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CULTURE AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
1223. Masking the face always symbolizes a rejection of collaborative humanity: the medicine man signals his supernatural powers; the criminal his anti-social intent; the niqab-wearer her rejection of community.
1220. Seeing the faces of others enables empathy; the masking of faces creates uncertainty; it suggests and encourages hostility.
1217. The face enables empathy: it is easier to insult someone at a distance -- in writing -- than in person. This is another reason that cultural face-coverings are to be deplored.
1214. Aiding the unfortunate should never be referred to as "reducing inequality" -- since that suggests that "equality" is a desirable goal. It is not: the attempt to attain the unattainable is coercive and stupid. "Aiding the unfortunate" should be referred to as "aiding the unfortunate."
1213. We are witnessing a period of self-loathing in western societies which is based on a sense that "equality" is the bedrock reality of the human condition. Using that standard, everything which is "successful" offends the egalitarian moral imperative, and, in that sense, is a failure. Conversely, anything manifestly unsuccessful represents an oppressed virtue in dire need of promotion and respect.
1212. Human beings respond to incentives; they are inherently competitive. Just as the competitive spirit cannot be allowed unfettered reign, neither can it be extinguished. Those who attempt to do so -- under the banners of virtue and equality -- are not merely foolish; given sufficient power, they become dictators -- and murderers.
1211. If the niqab were merely an armband depicting a veiled face – it would be symbolically offensive – either as a marker of oppression – or of deliberate cultural insult. Because it actually masks the face – it adds injury to insult: it is a barrier to integration, ensures cultural isolation, and represents a risk to security. A further symbolic insult is added – that of a superior stance – the claim of a right to observe faces which it denies to others. Hiding the face is no more a "minority right" than is public nudity.
1207. "Racism" is a convenient buzzword used as an unanswerable accusation of moral depravity. It is often applied to criticism which has nothing to do with race.
1206. The just society does not promote equality, rather, it removes barriers to self-fulfilment. It allows capitalism as the most efficient economic system, but mitigates its Darwinian effects by alleviating need.
1205. Political correctness is the inedible fruit of unreasonable expectations.
1204. There are truths which everyone knows -- and which everyone is afraid to say; that is the triumph of political correctness.
1202. The law of the survival of the fittest is cruel, but axiomatic and irrefutable. As civilizations focus on equality, rather than merit, so they ensure their decline.
1201. Socialism, multiculturalism, and political correctness are all informed by the principle of equality. Since "equality" is an unattainable ideal state, coercion and oppression are intrinsic to all three.
1199. The strand of self-loathing currently so evident in western civilization may be attributed to the idealistic focus on equality. All western achievements fail the egalitarian test; true virtue is to be found in cultures less competent, and less successful -- the traditionally disparaged. Even directly antithetical cultural values must be spared criticism in the name of "equality."
1193. Banning the burka -- a great kindness mischaracterized as an offensive cruelty.
1192. Islam is a tough nut to crack: at its core is a ruthless, aggressive, hostile political ideology cunningly concealed beneath a ruthless, hostile, aggressive religious philosophy.
1191. Hiding one's face during ordinary social interactions is ridiculous, divisive, and subversive.
1190. Political correctness is the new religion -- determined to make up enough commandments to ensure that everyone is a sinner.
1187. In the ideal world, the niqab would not be banned; in accordance with the concept of freedom -- it would be allowed as a symbol of an oppressive political and religious ideology which is destructive of that very notion of freedom which permits its expression. But in the real world, that "tolerance" seems inextricably wedded to the notion that the oppressive symbol -- and the underlying ideology -- not be criticized. To allow opposing ideas a free rein -- and then prohibit criticism of them -- is not tolerance but stupidity. It seems the equivalent of a death wish.
1182. The virtue of harmony is a convenient cover for the totalitarian impulse.
1181. Those anxious to signal virtue are mostly signallers. They are generally not opposed to convenient pacts with the devil in support of their pretence.
1180. Those anxious to signal virtue seek not virtue, but approbation, and a sense of moral superiority. Thus selfishness parades as piety.
1174. In the marketplace of ideas, a winner can be chosen on the basis of efficacy; in any battle involving religion, reason is irrelevant -- determination is all. It is folly to believe that a winning idea will overcome a commitment of faith -- yet this appears to be the presumption of western secularism.
1172. The great revolutionary truth that hardly dares to speak its name: some things are better than others.
1171. We live in a time of universal deceit -- and there is little appetite for revolution. "Equality" is the pleasant lie which underlies multiculturalism, socialism, and, indeed, political correctness itself.
1170. Banning the burka: in a war, one neither broadcasts nor approves the propaganda of the enemy.
1169. Everyone knows that people are not equal. That is why it is necessary to keep insisting -- with such vehemence and conviction -- that they are. That is why we are always willing to give socialism one more chance.
1167. The most dangerous men are those who have -- or pretend they have -- a vision of an egalitarian society. That noble end will justify a tsunami of oppressive means.
1165. Emphasizing equality rather than merit will work -- as long as you are not in competition with realists.
1164. We are witnessing the clash of two antithetical traditions: one allows the freedom to criticize; the other holds that a religion must, unfailingly, be approved. There can be no compromise between such opposites. If we fail to uphold the freedom to criticize -- we concede the triumph of irrational belief, and embrace not merely the slavery of silence, but the imprisonment of the mind which it implies.
1160. "Islamophobia" -- the irrational fear of Islam -- scarcely exists. An example would be the belief that agents of Islam are reading our thoughts through the television set. Overwhelmingly, the fear of Islam is perfectly rational -- it is based on the fact that the religion is oppressive and threatening in theory, and is interpreted literally by significant numbers. The attempts to vilify those who fear Islam represent stupidity wearing the mantle of "tolerance."
1144. The multiculturalist assumes, naively, that cultural success -- both material and psychological -- is solely a function of location, and has nothing to do with cultural values and attitudes.
1133. The great intellectual failure of the left is to assume that ideal conceptions represent viable alternatives in real life. It is easy to proclaim virtue by being on the side of peace, tolerance, and equality. But peace may entail self-destruction, tolerance of evil allows it to spread, and equality -- if it were actually attainable -- implies mediocrity, stasis, and the cessation of progress. Choosing -- in the real world -- usually involves determining the lesser evil.
