A few thoughts on the latest bromide against yours truly by William Gillis, director of the Center for a Stateless Society (follow this “anarcho-transhumanist/antifa/thick libertarian/SJW” freak of nature on Twitter here).
Sponsored by none other than former Stalinist turned jingoist David Horowitz.
In late November three blocks from the White House, a group of leaders from the so-called alt-right, who many consider to simply be white supremacists, gathered for an annual conference called the National Policy Institute. Their goal was to discuss and debate the opportunities offered by a Donald Trump presidency for their white nationalist plans. In the wake of a rise in hate crimes, the meeting sent a chill throughout the nation.
But making America whiter “again” is not the only thing we need to fear with a Trump administration. Only two days after the alt-right convention in D.C., Turning Point USA launched Professor Watchlist, a website designed to call out college professors who “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
As Rebecca Schuman wrote for Slate, in other circumstances, these might be two unrelated events, but “as the president-elect’s surrogates cite Japanese internment as a ‘precedent’ for what may come, any ‘watch list’ of any sort is worrying.”
Trump’s inability to handle any sort of critique and his bullying of reporters and the media all suggest that we are about to enter an era of censorship, threats to free speech and other forms of suppressing dissent. When the “liberal” media come under attack it generally isn’t long before the “tenured radicals” come under fire, too.
A FB friend recently asked me to provide a definition of “political correctness.” Here’s the definition I would use…
I would define “political correctness” as the common term for the institutionalization and enculturation of progressive moral norms in such a way that their transgression generates ridicule, disproportional feelings of outrage or indignation, ostracism of the supposed offending party, an inclination towards persecution on the part of the offended, and the possible imposition of social, economic, professional, institutional, or legal sanctions against the alleged offender, perhaps accompanied by mendacity, dishonesty, hypocrisy, or double standards on the part of the offended.”
This article from the Guardian tries to claim that PC is merely a “phantom” that doesn’t really exist. I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with this article. It’s basically just a regurgitation of the standard liberal-left line that criticisms of political correctness are merely a case of right-wingers protecting their vested interests by spinning tall tales in order to divide the commoners and distract them from their supposed true interests (meaning liberalism or socialism). In fact, this is the standard response that the Left has always offered to ANY criticisms of leftist authoritarianism (e..g anti-Communists were really just apologists for Western imperialism and capitalist vested interests).
Reasonable people can disagree on how pervasive PC actually is when compared to competing philosophies (like neoconservatism, Christian fundamentalism, the alt-right or whatever). But it’s clear that PC has a very commanding presence in many institutions, particularly academia, most the mainstream media, self-style progressive corporations like Mozilla or Starbucks, mainline religion, etc. Of course, there’s also hard PC (the kind you find among lunatic SJWs on campuses) and soft PC (the kind Joe Biden or Tim Kaine probably believe in).
As a reviewer of my book on this topic recently said:
“Mr. Preston prefers the term “totalitarian humanism” over “political correctness,” though he explains it is not original to him. Its totalitarian nature is clear to anyone who, because of it, has had to face a threat to his job or a demand by a homeowners’ association to remove a Christmas tree, or certainly to anyone who has ever refused to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding.”
We could add to this many other examples such as the treatment of James Watson, Lawrence Summers, Kevin MacDonald, Norman Finkelstein, Brendan Eich, Tim Hunt, Ayaan Hirsa Ali, etc, etc. as well as the fact that alt right groups have to meet in public facilities under police protection. Or the banning of Chick-fil-A in Boston (an irony given the historic meaning of the phrase “Banned in Boston”). Not to mention actual violence carried out by antifa groups.
All of this is not equivalent to Stalinist or Nazi repression, but it’s an indication PC actually exists.
I agree with that in order to criticize something, it’s a good plan to at least define what it is first. I’d argue that PC is identifiable and defining, and that denying PC really exists is pretty foolish. However, a better question involves the issue of how influential the general PC paradigm actually is when compared other perspectives. I’d argue first that there are different levels of PC as I said in an above post just like there are different degrees of fanaticism found among racists or religious fundamentalists.
