Monday, November 14, 2016

Robby Soave: On How Political Correctness Gave Us Trump

This is ok.
   I post it not because it's brilliant or anything, but because--as I think I've made clear--I think it's very likely that the craziness of the left--mostly the PC left--helped cause the Trumpocalypse.
   It's a hypothesis, of course, but I think there's more to be said for it than there is for most such hypotheses. It seems pretty unlikely that the unhinging of the left played no role in further unhinging an already largely unhinged right. Anti-PC is one of Trump's main shticks. Seems unlikely that the shtick would gain traction unless there was a fair amount of antipathy toward PC.
   Spouting crazy theories, shouting down anyone who disagrees with you and calling them bigots...e.g. for not being up on the latest, hippest words...opposing free inquiry and free expression... Is it that difficult to believe that this sort of thing is helping to piss people off? Especially given that they specifically cite it as something pissing them off? False accusations of racism are approximately the most angrifying thing there is, mostly because they're unjust. A little of that shit goes a long way. The PC left is very, very wrong, and very, very crazy. I just don't believe that that played no role whatsoever in the Trumpocalypse.
   But, of course, I detest Trump and I detest PC, so this is kind of a GUT for me.
   Trump's awful as should go without saying...but (as in the late '80s and early '90s) liberalism has been co-opted by the illiberal left. And it's not exactly some big surprise that crazy shit pisses people off.
   So anyway, there's a thing.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

I think this theory, qua theory, is overdetermined. The single biggest drop in Clinton's poll number came after Comey's claim about more emails, not even two weeks before the elections. Given this, additional theories become very hard to prove.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right, PC can be illiberal. But I'm not sure PC is really the most important problem we face right now, or even in the top ten, when we're talking about race and the future of a multicultural society in America. This country looks to me like it's getting ready to explode after this election. Trump clearly doesn't care. He's not even going to try to calm things down apparently. Steven Bannon of Brietbart News will be a senior adviser to the President of the United States. I learn today that Bannon has strong connections to the white nationalist movement (see, e.g., Richard Spencer and his ties to Brietbart and Trump). For minority groups, many of us are fearful not just for the country, but for what a Trump presidency is going to mean for our families. It's personal for us because a madman with ties to white nationalism is going to control the military and the intelligence agencies. Perhaps PC played a role in all of this somehow. But how do we as a nation move forward without causing race riots? That's what I would like to know.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

But who (other than Trump) has claimed that PC is the biggest problem facing the country?

It's a problem--and a serious one. The fact that it's not the biggest problem we face doesn't really matter much. I don't even think we have a very good idea what the biggest problem we face is. And whatever it is, it's unlikely to be worse than, say, the next-worse three or four problems combined.

There's absolutely no rule that says that we can't think about more than one problem at a time.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


Similarly, I don't see that the PC explanation and the Comey explanation are at odds. The PC explanation is a deeper, more long-term kind of explanation. The Comey thing was like getting hit by a goddamn meteorite when you're ahead in the homestretch.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can and should focus on multiple problems. PC is not near the top of my concerns right now. I also view it as an exaggerated problem. I'd push back on the idea that PC has taken over the left and therefore, that it has been a major factor in Trump's rise. Maybe on universities the problem has been much worse. It sounds like it from reading your writing. But in the rest of America, I would argue, it has had a very minor impact. So I believe it's a mistake to view PC as so important in analyzing what's gone wrong in this country recently. In that sense, ranking problems does bear directly on analyzing why Trump is going to be president. At least that's how I see things, for what it's worth.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

You could absolutely be right.

Some of this could be settled by surveying Trump voters.

But I don't think that the problem is overblown at all. It's a major problem on campuses, and it's extremely insidious. Without being actively and intelligently imposed it *changes things.* The leftist momentum of universities means that, unless soundly defeated, it always wins. Many of the problems we face today at universities grew from the seeds planted by paleo-PC--which we thought defeated, but wasn't.

Remember that the DoJ is currently suing states on the grounds that *by believing himself to be a woman, a man can literally change his sex--a biological property.* This is not an exaggeration. Unless the DoJ has changed its position in the past two months, that's what it's arguing in the transgender bathroom case.

PC / postmodern insanity is bad enough when it merely occupies the cultural salient of universities...but it won't, in fact, stay put there.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well that's a good point, though Obama has been for me a strong leader in resisting some of this nonsense. It's definitely something I am taking more seriously. I hope it hasn't had the impact you suggest because it makes the rest of us on the left look like complete idiots.

10:00 AM  

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