1132. Political correctness attempts to realize -- on earth -- a heaven of equality, with saintly concomitants of benign tolerance and universal respect. The problem is that equality is not in the blueprint of natural things, and what political correctness exposes -- unintentionally -- is the gargantuan gap between the ideal and the real.
1131. When excellence plays second fiddle to diversity, the performance will suffer. (The more refined version of #1130)
1130. When excellence plays second fiddle to diversity, the tune will stink.
1124. Immigration: compassionate ideals are attractive -- but practical realities -- despite their cosmetic deficiencies -- often interfere.
1123. Political correctness seeks to suppress speech critical of Islam. Thus not only are bad ideas protected -- including the absurd claim of infallibility -- but a liberty fundamental to western societies -- the right to criticize -- is denied. It is an obsequious appeasement -- an offer of cultural suicide in the hope of harmony.
1122. Political correctness insists on a smooth, egalitarian consistency -- but reality is always lumpy.
1120. Political correctness aims for a world of equality where feelings are triumphantly unhurt; the attempt is oppressive, and ultimately must founder on the implacable truth: feelings can never be sacrosanct, and equality is not in the blueprint of natural things.
1118. Socialism represents the tyranny of the ideal: it invariably leads to dictatorship.
1113. With political correctness, "tolerance" and "diversity" are one-directional, not reciprocal.
1111. "Cultural sensitivity" should not preclude the criticism of oppressive, unjust, and absurd cultural practices. For how else can freedom, justice, and reason be advanced?
1110. Political correctness foolishly favours uni-directional -- rather than reciprocal -- tolerance.
1109. In the present age of enlightenment, the right to criticize injustice and absurdity must defer to the demands of "cultural sensitivity."
1108. If "cultural sensitivity" had always been considered the chief virtue -- we would still be practising slavery, human sacrifice -- and cannibalism.
1106. Those who return from a place of "refuge" to their home country for a holiday or special event irrevocably alter their status -- from refugee to "prefugee." They are obviously "refugees" of preference or convenience.
1103. We are waiting to see the point at which political correctness simply devours itself – is paralysed in a web of contradictions and impossibilities – or subsides beneath an incoherent sea of infinitely parsed microaggressions. (We are not holding our breath.)
1099. Political correctness invariably leads to moral relativism -- because the commitment to "equality" precludes judgment. The criticism of ideas -- the suggestion that some ideas are better than others -- is considered unseemly and hurtful of feelings. But ultimately, basic judgments about life are necessary. It is better to be free than to be enslaved; it is better to be comfortable than in pain -- to be fed and sheltered rather than hungry and exposed. It is better to be confident than fearful. It is better to have more opportunities for self-fulfilment rather than fewer. It is better to live a long life than a short one. One may quibble at the edges of such assumptions -- there may be occasions when death is preferable to life -- but, quibbles aside, cultures can -- and should -- be judged.
1092. Victimhood likely has its limitations. It requires certain awkward mindsets: continuing self-pity and resentment -- and unstinting affirmation and accommodation.
1091. When victimhood is unduly rewarded, it becomes addictive -- a habit of mind requiring ever new oppressions for "success." Of such oppressions, life -- unfair to the core -- has an infinite supply.
1090. If you are determined to be an oppressed nail, you will find --or manufacture -- the necessary hammers. (A variation of #803)
1085. Mr. Dawkins has noted the "epidemic" of restrictions on open speech. The pathogen responsible is the notion of equality; the disease is called political correctness. In the ideal world, people, cultures, and religions -- even ideas -- except those which deny the very premise of equality -- are equal. Thus criticism becomes "unfair" and -- the ultimate in tragedy -- hurtful of feelings. The ideal world is, necessarily, a restrictive and coercive factor in the real one.
1084. The belief in multiculturalism is one of the chief follies of the age. It ignores the diversity of cultural beliefs, the powerful roots and bonds of traditional practice, and the essential incompatibility of some traditions with any humane continuance of the human project. In particular, religious certainties -- which have no basis in evidence -- are resistant to reason, and to the moderating effects of secular perspectives.
1074. In left-wing philosophy, only society is to blame -- evil and self-interest are vague illusions. Justice is best employed as an occasional scullery maid in the house of infinite mercy.
1073. As instinctive tribalists, we are programmed for herd-like thinking.
1071. Tribalism -- which is instinctive -- favours conformity and provides the comfort of herd-like thinking; thus it tends naturally towards dictatorship. Democracy attempts to modify the natural bias -- but it requires constant effort and commitment. No one should be surprised that it is not more eagerly adopted.
1069. Socialism pretends that benevolence can be made compulsory. But compulsion is corrosive -- it erodes and eventually destroys benevolence.
1065. Apology and appeasement -- the Obama approach to world affairs -- represents a sacrifice of truth in the pursuit of harmony. But, in the end, the world recognizes merit; it is not productive to hide the light of superior ideas under a barrel of obsequious self-effacement.
1060. It is remarkably easy to prove that a professed multiculturalist is a fool, a monster, or a liar. It is simply necessary to ask: "Are you in favour of cannibalism, slavery, appeasement of the Gods with human sacrifice, stoning for adultery, female genital mutilation, and honour killings?" If all these customs are approved, then the "multiculturalist" is -- clearly -- either a half-wit or a monster. The "multiculturalist" who balks at any of these practices is obviously a liar who likes the sound of the term, and thinks it denotes his superior tolerance and compassion.
1059. People who endlessly praise "diversity" forget that the ultimate in diversity is chaos. Too much of a good thing is invariably a bad thing: a society too diverse will fall apart.
1058. Diversity and uniformity are opposite but complementary concepts. One suggests tyranny; the other, chaos.
1057. The success of strategic victimhood is always somewhat tenuous: the pool of necessary and enabling pity can evaporate in the wind of whining.
1053. Those who see the world through the prism of ancient grievance are likely to misinterpret the present and compromise the future.
