Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Left Is Not Happy That Bernie Repudiated PC

[See the Mystic's response in comments. He's right.]

Here's something not very good.
   Well, as I've pointed out, Bernie didn't exactly repudiate PC, since the definition he gave of it was completely off-base. (The author does get that part right.) So it's not clear whether (a) he meant to repudiate political doubletalk and used 'political correctness' incorrectly, or (b) he meant to repudiate PC but thought better of it when asked to cough up a definition. Needless to say, I'd rather it were the latter--and I don't think that's totally implausible. First, it's a bit tricky to characterize PC if you haven't really given it much thought, and, second, he's going to get crucified if he openly admits that extremism in defense of concern for minorities can, indeed, be a vice. So I think it's plausible to think that he just fell back on bashing something basically everybody hates. We'll see whether he's willing to take a more determinate anti-PC stand. Maybe he hopes that, by saying the words, he's leaving open the door for other Dems to step up, too.
   At any rate, that Quartz piece isn't much good. I wouldn't really bother reading it. It contains paragraphs like this:
Cosigning Trump’s attack on political correctness validates the bigotry of his campaign. It plays into the ongoing effort by people on the center and right to blame Hillary Clinton’s loss on “identity politics” and anti-racist and feminist organizing. At the very least, Sanders’ comments inadvertently provide cover for Trump, glossing over the deliberately poisonous nature of his rhetoric.
HRC's loss probably was partially due to identity politics--which is an anti-liberal movement. It was also probably partially due to the extremist feminism and extremist/racist "ant-racism" of the PC left. The paragraph is carefully constructed to fudge these issues. As if being anti-PC were to object to "anti-racist organizing"...
   If we didn't face a lunatic right, I'd be happy to see the lunatic left refusing to face facts about why the Dems lost. But we do. So I'm not.
   This is exactly the arc the GOP went through in '08 and '12. They swore they were going to do some soul-searching and figure out what went wrong. But extremists and dogmatic partisans cannot ever admit that they're wrong about principles. So the GOP's answer was always: muh messagin'. They weren't wrong, you see...they just didn't do a good job explaining why they were right. This is what we're getting from the left now, too--a complete refusal to even consider the possibility that people really are fed up with PC bullshit. And that's grounded in a refusal to admit that it's even possible to go too far in the direction of PC/IP.
   Also, the PC left looooves terminological obfuscation. So there's also a fair bit of the now-standard faux puzzlement about the term 'political correctness' in that piece as well. I'm starting to think that there's a factory somewhere mass producing essays containing slight variations on these themes.


Blogger The Mystic said...

You know, you guys might be too hard on the Bern here; he was speaking off the cuff on the issue and he certainly wasn't as thorough and precise as he could've been, but I don't think he was TOTALLY OFF THE MARK. He said, for example:

"One of the arguments as to why Trump won," Sanders continued, "is the belief that most or many of his supporters are sexists or racists or homophobes. I happen not to believe that's the case. I think what he did do is he said, 'You know what, there's a lot of pain in this country, people are scared and people are worried.' People are tired of status quo politics. He broke through that."

That's totally in the vicinity of the issue here. You constantly point out (and rightly) that the PC are in the business of flinging around these labels without regard for their inaccuracy, and it is the modus operandi of the PC movement to reduce all opposition to bigotry.

Sure, Bernie kinda fumbled around and said something about the media as well, and sure, the reference here isn't nearly as well-formulated or cogent as the critiques you offer up, but he was hit for an off-the-cuff remark and kinda did something sorta right-ish, if you ask me; not something wildly incorrect.

A minor correction if I'm right, but we should be as charitable as we can to allies, and it seems Bernie plausibly has a reasonable understanding and proper intention here, but the execution was flawed.

It could be, of course, that he is totally wrong-headed about the matter, but the evidence cited in the article doesn't seem to me to constitute proof of that (though I didn't watch the video).

10:17 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Argh, dude you are 100% right about this, and I was wrong.

I totally forgot about that first part of what he said, and only remembered the stuff about doubletalk and whatnot.

10:39 AM  

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