Monday, March 07, 2016

Crooked Timber And The Most Embarrassing Pro-PC Circlejerk Known To Man

   So, so, sooooo embarrassing.
   Holbo makes a good-faith effort to define 'political correctness,' though I don't think he comes very close to getting it right. The comments, however...
   Listen, you should read these just to remind yourself how gut-punchingly unlovely is groupthink. And groupthink among what seems like a group of reasonably well-educated's really kinda...alarming. By which I mean nauseating.  Do they really not have any inkling that they're merely circling the wagons and willfully averting their mental gaze from the ugly heart of the matter? 
   I mean...well...yeah...  Of course they are. They couldn't not be.
   Could they?
   Anybody with even a passing familiarity with the PC nonsense has to have encountered information about its excesses...  I's almost nothing but excesses...  If you're paying attention enough to have any kind of opinion on it at all you'd have to now about "microaggressions," "safe spaces," "de-platforming" and the rest...  The shrieking Yalies, the Kafka/Kipnis-esque Title IX suits, the mattress-toting, the crybullying, the po-po-mo mumbo-jumbo...  Yet in the circlejerk in question, you'll actually find almost no acknowledgement of any of this...
   In fact, you'll actually find the politeness ploy, i.e. the claim that "PC is just politeness!" (As if the wisdom of sending people to left-wing re-education camp for failing to use the most fashionable terminology were the very commonest sense...) You also get claims to the effect that oppositions to PC are just "white males protecting their privilege," and so on. For a bit I wondered whether it might be a complicated and particularly deadpan bit of satire...  But I'm pretty sure it isn't.
   It's particularly unnerving to me that so many of the comments seem unusually articulate. But 'articulate' doesn't mean smart...and it sure as hell doesn't mean intellectually honest...  So maybe there's nothing particularly weird about that bit after all...
   Anyway, as I've said before: liberals and leftists need to stop pretending that PC is completely innocuous and that only bigots can oppose it. That's simply false. In fact it's nowhere in the vicinity of the truth.
   Though there were a few rays of light, including a comment [posted by commenter fn] containing this quote:
Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
-Theodore Dalrymple/Anthony Daniels, Jewish psychiatrist and immigration advocate
   This was a diamond in the rough...or a pearl of wisdom in a pile of bullshit...or...or... Well, you get the idea...

[There are some more people trying to rock the hugbox later in the comment thread, including this by Bloix:
   as David says, there were many communist factions buzzing around and trying to take over different progressive organizations and movements in the 70’s (anti-war, anti-nuke, feminist, civil rights, even consumer) and they used the jargon of political correctness.
But I disagree that the language was used as a compensation device for those without power. To the contrary, it was used in the US by marginal groups who were aping Soviet and Chinese patterns of thought adopted by regimes that had unlimited power.
   In a place like China, if you harbored incorrect thought you were committing error and the place for you was a reeducation camp. Being accused of incorrect thought must have been a terrifying event, a precursor to abject confession of mistakes in an effort to avoid having your life destroyed.
   This is the kind of thing people had to live with:
   ‘Mao Tse-tung thought is the only correct thought… if a person at any time whatever, in any place whatever, regarding any question whatever, manifests wavering in his attitude towards Mao Tse-tung thought, then, no matter if this wavering is only momentary and slight, it means in reality that the waverer departs from Marxist-Leninist truth, and will lose his bearings and commit political errors….Forward, following a hundred per cent and without the slightest reservation the way of Mao Tse-tung.’
or this, from Mao himself:
   “At present the contradiction between correct and incorrect thinking in our Party does not manifest itself in an antagonistic form, and if comrades who have committed mistakes can correct them, it will not develop into antagonism. Therefore, the Party must wage a serious struggle against erroneous thinking, and give the comrades who have committed errors ample opportunity to wake up… But if the people who have committed errors persist in them … this contradiction will develop into antagonism.”
   Bad enough to be someone who found himself being given “ample opportunity to wake up.” You certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be one of the people whose persistence in error developed into “antagonism.”  ]


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