1052. Those who define themselves by ancient grievance make victimhood a continuing necessity.
1048. The more ancient the grievance, the more likely it is to become a raison d'être, incapable of being appeased.
1044. Multiculturalism is the idealistic -- but unworkable -- response to the violent and aggressive nationalism of the last century.
1043. Political correctness romanticizes reality -- and then insists it has discovered both truth and virtue.
1039. Political correctness chooses to ignore facts in order to assuage feelings. The difficulty is that feelings can be unexpectedly needy and voracious, while facts are notoriously unflappable and persistent. Over time, ignored facts tend to band together, becoming noisy, nagging -- and even vindictive.
1038. Political correctness assumes that ignoring unpleasant facts will make them disappear.
1037. Political correctness represents a determination to see the world not as it is, but as it "should" be -- a happy place of equality and infinite tolerance.
1035. Evils are often selectively perceived. Many who abhor racism have no difficulty in inveighing against "white privilege."
1031. The desire of indigenous people to retain their traditional culture and way of life while at the same time attaining the standard of living common in modern capitalist societies is an example of Multiple Cake Syndrome.
1029. The indignant response to the sin of cultural appropriation may be likened to laws against blasphemy: they are both attempts to compel reverence where it is not being freely given.
1024. "Blasphemy" is found in matters of comforting but vulnerable belief; the forbidding of criticism is invariably a sign of weakness and insecurity.
1017. Conformity and diversity -- the oil and vinegar of the cultural dressing.
1013. Tribalism -- instinctive and essential -- depends upon conformity -- and conformity implies some degree of tyranny. There is always a penalty for failing to think with the herd.
999. Political correctness is the new humanist religion. It dispenses with some old ideals -- the anthropomorphic monarch in the sky, and the reward of an afterlife -- in order to focus on the new: human equality -- including the equality of ideas and cultures -- and human dignity. It is currently experiencing the inevitable skirmish with reality: human beings are neither equal, nor inherently dignified.
995. That morality is best which allows for the greatest liberty of citizens which is consistent with the well-being of the society of which they are a part.
992. Morality is not divinely revealed, but socially derived. It represents an adjudication between the desires of the individual and the requirements of the tribe. That adjudication may have some universal elements essential to survival, but it may also vary according to beliefs and circumstances. The moral values inspired by the belief that a good harvest depends upon the appeasement of the Gods with human sacrifice differ from those which arise from a belief in the efficacy of a well-designed irrigation system. The values of the tribe under constant threat of attack are unlikely to be identical to those of the tribe which co-exists peacefully with its neighbours. Morality is, essentially, utilitarian rather than holy.
991. Where would you place your bet in a "clash of civilizations?" On the civilization which believes that it is incomparably superior -- or on the one which believes in the equality of all cultures?
987. Sometimes the request for "equal treatment" is a an artful deception: the aim is, in fact, "special treatment."
983. Every human society must adjudicate between desirable but conflicting concepts: competition and co-operation; equality and excellence; freedom and security; diversity and uniformity; justice and mercy.
982. "Cultural appropriation" is the sin discerned by those determined not to be flattered: success is -- for them -- to be found not in accomplishment, but in victimhood.
981. "Cultural appropriation" may be seen as flattery, or insult: everything depends on the desire to be insulted -- to claim the triumph of victimhood.
978. Some believe that their tolerance, earnestly displayed, is a virtuous garlic -- powerful enough to protect them from the vampire of of folly, or the infection of stupidity. Unfortunately, that very belief disproves the thesis.
977. Political correctness is politeness gone mad.
974. The hypothesis that successful cultures will continue to prosper by welcoming those with values antithetical to those which have been instrumental in achieving the success is, as yet, unproven. It is a theory, however, which many idealists seem anxious to validate.
973. Political correctness is always serious -- determinedly empathetic, and cautiously apprehensive. Laughter is spontaneous, and doesn't give a damn. The politically correct can never be jolly.
972. Laughter arises from a triumphant perception of unexpected differences. The politically correct can never acknowledge differences -- which is why they are so grimly humourless.
969. Political correctness bleeds mercy -- but ignores justice.
968. Political correctness values empathy above all; thus it eschews criticism, and refuses to pass judgment. It is all mercy -- but has no concern for justice.
966. Any ideal -- to the extent which it is not consonant with reality -- is potentially oppressive. Thus, the utopias of religion and socialism -- the ideals of equality and infinite tolerance -- are all inherently tyrannical.
963. People often use the word "racist" when they cannot think of a logical argument.
958. Political correctness -- which values feelings over facts, and fiction over freedom -- has led to a kind of intellectual bankruptcy. Any criticism of ideas is seen as an illegitimate attack on the feelings of those who hold them; thus the competitive marketplace of ideas -- where the best must battle to survive -- is rejected in favour of a central plan – a plan designed to enforce an inoffensive egalitarian harmony. It proclaims, in effect, a socialism of the mind.
955. Those who would chase a dream should always examine the intervening terrain. Often a dream shines brightly, distracting attention from the fact that it lies on the far side of an unbridgeable gulf of nightmare.
954. Religion embraces an illusion with evolutionary sanction, and, like tribalism itself, may not be entirely extinguishable. Let us hope that, at least, it can be transformed by doubt: from absolute certainty to something less dangerous -- such as guarded hope.
952. Religion has had a useful, unifying rôle in the evolution of tribes: battles are more easily won with fanaticism than with hesitancy. But fanaticism has now outlived its usefulness: religious certainty must be leavened with doubt, and weakened by reason.
949. The European Union overlooks the reality of man’s instinctive tribalism. People do not like to be ruled by those both distant and unaccountable.
948. In an era of political correctness -- where feelings are more important than facts -- it is not surprising that socialist regimes are not judged on facts and results, but on aims and intentions. As long as the aim is equality and brotherhood, murder and oppression are merely unfortunate but excusable inconveniences.
945. Multiculturalism works well on the Big Rock Candy Mountain. In the real world, not so much.
944. Islamophobia is an entirely reasonable response to a very frightening religion.
943. The remedy for Islamophobia will not be found by criminalizing fear, but by making Islam less frightening.
942. Uniformity and diversity are complementary opposites, not ends in themselves. One leads to stasis, the other to chaos.
