Sunday, June 8, 2008

Political Correctness- It's Time To Give It Up

Anyone who has been reading The Stonecypher since I started blogging two months ago knows how I feel about our current president. It should come as no surprise that I support Barack Obama, but I have an underlying concern if he should become president. My hope is that he would be very good. He might even be great. But he will certainly NOT be perfect. When he stumbles and blunders (and he most certainly will do that), then supporters and detractors must all be free to criticize his mistakes without being accused of racism. Political correctness must go, and now is the time for that to happen. The Left needs to give it up. It’s the price that the Left must pay for this success to finally come their way.

The good idea behind political correctness was that people should not offend one another. The false pretense was that it’s all about tolerance and civility and celebration of diversity. It’s not. These concepts are just as phony as the notion fifty years ago that true patriotism was based on anti-Communism. Like McCarthyism in the early 1950s, political correctness is all about power. Power, and nothing more. The reality is that I can probably gain power over you by simply claiming you offended me. The claim itself need not even have any valid basis to it. There is, however, an important caveat to this, because not everyone can gain power in this way.

Under political correctness, heterosexual, Christian white males are at a great disadvantage. They’re the only group who can’t gain individual power over others just by claiming to be offended. White males would seem to have a disproportionate majority of the power these days, at least institutionally, but what I’m talking about is power at the social and individual level. Here’s an example: If a black person says that they deserve free money as a reparation for slavery, that person is taken seriously. If a white person says that— in the interest of historical congruity— slavery reparations should be paid in obsolete Confederate dollars, that person will be accused of racism. And an accusation of racism has the same effect today that the accusation of Communist ties had in 1953. Just the accusation alone can mean an instant end to a career and social standing. Any white male at the top of the institutional power structure can be toppled by an accusation of racism. So I ask you. Who has the power?

So how do these societal pathologies come about. Basically, an original good idea gets magnified. And not just a bit magnified, but magnified beyond all reason. McCarthyism started with the simple idea that there was a network of Communist spies at work in America. By the time it got magnified, you had the televised spectacle of an innocent person who might have once attended a Communist meeting out of curiosity, now being bullied by a panel of self-righteous senators in front of the entire nation as though that person could supply the names of all the spies in America, if only subjected to enough pressure. The pathology in all that wasn’t in what the senators were doing. Senators are always self-righteous. The pathology was in the fact that people all over the country sat in their living rooms and watched it on television and bought into it. Political correctness now has that same ubiquity in the United States.

These societal pathologies seem to come along every fifty years or so, and then they gradually melt away under the heat of their own absurdity. Now is the time for political correctness to go away. Surrendering this absurd power tool is the price that the Left must pay to give Obama a chance at a meaningful presidency.


Jabriel Ballentine said...

I would not accuse you of racism by claiming to need reparations. Here's what I've said before:

Everyone needs reparations! Get Yours!

James said...

I agree with what the two of you have to say about political correctness.

But then there's this puzzling statement:

If a white person says that— in the interest of historical congruity— slavery reparations should be paid in obsolete Confederate dollars, that person will be accused of racism.

Wouldn't that person simply be accused of historical confusion?

Slavery in what is now the United States was carried out under British colonial rule and then under the U.S. Constitution, using first British currency and then federal dollars.

Only for a very brief period, after the outbreak of the Civil War, was southern slavery carried out under the authority of the Confederacy. So it hardly makes sense that Confederate dollars should pay any debt, does it?