Sunday, July 16, 2017

PC From The Top Down?

This at NRO (egad...I'm starting to agree with the NRO...) is about one instance of what has, for awhile now, seemed like a general phenomenon to me: in mainstream (i.e. liberal-leaning) publications, what's published is notably more PC than the comments on it. That is, in places like the the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Slate and the NYT, basically everything that's published is very PC, but there's more pushback in the comments than I'd expect. It could, of course, be that most posts tend to bring out commenters who disagree...or it could be my imagination. But anyway, it's the same kind of phenomenon Hillard is talking about.
   This seems to me to be evidence of another pet hypothesis of mine: that PC is being imposed on the society from the "top" "down." That is, it's institutions like academia, the media, and even government that are basically insisting that certain theories and social changes should be accepted. Perhaps this is common. Perhaps it's sometimes good--e.g. maybe this also happened with the civil rights movement and egalitarian feminism. I'm not too clear on the history. But it won't always be good--the "elites" can, obviously, be mistaken--as I'd say they are, generally, in this case.
   Anyway, just an observation.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be noted that the reason this stuff is PC baloney isn't just that they are brought on from above, but because they are deeply, epistemically flawed. Ortberg's advice is the corrolary of someone who's morality is just reiteration of axioms (usually geared towards maximizing equality and avoiding judgement in a way simple enough for an English major like herself to process). This is not how you reason, it's just industrialized question-begging, and it is especially not how you should reason about moral matters, which must be tested by experience, because their subject is life itself not abstraction.

The left is this logical abomination that wants to make morality a sort of mixture of pseudo-mathematics and historical sophistry. It can be somewhat benign if it is not taken seriously, with a mostly sane liberal culture extracting what little sense is present within it into an empirically grounded context. But those liberals have been winnowed out by the corruption of the academy, and so here we are.

I'm rambling a bit, but I guess this is my point. The only way you can destroy PC is by having a really good story about how moral reason works. I don't think a lot of anti-PC people do that (although that tidbit about how a rationalist morality is a failure seems like a starting point). And to some extent I think this is a really tall order, because my read of moral philosophy is pretty pessimistic, with most people pretty dissatisfied by Utilitarianism and Kantianism, but not quite sure of an alternative (virtue ethics?).

In some way PC might be the sophistry that is filling the meta-ethical vacuum here.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

"The left is this logical abomination that wants to make morality a sort of mixture of pseudo-mathematics and historical sophistry. It can be somewhat benign if it is not taken seriously, with a mostly sane liberal culture extracting what little sense is present within it into an empirically grounded context. But those liberals have been winnowed out by the corruption of the academy, and so here we are."

This is a great comment.

12:38 PM  

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