July 12, 2013


The Truth About Political Correctness (Stratford Caldecott, 7/11/13, Imaginative Conservative)

Political correctness identifies a syndrome we all recognize, but is hard to define. It can be best described as a set of attitudes rather than an ideology, since viewed philosophically it is completely incoherent. It can perhaps be traced back to the French Revolution, in the aftermath of which various slogans became fashionable--mostly involving "Liberty" and "Equality", sometimes joined with "Fraternity" or "Reason" to make up a memorable threesome. In each case the "value" in question is distorted by extraction from traditional philosophical frameworks in which such ideas had been discussed for many centuries--or perhaps more tellingly, from a concern with truth.

Equality seems to mean treating people as if they were the same. But this is not justice. Justice is giving people their due. Why insist on equality at the expense of difference and diversity? Insisting on equality in that sense is unjust, because it is the differences between people that determine what they may be due. [...]

Liberty or Freedom is similarly useless without truth. Popularly understood as the power to choose, freedom makes sense only when linked to the truth about those choices. A man going into a supermarket wearing a blindfold has no real power to choose. He still does not if, when he takes off the blindfold, the packaging on the products is full of lies. Nor does he, if the products are essentially all the same. Choice has to be real choice, in a real world, between realities that essentially differ. Even more importantly, he is not free if he is conditioned or habituated to choose in a certain way. In the case of moral choices, the principle is the same. Truth matters. In order to be truly free we need to know which options are morally good or not, and we need to have the power (the virtue) to choose the good over the evil.

It's not the most deleterious effect of political correctness, but this need to deny the truth is one of the main reasons that liberalism has conceded the field of comedy to conservatism.
Posted by at July 12, 2013 5:19 AM
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