Thursday, October 06, 2016
The revolt against political correctness
Many of the thoughts that go through the head of a normal person every day are not politically correct. The evolutionary older parts of our brains are hard-wired to lust for members of the opposite sex and to mistrust strangers that don't look like us. So being constantly told by some finger-wagging world-improver that our thoughts are sexist and racist isn't very nice to begin with. And at some point that interdiction impinges on our political freedom: What if you believe that two wrongs don't make a right are are against so-called "affirmative action", the preferential treatment of minorities in order to compensate for previous discrimination? You certainly can't say that without being painted as a sexist / racist. And the same political correctness prevents any rational discussion of very real political problems like immigration.
People do get fed up with political correctness. In the past that expressed itself mostly in the number of fans that politically incorrect people like Jeremy Clarkson had. But more and more the revolt against political correctness is now reaching the voting booth. The Brexit, Donald Trump, or the rise of anti-immigrant parties all over Europe are very clear signs that people are fed up with being told what they can and cannot say or think.
And this is where the danger lies: The political correctness brigade isn't using very well differentiated tools. They use the exact same sense of moral superiority and the same arsenal of condemnation against the game developer who failed to use a colored face in his video game and against the politician who would deport millions of immigrants. Those are not the same degree of danger, but by treating them the same way, the political correctness brigade is actually pushing together very normal people with extreme right-wing nutters.
In a world with millions of refugees on the move we need a rational political debate on the problems and possible solutions. And that isn't possible without letting people express their natural fears and then addressing those fears. And the same is true about gender issues. If you condemn everybody who wants to have that discussion as sexist and racist, you're only driving them into the camp of the real sexists and racists. If the Brexit does great damage to both ordinary Britons and many vulnerable immigrants to the UK, that is on you, political correctness brigade! If Trump gets elected, that is on you too!