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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Rules

Maybe its just the era we live in, but it does seem that the rules of political correctness change not by the day, but by the hour. Obviously, those same rules are applied selectively—if a favored person (e.g., a liberal entertainer) violates the rules, there are giggles and smiles, but if a conservative violates the same rule in the same way, there is staged outrage. Jokes or satire by a conservative are never viewed with humor, but are taken literally as evil intent. The benefit of the doubt is never given to anyone who is not a member of a favored identity politics group.

To illustrate, consider the following reported by Heather McDonald:
To the list of forbidden ideas on American college campuses, add “bourgeois norms”—hard work, self-discipline, marriage and respect for authority. Last month, two law professors published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer calling for a revival of the “cultural script” that prevailed in the 1950s and still does among affluent Americans: “Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. . . . Eschew substance abuse and crime.” The weakening of these traditional norms has contributed to today’s low rates of workforce participation, lagging educational levels and widespread opioid abuse, the professors argued.

The op-ed triggered an immediate uproar at the University of Pennsylvania, where one of its authors, Amy Wax, teaches. The dean of the Penn law school, Ted Ruger, published an op-ed in the student newspaper noting the “contemporaneous occurrence” of the op-ed and a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and suggesting that Ms. Wax’s views were “divisive, even noxious.” Half of Ms. Wax’s law-faculty colleagues signed an open letter denouncing her piece and calling on students to report any “bias or stereotype” they encounter “at Penn Law ” (e.g., in Ms. Wax’s classroom). Student and alumni petitions poured forth accusing Ms. Wax of white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia and demanding that she be banned from teaching first-year law classes.
This instance is typical of PC bullying (some would call it PC facism). Who knew that "hard work, self-discipline, marriage and respect for authority" would somehow be akin to "white supremacy?" The point is that the hard-left wants every writer and social commentator to toe the PC line and to be sure they do, the rules keep changing, keeping everyone who is worried about be called a "nazi" or a "bigot" off-balance.

Conservative firebrand Kurt Schlichter raises an interesting point:
... liberals leverage their ability to create new rules out of thin air as a means of asserting their power over us normals. What was A-OK yesterday is now forbidden, and what was forbidden yesterday is now mandatory. Their goal is to keep our heads spinning and paralyze us with fear, like nearsighted corporals caught in a minefield and terrified that if we take one wrong step we will detonate a concealed wrongthink booby-trap. They want us living in fear of their fussy wrath, and that is precisely why it is so important for us to keep abreast of pseudo-scandals like this [the ESPN "boob" interview] so we can nip these libfascists' schemes in the bud and deny them the ability to rack up yet another victory in the culture war.
But that's not easy. The PC outrage machine is daunting. The progressives' trained hamsters in the media pile on the minute a PC rule is violated. The resultant onslaught of outrage, coupled with cries for radical punishment of the offender, is so strong that few can stand up to it. Most whither under the smears, coupled with accusations of sexism or racism or nazism or any of the other tired epithets are hurled by the Left. It is awful—and at the same time, quite effective.

Schlichter, never one to mince words, goes on a classic rant:
Alinksy was right – we must hold our enemies to their own stupid standards, and that's especially true if it's a newly-invented standard designed only to silence and suppress us conservatives. We must take their new rules, roll them up real tight, and ram them down the left's collective collectivist throat, if not elsewhere.

They make it easy for us by being so ridiculous. Are women the strong, powerful equals of men, or fragile flowers who wilt at the mere mention of lady parts? It depends on which one is the most useful to the liberal narrative right then and there. Can you talk about lady parts? Apparently the new rule is that you can't, at least in the normal context of heterosexual men citing the parts that they like. But if you want to wear a gynecological sombrero on your pointy head, apparently that's muy bueno.

Part of the strategy behind the new rules is to not actually have any firm rules, to make you so uncertain and timid that you're unwilling to take any action because anything you do, at any time, can be a violation of a rule that didn't exist 30 seconds before. If you do talk about female body parts, you're wrong because you're insulting womyn, and if you don't talk about female body parts, you're wrong because you are invisibling womyn. Basically, if you don't have any female body parts, you're just wrong all of the time ...
Over the long haul, the rule makers are the ones who win, and progressives have taken the initiative to make the rules. The only thing that might defeat them is if they change the rules so rapidly that the general public begins to see these rules are arbitrary and ridiculous. In fact, the only thing that might work is ridicule. I hope that happens, but I'm not confident it will.


A commenter, "RWE3" at the Belmont Club wrote something intriguing that has an indirect bearing on those of us who push back against ever-changing and increasingly totalitarian PC rules: "Far more important than speaking truth to power is speaking truth to lies and stupidity."