On one end, there are the violent antifa groups that physically assault people whose politics they disagree with. Then there’s the non-violent but simply loopy college students obsessed with safe spaces, microagressions, and playdoh therapy. Then there’s leftist professors who make their classes into an equivalent of a leftist Sunday School. Then there’s university administrations that attempt to eliminate staff and faculty with non-PC opinions. Then there are media figures who, for example, balk at mentioning the race of a criminal because they don’t want to fuel racism. There’s progressive corporations that fire executives like Brendan Eich for having privately opposed gay marriage years earlier, or universities like Brandeis that rescind an honorary degree to someone like Ayaan Hirsa Ali on the grounds of “Islamophobia.” Then there’s the centrist liberals who flaunt their commitment to diversity as a means of virtue signaling.Then there are the corporate diversity and sensitivity training programs that teach employees how to mind the manners of PC because “Shh! Quiet or we might get sued.” The far right end of PC might be something like this, i.e. a general in the Army claiming not having “diversity” in the service would be a greater tragedy than mass murder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8EITu5ZYo8
I’d argue what I described above defines the center-left to far-left end of the political spectrum, i.e. from the Democratic Party to the neo-Marxists, from the left-wing of capitalism at the corporate level to the anarcho-leftoids on the margins.The question is to what degree is the Left more or less influential than the Right. The center-left controls most of the media, the academic world, mainline religion. Given that Hillary won the popular vote, maybe the center-left reflects the majority of public opinion as well (although the half of eligible voters who didn’t participate, of which I am one, need to be figured into the equation somehow). The business world, religion generally, the military, the Republican Party, and other more traditionally conservative institutions seem to be more of a mixed bag.
It’s certainly true that there is large right-wing subculture as well that’s pervasive in smaller towns, rural areas, “flyover country,” and which is reflected (or at least played to) by FOX News, “conservative” talk radio, Donald Trump, Republican politicians, mega church pastors, etc. This article from Alternet describes that subculture pretty well.
However, the subculture described in that article does not reflect the values of the majority of the elite, the majority of the educated classes, a majority of the poor and working class taken in their sum total, a super majority of racial and religious minorities, a super majority of young people, most of the media, most of the educational system, most of mainline religion and other institutions that disseminate values and ideas. It also reflect a culture of older white people primarily, a culture that is shrinking demographically, declining economically, and dying out physically. For example, the fastest growing religious perspective in the US is non-religion. Meanwhile, PC is a rising force that is influential among the educated classes and professional classes, and also seems to become more extreme the more powerful and pervasive it gets.
This is an argument I get from folks on the Left all the time:
“PC authoritarianism doesn’t really exist, or if it does exist it’s justified, or if it’s not justified it’s merely localized, or if it’s actually pretty pervasive then it’s just an unfortunate backlash against past injustices perpetrated by well-meaning people who are perhaps overzealous in fighting oppression, or maybe PC is even godawful and far reaching but the right-wing is still more threatening because racism, capitalism, sexism, fascism…”
The reason I first starting criticizing PC was because of the grip it had on the wider anarchist milieu which I thought was getting in the way of other things. Then I noticed PC was increasingly working its way into the mainstream society and even the state. So I ramped up the criticism.
I would criticize other perspectives more if they had more influence. For example, I used to be a strong critic of the religious right back when that had more influence. If this were the 1950s or 1960s I’m sure I would be on the far left end of things when it comes to race, gender, gays, etc. The more influential the alt-right becomes the more critical of it I will probably be. I’ve criticized strands within organized atheism as fundamentalism for non-believers.
The Salisbury Review
A few days ago, I was sat down in my College’s Hall at the University of Cambridge with the rest of the first year undergraduates to be, since the Matriculation ceremony was yet to take place, being welcomed by the Master and the Senior Tutor. This was a wonderful moment. After receiving my A-Level results of 2A*s and an A, and another A* in EPQ, I had been accepted by Cambridge in August. Yet it was only then, nearly two months later, when sat in the Hall, that it finally sunk in. “Yes, I’m actually going to read History at the best university in the world,” I thought to myself. I remain grateful to the University and my College for this opportunity which I intend to grasp to the full.
Can there be any doubt that totalitarian humanism is the dominant ruling class ideology?
By Rod Dreher
The American Conservative
A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document:
Apparently the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a small Balkan nation that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, is insufficiently progressive on LGBT issues. So the American government is spending $300,000 to undermine the traditional Orthodox Christian culture of the country. Excerpts from the document (emphases mine):
A review of Matthew S. Battaglioli’s “The Consequences of Equality.”
