Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kareem Is Wrong About PC In Part Because He's Wrong About Liberalism

While I'm ranting about liberalism again, I'll throw out something I didn't throw out before. Kareem's wrong about this part, too:
...Although the extremes of political correctness can sometimes be absurd, America needs this trend to help it fulfill the spirit of the Constitution. Our country was founded on principles of inclusion, which means acting compassionately toward the many different people who make up our nation. Almost every group who immigrated to America was at one time the outsider — mistreated, abused and taunted. Maturity means not having to relive our mistakes of the past, but learning from them and doing better. Our country needs more sensitivity, not less.
   It doesn't seem entirely accurate to say that the country was founded on "principle of inclusion"...but, depending on what's meant by that, we can let it pass. But on any reading that lets that pass, you're not going to be able to argue that it "means acting compassionately"..."toward the many different people who make up our nation," or anyone else. Compassion isn't a founding principle of the Constitution. And incidentally, it's not a central value of political liberalism. Compassion is great. But what's important politically, and to liberals, are rights and freedoms. Everybody has the same rights, and we are obligated to defend each others' rights. Compassion, important as it is, is a peripheral consideration, and as a principle, it doesn't seem likely to make for good government. Suppose you're pregnant and I say to you: your health is not in danger, this fetus is merely inconsistent with your expectations about your life. Have compassion: don't abort it. Your desire for a Ph.D. is selfish when stacked up against the life of this potential person. How does that sound? Now think about making law and policy on the basis of such considerations of compassion...  (Obviously there are possible responses here...this is all too fast. But there it is anyway.)
   Anyway, again, I'm fairly sure that Kareem is wrong, but once again I'll note that this is by far the most reasonable defense of PC I've read. There are mistakes in there...but the intellectual dishonesty at the core of other defenses is completely absent.


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