Monday, March 15, 2010

What is Political Correctness?

“Political correctness” is a term that gets bandied about. Most of you probably have a really good idea of what the term means, but there appears to be some confusion in journalistic ranks. So as a service to our low-IQ and self-deluding friends in the media, let’s offer a quick tutorial.

“Political correctness” is a term first coined to describe the attempts by the American left to squelch open debate and free speech. The term stuck immediately and has been such a devastating dual description and criticism of leftist actions, that many of the left despise the term more than the speech political correctness is trying to squelch. Indeed, on most left-leaning boards, all you need to do is use the term and you will find yourself treated like a heretic at a 14th Century Cardinal’s cook out.

At one point, several leftists in the media tried to defuse the term by applying it to right wingers who supported policies that the leftist media hacks didn’t like, on the basis that they were just pandering to the voters. But that effort failed, because it ridiculously misunderstood how clearly the public knows political correctness when it sees it.

So what exactly does political correctness mean? Political correctness represents group think at its worst. It is the requirement that people accept as true, certain “facts” that are not true under the threat of significant sanction. In this case, that sanction tends to be a jihad like series of attacks on you by the leftward collective.

The idea behind political correctness dates back to 19th Century socialist movements, which believed that they could make the world a better place if only they could recreate man. Gone would be the man created by an accident of evolution or the design of God, and in his place would stand the new, modern socialist man. But that didn’t work out. It turns out that the whole self-awareness thing stands in the way of rebuilding man as a communal creature.

When the civil rights movement of the 1960s moved away from seeking equality and moral treatment into seeking a share of the spoils in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the age of identity politics was born. This began with blacks and then feminists. Soon other groups were sprouting up everywhere. Soon we had a veritable apartheid rainbow of genders and races and disabilities, all carefully self-segregating.

As these groups grew in influence in places like academia, they re-awoke to the idea of rebuilding man. If there was any morality, logic, or merit to their arguments, they could have succeeded by simple persuasion, but there wasn’t. So, instead, they took an approach right out of the dark warnings of Orwell’s 1984. This time, they decided to change the mind of man first. And the only way they could think to do that was to make people afraid to speak their minds. If people could not say an idea, then they could not have the idea. . . or so the thinking went.

It's a lot like that Twilight Zone episode where young Bill Mumy wishes people into the cornfield when he doesn’t like what they are saying or thinking, only the politically correct didn’t see young Bill as the bad guy, he’s what they aspired to be. Thus, they set about shutting down debate and demanding that people stop speaking truths that didn’t fit their agenda.

Let’s consider some examples. Blacks commit crimes in a much higher percentage than whites. That is an undeniable fact. There are many causes, almost all of which point the finger right back at the black community. But black groups have been some of the strongest purveyors of political correctness and blacks have been some of the new religion’s most ardent foot soldiers. And the first rule of political correctness is to combat any fact that makes your group look bad. Thus, they decided that these facts were not politically correct and that they should not be allowed to be spoken. So they set about attacking anyone who dared speak them.

Consequently, if you held a debate on the issue of crime today, and you tried to suggest either of these facts, you would risk being shouted down, risk having your black panelist stage a walk out, risk being called a racist, and risk having a jihad declared against you with an army of drones trying to get you fired and ostracized. Why do this? Because if you can’t address the real facts, all that is left to explain the problem is to either deny that such a problem exists or to attribute it to politically correct “facts” like white racism or economic circumstances. Not coincidentally, the solution to those “facts” seems to be legislation. . . and more goodies for the identity camp.

Feminists have done the same thing. They have create a twisted set of assumptions to which you must pledge fealty or you will be labeled a sexist. Chief among these new “facts” is that there are no differences between men and women, except for those that benefit women. Thus, for example, you cannot mention that women are not as physically strong as men or that pregnancy has been a huge issue for military readiness when the feminists question why women can’t be front line soldiers. You also cannot mention that the different choices women make affect their income potential when discussing the issue of pay equality. Indeed, to suggest that women shun the harder professions, like science and engineering, or that they tend to drop out of the work force for a period of years to raise children would be like declaring Christ a myth at a 12th Century Crusade planning meeting. It’s best just to pretend that you have no idea why women earn more college degrees, but don’t make as much money as men over their careers.

