged as something moral, compassionate, sensitive to the needs and feelings of society's most unfortunate members.

When people started talking about PC, in the early '90s as I recall, it was mostly about euphemistic language. No longer was anyone "retarded" -- they were "developmentally disabled." A person crippled from an accident was "challenged." All the kids in a classroom were "special" (so, as anyone capable of rudimentary logic could see, no one was special).

Even those who objected to this brand of PC tried not to get stressed over it. Just more psychobabble and academic silliness, they said. They made fun of PC's more outlandish aspects, turned it into joke fodder. But -- and in retrospect, it was a big mistake not snuffing out the beast in its cradle -- those still moored to common sense figured sweet reasonableness would win the day. PC was just another fad that would blink out.

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But it didn't. Why not can be debated, and no doubt there were plenty of factors, but one certainly was that PC became just too useful as a weapon. The political left, smarting from the collapse of old-style Communism, turned to new tactics in its endless quest to enforce its vision on an unwilling humanity. Economic Marxism, which had proved such a dismal failure, was quietly abandoned in favor of what has been called cultural Marxism. When the proletariat failed to live up to its responsibilities as a revolutionary class based on its worldwide victimization, a new victim class had to be drafted into service. And what better victim class could you ask for than everyone on earth who wasn't white and male?

PC was supercharged to become, not just a feel-good tonic for the unfortunate, but a moral arbiter. Now you not only had to watch your language, but take care not to perform any act or gesture that could remotely be construed as offensive, or not deferential enough, to the transnational victim brotherhood and sisterhood.

Tactically, the underlying concept was brilliant: PC hijacked people's best impulses. Rather than appealing to anger and prejudice, like a traditional fascist movement, it appealed to idealism. To resist any claims by any victim group, or to perceive any of its members as less than morally superior to the wicked society they were in (but not of) was to be an oppressor. The cultural Marxists had discovered a remarkable style of ju-jitsu: turn the ordinary person's kind tendencies against him. Make him feel guilty for his so-called privileges, even if they had been earned. Define any limits on meeting the demands of racial, ethnic, or gender defined groups as a shameful ism (e.g., racism). Thus, for every objection raised against the radical limitations on personal expression and choice, those who were in thrall to PC had ready-made antidotes in the form of curse words: homophobia! Sexism! Xenophobia!

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As cultural Marxism picked up steam, PC became a social glue that held all its aspects (globalization, open borders, race replacement, etc.) together. PC, through its power to mold thought through language, defined the new civil order.

Today, PC constricts not only what may be said, but requires assent to political and philosophical doctrines. Among these are absolute equality among individuals, ethnic groups, and societies -- no one and no culture can be considered more advanced, smarter, productive, or ethical than any other. Any apparent difference in ability is only a result of cultural oppression. Even if you don't claim superiority for your own culture or traditions, but just want to keep them intact, that is a crime against humanity.

Intellectually, PC overthrows any idea of truth or objectivity. Truth is nothing but a rationalization for privilege, and the "narrative" of any victim group is as valid, if not more valid, than the product of disinterested research.

This is how PC has shaped the world in which we now live and move and have our being. It is a soft totalitarianism in which to open your lips in protest is to place yourself outside respectable discourse. You have a stain that will never wash off.

Those who see the world in terms of individuals, not victim groups; who see differences as well as similarities; and who don't believe in suppressing ideas that make the Leftist Establishment uncomfortable must take back the freedom that has been driven into hiding by the "dictatorship of virtue." Political correctness must die.

In a future posting, I'll look at what needs to be done to make that happen.

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Vanishing American said...

Rick - bravo. Great piece.
I think your piece is a valuable contribution to the discussion. And the discussion is a vital one; we have to keep it going when and where we can. It's at the heart of what is going wrong in our world.

Tanstaafl said...

You are correct Rick, and very eloquent at the same time. I have just one bone to pick. You say:

"Today, PC constricts not only what may be said, but requires assent to political and philosophical doctrines. Among these are absolute equality among individuals, ethnic groups, and societies -- no one and no culture can be considered more advanced, smarter, productive, or ethical than any other. Any apparent difference in ability is only a result of cultural oppression. Even if you don't claim superiority for your own culture or traditions, but just want to keep them intact, that is a crime against humanity."

