Thursday, December 22, 2016

Yes, Political Correctness Helped Trump Win

Robby Soave is right about this.
   First: yes, there's a tendency for people to attribute causation on the basis of what they like and dislike. Dislike PC and dislike Trump and your'e probably inclined to believe that PC helped Trump. I've tried to avoid that, FWIW.
   But I do think that PC helped Trump.
   Look. Let's ignore, for the purposes of this argument, that PC is bad. All we need is: a lot of people believe that PC is bad. Trump believes that PC is bad. (One of the relatively few things he's right about; but never mind.) People who think that PC is bad apparently tended to vote for Trump, and Trump voters often cite concerns about PC as a reason for supporting him. These people often say that they voted for Trump because PC is bad, and because he's against it.
   Now: it's foolish to think that we always need a survey or study of some kind in order to draw conclusions about social causes. The information available to us gives us good reason--at least prima facie reason--to conclude that PC was likely a factor in Trump's win. If this kind of information gives us no reason to believe the hypothesis, then doing some social science isn't going to help. Science isn't magic, and social science is often not particularly good science. How is it that you know that liberals tended to support Hillary, anyway? Did anyone do a survey? Did you read the results? Did you check that statistics? Even if you did--and you didn't, of course--is that what's responsible for your belief? Or did it merely accord with something you already believed?
   At any rate: we've got plenty of reason to believe that PC helped Trump. To say that PC helped Trump is more-or-less just to say: excesses of the left drove some people to vote for the more right-wing candidate. We don't need to wait for the nod of social science on this one.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously you know as well as anyone that the phrase "PC" is used equivocally. Nonetheless, I'm afraid there's at least some of that going on here. Did "PC" help Trump? I don't doubt it for a second. But what form of "PC" are we talking about. Obviously there's overlap, and I'm sure a bit of all of it hurt, but it seems to me--and I could be wrong here--that the sort of "PC" many Trump supporters are upset about is less the idea that men can become women by believing it to be the case, or that race is socially constructed, for example, and instead appreciate a candidate who's not afraid to say Mexican immigrants are rapists, or that we should ban Muslims from entering the country, or that he's intentionally only going to use the phrase "Merry Christmas," etc. Long story short: I think you're often right about the dangers of the current iteration of PC that's all over college campuses, but the things Trump has lumped in with being "PC" far exceed those bounds. I guess I just don't think it's merely "PC" not to call Mexican immigrants rapists, and--for that matter--I have no problem with the Obama's "Christmas" cards have said "Happy Holidays" for 8 years, given that many of his constituents are not Christians, etc. I suppose I'm just repeating myself now, but suffice it to say that Trump's bar for what's "PC" (and thus problematic) is much lower than mine and, I think, lower than yours, too.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I totally agree, A. I've complained about that overly-expansive conception myself, and I'm not sure why I didn't think more about that here.

Even with that point on the table, I think this could still go either way, but running out the door now. Will think on it.

I do think that a lot of the things that are actually PC are known to people with the overly-expansive conception. Jenner is a woman / the public restroom fiasco, BLM's excesses, a hesitance to criticize Islam and all that.

But anyway.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

The joke of course is that Conservatives looooove PC, it's just they use it for things they believe in. Like you can't protest the Anthem and you can't disrespect the Confederate Battle Flag, and you can't criticize Trump, and you have to say Merry Christmas, and you can't have a lapel pin that Republicans can't identify.

But, yes the poor poor white man whose had to put up with Bablack Oblackma in the White House has been terrorized by PC and struck a blow for White Power in this election.

8:48 AM  

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