941. The election of Donald Trump and the vote in favour of "Brexit" are simply tribal responses to the pretence that tribalism is irrelevant.
940. The idea that men are mere piano keys -- easily manipulated in the interests of harmony -- is the false assumption of multiculturalism. It overlooks two awkward realities: instinctive tribalism, and the fact that some tribal ideas are better than others.
939. Nations should compete -- and co-operate where it is advantageous -- in order to achieve the most agreeable lives for their citizens. Without competition, there can be no success, and no progress.
938. Nationalism is just a fancy name for tribalism.
937. Co-operation is often seen as the opposite of competition; in fact, it is simply a competitive tribal strategy.
926. Euphemism is the renaming of unpleasantness; political correctness denies its existence entirely.
916. Civil servants -- including police officers -- should not wear religious symbols during working hours -- since they suggest that the state approves of a particular religion, or, indeed, of religion in general. Just as individuals should be free to express superstitious beliefs in private, so the state must be free to show -- to the public -- that it does not approve of or cater to unfounded hypotheses about the nature of Divinity. State and Church should remain in separate spheres; it is unwise to suggest that the ordinary stupidity of government might be exacerbated by the malign influence of religious folly.
914. Competition these days is so ruthless you can only get decent recognition by being a victim.
911. In the modern era, hurt feelings have become the ultimate tragedy. In the world of consistent compliments, however, there is still a distinction -- between genuine praise and that which is clearly a tactful exaggeration -- a charitable compensation for obvious inadequacies.
910. To hold that all cultures are equal is to abandon reason for fantasy.
909. As long as there is speech, feelings will be hurt.
908. The determination to find microaggressions represents a significant macroaggression: it is the prim-lipped attack of the holier-than-thou.
907. Merit gets things done; "Equality" makes us feel good. But ultimately, feelings are no substitute for facts.
906. Political correctness contemplates the sty of reality, but finds no trace of pig. Instead there is a gilded ballroom -- ethereal music and delicate perfume -- much lipstick -- and a wealth of silken purses woven from sows' ears.
905. We are thrilled at the progress being made in the proportional hiring of those from diverse groups in our society. It is clear that announcers with speech impediments, bus drivers with partial sight, and orchestra conductors with impaired hearing will mark the next level of success in the achievement of our egalitarian goals.
902. Political correctness assumes that the world is, essentially, a nice place, and that if everyone says nice things, the nasty bits -- simply peculiar aberrations -- will magically disappear. In fact, the world is both nasty and nice -- with an awkward bias towards the nasty. If no one says nasty things about the nasty bits, they will simply go forth and multiply.
892. Socialism always looks like a peach -- but it tastes like a lemon.
889. Political correctness: the pleasant primrose path to perdition.
888. If a tribe becomes too rational — perhaps it will always succumb to the tribe that has the determination that only blind belief can confer. (This Observation is derived from #616. It appeared in some correspondence with Terri Guillemets of the Quote Garden, and found its way to the "Belief" page on her site.)
887. By any objective standard, most aboriginal cultures have been adaptive failures: despite massive government assistance, they experience high rates of poverty, despair, and suicide. No doubt some may derive personal satisfaction from cultural traditions, language, and ways of thinking; but the costs seem excessive and unjustifiable.
886. Environments are sometimes stable and indulgent, but often changeable and cruel. "Tough love" is the philosophy: adapt or die.
885. It is currently fashionable to wallow in the misery of hurt feelings, and to vie in delineating degrees of outrage and victimization. When equality claims it is in bad taste to succeed -- triumph can still be found -- in complaint, frustration, or failure. Perhaps there is some comfort to be taken from the fact that the competitive spirit has not been entirely extinguished.
884. The energy spent in whining is better directed at winning -- even if the attempt fails.
883. The best remedy for hurt feelings is not complaint, but accomplishment.
878. The politically correct welcome all those at the gate, giving them shelter, cakes, and ale. The explanation is simple: they do not believe in barbarians. Only time will tell whether they are justly benevolent or naively foolish.
877. Just as evolution progresses by testing the environment with innovations, so societies explore possibilities for an improved continuance. Environments change, and with them, the viability of ideas. Unquestioning religious commitment has benefited tribal cultures in the past; it is uncertain whether such insular devotions will function in a world which, increasingly, seems to require global interaction and co-operation. We also question the viability of political correctness -- a modern religion which is more and more often exposed as a dogma at odds with the facts.
874. Some discriminations are evil and unfair; other, similar discriminations are virtuous expressions of sweetness and light. You will not obtain the diploma in political correctness until you can show proficiency in determining which is which.
870. The welcoming of immigrants with antithetical cultural values suggests a triumph of egalitarian ideals over common sense. No healthy body politic welcomes an inimical and destructive pathogen.
867. "Safe spaces" are inherently flawed -- for they offer no protection from that state of stupidity implied in the belief that reality can be avoided in a "safe space."
865. Political correctness does a great disservice to the young studying at our institutions of higher learning and evanescent sanity. Eventually they must discover that the focus of the world at large is elsewhere: it has no interest in bolstering self-esteem, protecting feelings, or providing a safe space for stupidity.
860. "Racism" is a term inaccurately used to describe the negative stereotyping of any group seen as having a different culture or religion. Not all -- but much of what appears to be real "racism" is similarly not based on race, but arises from an unfortunate linkage between race and cultural and economic differences. As such disparities are lessened, so "racism" will decline. While we would like to predict that people will also cease to judge and be judged on the basis of money, possessions, culture, intelligence, and appearance -- we have no interest in winning the Nobel prize for stupidity.
858. Political correctness -- the new religion -- sets itself a difficult task: the elimination of the "original sin" of inequality -- by pretending that it doesn't exist.
854. The man unwilling to fight for his convictions will find himself at the mercy of those determined to impose their own. (cf. Chesterton: "Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.")
853. Those who proclaim the equality of cultures, and cherish the notion that everyone is as good as everyone else, still expect to be recognized and admired for their superior tolerance and extraordinary compassion.
