The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Get Woke—Go Broke

Many of my politically progressive friends go into a swoon over Bill Maher, host of an HBO show that addresses politics from a decidedly left-leaning prospective. Although I don't agree with Maher on a wide range of topics, his honesty is often refreshing. Damien Riley recounts a recent episode of Maher's program:
It could just be, two years on from the election of President Donald Trump, liberal America is finally arriving at the fifth of the seven stages of grief, the one characterised by guilt.

I realised this over the weekend as I watched Bill Maher, self appointed voice of the liberal conscience, delivering some hard to hear home truths to the faithful from the pulpit of his primetime chat show.

Citing a recent survey, Maher told his audience: ‘Eighty percent of Americans find political correctness to be a problem, including 75 percent of African Americans, 74 percent of Americans under thirty, 82 percent of Asians, 87 percent of Hispanics and 88 percent of Native Americans.

‘If you’re not a statistician, let me break those numbers down for you: nobody likes you, including the so-called marginalized groups whose feelings you’ve decided need protecting.’

For the non-liberal viewer, Maher’s words were, of course, a statement of the blindingly obvious. But for the millions of people whose liberal sensibilities have become something akin to an ideology – in America and throughout the West – they constitute yet another heavy blow.

The protest against political correctness – against what Douglas Murray has defined neatly as ‘the gap between what people think and what they believe they are meant to think’ – is well underway. It’s largely a silent protest, but no less effective for it, and it’s occurring in the privacy of the places in which we make our consumer choices.

Maher, in this respect, was only spelling out to liberal America a truth already increasingly – and grimly – recognized by corporate America, which is to say: get woke, go broke.
Corporate America have adopted PC as its bible, but there are consequences. When a TV network allows non-political programming (e.g., sports entertainment or comedy/drama) to preach the PC gospel in an obviously blatant manner, ratings invariably go down. When a car company pulls an innocuous commercial because the PC outrage brigades scream and yell over micro-aggressions, sales can suffer. And when a social media company censors speech because of some arbitrarily defined PC infraction, participation suffers.

I have argued that political correctness began with the best of intentions, and there are still a few basic tenets that are worth preserving. But PC has morphed into a totalitarian ideology that smacks of George Orwell's thought police. Today's version of PC is humorless, it is absolutist, it eschews any opposing viewpoints, it demonizes, it 'otherizes,' it divides, and it is never, ever satisfied. It has become both ridiculous and dangerous at the same time. It leads to the politics of outrage—and nothing good can come of that.