Saturday, December 23, 2017

Molly Roberts: "The Crusaders Against Political Correctness Need To Calm Down"

Wow, this is awful.
   Main arguments, taking some license:
   (1) You guys are in your fifties!
   (2) Most of the students pushing PC will grow out of it.
   And of course:
   (3) The other side is worse.
   Hey, at least we may have started to move beyond the PC denialism phase; progressives admitting that PC even exists is a step in the right direction...
   I shouldn't dignify 1-3 with responses, but I can't resist:
   As for (2): It's neither clearly true nor clearly relevant. First, no one would accept the following argument: "Hey, the Klan really isn't a big problem, because those guys'll mostly die off in twenty years." What we're concerned about is the damage they do between now and then. And the campus PCs have already done plenty of damage. Second, a big part of the problem isn't 18-year-old students, it's the faculty and administrators who act as transmitters, instigators, and force-multipliers. (Many of them are in their fifties, too--ergo subject to criticism (1)...) Students are just a very visible part of the PC machine. Finally, and just as obviously: even if every one of them grew out of it, there's no reason to think that each one wouldn't be replaced by another (or two other...or three other...) useful idiot(s). And so the cycle of suck would perpetuate itself.
   As for (3): I've come to think that this is one of the most dangerous arguments in politics. First, the other side always seems worse. Because, second, we are terrible at making such comparisons. And, third: if side A is sufficiently awful, it doesn't matter much that side B is worse. Also, some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can worry about two...three...ten problems at the same time. You need to be able to, too.

   As for whether the control-left is actually less dangerous than the alt-right...I'm inclined to doubt it. The main argument for the thesis is that the alt-right helped give us Trump. Not an inconsequential argument. OTOH, however, the control-left helped the alt-right help give us Trump--by making elements of the left so patently insane that Trump came to seem like a viable alternative. But, again: the real mistake is to think that the comparative question matters much.
   I have no burning interest in trying to compare the crazy left to the crazy right. My own view is that the crazy left is much crazier than the crazy right, and is more capable of doing something like long-range mental (even, I suppose one might say, spiritual) damage to the U.S. Also: it's not confined to the U.S., but infects much of Western civilization. The crazy right has more directly helped to give us Trump. And it seems more inclined to just start shooting people. It's bad. Way bad. It may very well be worse. I absolutely acknowledge that. But I don't care much about the comparison. What I care about most right now is people gesturing at the crazy right as a way of poo-pooing the severity and danger of craziness on the left. What such arguments really mean is: I just don't think the control-left is very dangerous.
   Don't think that. It's a very, very serious error.

I was aiming at, but forgot: the really disheartening thing about that article is the comments. Comment after comment after comment defending the PC left with sophistical arguments and outright falsehoods. One of the most common is: PC is just human decency! They just want us to stop using racial slurs!  My God...the cluelessness! Here's a radical group that has as one of its main principles that freedom of speech needs to be radically restricted...and mainstream progressivism defends it with outright lies. The comments really are just breath-takingly, dishearteningly terrible. The crazy fringe is one problem. As during the paleo-PC era, the other problem is that the mainstream left is vigorously protecting the crazy fringe. Here's a group trying to shout down and shut down legitimate political expression with which it disagrees...and progressives are either so dishonest or so ignorant that they insist that it's all about racial slurs. (Not, of course, that racial slurs shouldn't be protected--because they should.)]


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