POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: IT WAS WRONG AND DANGEROUS THEN, IT IS WRONG AND DANGEROUS NOW

1.What is political correctness or PC?

Everybody seems to use the term PC in a different context, from racism to xenophobia.

 After a long, televised debate on political correctness, Stephen Fry observed this;

      ‘I think people will look back on this debate and wonder why political correctness was not discussed’ (Political Correctness Gone Mad? Televised Munk Debate, Toronto, May 18, 2018).

My contention is that PC was not discussed by the debaters because they had a different notion of what PC means, depending on their gender and racial backgrounds.

Standard definitions of PC refer to language which may offend minority groups on the basis of their political views, race, culture, gender, sexual orientation or whatever sub groups in society can be identified.

My definition of political correctness is the use of language which is consistent with the zeitgeist of the period. It changes over time because societal power struggles change over time.

I make the case for this definition by illustrating PC in the second half of the 20th century and PC in our times. I also argue that language based on PC was unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now. PC changes over time, but PC never has and never will change people’s minds. It only pushes free thought underground.

2.Political Correctness Then

I was born behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ when the Soviet Union occupied most of Eastern Europe. All these countries were experimenting with socialism based on the classical Marxist grand narrative of class struggle between the proletariat and the capitalists. As part of this socialist experiment, all productive assets were taken away (nationalised) from the ‘capitalists’, which included farmers, industrialists and even small businesses which employed more than one person. All economic production decisions were made by central planning authorities. Resource allocations were made by the new ruling class which consisted of the members of the Communist Party supported by the military and secret service like the KGB and the Stasi. This new ruling class first allocated economic resources to themselves and then to their supporters. The remaining resources were then distributed to the rest of society.

PC at the time meant that you could not us any language which was critical of the political system. Even if you whispered any criticism at work or a coffee house, you could be detained by the KGB or the Stasi and jailed without a trial in your own country (if you were ‘lucky’) or deported to Siberia.

But PC did not stop free thinking. The human spirit prevailed as witnessed by the Hungarian Revolution (1956), the Czech Uprising (1968) and the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). Socialism as an experiment totally failed, and the much-maligned capitalism delivered intellectual freedom and huge economic gains to these countries.

3.Political Correctness Now

 In the classical Marxist view of the world, the capitalists were the ruling class and the victims were the proletariat. In the 21st Century, proponents of PC use neo Marxist philosophy to identify privileged white males as the ruling class and females, racial groups, gender fluid people, illegal migrants and any other subgroups as the victims. Proponents of PC couch their arguments in terms of inclusivity, diversity and equity (the socialist/communist utopian dream of equal outcomes).

Whilst some of these ideals do have merit and should be debated, PC achieves exactly the opposite. PC suffocates debates on important issues. For example, if inclusivity is important, why do we have identifiers for sub groups of races such as African-American, Irish -American? Why cannot all people who live in the USA just be called Americans. Is the notion of diversity consistent with inclusivity? Do we really need to identify 30-40 different gender choices and teach them at Universities?  Why is it that PC is only flowing in one direction? For example, why is it okay to abuse a white US President every which way, but the same level of abuse would be totally unacceptable against an African-American US President?

My contention is that the proponents of today’s PC are not different from last century’s Marxist proponents of PC. They are the neo Marxists with the same objective which is to destroy the capitalist system, but their modus operandi is more subtle. They do not use secret police and send people to Siberia, but try to indoctrinate young minds from kindergarten to University through the educational system pointing out the ills of the capitalist system, which are many, albeit none of them fatal. They focus on issues, like unequal income distribution (although Western societies have achieved incredible growth in wealth for all in the last hundred years and wiped out hunger and poverty for most), the ‘refugees’ (although many of them are economic migrants entering illegaly), global warming (which is based on highly questionable and contestable science), the role of women in today’s society, gender fluidity and so on. Their solution is the utopian dream of equal outcome for all, which can only be delivered by central socialist governments.  The clear illustration of this neo Marxist idea is the emergence of extreme left-wing politicians in the US (Sanders), UK (Corbyn) and Australia (Di Natale). They try to suffocate open debate on these issues by adopting their version of PC and demand that everybody adopts it, even if you disagree with it. Sadly, some governments agree to this one-way traffic of language at the expense of intellectual and religious freedom.

But all is not lost. Free thinking cannot be pushed underground as the history of the 20th century has taught us.

 Stephen Fry (gay and part of the soft left) observed it at the same debate in Toronto;

     ‘the suppression of language and thought, the closing down, the rationalist idea seems beguiling, that if you limit people’s language, you may somehow teach them different ways of thinking…. that is just implausible, it does not work…’

4.How to respond to PC

Develop markers for extreme left-wing ideology just like it has been done for the extreme right

Identify extreme left politicians and for the sake of future generations never vote for them

Demand that your government encourages free thought and expression of free thought

Demand that your government does not legislate PC in language

Demand that your government does not support PC rather strengthen the defamation laws

Do NOT let PC bleach out our language and sense of humour

 Identify, listen to and help the genuinely disadvantaged groups in your society

Offer a generic label such as Gf instead of Mrs, Mr, Miss to gender fluid people

Make sure that your children learn about the horrors of Lenin, Stalin and Mao not just of Hitler

Explain to your children why socialism failed in the 20th century and how is it failing in the 21st century (Venezuela, North Korea)

                                                   THINK AGAIN, PLEASE!

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