The following is a chapter from my book called “Falling Away.” The book can be purchased through Amazon and other places, but it can also be downloaded free of charge as a PDF. Simply click here to go to my website where you can download the entire book freely. No registration is required and no personal information needs to be sent to me. Our files are virus free. Look for the PDF icon near the lower left corner of the page at the link.
One of the books I have been reading is by Anthony Browne and is called The Retreat of Reason (2006). The subtitle is “Political correctness and the corruption of public debate in modern Britain.” It is amazing to me how there are so many out there who seem to understand the problem, yet there are more who are happy to deny it. All following quotes are taken from his book.
Browne states, “Political correctness started as a study of cultural Marxism in Germany in the 1920s, and was adopted by the 1960s counter culture, eager to promote tolerance and alternatives to the conservative values of the time.”
Browne notes though how quickly political correctness became part of and took over academia in the US. After going full circle throughout the West, he states that in 1997, “Britain became governed for the first time by a government largely controlled by politically-correct ideology.”
The interesting thing about political correctness is that no matter how it started – what the intentions were then – it was essentially a reaction to the “dominant ideology” of the time, eventually replacing that originally dominant ideology with itself. I would fully agree with him that political correctness “has replaced reason with emotion, subordinating objective truth to subjective virtue.”
Anthony Browne also notes one other extremely important factor about political correctness prior to defining it. He says that “the aim of political correctness is to redistribute power from the powerful to the powerless. It automatically and unquestioningly supports those it deems victims, irrespective of whether they merit it, and opposes the powerful, irrespective of whether they are malign or benign. For the politically correct, the West, the US and the multinational corporations can do no good, and the developing world can do no wrong.“ Hence, we see the Marxist implications of political correctness. Of course, it makes sense why people like Michael Moore would never want to be seen as capitalists! They must continue the illusion (lie) that they are not part of the 1% and in reality are just like everyone else who is struggling to survive, in spite of the fact that Moore is not at all struggling to survive.
We have seen the awfulness and unfairness of political correctness gone awry in places like the Netherlands where Islam was almost completely able to take over the political landscape of that country. The same type of thing regarding the HIV virus occurred in Britain, where as Browne explains, the influx of African immigrants brought in high incidents of HIV, yet no one wanted to discuss it because it appeared to be racist. The facts were ignored for two years in favor of issuing “safe sex” campaigns for heterosexuals, but the real problem was not with heterosexuals having unprotected sex with either heterosexuals or bisexuals and then contracting HIV. The real problem that could not be discussed (due to political correctness) had to do with the fact that the virus was being brought into Britain through immigrants from Africa.
While Browne believes that political correctness did have a good purpose when it began, it has now definitely grown past those purposes and is doing far greater harm to society than any good.
It is similar to unions. When unions first began, they were desperately needed because there was virtually no protection for the worker in America. They were being abused with long, hard hours, unsafe working conditions, and essentially no breaks at all. They worked twelve to fourteen hour days, without overtime.
So workers rallied together and fought the system. Eventually, though it was often a tremendous uphill battle, unions were formed to protect the workers from the unsafe, unfair, and careless demands of the management. Things began to improve for the workers almost immediately. Wages became better, hours were normalized, and eventually, even healthcare became part of the process.
But today, unions have become what management was prior to those unions originally forming. Now unions are powerful and often more powerful than management. Their demands are often unattainable by management. Because they have no place to go but up, unions continue to make unrealistic demands on companies and management that in some cases (like Hostess) shut down companies altogether. This is as opposed to working with management to come to agreements that benefit both worker and management. Unions continue to see management as the evil entity that needs to be overcome, in spite of the fact that too often management cannot continue to bend to the will of unions without doing tremendous harm to the company that employs the workers.
This is the way political correctness has evolved. What began as something that could benefit society has become a dragon that is beyond control yet controls nearly every part of society. As we look back over the pages of history, we see where reason has taken a backseat to emotion. Rather than being able to discuss things responsibly, reasonably, and without negative emotion, political correctness dictates that certain subjects are forbidden and anyone who cannot agree with those who use political correctness to form his views needs to be shut down and seen as the villain.
It is not unusual to be called a “hater” when it comes to sharing an opinion about homosexuality that goes against the established politically correct norm. If someone says, “I believe the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong,” he is verbally attacked by the politically correct crowd instantly and labeled a “hater” in spite of the fact that there might be absolutely no indication that hatred under-girded his utterance about homosexuality or was part of his thinking.
In instances like this, Browne points out that “The Politically Correct are more intolerant of dissent than traditional liberals or even conservatives. Liberals of earlier generations accepted unorthodoxy as normal. Indeed the right to differ was a datum of classical liberalism. The Politically Correct do not give that right a high priority. It distresses their programmed minds. Those who do not conform should be ignored, silenced or vilified. There is a kind of soft totalitarianism about Political Correctness.” [emphasis added]
This is exactly why people like Ed Schultz, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, and way too many to count seem to fly off the handle at a second’s notice. They cannot emotionally handle the fact that people are saying something that to them is politically incorrect. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. This flies in the face of the way they feel about something. They believe their political correctness gives them the right to castigate, denigrate, vilify, blame, and silence those who are not politically correct. It is because they are not politically correct that they “deserve” the response they receive, and that is not only allowed but encouraged under the unwritten terms of political correctness.
