political correctness

November 3, 2015 § 2 Comments

Non mathic said:

“Unfortunately we aren’t all equal when it comes to jokes and ridicule. For instance, making fun of the disabled just comes off as mean, petty, and lazy; there’s not really a greater message, and “cuz it’s funny” isn’t good enough. Just because someone finds something funny doesn’t suddenly make it some untouchable symbol: it’s still completely fine to criticize and disagree with it.

I think a lot of people use the “too PC” lingo in exactly the way that they think “lazy liberals” do, in that they want to try and stifle any criticism from the start. It’s kind of like someone who wants to yell “Fuck you” but doesn’t want to hear “Fuck you” back.

Most left-leaning people seem to not like seeing jokes further degrade and demean the already degraded and demeaned, as those kinds of jokes just reinforce the difficulties and structures those groups face. Did Blackface elevate African Americans, or did it reinforce stereotypes and racism? Not all laughter is out of joy and happiness, and it can easily have a core of hatred and bigotry that I’d rather see fade away.”

I responded:

I think the problem is that very often the political correctness crusader makes his criticisms out of his own form of hatred. A lot of people on the left are often attacking the kind of person they imagine would make such a joke, rather than the person who did actually make the joke, and so they’re projecting on to that person intentions he didn’t actually have.

A good example would be a joke Tosh told recently in which he explained how he replaced his sister’s mace with silly string, resulting in her getting raped. Feminists complained for all the reasons you cite here, but if you listen to the joke, there is no demeaning of women or trivializing of rape. The reason it was funny was precisely because society does take rape seriously.

People make jokes and reveal themselves to be shitty bigoted people. Others can call them out on it. All that is fine, but it’s another matter when we’re pulling fire alarms during people’s lectures or shows, banning their accounts, deleting their posts, and actively trying to get them fired from jobs.  It’s another matter entirely when we believe that everybody else has to walk on eggshells around us or else be dehumanized and persecuted.  It’s really a bit much to suggest that such people are interested in a debate of any kind, isn’t it?

As the Tosh joke demonstrates, very often people are just looking for a reason to get outraged and they’re actually just revealing their own form of intolerance and bigotry in witch hunting others whose every word gets deliberately misinterpreted in the most sinister way possible.  This is especially true when it comes to feminism since so many of them have such a drastically distorted and erroneous interpretation of men’s experience and their intentions. Everything men say and do is interpreted as “misogyny” to the point where the way some guy sits on a subway seat is interpreted as a deliberate attempt by a patriarchal oppressor to dominate physical space or some guy’s shirt is interpreted as a threatening the trembling womenfolk and scaring them away from STEM.

And the “punching up” argument doesn’t work considering that in many cases it’s upper middle class college educated white women doing the punching. Who do they think they are “punching up” at exactly? Downwardly mobile, increasingly marginalized, less well educated men whose incomes have been stagnating for a generation while their labor participation rate fell?  Yeah, you’re really speaking up for the marginalized and throwing a rock a goliath, person who will never be accused of predation and moral inferiority based on your gender.  Tell us more about institutionalized sexism, person who doesn’t seem to realize that the sentencing disparity between men and women is six times the one that exists between the races.  Yeah, look how marginalized you are, person who has a hearing at the UN where she can complain about people telling her she “sucks” on the internet and expect it to be treated with all the seriousness of genocide in Darfur.  Give me a fucking break.

It’s seriously getting old and it’s reaching the point where otherwise left leaning and liberal people are jumping ship. The PC policing, demonizing and shaming is way past the point of diminished marginal returns.  I’m not defending this bullshit anymore.  It’s all based on a pretty questionable premise anyway. Do we really believe that social, historical, and political outcomes begin simply with people’s beliefs and prejudices? If that’s what the left believes, then it is on the same side of the debate as religious and social conservatives because rational people on the other side of the debate would ask what underlying conditions produce beliefs in the first place.  And yes, you’re a “lazy liberal” if you think throwing tantrums about pronouns is going to change that underlying condition.

§ 2 Responses to political correctness

  • Mark says:

    Hi – I found your Youtube channel and blog from your “Douglas Murray is dumb video” which I wholeheartedly agree with. I am from the UK.

    Political correctness is inherent to a society and it’s prevailing power structure, some speech is sanctioned by the government, press, feminist lobby’s other speech is halted by self-censorship and self preservation.

    Donald Trump has won plaudits from the Tea Party/ New Right types for attacking immigrants and even John McCain.

    Let me ask you this :-

    Could Trump get away with verbally attacking “The troops” could he get away with a statement like “Our military and troops are designed and trained to fight imaginary paper wars, that’s why we lose every real one”

    I think he would be set upon and hounded out. Trump knows not to say something like that in the USA, because the people on the right who claim to be about “free speech” will attack him and call him a traitor.

    People attack groups which are minorities (say Mexicans) and then when they get a robust response they claim it’s as a result of “political correctness” rather than the result of those groups responding to an attack.

    In my opinion, attacking Mexican immigrants is attacking a soft target. Claiming that the pushback he gets from them is “political correctness” then allows him out to take on the role of being “anti-establishment” this is just a Galileo gambit/fallacy.

    In the UK, in one of the biggest political shocks we have ever had here the opposition Labour party voted in an unavowed (gasp) socialist Jeremy Corbyn much to the dismay of his own supposedly left wing party who fielded 3 other neo-liberal candidates against him. Corbyn stood against neoliberalism, against NATO, voted against all the foreign wars. Whilst Corbyn has attracted criticism from the right wing as being a “national security threat” and “reckless ” he has been defended by the far left, but not the center left.