Again, the reason is obvious. If you factor out all the things that women and men do that generally lead to different career paths, then the only possible explanation left for why a woman and a man have disparate incomes must be sexism. And that requires legislation, which means more goodies for the identity camp.

And this goes well beyond panel discussions. If you say the wrong thing at work, or at school, or in print, prepare for the modern Inquisition. If you put an ad on television and an identity-group member looks bad in the ad, expect trouble. If you make a movie, you better not make identity-group members the bad guy, and you better not forget to over-include them in positive roles no matter how historically inaccurate. In fact, ironically, they expect you to overcompensate in the other direction. . . for the fact you're not allowed to mention. Thus, if the knock on a group is that they're lazy, then you better make them the hardest working characters on your show. If the stereotype is stupidity, better let them teach everyone else the vital lessons. And so on.

The idea behind the terror is to get you to self-censor. If you are afraid to speak the truth, then the truth may cease to exist. . . at least, that’s the hope.

If you’ve ever discussed this issue near one of these people, before they try to shout you down, you may have noticed that they will make the argument: “how is this different than simple manners.” And they will claim that people have always done what is now being “unfairly” called political correctness. But they are wrong.

First, manners are based on generations of experience about what creates problems in society and what doesn’t. Manners are basically the little things that we need to do to make society flow. These are learned behaviors that are based on observed facts. Political correctness, on the other hand, is not about making society better. It is about one group forcing itself on another. It is about accepting lies as true and ignoring the things we know. It is dogma of the worst kind.

Secondly, unlike manners, which are meant for general application, political correctness is applied unfairly. Political correctness applies only to a protected few. Whites can be fired for using the wrong word, but blacks can’t be fired for using the same word. Minorities are free to complain about anything they want with regard to majorities, but majorities aren’t. And so on. Moreover, politically correct rules aren’t about objective rules, they are about subjective interpretation. In other words, they rely on the “victim” to decide if they’ve been victimized. This isn’t about creating conduct for everyone to follow, this is about giving certain groups the power to attack those with whom they disagree. The last group of people to hold similar powers were the aristocracy under Louis XIV or Nazi party members under Hitler.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a bit of irony. Because political correctness is so subjective, it changes all the time as grievances are expanded and new victims discover their victimhood. Thus, what was politically correct a few years ago may not be so today. Sesame Streets on was one of the first attempts at politically correct brainwashing. But when they released the DVDs a year ago, they actually put a label on them that these were not appropriate for children.

Thus, to all the politically correct of the world, I say this. . .


LL said...

Andrew, is it politically incorrect for me to agree with you?

AndrewPrice said...

LL, Probably, but that's ok. I think we tend to outnumber the politically correct. :-)

Writer X said...

LOL! Okay, I wasn't expecting the ape photo but I like!

I read a story today where a group was offended by the word "hoodlum." Jeez.

It's gotten to the point where it's refreshing to hear people speak unabashedly. Too often, political correctness is used as a communication tool to gain something that is undeserved. That's when it's at its most grotesque and I think most reasonable people resent it and can recognize it for exactly the reasons you've mentioned.

P.S. Little Billy Mumy still creeps me out. That Twilight Zone episode is perfect.

LawHawkSF said...

Andrew: I must respectfully disagree. If it weren't for political-correctness, how would I have been able to find out from the Brinks Home Security people that 100% of all home-invasions are conducted by white people?

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I'm glad you liked the ape photo -- it seemed appropriate.

I agree about the Bill Mumy episode, it's actually one of their more disturbing episodes.

I'm with you on political correctness. It's nice to hear people just start speaking their minds again. And I think that it's happening more and more for two reasons:

First, the left originally cloaked political correctness in the guise of "manners" and "being decent" and the such. So people tolerated it longer than they should have. But now it's out of hand and people have decided to ignore it and ridicule it.

Secondly, like all things leftist, people get sick of it very quickly and they turn on it because people resent being told what to do.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, LOL! Everyone I know has mentioned that.

CrisD said...

nice foto.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks CrisD, I thought so. ;-)

BevfromNYC said...

Excuse me, Mr. Man, but that's "womyn", not that sexist, mysogonist, male- centric spelling "woman"! ;-p

AndrewPrice said...