849. So desperate is the desire for "equality" that it is becoming common to find virtue and special status in every deficiency. The disabled proclaim the advantages of their unique perceptions; the deaf extol their world of silence; the transgendered seek a multiplicity of special validating pronouns. This is the compensatory celebration of misfortune.
848. Primitive religions and traditional cultural beliefs do not yield easily to fine and enlightened sentiments; it is the great folly of fine and enlightened sentiments to believe that they do.
847. Political correctness is the new religion. Unlike the old religions -- which placed heavenly perfection in the afterlife -- political correctness seeks to enforce it here, where it is significantly at odds with earthly realities.
846. At the root of political correctness is an idealistic fantasy: the world can, in fact, be transformed into a Rose Garden, where the thorns of inequality, failure, and hurt feelings are banished, and each perfect rose blooms in confident, untroubled harmony with the whole. But perfection is elusive: like all ideals, the Rose Garden is absolutist, unforgiving, and oppressive.
845. The sin of cultural appropriation is very selective. The fact that some cultures are considered vulnerable, while others are impervious to insult suggests -- contrary to the intention -- that some cultures are much superior to others.
843. Political correctness places a high value on emotions, and a low value on truth. It fails to recognize that it is more important to criticize an idea for its deficiencies than to protect it because of the emotional cost of criticism. No society can thrive on a diet of agreeable delusions.
842. It is the folly of the politically correct to equate an attack on ideas with an attack on the "dignity and humanity" of those who hold them. When criticism is forbidden on the grounds of "hurt feelings," bad ideas are sanctioned and encouraged. In other words, stupidity triumphs.
841. The "preferred narrative" is that cultures and religions are equally worthy. In an effort to silence those who disagree, many newspapers now provide no opportunity for commentary on articles dealing with religion and culture. Whenever ideas seem to require the protection of censorship, you know they are dangerously flawed. Truth cannot be proclaimed by the well-intentioned; it is discovered through evidence, and from an exchange of competing views.
835. It is necessary to distinguish between a legitimate claim for equal rights, and the self-indulgent desire for special treatment -- between reasonable accommodation and the tyranny of the minority. Political correctness is a pre-judgment -- the triumphant value is personal and self-determined: it is the right not to feel offended.
834. Political correctness proclaims the irrelevancy of facts and the vulnerability of freedom: speech and social custom must be altered to satisfy feelings -- individual desires for validation and self-esteem.
833. It may be legitimate for society to aim for "the greatest happiness of the greatest number." That is not the same as the hopeless, politically correct aim of making everyone equally happy.
832. Political correctness defers to individual perceptions, and assumes that it is the task of society to make everyone equally happy -- free from anxiety and hurt feelings. It is idealism taken to the point of insanity.
818. Tribalism -- the result of our evolutionary process -- can and should be made less dangerous; however, the extinguishing of tribal rivalries is not only impossible, but the attempt is foolish. Competition -- from which the best ideas survive and thrive -- is the life-blood of progress.
817. (a) When enough people share the same insanity, it is considered normal.
(b) Men -- tribal and conformist in nature -- prefer to bleat with the herd; in this manner, insanity becomes epidemic, triumphant, and normalized .
815. Political correctness is an intellectual arsenic in the body politic -- a slow, subversive, deadly poison.
813. In the end, human societies will reflect the nature of the creatures of which they are composed. Man is neither as independent as the jaguar nor as tribal as the ant. The view that humankind should become one giant ant colony is currently popular, but has no chance of being realized.
807.Beware the progression of the sounds of aggression. There is little doubt microaggression aspires to nano-aggression; some will not be satisfied until all speech is silenced in the name of harmony.
806. Those aggrieved by "cultural appropriation" simply draw attention to their own insecurities. Headdresses are always sensitive; bowler hats don't give a damn.
805. Cultural appropriation is a sin devised by those anxious to proclaim cultural equality. The attempt is self-defeating: calmness is a mark of confidence; those quick to take offense wave the flag of their insecurities.
804. The active pursuit of microaggressions tumbles, perversely, down a rabbit hole of madness -- where paranoia engages in a limitless parsing for insult. The determination of the perpetually aggrieved must find in every light a shadow -- in every innocence an irredeemable corruption of malice.
803. There can be no innocence where a feeling is determined to be hurt.
802. Idealists seem to believe that tribalism is superficial – something which – if ignored -- will simply go away. But the fact is that tribalism has been an integral part of our evolutionary success. That it is instinctive and deep-rooted is shown in every aspect of society: in religion, in politics -- and in rooting for the home team.
796. Diversity in a population can provide strength and resilience, but it is not an end in itself. The ultimate in diversity is simply chaos.
793. Perfectionitis: a psychiatric affliction of modern western democracies. Measuring their societies against a standard of impossible perfection, they become filled with self-loathing, and eagerly embrace policies which seem likely to assure their own destruction.
778. Appeasement never deters -- but always encourages -- aggression.
772. Citizenship without commitment is the subversive legacy of multiculturalism.
761. Islam upholds the sensibilities of the seventh century as a source of all wisdom. This explains why the countries in which it dominates are primitive, oppressive, and unpleasant.
765. Islam and freedom of speech cannot co-exist; the battle may, at great cost, be postponed, but it cannot be avoided.
760. Islam is full of bad ideas -- one of the worst of which is that it is an infallible source of wisdom in all matters, and hence is beyond criticism. Thus it stands resolutely against the great constant reality of the universe: change.
755. Multiculturalism and socialism -- look like peaches, taste like lemons.
754. Multiculturalism and socialism are conceptually attractive, but thoroughly impractical. One proclaims the equality of cultures, the other the equality of men. But to cherish equality is to reject what works -- merit, competence, and accomplishment.
748. To claim an equivalency between the cultures of secular western democracies, and those under the influence of Islam, is a declaration of intellectual and moral bankruptcy.
743. Every totalitarian – whether dictator, socialist, climate alarmist, religious leader, or upholder of political correctness – is an idealist: he attempts to make humanity fit – through force or persuasion -- the Procrustean bed of an ideal, conceptual world. The concept is always at odds with the facts or with the realities of the human condition, and is ultimately unattainable or unsustainable.
