There is craziness all around me. People believe stuff like:
All opinions are equal. You must not be judgmental.
All cultures are equal. All religions are equal.
You must not offend another culture or religion.
Very politically correct. BUT ... one logical fallacy after another.
I ask, Why??? Why must one not look, evaluate, judge???
Ask, and you come to responses such as, "Who are we to judge?" The response isn't meant as a question, which one could easily answer: "Well, it isn't that hard to do some elementary logical thinking."
"Who are we to judge?"
is supposed to silence the questioner, to end discussion. "Oh, right, awful me, that I should have thought myself to have the capacity to look at information and draw some conclusions. How absolutely awful!"
What has happened to thinking?
I have answers.
There's a horrible history hanging over the West. Injustices done worldwide in the name of nation, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation. "We found it. It's ours" "We're the best. Our religion. Yours is wrong. Your gods don't exist." "We're the best. Europeans. This land is our land." "Our language is the best." "We're the best. Men." "We're the best. Heterosexuals." Absolutely not politically correct. Absolutely politically incorrect. Horrific.
What happens when we stop believing we're the best, that we know what good ethics is, that we are the righteous? In Germany, after World War II, a massive dark cloud descended, ushering in an ice age. A collective sense of guilt and shame, among caring Germans, for the horrors done. The Germans who escaped the cloud were those who didn't give up the illusion that Hitler had the right idea, who were just sorry he hadn't managed to finish things. For most others, silence and shame - including those who had had no idea what was happening, and those not born until long after the Holocaust.
Being politically correct, having politically correct values, favoring equal rights for everyone - that wasn't what counted. What counted was the horrific past. It was barely mentioned in school. Silence. But it was everywhere.
I know about that collective sense of guilt and shame. I'm Austrian, born well after the Holocaust, to parents too young to be involved in World War II. All the same, for a very long time, I felt a lack of pride in my country of origin, a preference for Jewish people over Germans and Austrians - and an inability to believe anything negative about Jews.
Political correctness: the longing for good ethics.
It hasn't been identical in the West. In Germany, the horror was much quicker - both its coming and its end.
In the West, the changes have been slower, both the movement toward the colonization of huge chunks of the world, the religious conversion of huge amounts of people, the displacement and slaughter of masses of people, the racism toward masses of people - and also the changes away. The ending of colonial rule, of economic exploitation, of mass displacement and slaughter, of mass religious conversion of non-Christian people, and so on.
One might expect things to be moving nicely toward happily ever after toward a happy gentle loving politically correct world with politically correct lullabies lulling politically correct babies to sleep.
That hasn't been happening. It isn't just that war and famine and religious repression and genocide continue. It isn't just that there are massive internal problems in many of the countries that were colonized - war, slaughter, famine, AIDS, corruption.
Political correctness: blindness to logical fallacies.
My concern here is with the frozen brains I see all around me in the West, in people who should be able to do at least elementary thinking, but instead intone, All opinions are equal, All religions are equal, All cultures are equal, as if these were mantras from some particularly mind-numbing sect.
I've done a lot of research on the impact of becoming involved with a rights movement (anti-racist, feminist, gay rights, disability rights) if you're part of the disadvantaged group. Empowerment, pride - and often also anger. It takes a while for most people to become able to fully experience those from the advantaged group as individuals - and also to see those from their own group as individuals. (I have so much more on this. But right here, time to move on.)
Something different happens to many people who are part of the advantaged group. Guilt and shame. A sense of responsibility for the wrongs done, including long ago wrongs we had no hand in.
Sometimes we may feel the responsibility; at others, it may be invisible to us. And then, politically correct rigidity easily sets in.
Rigid politically correct political correctness and collective trauma.
I'm not talking about something that only happens to individuals.
I'm talking about a collective trauma. Our society is saturated with messages about the importance of healing from childhood trauma. Having to recognize massive wrongs, even if done generations ago - though much of it is way more recent - is likewise traumatic.
With trauma, people often freeze parts of themselves, cut off from parts of themselves. A very fertile ground for something like rigid political correctness, a politically correct response that ignores reality, ignores information, avoids logic, won't recognize logical fallacy, thinks it knows good ethics rather than explores what good ethics might be.
Politically correct political correctness and logical fallacy.
And this brings me to those frozen brains which can't recognize a logical fallacy if it hits them on the head, those people who are stuck at "All opinions are equal, all cultures are equal, all religions are equal.
There's been a movement gaining ground in the West - the political correctness movement. One must not judge. And why not? The politically correct judge, after all: they judge that it's wrong to judge.
"It's wrong to judge" is unfair and also a logical fallacy - in other words, it contains ar error in logic, in reasoning.
Unfair: why should they be allowed to judge it's wrong to judge, while no one else is supposed to judge at all? It's unjust to have a different standard for others than for yourself - in this case, people believe it's right for them to judge it's wrong to judge, but the rest of us have no right to judge, no matter how good our evidence.
Logical fallacy: there's a lot of evidence of wrong judgments; but that doesn't mean that all judgments are wrong. In fact, to evaluate that wrong judgments have been made is to judge, and be judgmental about those wrong judgments. The conclusion, though, doesn't follow: because many wrong judgments have been made, it does not follow that all judgments are wrong. That's like saying that because some men rape, therefore all men are rapists! All judging is being banned on the basis of there being bad judgments.
The logical conclusion is to move on to determine if it is possible to make good judgments, and if so, HOW one makes them.
Thawing the politically correct brain.
As for, are all opinions, cultures, religion equal, first: what does equal mean? It certainly could not mean they're all the same. It could not mean that the values, the ethics of them all are anything like the same.