In essence then, political correctness, in attempting to do something that was good, has created a situation in society where it is perfectly fine to shut someone with whom a person does not agree down if that person is outside of the politically correct arena. This is what has dumbed down and inflamed segments of society. It has removed civility and shut down true discussion.
The true liberal then has normally been one who would allow dissent and discussion without remonstrating (this is key). Their demeanor was essentially one in which though they might disagree with a person, they would fight to the death for their right to have and express that opinion. Today? A person who has a dissenting opinion (one that is not understood as being politically correct) is verbally attacked. This is what political correctness has done to society.
If we went back through the New Testament we would find that just as Jesus was not what we would consider to be politically correct then and was ultimately crucified because of it, He will evidence the same type of anti-political correctness when He returns. He would actually deign to point out the sins of people that He met today if He was physically here wandering the streets of cities. He would tell people what they should avoid doing and to “go and sin no more.” It is not politically correct to talk of sin today, or hell, or to discuss homosexuality in what someone might consider to be a negative light.
Political correctness tosses out the ability to simply discuss and even disagree over issues. Instead, the arena of debate has become a war zone. How many times have we seen this on television or heard it on the radio? Someone will have some guest on their show with an opposing opinion and it is not long before a person begins to attack the other solely for having an opposing opinion. The goal is to shut them down: to silence them.
How often have we listened while guest and host talk over each other and do their level best to drown the other person out? Even on those shows where no guest is included, the host has a field day calling people names or labeling them as racist or sexist, and they do it with a vehemence that would curdle milk.
This is what political correctness has created for society. We see this so easily with Mr. Obama, as just one example. As a person of color, the politically correct individual cannot wait to label a person who disagrees with Obama’s policies as racist. It doesn’t matter that many of his policies were the same ones Clinton tried to enact; Clinton was white so those who disagreed with him (and were white) could not be accurately called racists then. Now, we can be. It is done to shut down conversation and that is exactly what political correctness does. It censors the “aggressor” so that the perceived “victim” is given “freedom” and “equality.”
It is what has become of society these days because political correctness as a form of cultural Marxism is working its way through society to topple what was, replacing it with an unwritten code of acceptable speech, or what are commonly known as “speech codes.”
Browne defers to William Lind, who has his own views about political correctness. “The cultural Marxism of Political Correctness, like economic Marxism, has a single factor explanation of history. Economic Marxism says that all of history is determined by ownership of means of production. Cultural Marxism, or Political Correctness, says that all history is determined by power, by which groups defined in terms of race, sex, etc., have power over which other groups. Nothing else matters.”
Browne also quotes Richard Bernstein (NY Times Culture Correspondent) from his book The Dictatorship of Virtue. In 1990, he stated, “Central to pc-ness, which has its roots in 1960s radicalism, is the view that Western society has for centuries been dominated by what is often called ‘the white male power structure’ or ‘Patriarchal hegemony.’ A related belief is that everybody but white heterosexual males has suffered some form of repression and been denied a cultural voice.”
Browne goes on to point out that it used to be that those who favored liberalism’s values (opposing traditional hierarchies, insulting men, promoting homosexuality, or doing what they could to redistribute power), including the freedom to attack western culture and values, were free to do so. Those who disagreed were free to challenge those notions that favored conservatism. That has changed because over time political correctness has worked to silence the dissenting viewpoint that is seen as punishing “victims.”
Browne eventually comes round to defining political correctness on his terms. He says that it is “an ideology that classifies certain groups of people as victims in need of protection from criticism, and which makes believers feel that no dissent should be tolerated.”
Political correctness, in the end, is a form of attack on a person’s freedom to reason. I recall years ago when I was in public high school; the Biology teacher was a great guy and a truly gifted teacher. He was also an evolutionist and he taught evolution in the classroom. But what I always appreciated about him was the fact that he never felt obligated to force a student to give up his own beliefs about Creation itself. In fact, I recall on an exam that he simply wanted us to be able to explain – without necessarily believing – the nature of evolution. We were also free to discuss our own understanding of Creationism.
That does not happen today. In fact, if you believe God created the heavens and the earth in six twenty-four-hour periods you’re an unenlightened idiot. Just ask Richard Dawkins. He has little to no patience for those who do not see the “facts” of Evolution. It wasn’t always like that in school. Students were free to voice their ideas and ask questions, but not today.
It is clear that Browne understands the situation facing society today, as do many of those he quotes in his book. I’ll end this chapter with one more quote from him.
“The rise of political correctness represents an assault on both reason and liberal democracy. It is an assault on reason, because the measuring stick of the acceptability of a belief is no longer its objective, empirically established truth, but how well it fits in with the received wisdom of political correctness. It is an assault on liberal democracy, because the pervasiveness of political correctness is closing down freedom of speech and open debate.”
- Retreat of Reason, By Anthony Browne
- Minority Bolshevism, by Zuriel Redwood