    Do you know what almost everyone, both the left and right attacked him for?

    Corbyn is staunchly against Monarchy and during a militarily memorial a few months ago he didn’t sing the national anthem. The right wingers called him a traitor. The criticism from the left was different. The left attacked him for not being politically savvy and too idealistic, the critique was as follows (let me paraphrase):-

    Despite what you believe about monarchy , you were in presence of the Queen, it’s a “tradition” so you should just sing the national anthem (God save the queen) in her presence even if you don’t believe in monarchy you should just pretend to sing it.

    No one called this political correctness because it’s a “tradition” in the same way as “we must support the troops no matter what” is “tradition” in the US.

    In the same thread, what are the chances of a US president who doesn’t believe in free market capitalism?

    From what I can see a neo-liberal like Obama is on the “left”. Bernie Sanders who wants something similar to European social democracy (but nowhere near as “left” country like Germany) is “hard left” in the US. In the US Bernie Sanders is considered “hard left” for proposing what would be “the center right” consensus in Europe.

    Bernie Sanders can’t politically attack the US neoliberal establishment without being perceived as a crazy communist by “US traditions” However, no one ever calls this “establishment order” political correctness or because it is “tradition”

    These examples are just me trying to convey the following:-

    (i)What constitutes “political correctness” depends on the perceived agenda of the speaker. (abuse, disenfranchisement, trolling, joke)

    (ii) Political correctness depends on the current political climate (current popular culture) and tradition (previous culture or an established order). so some things get called “political correctness” while others don’t(so called established wisdom like free market capitalism).

    (iii) You can use a charge of fighting against political correctness to appear anti-establishment or the underdog (feign weakness) to gain support.

    (iv)It follows from (ii) that you can avoid critique of a position by calling it the established order. If it’s a complicated you can use appeal to science this is used heavily in economics, or infalsibility: climate change/

    (iii)Censorship can be instituted using a range of means by mob, legal threat or by capitalism (reducing demand for a product “boycott”) or by self censorship for perceived self preservation.

    On the last point, without irony most of the right wing (US) Libertarians are the ones criticizing YouTube/Reddit/facebook for policing speech. However these are private companies seeking profit and if their (mostly) female customers/ usersbase don’t want perceived misogyny online the companies respond to protect their reputations and profits by making a terms of service which must be adhered to. They criticize the “NSA” big government spooks, yet they never confront the fact that the telco companies are private entities, with infrastructure funded by private capital, with private networks, and once you communicate on a private network you must abide by it’s terms of service (i.e. They can monitor traffic and perform “analytics” on their own private networks) . They defend the rights of private power to the hilt, and when it bites them they blame “big government”

    The problem with the phrase “political correctness” especially by right wingers is that it is used in such a broad bush fashion that the term itself has become an invective in the same way as “Leftist”.

    It’s used to mean “bad person” without any of the above context.


  • Divided Line says:

    I agree with much of this. The right and left have their own form of political correctness. I would have used the example of religious conservatives who would get offended at everything and blubber about “the children” in the same way that feminists blubber about “the women,” but your example about the troops I think is an even better one since the social and religiously conservative right discredited itself some years back after an epic freakout that lasted throughout much of the Bush years. You’re seeing a similar implosion on the identity politics left now.

    The reason conservatives would hold up the children in the way that feminists hold up women is because they’re contrasting an idealized form of innocence, or what they designate as politically and morally sacred, with whatever foe they are accusing of menacing this ideal. It’s a way of demonizing the opposition and has more to do with persecuting their enemies than it does saving women, children, or respecting the sacrifice of the troops, etc. They’re pointing to the manichean good in order to contrast it with what they designate as the manichean evil.

    I think a lot of the ideological confusion now results from the fact that people are often failing to make a distinction between the social right and left and the economic right and left. The identity politics left – and especially the feminist left – is really no different than the social and religious conservative right. Their interpretation of public affairs really is based on the concerns they had which inspired them to think about these issues in the first place. I refer to them as the “moron left” and “moron right,” because their understanding of politics is really based on maudlin feelings, petty personal grievances, and fears. They often relate to political information the way they relate to entertainment. What’s most interesting to them isn’t economic development or political economy, but sex, scandal, cheering for the good guys, denouncing the bad guys, and so on.

    The economic right and economic left have different concerns, and so they see something much different when they look at public affairs. All the social bullshit is secondary. The economic right and left worries about development, geostrategy, military threats, and so on. The rub here is that when the economic right looks at the left, it sees only the moron left. When the economic left looks at the right, it sees only the moron right, and so this is where all the confusion arises.

    My own position on this I explained in a previous post. I said:

    “In real-world practice, what libertarian and conservative “small government” bullshit amounts to is control of your economic life for those with the most access to financial capital, while feminist PC crusading “safe space” hysteria amounts to control of your cultural and personal life for those with the most access to social capital.

    In the end, a man’s life happens within the parameters set by the twin demands of employers and women. The way to make the wife happy or to get one in the first place is to make the employer happy. The feminists, who like women generally enjoy greater social capital, are busy breaking the contract between wives and husbands, while the free trade cultists, whose leadership enjoys greater financial capital, are busy breaking the contract between employers and employees.

    So if there is a political leaning or label for the guy who recognizes this, it should be something like the “culturally libertarian socialist.”


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