I have the sense of many caring people in the West - like many caring Germans - wandering in some void, unable to reclaim their inner authority, their sense of their own capacity, their sense of their right to use their faculties both to recognize and evaluate evidence.
Weakness of political correctness.
It's a dangerous weakness. It means we may not defend ourselves when we should. "Bad us, we deserve what's coming at us" "Poor them, think of all the suffering they've gone through. Poor poor them." All that may be true - but it may likewise be true that we are not seen as individuals but as part of a group (in other words, we are being stereotyped, which we know is a sin if applied to the disadvantaged group, and so should likewise be a sin if done to us if we're in the advantaged group.
More on the dangerous weakness. It means we may accept being silenced when others demand it: "You have no right to criticize our cultural habits." "You have no right to offend our religion." We nay well not even try to think about it.
Politically correct political correctness - silences.
It starts early, the inner silencing.
Well-meaning teachers (themselves having learned never to criticize another opinion, culture or religion) instill, year after year, the message that to have good ethics you must never be judgmental, that all religions, opinions, cultures are equal.
It's nuts. Instead of teaching children, from kindergarten on, HOW to think, HOW to judge, most children (in Canada, anyway) learn to avoid thinking like the plague, like leprosy, like dog diarrhea splattered on a sidewalk.
The teachers themselves haven't learned - and so of course they can't teach - that good ethics is based on thinking, learning, figuring out what is right and wrong, and that good ethics does not vary culture to culture. Or why is there so much criticism of the slaughter in Darfur, in Rwanda? Why is Nazi Germany not celebrated for its difference from current Western cultures? The answer is obvious: all cultures and sub-cultures, all opinions - and also all religions - are far from equal.
Politically incorrect: to recognize politically incorrect realities.
There's not only a sense of guilt and feelings of shame. There's also fear. The disadvantaged often are quite angry. Not everyone is good at standing up to anger. Many back down, back away.
It's not just anger that needs to be faced. There can be threats of violence, instances of violence, threats of murder. A Danish cartoonist who drew a cartoon that offended some Muslims has a price on his head. Other people have lived in hiding, had to flee a country - including a Western country like the Netherlands - due to the likelihood of being murdered.
Not everyone escapes with just threats.
It's much safer to be politically correct, so politically correct that one totally distances oneself from those who incur the wrath of the dangerously self-righteous.
Political correctness and shame, fear, guilt..
Political correctness - much started so well. The push to use inclusive language, instead of telling women they should include themselves in the term, men. The push not to use denigrating terms about a group: nigger, faggot, spic, chick.
Nothing wrong with political correctness when combined with good thinking, with evidence substantiating the position, with good arguments.
Politically correct vs politically incorrect.
Often though, a break has occurred. And that's when we know that something other than the urge to be fair and just and kind is happening.
Instead of good thinking, one hits a wall, the wall of something deeply internalized, something most of the rigidly politically correct don't recognize, let alone wish to explore.
Urgent that the wall is explored, and removed - for much more inner freedom and a freer life in general.
It's not just politically correct political correctness.
There's more to rigid views. Some people are lazy. They don't want to think. It's a bother. Much easier to go with, All opinions are equal.
Burp. Then, some people can't stand criticism. Am I saying they're wrong to believe all opinions are equal!!! Could I have the nerve to suggest that?! If so, that's the end of the discussion.
But if the people who care in our society were wide awake emotionally, much rigid political correctness would be gone. And teachers would be teaching very different beliefs. They would teach thinking skills.
From political correctness, politically correct, politically incorrect - to seeing and thinking,
How to explore and remove politically correct rigidity? Well, first, make it visible. It's like the now famous glass ceiling that blocks outsiders - one can't see it until one bashes against it. More and more people started bumping into it, reporting their bumps and bruises - and suddenly it became widely known.
The glass ceiling against thinking forbidden thoughts is likewise easily visible. I've been doing my best to report on what happens when you try to get people to think forbidden thoughts. It's at least as hard to get them to think than to get the first person to break through a glass ceiling. In this case, lending them a helping hand is no use. It isn't seen, isn't wanted - is seen as coming from someone unenlightened.
But I wonder ... how soon until this barrier is down, like so many barriers have crumbled already?
February 22, 2009
copyright © Elsa Schieder, 2009, all rights reserved
here for ideas on Breaking the Spell
of Politically Correct Opinions.
here for more about
Victims of Political Correctness .
here for The Rage of the Righteous,
another rigid stance not backed by evidence,
but ardently held as utter truth .
Politically Correct: Judgmental Is Bad.
Political Correctness: Good Ethics Means All Cultures Are Equal.
Politically Incorrect Good Thinking: This is A Logical Fallacy, Bad Thinking.
The Idea Emporium - out with political correctness
One of my lifelong concerns has been trying
to make sense of reality. What is happening?
Why is this happening? In this case I'm asking: why do some people, caring and educated,
seem utterly unable to think in certain areas. It's as if parts of the brain had been struck by a stroke.
When political correctness is the priority, when one is required to be politically correct,
it's out with good thinking, critical thinking, in with logical fallacy.
It's in with the Naked Emperor.
Here: out with political correctness, out with politically correct bad thinking,
out with any politically correct demand not to explore but to accept answers.
It's not a celebration of being politically incorrect, but of good thinking, critical thinking.
We will see when the current walls protecting political correctness crumble to dust,
leaving everyone astounded that anyone could ever have believed such a stupid opinion.
clear thinking trainer,
always looking with ideas cooking,
February 22, 2009
copyright © Elsa Shedder 2009, all rights reserved
publishing house - Fluffed Impressions 2009
Stupid Opinion One: All opinions are equal.
Believed by many ardently, rigidly.
But it means racism is as good
The Idea Emporium -
facts, logic, critical thinking, good judgment.
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