Friday, November 16, 2012

Political Correctness.

I found the below essay on political correctness stored on a old laptop. According to the time stamp, I wrote it four years ago for whatever reason. I think it ties in with my recent posts on feminism.

"Political Correctness is a heresy of Liberalism. It emerges where Liberalism and Leftism intersect. What began as a liberal assault on injustice has come to denote not for the first time, a new form of injustice.... a dogmatism that is intolerant self-righteous and quasi -religious." - Peter Coleman a former Australian government minister from the Liberal Party.

The political correct are more intolerant of dissent than traditional liberals or even conservatives. Liberals of earlier generations accepted unorthodoxy as normal. Indeed the right to differ was a datum of classical liberalism. The PC do not grant that right a high priority. Those who do not conform should be ignored, silenced or vilified.

But political correctness is a rather negative term, used only by its opponents;  few people would describe themselves of being political correct. So what are the properties of a PC viewpoint? Well, I suggest the following: -

1) The false belief that human nature is perfectible. The PC inclined tend to accept the view that human nature can be dramatically improved or even perfected though psychological and social re-engineering. The PC person believes humans can become more loving, caring, considerate creatures if correctly 'educated'.

2) Promotion of Re-Education. Following on from the above point, multiculturalism is vigorously promoted in classrooms or workplaces through 'diversity training'. The school curriculum were rewritten to include homosexual lessons; classic children novels  altered to remove non-pc friendly characters or story lines.

3) Psychologising Arguments. Instead of addressing the explicit content of an argument, the politically correct attack what they believe is the hidden psychology behind the argument: not that their opponents are incorrect, but that they are bad. If you oppose mass immigration, you will be labeled a racist by the PC inclined. A less obvious example: if you oppose the Irish language you will be labeled a west Brit and assumed you have a psychological flaw such as an 'inferiority complex'. This psychologising of arguments is  nothing but a dressed up ad hominem attack and serves only to sniffle debate around important issues.

4) Moral Relativism. Relativism is the view that what's true for one person or one culture maybe false for another. There's no absolute moral truth, just differing opinions, all of which are equally valid.  Morality becomes a matter of taste or sentiment, not a matter of objective fact.  A recent Irish example is the Muslim campaign for allowing the hijab as part of a school uniform. The campaign was conducted with moral and cultural relativist arguments - "This is true for us. It is discrimination if you to refuse us." Those who opposed the campaign were denounced as islamophobes while those who agreed with the campaign were celebrated as being progressive, enlightened and thereby granted a false sense of virtue without ever having to consider the objective moral questions. This is just one example among many of how Muslim lobby groups are manipulating our obsession with political correctness and multiculturalism to sneak through their agenda.

5) Group identities and shifting loyalties. The PC prefer to decide complex moral and ethical issues by diving humanity into groups of victims united by their victim hood: Blacks,  Muslims, gays,  women and the disabled. The PC automatically supports those they consider victims, classifying them as nearly politically untouchable, irrespective of whether they merit support or not. In effect their reasoning is limited to 1) identify the victim and 2) support them and their interests irrespective of any other factors. This means the support of the PC lobby tends to shift according to perceptions. In England the white working classes were supported against the suppression of the middle classes until it was discovered that white working classes were higher up the social hierarchy than ethnic minorities and so the PC targeted their ire at the white working classes instead. Likewise since the holocaust, Jews have been portrayed as the ultimate victims and anti-semitism was the ultimate bigot. But after September 11th, Muslims became the ultimate victim group and Islamophobia the greatest bigotry.

6) Support for censorship. Free speech is never an absolute and can never be divorced entirely from the responsibility for its consequences. Speech should be curtailed only if it intended and likely to cause physical violence or in exceptional cases such as national security.  However the PC lobby has moved beyond those limitations and started criminalizing speech that merely causes offense or incites not violence but an emotion (anger). PC succeeds by attaching a sense of moral superiority to itself and so its adherents feel righteous while trying to silence the politically incorrect.  They enforce the censorship with powerfully silencing accusations of 'sexism', 'homophobia', 'fascism' or 'Islamophobia'.  As mentioned above, the terms are applied because the aim of the PC is not accurate analysis of the issues but rather to silence the opposition. Nowadays, is it almost political death for a politician to become widely seen as holding 'racist' or 'sexist' views. This immediately shuts down a whole range of important debates over immigration, racial profiling etc.

Political Politeness is an assault on reason and liberal democracy. It is assault on reason because the acceptability of a belief is no longer its objective, empirically established truth but how well its sits with the canons of current PC wisdom. It is an assault of liberal democracy because its pervasiveness on media/public policy is shutting down areas of debate and limiting freedom of speech.
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