Review by Keith Preston
For the political Left, there is no value that is more important than “universal human equality.” To be against equality is to be reactionary, regressive, benighted, bigoted, unenlightened, unseemly, and anti-human. And while previous generations of leftists were concerned primarily with legal equality, and then economic equality, today’s leftists demand equality in every sphere of human activity. Every profession must have an exact proportion of males and females (“gender parity”). Every institution must have an equitable proportion of ethnic groups. Any statistical disparity among races, genders, ages, sexual orientations, or classes is thought to be the result of mere oppression, exploitation or greed on the part of those who seem to have a leg up in life. Hence, the popularity of “privilege theory” among fashionable social justice warriors who equate the fact of having been born straight, white, male, “cisgendered” or some combination of these to be the equivalent of original sin.
In “The Consequences of Equality,” Matthew Battaglioli takes aim at every prevalent piety of the age. There is not one major leftist idea in this work that is not subjected to scathing criticism. Whether the issue is income inequality, climate change, racial equality, gender equality, the LGBT movement, the welfare state, “democratic peace theory,” or even conventional democracy itself, Battaglioli does not shy away from the critical examination of the assumptions behind each of these sacred leftist cows. He finds these assumptions to be wanting for substance and intellectual rigor. For Battaglioli, the enemy is “equality,” which he regards as a pernicious concept that carries severe consequences in the areas of economics, politics, ethics, and culture.
It is also clear that Battaglioli is heavily influenced by those whose ideas have helped to shape the neo-reactionary and right-libertarian movements that have become increasingly prominent in recent years. Much of his economic analysis relies heavily on Austrian economic theory. His criticism of modern mass democracy is clearly very profoundly influenced by the thought of Hans Hermann Hoppe on this question. Battaglioli also embraces the theories of Richard Lynn regarding the relationship between the distribution of average IQ levels among ethnic groups and their relative economic success. This brief but weighty volume is a must read for anyone who is in search for a primer on the basic theories of paleolibertarianism. Battaglioli provides a wealth of information and arguments with which students can enjoy offending and irritating their leftist professors and campus social justice crusaders.
It really is interesting how the police in the US has become so pervasive that it’s starting to get attention from both the mainstream Left and mainstream Right, in spite of the divisiveness that otherwise defines contemporary politics. This article also makes the interesting observation that reform efforts tend to be more successful in politically homogeneous localities.
America’s mass incarceration disaster has been a bipartisan effort. In 1970, there were less than 200,000 people in American state and federal prison. In 2014, there were more than 1.5 million.
Republicans and Democrats collaborated to create this sevenfold increase. Former US presidents Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush, as well as both parties in Congress, passed draconian federal drug and sentencing laws while state governments and local prosecutors embarked on a 30-year incarceration binge. The result of this irresponsible, cross-party consensus is that the US now has by far the largest prison population in the world, both in terms of absolute numbers and rate of incarceration. The United States has 716 people incarcerated for every 100,000 people in the population. In comparison, China’s rate is about 121 for every 100,000 people.
Vox Day is interviewed by Tom Woods. Listen here. This is a great discussion.
What exactly is the ideology of the “Social Justice Warrior”? What do you do when you’re targeted by one, whether at work or in general? Vox Day — popular blogger, author, SJW slayer, and polymath — joins Tom Woods for background and strategy.
Ep. 701 President of College Republicans Goes Libertarian: Plus, Why Milo Matters (Tom Ciccotta)
Ep. 625 Feminism vs. Free Speech and a Free Economy (Christina Hoff Sommers)
Ep. 618 Confronting the Social Justice Warriors (Lauren Southern)
Ep. 576 Feminism: Enemy of Liberty? (Milo Yiannopoulos)
Ep. 550 Lunatics Running the Asylum: University Edition (Ilana Mercer)
Ep. 512 Are the Tolerant Millennials the Least Tolerant of All? New Research Asks Some Tough Questions (April Kelly-Woessner)
Ep. 495 There’s No Such Thing as Social Justice
Ep. 200 “Social Justice” and Christianity (Jason Jewell)
Ep. 684 Debate on Free Trade, with Bob Murphy and Vox Day
My videos are made under the U.S. Fair Use Law. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.
It’s interesting how when a Christian bakery refuses to bake a gay wedding cake, the Left calls for compulsory association in the name of equality. When a private media company denies it own services to outspoken conservatives, the Right calls for compulsory association in the name of free speech. Of course, neither side really cares one damn bit about free speech, freedom of religion, equal rights, or free association. They just want their tribe to always win. The Blue Tribe and the Red Tribe are rapidly becoming to North America what the Sunni and Shiites are to Iraq or what the Protestants and Catholics are to Northern Ireland.
Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart tech editor and Trump-loving alt-right superstar, has been permanently banned from Twitter following accusations that he directed his followers to send abusive comments toward actress Leslie Jones. But while Yiannopoulos certainly straddles the line between being a free speech provocateur and merely a serial violator of Twitter’s terms of service, these sanctions are likely to increase the perception that Twitter is no place for conservative voices.
Yiannopoulos’s brawl with Jones stems from her role in the new Ghostbusters movie, which features an all-female cast. The movie has taken on a culture war context: opponents of the film think its characters were made female in order to appease the dictates of political correctness. Yiannopoulos gave the movie a negative review, and soon thereafter got into a public Twitter fight with Jones.
Few people understand the price of overregulation like Harvey Silverglate. Over his long career as an attorney and journalist, Silverglate has seen the rising bureaucratic class enact hundreds of thousands of federal regulations and vaguely-worded statutes. The result has been the criminalization of everyday life. From university campuses to corporate boardrooms, ever more citizens are facing severe punishments for behavior that was once considered harmless.
Silverglate himself has been repeatedly pursued by the FBI, only to see the investigations come to nothing.
Keith Preston, who is neither a conservative nor a libertarian but who’s never dull, skewers political correctness in this provocative episode. According to Herbert Marcuse, on some things there is no other side to the argument worth considering, so it’s all right to suppress alternative voices. That’s the key to understanding the enemies of free speech today.
The money quote:
“Put simply, our anti-racism efforts must be refocused away from guilt and confession and towards equality and eradicating irrational judgments based on race. Some on the Left will object, saying that racism is so systemic in society it must be purged before anyone can pretend to treat of others without taking race into account. Some on the Right will object, saying that everything from IQ tests to crime statistics prove something meaningful about the capabilities of individuals based on their race. Both of these perspectives must be rejected. In their place, we must return to the goal of treating people as individuals, not as representatives of their race.”
By David Marcus
On tonight’s edition of Radio Wehrwolf we invite Keith Preston from Attack the System to talk about his new book, The Tyranny of the Politically Correct: Totalitarianism in the Postmodern Age. We discuss the origins of PC, the totalitarianism of the SJWs, the states use of force to keep people in line, the backlash against PC, and more.
I’m not a fan of this guy but free speech is free speech.
The host of this show discusses me in some detail from the predictable perspective of a far left hysteric. Listen here.
Some good music on this podcast. I don’t recall my conversation with this guy, but I’d say he has me about 80% correct. I’m definitely about overthrowing the “plutocratic imperialist police state.” I also agree, as I said at NPI in 2011, that mass immigration serves the interests of the power elite across the spectrum at the expense of the domestic working class and potentially threatens traditional liberal values (I suppose you could recognize this and still be for mass immigration anyway, but it seems that such concerns ought to at least be heard and considered).
The Tyranny of the Politically Correct – Totalitarianism in the Postmodern Age
It is rare for anybody on the political “Left” to be critical of Political Correctness – it is after all a doctrine of their making – but in this book the anarchist Keith Preston is not only highly critical of the “PC” mindset, but he equates political correctness with the totalitarian regimes of Communist Russia and Nazi Germany. The banning of books, the intolerance of dissenters, and even show-trial by the media have all become part of the totalitarian regime that now dominates Western society.
Our Political representatives can sleep soundly for endorsing financially motivated wars, the creation of mass unemployment, the cutting of welfare payments, and even opposing tax increases on the rich – but they fear being attacked in the media for the “non-pc” aspects of their private lives. Publishing houses who established their reputation publishing the works of libertarians such as Thomas Paine, Murray Rothbard and Gustav Landauer, now warn their contemporary authors to omit all references in their work that can be seen to suggest any endorsement of cultural or social inequality for fear of offending the ever vigilant “pc” storm-troopers.
In “The Tyranny of the Politically Correct – Totalitarianism in the Postmodern Age” Keith Preston provides an analysis of how Political Correctness began, and how it has been embraced by not only the political left, but by global corporations in the furtherance of their mutual “One World – One People” agenda.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, activist and author, joins Dave Rubin to talk about her story of surviving genital mutilation and death threats, the difference between Islam the religion and political Islam, and about the Regressive Left.