Category Archives: political correctness

Hoist with his own petard

Dalrymple rejoices in the abject spectacle of Justin Trudeau, who, he writes,

has a face as characterless as that of David Cameron. They are of the same ilk. You look at them and think, ‘What nullities!’

The main character discernible in their faces is

lack of character.

Trudeau’s apology for his blackface behaviour when he was a young man does nothing to increase Dalrymple’s liking for him. It is, Dalrymple says,

a difficult question of moral philosophy as to whether it would be worse if Mr Trudeau believed his political correctness or if he made use of it as a means to power. If the former, he is a fool; if the latter, a knave.

Political correctness, Dalrymple points out,

is dangerous because when fools or knaves get into power, they may try to implement its dictates. Since many people are much more concerned to appear good than to do good, and since they are unlikely to suffer the consequences of their actions, the implementation may continue for a long time after the negative effects of its dictates have become clear. When implemented, those dictates create a clientèle dependent upon their continuation, which turns any attempt to undo the harm into a nasty social conflict.

One of the prime needs is to look down on and despise

It is, writes Dalrymple,

almost as great as the need for love.

Everyone

wants to feel superior to, or better than, someone.

  • Prisoners despise sex offenders
  • Rapists despise child molesters
  • Child molesters look down on the children they molest

We so want to contemn

Historically speaking, Dalrymple points out,

those who committed the most atrocious large-scale crimes first stimulated hatred, both their own and that of other people, by the use of zoological terms to describe the objects of their hatred, terms such as vermin, cockroaches, rats.

Thus

the desire to limit expressions of hatred is not in itself an ignoble one.

The problem comes

in defining what constitutes an expression of hatred. The offended claim to be made of psychological eggshells. Inevitably the definition will be used by one part of the population to impose its views on the whole of society.

The pleasures of denunciation

Young people, Dalrymple writes, are creating

a totalitarian environment in which they denounce one another.

Thus

the social media that were going to set opinion free and give voice to everyone end by stifling expression and creating fear.

The world is full of people like Madame Defarge. Denunciation, Dalrymple notes,

combines the delights of self-righteousness with those of revenge and the contemplation of the discomfort or worse of other people. It requires no courage and is within the capacity of all. In Nazi Germany and occupied France people wrote denunciations of their neighbours and others by the millions, often for the sheer pleasure of doing so and usually in the hope that they would have serious consequences for the persons denounced.

The day cannot be far off

when people will viscerally understand the danger to themselves of saying certain things on social media and will censor themselves automatically. If this continues long enough, certain things will not only become unsayable but unthinkable, for habit eventually is transformed into character. This is the point of political correctness: it aims at the most radical of dictatorships, that which requires the enforcement of no police because everyone is incapable of breaking the rules.

Meanwhile the appetite for public expressions of contrition is insatiable. Dalrymple points out that

it is not contrition that is wanted, but the humiliation inflicted on those who are forced to express it. The enjoyment is in the spectacle of the squirming of the wrongdoer.

The logic of the combination of social media and a taste for burning witches at the stake

will reduce us to a strange state of malice and blandness. The ambitious will refrain from saying anything that could offend anyone; the bland will lead the bland. Any deviation from current orthodoxy will be punished with vengeful vituperation or worse.

The orthodoxy to be adhered to

will change — as the enemy changed during the two-minute hate sessions in Nineteen Eighty-Four — as a test of the obedience and loyalty of the population. The politically correct will find new orthodoxies to enforce, new locutions to prescribe or proscribe, to keep decent society in a state of subliminal fear.

Notes on the indoctrination of children

Dalrymple is in favour of indoctrinating children so that they are

  • polite and respectful to their elders
  • eschew pop music
  • do not chew gum
  • resist the temptation to drop litter
  • refrain from sending text messages to their friends in restaurants

But he is against indoctrinating children

on contentious political matters, where their minds are filled with ill-digested slogans from which they never recover the ability to think independently.