Sorry Bev, I knew that! LOL! It's also herstory now isn't it?

Tennessee Jed said...

actually, this may just be the best treatise on the subject I have seen. At it's core is something I have always felt, but never verbalized in connection with pc. That is, many of these groups may have had legitimate grievances about equality or moral treatment, but gave up the high ground to get a piece of the pie and a seat at the power table. Jesse Jackson is a prime example. Malcolm X was just the opposite and he was murdered for being politically incorrect.

The descriptives of how pc works are as good as it gets.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed. I think you put your finger right on it with the difference between Malcom X and MLK and Jesse Jackson. The first generation was uncompromising in wanting equality and respect. They had undeniable moral authority because everyone knew that what had been going on was wrong and that there is just no moral justification for racial discrimination.

But then they passed the baton to the second generation -- the Jacksons and Sharptons. And they preferred to make themselves into royalty and get their share of of the pie rather than fight for equality.

And the natural consequence of that became the very nasty identity politics of today, which necessitates the creation of victims and oppressors, which is what political correctness is all about.

BevfromNYC said...

The other difference is that MLK or Malcolm X were fighting for equality of opportunity. It was the same with the Women's movement.

The second generation morphed these movements into equality of numbers and percentages. That's why the questions are "Why aren't there more [fill in the blank]s in [fill in the other blank]?" rather than "Why aren't more [fill in the blank] qualified for [fill in the blank]?".

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That's absolutely right. And that's why the first group was so effective, because they pointed out that it was wrong to hold others back. But the second group has failed to miserably, because rather than wanting fair treatment, they want guaranteed results -- something no one else has.

And then both groups became very nasty, which didn't help either.

StanH said...

Good read Andrew! PC is one of the most insidious creations of the past forty years, whose time is coming to an end. Like with most things the left has overplayed their hand, and the American public is growing weary of their BS. Though he was a liberal George Carlin used to hammer PC relentlessly. The other day I watched “Blazing Saddles,” funny as hell, couldn’t be made today, and they bleeped only the “N” word leaving all other group or racial slurs in, and in case you’ve forgotten Mel Brooks made fun of every group in that movie. As we turn this country to conservatism, PC has got to go.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Agreed. It's time to put an end to PC. It's absolutely unAmerican in every way.

What's funny about the opposition to Blazing Saddles is that Blazing Saddles was making fun of racism, yet the identity groups can't see that because they've blinded themselves.

Individualist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Individualist said...

Very Good Points Andrew...

With regard to Femisism and women being in combat roles I have heard that the military's justification is somewhat different.

Essentially they state that women are more important than men. Should you send men off to war and kill 1,000,000 of them this would have little effect on the size of the next generation.

If you send women and one million of them die it would drastically depopulate the country.

Individualist said...

I guess the other side of the coin is unfortunately your profession Andrew.

I remember an HR meeting we were all forced to attend where the HR manager got cross with me. They stated that a group had won a court case because soemone used the term oriental and that we should all use Asian.

I kept interrupting telling the guy to explain to me one time where Oriental was used as a racial slur. He said well since some of them feel that way I should use Asian. I then interupted and said Indians are from Asia and thus Asians yet they are no Oriental so the term is not accurate. He finally told me to shut up and not used the word because it was company policy.

This is where they can get you. Maybe on the street they can't do anything but a play a few games of six degrees of seperation on what you thought was an innocent comment and they can put a bite to their bark in the work place.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, That's the problem with a subjective standard. It's not based on any real intent to insult. It's based on whether or not the "victims" feels like they've been insulted.

As for lawyers being the problem, lawyers are the least of this problem. This problem starts with legislatures that create laws that allow these sorts of suits and administrators who are afraid to stand up for the rights of their own workers. Lawyers are just the rotten cherry on top of the sewage sunday.

I've never heard of anyone successfully using "Oriental" as the basis for a lawsuit. I would bet it didn't happen. Unfortunately, the HR people (and the lawyers) way overcompensate on these issues. And people start reacting to possibilities, no matter how remote, than realities. It's actually a lot harder to win suits based on these things than people believe.

In any event, it's time that we went back to the idea that sticks and stones may break bones, but names (and words) can't. So there should be no rights or remedies based on pure words.

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