by Chauncey Tinker – 15 May 2019
[Part 1 of a 2-part series on the subject of political correctness]
Merriam Webster provides us with this definition of political correctness:
conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated
I would describe political correctness as a set of ideas relating to race and gender that are accepted as indisputable truth, and that therefore can “legitimately” be defended from all criticism by any means fair or not fair. It is this latter aspect of political correctness that is the most troubling and dangerous, this idea that it is not necessary to defend the set of ideas with reason and evidence. I don’t believe any ideas should ever be protected from being questioned, and ideas that their defenders think need to be protected from inquiry are surely the ideas that are most suspect and most deserving of examination.
These are some of the ideas that I think form part of this specially protected set of ideas (of course this is a broad generalization):
A major problem with many of these ideas is that they vastly over-simplify realities. For example, men are physically stronger than women in general and therefore better suited to certain occupations. If women have children this will necessarily impact their ability to pursue careers on an equal footing with men, therefore enforcing equal gender pay may inhibit employers’ competitiveness. Racism can be seen in many races, not just among white people. The way the Japanese treated Chinese people after they invaded parts of China in the early 20th century can be seen as just one example of evidence of this.
All races are not necessarily equal in all aspects at all, this can be seen in athletics where certain groups often do better in running events. Here is a BBC article on the subject. They point to the athletic prowess of the runners from the Nandi region of Kenya. They also point out that the African Bambuti tribe have a certain advantage in the sport of walking through low doorways, that is obviously a genetic advantage:
Is it wrong to note 100m winners are always black?
Of course, since this is a BBC article, they are pushing the politically correct idea that racial discrimination is bad. The objective of the article is to point out that athletic prowess is particular not to black people in general but to particular African groups, and that therefore generalizations about black people (and other larger racial groups) are illogical. The agenda here is to promote the idea of “positive” discrimination – the article then cites a study that they claim proves that employers discriminate against people purely because they have African names. They then reach the conclusion from this study that irrational discrimination is behind black performance in “economic development”, quote:
For many economists, this assumption, which gets under the radar of our conscious thought, explains why black people still lag behind white people in economic development more than four decades after the introduction of race-relations legislation.
There is a huge leap in thinking going on here, from a single study involving 5,000 fake CVs to a conclusion about black people’s economic performance in the Western world in general. There is for one thing plausibly another large factor that the BBC have overlooked entirely, beyond discrimination – that black people might actually have lower AVERAGE intelligence than white people. In fact, the only studies that have been done on the subject suggest just that – the famous (or infamous if you are politically correct) studies of Richard Lynn for example. It is perfectly possible that this may be the largest reason “why black people still lag behind white people in economic development” (although most probably there are more than one factors at work).
Something the BBC also seem to be overlooking (no doubt due to the fact that they are left-leaning employees themselves), is that black people can also set up their own businesses, and become employers themselves. It is also perfectly possible that there may be other factors at play in employers’ hiring decisions, that are not well described by the simplistic phrase “racial discrimination”. The question of whether “positive” discrimination is a good idea or not is a large one (I will come back to that on another occasion), I am merely pointing out here that when arguments are made within the strait jacket of politically correct limits, then the conclusions are likely to be wildly over-simplistic.
Of course it is intelligence that is the biggest factor in economic success in today’s world, not running ability or the ability to walk under low doorways. Conformity to political correctness is preventing the BBC from even mentioning the question of IQ and race here, which is obviously crucial to the question of racial discrimination in the modern technology-driven workplace. The believers in political correctness should put their efforts into trying to prove Professor Lynn’s data is wrong rather than simply slandering him/calling him names, if they are serious about challenging his research. Are the employers who discriminate really doing so just because they are “racist”, or because they are facing an economic reality that will negatively affect their business if they ignore it?
There are too many problems with these individual ideas in the politically “correct” set to discuss them all in a single post, I will come back to them in detail in future posts. Even considering just these few objections it quickly becomes clear that our Western societies have NOT in fact arrived at a perfect set of ideas about equality. It also becomes clear that many of these current ideas negatively impact competitiveness. If Western societies implement government-enforced recruitment policies based on these ideas, while other societies do not, then Western societies may well begin to lag behind those other societies. Also, the strait jacket of political correctness creates inertia in thinking, and thinking needs to be dynamic to meet the challenges of an ever changing world.
A particular problem with some of the ideas is that the terms used have never been well defined by those using them. What, exactly, is a racist? Is the BBC author in the above mentioned article a racist for suggesting that some African groups may tend to statistically perform better in certain athletic events? Richard Lynn was widely accused of racism (and fiercely vilified) merely for conducting a study into IQ and race, yet his finding was not that his own race (white Europeans) were the most intelligent – in fact he concluded that some Far Eastern groups had the highest IQ! If his statistical data turns out to reflect reality, will he still be considered a racist for publishing it, or does the charge of racism only apply if he is wrong, or if he can be shown to be deliberately lying?
