Monday, August 07, 2017

Rogue Google Essay On Diversity: Political Correctness And The Subordination Of Truth To Politics

The problem at the root of this dust up is political correctness.
   PC is often misrepresented as being primarily about language. Political correctness (or the "social justice" movement as its new PR would have it) does seek to control language (and it's been alarmingly successful), but that's not what's central to the phenomenon. To say that x is politically correct is to leave half the thought unspoken: x is not actually correct, but it's politically correct. That is: x isn't true, but it accords with (leftist) political views. What is at the core of PC is the view that evidence, reason, and truth should be subordinated to leftist politics. It's not that the phenomenon is unknown on the right--in fact, it's rampant on the religious right in particular, and in religion generally. It's rather that the phenomenon is such a central feature of certain sectors of leftist thought that it spawned the term. In fact, apparently leftists themselves (Marxists, in particular) coined the term to describe a phenomenon in their ranks that they themselves derided. The cultish leftist spewing cant, screechily insisting that day is night, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and so on is hardly an unfamiliar figure.
   The Google "diversity" essay is, in large part, criticizing PC. The essay is perfectly reasonable, but it is being described as a "screed." The author explicitly states that he is in favor of "diversity" and "inclusion." But the essay is being almost universally described as "anti-diversity." The author explicitly says that individuals should be assessed on their own merit, and that we should not discriminate on the basis of sex or race, but the essay is being described as sexist.
   One of the author's main points is: however the first-order questions are resolved, there's a meta-issue looming over them all: these crucial issues cannot be freely discussed, because the Google/tech echo-chamber ruthlessly shuts down discussion by attacking those who question its orthodoxies--and does so with false accusations of prejudice and (as they now say) "shaming." The response by Google and the media has been swift, vicious and mendacious; thus it has immediately confirmed the author's higher-order claims about political correctness and intolerance of dissent. The clear upshot of the reaction has been: the author much be outed, fired, and humiliated for his temerity and his thoughtcrime; Google must not tolerate freedom of thought with respect to the tenets of progressive faith.
   I mean, honestly, who is so unfamiliar with human beings as to not believe it to be at least plausible that men are more likely to be interested in things like writing code? And also more likely to be almost monomaniacally driven to seek success in their careers? Honestly? Who out there thinks that such thoughts are entirely unsupported by experience? Mere prejudices?
   But, again, the core bit of craziness is that one side in this lopsided discussion does not care about the truth-values of the claims. Or, more precisely: a certain group that wields enormous cultural power holds that propositions should be evaluated on the basis of their accordance with the prevailing leftist ideology, rather than on the basis of their reasonability / truth. That is: on the basis of their political correctness, not their actual correctness. All deviations from the orthodoxy are errors. All errors are sinful; there are no honest mistakes. Sins are to be punished, not merely corrected. And the cardinal sin is pointing this all out. The top-layer of political correctness is the denial that there is any such thing as political correctness. Only those truly accomplished at doublethink can be at peace with the subordination of truth to politics. The average political cultist in the street needs to keep that thought out of his mind, lest he experience cognitive dissonance...the hey, wait a minute...moment that often leads to the sin of rational thought.
   Over the last couple of years I've been repeatedly struck by the almost painfully acute insight captured by that little Andersen tale, The Emperor's New Clothes. We've got ourselves into a situation now in which the delusional are in power and the sane are declared delusional because they fail to participate in the delusion. But in the story, all it takes is one person speaking the truth to snap everyone out of their delusion; in reality, anyone with the temerity to speak truth to power is mobbed--partially out of genuine hatred, partially as a lesson to other potential truth-tellers and thoughtcriminals...
   And it's liberals and "progressives" who are at the helm of this inquisition, running it, defending it, refusing to criticize it. Perhaps the most astonishing thing about all this to me is how many of my liberal friends have said things to me like "it's not so bad," "conservatives are still worse," "call me when they're as bad as Trump," or my favorite: "why do you care about this?"
   There's nothing I can do to make anyone care about freedom of expression, open dialog, and truth. If you are sanguine about all this,then all I suppose I can say to you is: we're very different people, with very different values.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

" If you are sanguine about all this,then all I suppose I can say to you is: we're very different people, with very different values."

I would suggest that the people who call themselves liberals and tolerate this are not even properly liberals. They are members of the Blue Tribe, who call themselves liberal to give themselves an air of intellectual sophistication that is entirely undeserved.

PC is a litmus test. A functioning marketplace of ideas is probably the most crucial liberal tenet. Its benefits are why democracy presumably works, and why a collection of rational actors should be able to organize their own destiny without the legitimacy of divine right.

That so many people are willing to abandon that to avoid uncomfortable intellectual competition (competition that the Left would almost certainly lose in a world where they do not monopolize the media and academy) is a massive problem.

12:16 PM  

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