741. "Equality," "tolerance," "faith," ‘science" and "racism" are some of the most dangerous words in the English language – because they all encompass unjustified assumptions.
"Equality" is assumed to be the natural state of things, or a state towards which things should be -- virtuously -- manoeuvered. But while equality of opportunity and treatment are worthy aims, it is inequality -- not equality -- which is at the heart of all change, all life, and all progress. "Equality" is not attainable, except -- perhaps – in stasis, finality, and death. The true motive of those claiming to seek equality is generally improvement. Anyone who attains equality in some respect will not be satisfied; he will seek further improvement, even if that should result in inequality.
"Tolerance" and "faith" are assumed to be universally benign; but focus and direction are the determinants: tolerance of murder, or faith in a God who approves of human sacrifice, slavery, or cannibalism can hardly be considered virtuous.
"Science" suggests the authority of facts, and a reliability of prediction; but too often the term is applied to matters of mere hypothesis, to conclusions preliminary or premature, or to pronouncements made by those with expertise in a field labelled "scientific." Only a record of consistent predictive success gives evidence of a scientific understanding of how the world works.
"Racism" is used as a term of irrefutable opprobrium; it is often applied – not legitimately – to an irrational disapproval of race -- but illegitimately -- to simple criticisms of cultural ideas and practices.
725. This is an age which cherishes not only hopeful illusions, but the self-esteem of those most foolishly entranced; thus, in all things, the truth becomes toxic: the destruction of fantasy is seen as a wanton, gratuitous cruelty.
724. Cultures are like complex melodies – full of nuance and rhythmic subtleties. Human beings, instinctively tribal, and correspondingly accepting of existing tribal mores, find comfort and reassurance in the familiarity and essential predictability of the "anthem" of their national identities. They can – and do -- cope with natural and gradual alterations to the melody over time. However, abrupt changes to the tune demanded by complete strangers who have not listened long enough to appreciate its complexities -- these are scarcely welcomed.
720. Political correctness represents the intersection of timidity and stupidity.
718. Political correctness pretends that perfection is the natural state of humanity, and demands adherence to the myth as proof of virtue. Thus anxiety, guilt --and a concomitant cowering silence --become the zeitgeist of the age.
717. The Koran contains many barbaric ideas which are incompatible with modern Western secular precepts -- and, indeed, with any humane continuance of the human project. The politically correct, always desperate to find an affirming equality -- especially where it does not exist -- seem to think that this fact should not be mentioned. Perhaps they believe that ignored facts turn into pumpkins at midnight. But bad ideas, uncriticized, are neither transformed into jack-o'- lanterns nor neutralized as pies. It is important to give voice to passionate criticism of the unacceptable elements in the religion of Islam.
714. When not giving offense becomes the chief good, dishonesty and stupidity share equally in the triumph.
707. The twentieth century provided adequate evidence of the destructive potential of competitive, aggressive tribalism. It is interesting that, in the twenty-first century, some of the more enlightened tribes have concluded that the appropriate remedy for tribal aggression is self-destruction -- in deference to less enlightened tribes.
705. Islam presents a difficult puzzle for the West. A literal reading of the Koran reveals ways of thinking absolutely incompatible with western government, secular freedoms, and egalitarian aspirations. At the same time, a portion of the Muslim population is religiously casual and capable of adaptation to western values; another portion is unlikely to appreciate the distinction between concepts religious and principles secular; yet another portion is fanatically committed to the triumph of the barbaric sensibilities of the seventh century. The western bias -- resolutely optimistic and egalitarian -- assumes the vast preponderance of the first portion. The realist -- a rare species in the West -- would insist on determining immigration policy based on an accurate discrimination among the adaptable, the likely resistant, and the clearly fanatical.
704. There have been attempts to equate the anti-Semitism of the last century with anti-Islamic sentiment of the present day. But there is a difference between discrimination based on race, and the rejection of those committed to a hostile religious ideology.
703. The term "multiculturalism" -- like the term "tolerance" -- is used to represent an unqualified, unassailable good, and to silence discussion of cultural differences. In fact, "multiculturalism" -- is simply not viable in the real world -- because some cultural values are directly antithetical. There is no compromise possible between the belief that religion should form the basis of government, and the conviction that it should not. It is not helpful to discuss "multiculturalism" -- in general; the focus should be on the desirability of specific cultural values.
701. Political correctness: a gloss of lipstick on the snout of truth.
700. Multiculturalism is viable only at the superficial level of culinary preference and the odd quaint tradition. He who claims to welcome directly opposing views about freedom of speech, the rôle of religion in government, gender equality and sexual orientation -- is a liar.
699. The next time you hear someone approving of "multiculturalism," ask whether the tolerance expressed extends to cannibalism, slavery, and stoning for adultery. The subsequent attempt to define "multiculturalism" should prove interesting.
698. Most multiculturalists are hypocritical liars; they favour "multiculturalism" in order to suggest their superior inclusive tolerance -- but only in a broad, vague, general way. They balk at specific cultural practices, such as cannibalism, slavery, beheadings, scalpings, appeasement of Gods with human sacrifice, laws against blasphemy, the death penalty for apostasy, stoning for adultery, amputation for theft, throwing gays from tall buildings, female genital mutilation, widow burning, and honour killings. Their "tolerance" is not all-embracing; it is quite selective. It is simply the scope of that selectivity -- not "multiculturalism"-- which is the legitimate subject of public debate.
697. It used to be that taking offense was an occasional surreptitious private indulgence -- but now -- especially at institutions of higher learning -- there is a virtual epidemic of quivering public angst. Can it be long before it finds broader manifestation -- as a nation-wide dangerous and de-stabilizing social addiction?
691. The globalist view is that national borders are anachronistic relics which should be destroyed. This ignores a certain obdurate reality: human beings are instinctively tribal, and territorial -- and tend to resist the incursion of foreign cultural values.
