Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The secular salvation offered by Political Correctness

James Kalb, the author of the The Tyranny of Liberalism, posts the transcript of a recent speech at the H. L. Mencken Club on Political Correctness. As Kalb points out, Political Correctness operates as a secular religion, offering its adherents a sort of worldly salvation:

What it relates to, in fact, is a sort of new religion: the gospel of inclusiveness. It's a religion of salvation, and what PC stands for is the salvation of the world. It's going to destroy the demons of the past--hatred, bigotry, division--and open up a new age of freedom, equality, unity, world peace, and unbounded horizons.

It's heaven on the one side, hell on the other. With that in mind, it's not surprising people are willing to do and say strange things for the sake of political correctness. Nothing could possibly be more important than doing whatever it tells us to do.

The new gospel, we are told, is the same as the old, only better. It completes and corrects the previous version, and cuts out a lot of stuff that's not really to the point. I went to a wedding recently in a rather beautiful Episcopalian church in an old Pennsylvania town. Instead of the Stations of the Cross on the wall, they had the stations of the UN Millennium Development Goals--gender equality, fighting HIV, global partnership, and the rest.

Amen, Hallelujah!

And what is Political Correctness and how does it work? Here is where you start hearing the sound of goose stepping:

Political correctness is the gospel of radical inclusion. It's treating all identities and ways of being as equal. As such, it follows quite naturally from the present-day liberal principle of equality, that everyone's as good as everyone else.

That principle is comprehensive, and it's invincibly strong. It's not just a claim that all human beings are equal on basic points, so they all have souls, or they all have the right not to be murdered, beaten, robbed, or swindled. It's a claim that everyone, or at least every kind of person, has equal, or at least equally valuable, capacities and ways of acting. Every way of living is as good as every other way of living, and if there are distinctions they can't be distinctions of value. We're all equally special, each in our own way.

If you don't agree you're a heretic. You've separated yourself not only from respectable society but probably the human race. It's people like you who are responsible for Auschwitz. That's why possible racism trumps actual murder. If you might be a racist, you can be murdered and maybe that's not such a bad thing.

The principle of comprehensive equality has to be as strong as it is because it's so evidently false. People and groups are obviously different in all sorts of ways, some of which matter a great deal. So to exist at all the principle has to be a super-principle that crushes all obstacles. Otherwise the normal competition of ideas would wipe it out.

That's why you're suspect if you moderate the principle in any way. If you believe that individuals differ with regard to characteristics like intelligence, even though groups don't, or if you believe that groups differ in some ways, but the differing qualities are equal in value, you're under suspicion. Anything short of simple-minded adhesion means you aren't going to be reliable.

The only "Diversity" these people are interested in is in the different flavors of Kool-Aid available for you to drink in order to believe it.

Read the rest here.


One Brow said...

Since "political correctness" is a sneer term used only by people opposing it, it is whatever teh opponents claim it is. So, a long essay explaining doesn't really explain much at all.

KyCobb said...

Its an ironic screed, considering that this is the week Rand Paul's Brownshirts wrestled a woman to the ground and stepped on her head due to her political views.

One Brow said...


You misunderstand the situation. When 2 or 3 grown men step on a liberals head, it's about protecting the candidate. I'm surprised the women hasn't yet apologized, as one of the men suggested she should. When conservatives aren't allowed to shout "fag" at the top of their lungs, it's oppression. I'm surprised you don't understand this.

Martin Cothran said...

I guess when the overexcited and thoroughly idiotic supporters of one campaign start physically abusing a campaign critic--and the supporters of the other side start making criminal charges against the campaign implying that they actually orchestrated it with no actual evidence--we know election day is near.

One Brow said...


Maybe it's just my memory, but the whole "tackling and stomping on the head" thing seems a little more than the usual. I recall there being claims of assault, but IIRC they were not verified, in the past 10 years or so.

I agree it seems highly unlikely this was orchestrated. Who is that dumb (both ways, it's would be dumb to orchestrate and dumb to think of it as orchestrated)? Negligent, probably. Foreseeable, possibly. Orchestrated, no.