Dalrymple’s impression is that children

have become increasingly like those who have been to madrassas, except that what they have been taught is not the Koran but a vulgate of political correctness.

When he talks to young people, he senses that they have been

brainwashed, and that some thoughts are beyond the range of their neuronal possibilities. When I say that I am uncertain about global warming, they react as I presume people would if, in Mecca, I denied the existence of God and alluded to the less attractive characteristics of Mohammed even as depicted by early Moslems.

‘I don’t care what you all say: there is no Allah and Mohammed is not his prophet’

The language of stevedores

Insults these days, writes Dalrymple,

tend to be crude and vulgar. Ours is not an age of subtlety, however technically sophisticated it may be. We prefer the elephantine to the feline.

When Donald Trump

reputedly called certain countries by an epithet that I shall not repeat, he was only employing the type of language that, to my regret, is now in very common use even among intellectuals.

Dalrymple says that

we seem either to go in for the false delicacy of political correctness, speaking as if some words were as injurious law-hammers brought down on the skull, or employ the language of stevedores or of building workers.

Enver Hoxha, flamur i luftës për liri e socializëm

War flag for freedom and socialism

All kinds of considerations, Dalrymple says in a recent talk (from 4:38), make medicine

a happy hunting ground for the politically correct. Nowhere is this more so than in medical journals.

He has

no objection to the publication of any particular point of view — much to the contrary.

What he finds distressing in the medical journals is

the lack of any other point of view, as if the medical profession were the Albanian electorate in the good old days of Enver Hoxha.

Political correctness in medical journals

The European débâcle

Waarom Dalrymple meewerkt aan SCEPTR

The continent’s problems, says Dalrymple, are

largely the result of intellectual error, and frequently of dishonesty as well.

This is combined, he points out, with

a totalitarian impulse to suppress free discussion. Many subjects cannot be freely discussed, with the result that the only way of expressing disagreement with the prevailing orthodoxies and pieties is by an inchoate and destructive rage.

But let us control our rage and instead attempt to overcome political correctness

using the tools of rationality.

The unspeakable

The object of political correctness, writes Dalrymple,

is to make the obvious unsayable, or at least sayable only under the threat of a torrent of criticism or abuse.

This does violence to the mind and spirit.

Those who refrain from objecting to the false pieties of political correctness (which are intoned within organisations as regularly as in public) come to despise themselves.

Speaking power to truth

Political correctness is not a neurodegenerative disease, the doctor explains,

but it might as well be, so devastating is its effect on intellection. It appears to be infective, spreading from brain to brain. It is more like a form of chronic mass hysteria.

A little like our economic system, it must be forever expanding to survive.

The capitalist system, Dalrymple reminds us, must

stimulate new desires in consumers and make those desires as quickly as possible seem like needs, without the satisfaction of which life is rendered impossible.

Similarly, political correctness,

to extend its soft-totalitarian hold over the population, must discover new injustices to set right — by a mixture of censorship, language reform, and legal privileges for minorities. The meaning of life for the politically correct is political agitation.

Dalrymple points out that the greater the violation of common sense, the better.

It is like communist propaganda of old: the greater the disparity between the claims of that propaganda and the everyday experience of those at whom it is directed, the greater the humiliation suffered by the latter — especially when they were obliged to repeat it, thus destroying their ability to resist, even in the secret corners of their heart.

That is why the politically correct

insist that everyone use their language: unlike what the Press is supposed to do, the politically correct speak power to truth.

All that is necessary for humbug to triumph is for honest men to say nothing

The politically correct, Dalrymple notes,

never seem to become bored with their thoughts. This leads to a dilemma for those who oppose political correctness, for to be constantly arguing against bores is to become a bore oneself. On the other hand, not to argue against them is to let them win by default. To argue against rubbish is to immerse oneself in rubbish; not to argue against rubbish is to allow it to triumph.