What you've left unsaid, perhaps because it is uncomfortable to say under the influence of PC, is that it is really only whites who are constrained in the way you describe, only they can commit the "crime against humanity" of wanting to protect themselves. No other group is held to this standard. None. I have for example never seen or heard a PC pundit taking the NAACP or La Raza or JDL to task for being supremacist organizations, even though their purposes, openly pursued, are to benefit blacks and Latinos and Jews, respectively. Quite the contrary under PC we may only praise these groups for their noble efforts.

It is only whites who are expected to treat everyone else as equals, and more recently even that is not sufficient. We are now required to treat everyone as if they are better and more important than us. When we refuse, for instance by objecting to mass immigration that is displacing us and destroying our quality of life and if continued will surely ultimately extinct us, we are called racists by people in positions of power and authority.

This is sick. It is intolerable. The very least we can do is reject it. Beyond this we have every right to question how this iniquity came to be, by whose creation, and to take punitive measures to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to share a personal anecdote that I now find funny, a few years later. Right after I was raped by a Mexican illegal alien, the policeman who was taking my statement corrected me by saying "Hispanic," every time I said "Mexican." This happened several times. Despite his correction, I kept saying Mexican. Much later, after he was caught, he indeed turned out be Mexican. His public defender and the judge were also Mexican. He went to prison anyway. But this is how far PC has gone in California, that a rape victim is shamed by the authorities for not being polite enough when speaking about the rapist. And just last month, my new cell phone was delivered to my old address, and the Chinese immigrant woman who lives there now signed for the package and kept it. I sent the police after the package, since I didn't have any idea who was living there and if it would be dangerous to handle it myself. When the black woman cop gave me my property, she explained, in a reproachful tone of voice and looking at me disapprovingly, that the woman who'd stolen my phone hadn't known it wasn't for her. I'm pretty sure this was racial. The cop was trying to shame me for ratting on a poor confused immigrant. It was no mistake, she stole my phone and kept it for a whole month. It's everyday details like this that get to me more than the history of Marxism or whatever.

Rick Darby said...

Thank you all for your comments. I particularly appreciate them because I was unhappy with my posting, feeling it was below par stylistically and offering nothing that hasn't been said by others. I posted it anyway because PC is being used very successfully to keep dissenters fearful, and considerations of originality and literary quality are less important than keeping the discussion going.


You have mentioned that sometimes you wonder why you bother posting, but the response you've had lately shows how many people draw strength from your viewpoint and are stimulated to further thinking and, one hopes, action.


You are quite right. I hoped I had implied as much in describing the new PC victim class as everyone on earth who wasn't white and male (I should have written, "white and heterosexual male"). That's an example of how in trying to be brief I failed to make certain points specifically.

latte conservative,

Your being raped and having the cop chide you because you weren't respectful enough in describing your assailant as a "Mexican" is grotesque. I'm glad that you can laugh at it now, but for the rest of us the proper response should be anger. How can we have come to this?

Your experience is one more example of why I feel the need to keep blasting away at PC, even when I offer no new insights and my writing isn't up to spec.

You have my deepest sympathy for your ordeal.

Vanishing American said...

Rick, and everyone, good comments.
It is stories like latte conservative's that cause many an awakening. Sometimes the reaction is delayed, but sooner or later, I think these things have a cumulative effect on people's perceptions, and the scales begin to fall from people's eyes as they and their friends or family have experiences that contradict the official view of the world.
Rick, I agree we have to keep chipping away; I know tanstaafl feels the same way.
I think even when we feel as though we are repeating ourselves, we have to keep trying.

Anonymous said...

The intelligence and passion of the post and comments is inspiring. Sometimes just framing the problem with clarity is enough to move us along. Asking the right questions and provoking thought. Which then leads to new insights.

There are posts on this blog and others which i have spent hours mulling over and have caused me to look at things in a fresh way.

Quality prose and clear thinking matter. Its what attracted me to your blog and the blogs of the commenters above.

David said...

"Intellectually, PC overthrows any idea of truth or objectivity"...a few years ago, I sat in on a college philosophy course in which the professor very effectively challenged the idea of cultural relativism. The students were mostly stunned. They had been so steeped in the "everything is relative" ideology that they had never even imagined that there might be an alternative.

Dr.D said...

This is a very useful post. Thank you for the effort that went into creating it. It is vitally important to get this message out to many more people. Only in this way do we have any chance at all to survive as a nation.