690. Borders make the nation. When borders are destroyed, the concept of nationhood is effectively obliterated.
687. The term "affirmative action" suggests that a re-naming of the Devil will alter the nature of his deeds.
686. The project of the European Union reflects a spirit more idealistic than scientific. It assumes – contrary to historical evidence -- that citizens are enamoured of central planning, and welcome the central plans of unelected elites; further – most recently – it has pretended that cultural – that is tribal -- differences are always minor, and will succumb to good intentions. It is significant that the first country to leave the Union is one which, by historical exceptionalism and through geographical isolation, has a strong sense of tribal identity.
682. The West has decided to trade in its moral compass for a shiny bauble called "equality" -- and a smug, self-congratulatory sense of "tolerance." In the end, the bargain will prove to be both debilitating and impoverishing.
680. Political correctness -- a cocktail of poisonous lies pretending to the sweetness of lemonade, and the virtue of carrot juice.
678. It would be great progress if belief in Sharia law could be replaced by a conviction that the earth is flat. Some follies are more dangerous than others.
673. The great dilemma of the age -- whether to be nice -- or speak the truth.
665. It is admirable to maintain that tribalism is a barbaric element of our past, and that all cultures are equal; practical difficulties arise from the fact that some tribes are still more barbaric than others.
663. A melody is not created by selecting notes on the basis of their diversity, but on the basis of their effectiveness.
662. Political correctness cherishes, above all, the subjective lens; further, no individual perception of reality is -- reassuringly -- better than any other. To suggest otherwise is to risk an unpleasant encounter with the truth.
659. The lies of political correctness sound pleasant enough -- but the truth is like a restless skeleton in the closet – it will rattle its way out eventually.
657. The greatest threat to freedom in the West is political correctness -- the despotism disguised as virtue.
656. Political correctness: despotism disguised as virtue.
654. Cultures are like melodies: simultaneous performances in a common hall make the jobs of lyricist -- and vocalist -- impossible.
637. We long for "dangerous" spaces, where feelings are irrelevant, and all ideas are free to engage in a battle to the death.
636. Society will always be torn between the pretence of equality -- in order to make people feel good -- and the need for a hierarchy of competence -- in order to make things work.
626. It's a pity to see western democracies caught in the trap of their own idealistic but inappropriate tolerance.
613. Fearing that the universe might wobble, and require a complete galactic re-ordering, political correctness attempts to prevent even a single triggering event of hurt feelings. It fails to contemplate the possibility that there are some feelings that deserve to be hurt.
600. Political correctness is the new, oppressive religion.
599. Societies seem to welcome -- perhaps they require -- oppressive religions. As Christianity ebbs, political correctness -- stern, uncompromising, and intolerant -- floods imperiously in.
582. Political correctness values feelings over facts, fiction over freedom.
581. Political correctness is essentially totalitarian – it aims to suppress truth in favour of harmony.
576. Those who breathlessly praise 'cultural diversity' as an end in itself seem to forget that, in the natural world, diversity provides not only good ideas which triumph, but bad ideas which, deservedly, fail.
571. Men think in herds, not because herds are right, but because they offer security, mutual respect, and a needed sense of certainty.
569. Tolerance -- as a self-perceived virtue -- will brook no dissent.
568. The term "racist" is mistakenly -- and unfairly -- applied to those critical, not of race, but of cultural values and attitudes. A more accurate term might be "culturist." It would probably be difficult to find anyone who is not a "culturist."
567. Every instance of political correctness reflects the death of some degree of honesty, the snuffing out of some light of truth.
565. The ideal is that all human beings are equal, and should not be judged on the basis of their culturally derived ideas and attitudes. The fact is that cultural gulfs can be wide, deep, and dangerous. Pretending that there is no abyss will not repeal the law of gravity.
564. Discrimination based on race is absurd; preference for one culture over another is entirely reasonable -- since some cultures create more freedom, opportunity, wealth, artistic accomplishment and scientific achievement than others. A difficulty arises when race and culture are closely intertwined.
563. Human beings are defiantly real, rather than conveniently conceptual. That is why attempts to create an ideal society invariably involve bullying and oppression -- and why they ultimately fail.
553. Appeasement of those proclaiming manifestly bad ideas will be taken as a mark of approval, and a sign of consent.
539. The determined pretence that tribal -- that is cultural -- differences are unimportant is one of the chief follies of the age.
535. If you want to silence a critic, the term "racist" is more effective than facts or logic.
533. One day -- probably hundreds of years in the future -- it may be possible to say: "I don't care whether you are offended."
530. Hurt feelings are subjective, self-defined, and potentially limitless in scope. That is why they cannot be used to measure the inappropriateness of a comment or criticism.
515. Xenophobia may be likened to paranoia: sometimes there are real threats, and sometimes fear is a reasonable response.
512. It is the current fashion to expect truth to defer to feelings. It is, perhaps, unfortunate that the demands of feelings are limitless, and the truth has little reputation for generosity.
511. Political correctness is a refusal to make judgments of value – lest the ideal of equality be betrayed.
510. Islam is an ideology made more dangerous by its claim to a religious -- and therefore infallible -- origin.
509. Political correctness: Correctness sacrificed for political reasons.
508. Political correctness: Tact grows up confused, changes his name to Cowardice -- and marries Stupidity.
507. Tolerance is a two-way street. The one-way streets are called Provocative Arrogance and Spineless Submission.
506. Insecurity breeds a defensive hostility. "Cultural appropriation" is seen as a terrible insult, an appropriate compliment, or a matter of complete indifference -- according to the self-perceived level of cultural validity.
494. Political correctness is a consequence of the egalitarian ideal: it protects bad ideas so that those holding them will not feel offended. Thus it assures that good and bad ideas may be held with equal confidence and certainty.
479. Political correctness is concerned not with truth, but with pretense.
473. Political correctness: tact trumps fact.
472. Political correctness assumes that when facts are ignored, they will go away.
471. Political correctness is wilful blindness.
467. Political correctness: humbug as the highway to harmony.
457. Political correctness is a dangerous, hypocritical idealism: it is a determined pretence that the world of competitive struggle, in which some things are inevitably better than others, is, at its core, an egalitarian utopia of sweetness and light. As Aldous Huxley so aptly observed, "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
456. Inequality is the seed of progress.
455. Those who seek special treatment as members of a disadvantaged group ensure that they will never be judged on their merits.