My own idea of what constitutes a racist would include someone who thought that ALL non-white people were inferior to ALL white people in every way, which is an idea that is clearly false – some black people are clearly very intelligent and some white people are clearly very stupid. In my mind, a racist would be someone who felt no shame for example in shouting out racial epithets at people of other races.
Clearly my definition here is a very long way away from this writer’s at the National Union of Journalists who seems to include at least a third of the UK population (including at the time of his article 12 million UKIP supporters) in his definition:
And it’s true; UKIP aren’t necessarily openly racist. But neither are Pegida. Instead they seek to capitalise on a fear of ‘an other’ who they claim is becoming more powerful even though the reality is that minority communities overall remain just that.
Of course these words and phrases suppress the nuances of a person’s opinions and throw lots of people with widely different views into the same category. Is an “Islamophobe” someone who puts a pig’s head in a mosque doorway AND also someone who is critical of the Islamic religion in an intellectual way, such as Richard Dawkins or the Reverend Canon Gavin Ashenden (a former chaplain to the Queen)? Is it really even sane to lump all these opinions in the same category?
It’s a very sad reflection on the last and current UK Prime Ministers, that they bandy words around without ever it seems even thinking about what they mean by them, let alone telling us what they mean by them. “We must stamp out extremism in ALL its forms” said these dimwits. David Cameron also for example used the phrase “sickening Islamophobe” without giving us the slightest hint what he meant by the word.
Sometimes words that previously had been reasonably clearly defined began to expand greatly in their meaning, at least in their usage among the PC brigade. As many others have pointed out, these words have been so over-used and misused by now that they are becoming practically meaningless. If a racist now includes everyone who wants to limit immigration because they are worried about the impact on wages for their peers, then blimey that’s quite a broad definition of the word racist, so broad in fact that the meaning is practically actually now a different meaning.
Those people who are still concerned about ACTUAL racism should be worried about these trends towards greater vagueness in language, because people are beginning to rebel and consider the tags “racist” and “far-right” as badges of honour, a sign that they are willing to speak out against the strait jacket of political correctness.
The phrase “far-right” was always misleading because it was used to describe people with strongly racist and nationalistic viewpoints whose politics were not particularly right-wing at all, and often were in fact left of centre. The phrase “National SOCIALIST” is a bit of a giveaway here. By sheer persistence of use the phrase “far-right” eventually stuck, despite its obvious inaccuracy, a phrase that casually slanders all those on the right by suggesting there is something right-wing about racism. The true economically “far-right”, the libertarians, are in fact often open borders advocates who are not troubled by questions of race at all.
Political correctness has not stood still, it is a movement that has grown and gathered momentum as it went. The phrase “political correctness gone mad” emerged as the first challenge to the prevailing and it seemed ever expanding reach of political correctness. An example of this trend was Oxford city council’s proposal to rename Christmas to the ‘Winter Light Festival’ on the grounds that it would be more “inclusive”
A number of attempts to ban the cross of St George contrasted with failure to ban the ISIS flag:
Why are we ’embarrassed’ to fly the Cross of St George but the vile ISIS flag is FINE?
Words previously in widespread usage such as “coloured” were being outlawed as someone had now ridiculously decided they were inherently racist – the actor Benedict Cumberbatch was vilified for using the word in a well-meaning way. So eventually the PC monster had begun to eat its own silly parents and children.
Much more troubling still was the fact that the rules of political correctness were beginning to be enshrined in law. Politicians had begun clamouring for laws to stamp out homophobia and Islamophobia before they had even attempted to define what they meant by these words. Vague laws were being passed that could be (and have been) used against anyone who challenged the ideas of political correctness. The thought policing we were warned about by George Orwell was becoming a reality. This could be seen for example in the conviction of one Mr. Stephen Bennett, prosecuted for making some “grossly offensive” general remarks about Muslims and women on a Facebook page.
Harriet Harman, UK politician, proposed a so-called “Equality Bill” which was in fact discriminatory against white males.
Under the proposals, employers would be legally allowed to discriminate in favour of a job candidate on the basis of their race or gender where the candidates were otherwise equally qualified.
Michael Millar, writing in The Spectator, was of the opinion that, “The Equality Bill before parliament today gives employers the right to choose an ethnic minority candidate or female candidate over a white male, specifically because they are an ethnic minority or female.”
Political correctness was always mad, because it is an attempt to put certain ideas beyond criticism, not by proving those ideas to be correct through debate utilizing reason and evidence, but instead by refusing to allow such debate to take place in the first place. To deny the necessity of using reason and evidence in the formation of beliefs is surely the very definition of insanity.
What do you think? Please leave a comment below.