454. The ideal is to see people as individuals; the current practice of political correctness is to see citizens solely as representatives of groups afflicted with various degrees of victimization.
453. Political correctness: freedom sacrificed at the altar of hypocrisy.
416. The claim that something should be beyond criticism is a sure sign of its inadequacy.
414. To be in favour of multiculturalism, one must believe in the equality of cultures. To believe in the equality of cultures, one must hold that no idea about the conduct of life is better than any other – that differences between freedom and repression, church and state, gender equality and patriarchy-- between cruel traditions and the attempt to see things as they are – that all such distinctions are irrelevant. In other words, one has to be a complete idiot -- or perversely bent on cultural suicide.
408. Failures of idealism: religion, socialism, multiculturalism, the United Nations, the compulsory universal healthcare system, concerted attempts to protect ideas or people from criticism, the committed belief that equality is a "natural" state – especially the notion that equality of result is either attainable or desirable.
407. A concerted attempt to shield people from experiencing hurt feelings may appear noble; but a price is paid in the coin of freedom, and in the currency of truth.
400. Appeasement of those making unreasonable demands -- whether from fear or from a generous, empathetic sensitivity -- invariably leads to further unreasonable demands.
399. Tradition is habit: self-confirming, self-reverential, and self-perpetuating.
389. To refrain from mocking those with foolish ideas for
fear of giving offense is not wise. Hurt feelings are a small price to pay for
the erosion of stupidity. (cf. The ultimate result of shielding men from
the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. Herbert Spencer,
1820 - 1903)
370. In the secure interdependence of citizen and state, the savanna gives way to the hive; man becomes a mere "piano key" to be depressed and released in accordance with the melody: a contented, harmonious buzz.
367. To limit freedom of speech in the hope that none will ever be offended is a blighted seed – a precursor of decay. Its flower is a failure of honesty, its fruit -- the imprisonment of the mind .
364. Religion is essentially tribal in nature. It has little to do with individual rationality, and much to do with the emotional comfort provided by "groupthink."
364. "Groupthink" suggests certainty where there is none. (Cf. Voltaire: Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.)
363. The more absurd the tribal (or religious) myth, the greater the sacrifice of rationality required for belief. The greater the sacrifice of rationality, the greater appears the power of the tribe. Thus absurdity begets not weakness, but strength.
362. The flower of absurd belief is usually rooted in the soil of fear, and fear is its chief means of propagation.
354. Some ideas are better than others. This simple truth strikes at the heart of many popular beliefs; multiculturalism and religion come quickly to mind.
353. Tolerance is not an absolute virtue; it is laudable -- or not -- in context. Tolerance of thievery suggests an intolerant hostility towards the robbed.
350. Tolerance can be but a Trojan Horse of the mind: it
presents itself as unblemished virtue, offering the satisfaction of moral
superiority, and the reward of self-congratulatory smugness. Too late, it is
discovered that it works to erode the foundations, the very principles upon
which the city has been built. It delivers the keys to those who envision a
society measurably less tolerant, to those with inferior ideas, but superior
(Cf. #234. Tolerance extended to intolerance looks very much like stupidity.)
346. Some ideas are better than others. The refusal to face this simple fact lies at the heart of multiculturalism.
319. A politically correct pretence is like a tightrope over a volcano.
318. It's a delicate balance. A certain amount of humbug is necessary to keep the wheels of civilized society turning. Too much humbug -- as people pretend that sand is a lubricant and dynamite a promising alternative fuel -- and the bang and whimper of collapse loom near.
312. Harmony on the cheap -- purchased by turning a blind eye to the transgressions of those claiming other cultural values -- may yet prove to be unacceptably costly.
308. Where harmony is the greatest good, the notes of truth and justice are often deemed discordant -- harsh voices inadmissible in the reverential choir.
305. In the interests of harmony, it is often considered appropriate to silence any discordant notes of truth.
258. The pusillanimous pooh-bahs of punditry have postured in paroxysms of outrage and moral superiority. (A reference to response in the media to Quebec's proposed Charter of Values.)
257. Diversity and uniformity represent ends of a spectrum. The most useful light is generated somewhere in the middle.
256. "Diversity" is not an end in itself. At the end, one must conclude that some ideas are better than others.
246. Cultural sensitivity-- expressed in cries of wounded outrage -- is a measure of cultural insecurity.
235. Elephants, though unrecognized or unacknowledged, may yet continue to poop on the carpet, eventually rendering the room uninhabitable.
234. Tolerance extended to intolerance looks very much like stupidity.
101. Tolerance is like alcohol: in moderate amounts, it softens hard edges, and lubricates the machinery of social interaction; in excess, it leads to foolishness, incoherence, the annihilation of principle, and the destruction of the essential self.
88. 'Smugitude’ is that certainty of moral superiority evinced by the politically correct. (The affliction is generally thought to be intrinsic, and incurable.)
87. It is a conceit of the modern liberal multicultural society that being nice to people with bad ideas and horrifying beliefs will result in harmony. On the contrary, such folly will end in the conflict which inevitably accompanies the unchecked spread of bad ideas and horrifying beliefs.
75. There is a peculiar sense of self-loathing in societies which have achieved, by historical standards, almost paradisal circumstances; adults in the sixties with much mea culpa, deferred to ignorant and idealistic youth; today we defer to the practices of any culture that demands we do so.
22. Given the economic realities of the modern world, aboriginal cultures appear manifestly deficient in their capacity for creating prosperity. The size–and cost--of the ‘aboriginal industry’ which has been manufactured to mask this fact is proportional to the deficiency, and an interesting instance of the perverse but not uncommon desire to support the unsupportable.
13. Affirmative action is simply discrimination with a pretty face.
4. It is a matter of enduring wonder that modern western democratic societies, which have created environments so attractive to the rest of the world, seem eager to modify their cultures in favour of those which have created environments measurably less desirable.
2. There is an immediate appeal to the notion that aboriginal peoples be subsidized in order to preserve their traditional ways of life. However, my neighbour, Mrs. Jones, notes that her ancestors made a living shearing sheep, but the government seems to have no interest in assisting her to earn a living in accordance with her ancestral traditions.