“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." - George Washington, the 1st president of the United States
Within the last several decades, the political correctness has been shaping the political landscape of the world. Initially it was a kind of code of good manners/ behavior that has turned into a list of the permanently toughening rules of admissible speech and mentality.
The conviction that speech shapes the reality is very popular now. It is connected with superstitious beliefs: there is certain part of speech that has always been considered either impolite or taboo or even voodoo. Of course, speech has certain influence on emotions, and taboos play a big role in society, but can it relieve the world from undesirable phenomena?
Steven Pinker, psychologist, linguist, and the author of the books “The Blank Slate” and “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature” introduced a term “euphemism treadmill.” The problem is that to avoid tabooed topics, people try to use new terms that later inevitably become tabooed too. That is why euphemisms are rotated constantly.
For instance, in many countries the words describing “lavatory” are constantly rotated (in the Russian language it is called “toilet,” “lavatory,” “water closet,” “sortir”). By the way, the word “sortir” comes from the French “sortir” that means “to go out.” Can you imagine how fine word it was before and how impolite it sounds now?
The same may happen to the name of the national minorities. For instance, in the United States, they used the word “nigger” (“The Adventures of Tom Soyer” is flooded with this word) – it was the term applied to the black skinned in the 19th century. Soon after, it obtained negative connotation and was replaced with the following terms: “negro”, “colored”, “black”, “people of color”, “African-American”. At present, only the last two terms are politically correct. The term “Mexicans” is also considered impolite now. Although they are from Mexico, they should be called “Hispanics.”
But how do the names of national minorities turn insulting? Apparently, left-liberals identify themselves with the groups that as they think are oppressed. These are Negros, Mexicans, women, disabled, overweight people, sexual and religious minorities. Permanently focusing on any injustices (often fat-fetched problems) towards these groups and ignoring any facts that do not fit into the “victim’s story,” left liberals marginalize these groups and turn any term into an insulting one.
Strength, success, confidence, rationality, initiative – these are the biggest enemies of the Western liberals. Feminists never focus on the successful women. They will never bring the example of Margaret Thatcher. They need oppressed women. The racism fighters will be vehemently protecting the black skinned criminals that are killed during operation and will be fully ignoring the black skinned people who achieved successes in the financial or social fields. They need to prove constantly that racism is ineradicable. Strange as it may appear, racism in the United States (and in Europe) is growing. Heightening of racial antagonism, permanent exaggeration of the problems of national minorities, anti-white rhetoric and policy (for instance stimulation of mass migration of unskilled labor force from third countries), permanent broadening of definition of racism (as much as that of sexism) is what in fact splits and polarizes the population.
By the way, such a masochistic self-identification with victims is quite demonstrative. As a rule, activists chose masochistic methods of protesting: they lay down on the way of military hardware, cuff themselves to oil platform, instigate police or crowd to violence, go on hunger strikes etc. One cannot say that such methods are ineffective, but the fact that left liberals prefer such methods is saying something. They usually attract hatred – hatred to their culture, traditions, and even gender – which is typical to progressive post-modernists striving “to change the world fundamentally.”
Those who dare to step out of line face enmity. There is even a special term in U.S. – crypto-conservative (hidden conservative) – for the people who prefer not to speak about their conservatism. To express their attitude to any delicate issue they usually look round and whisper. “Leakage” of such information may cost them job or advancement. They may be unfriended in social media and get the status of a social outcast. For public figures, this may result in media criticism, loss of post or unmasking on television, professional failure etc.
All this happens amid declared pluralism of opinion and freedom of speech. What is happening at universities in U.S. is out of all reason. The generation that studied at school in the period when “medals were awarded for participation” now protest against letting to campus anyone whose opinion is not acceptable to them and insist on dismissal of the teachers they dislike. Not so long ago, there was a scandal in Yale University when one of the students suggested banning Halloween costumes that might insult anyone’s feelings. The teacher’s argument saying that it would limit the freedom of expression sealed his fate. After a wave of indignation and protests, the teacher had to leave the university amid rather awkward statements of the University leadership that the teacher could return at any time and that Yale University advocated freedom of speech, discussion and scientific knowledge.
Shouldn’t universities discuss and try the ideas that are not yet understood and accepted by the public? Is it a right university where students are ready to hear only what they agree with? Of course, tabooing some topics and public consensus are needed but within reason. It must not grow into mania of personal comfort and forced single-mindedness at university where people must be encouraged to learn the truth.
Yet, social trends in U.S. and Europe prove the opposite. In U.S. personal views have been dominating the truth and feelings have become more important than facts for a long time already. Ideology of equality eventually equalizes all the opinions no matter what they are based on and substantiated with. For instance, questions about dinosaurs have been removed from examination texts not to insult those who do not believe in evolution. Americans no longer say “Merry Christmas.” They say “Happy Holidays” instead. After all, there are people who do not celebrate Christmas. Government establishments are banned from using any Christmas-related symbols: Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas tree. There will always be the one who may feel offended with someone’s opinion. Actually, the freedom of speech is reduced to the set of permissible topics. One can talk to his colleagues about food, sport, rest or weekend, shopping. Any potentially “dangerous” topics are avoided delicately.
It is becoming harder and harder not to overstep the bounds, as political correctness has penetrated into everywhere. In 2014, the English language dictionaries were replenished with a new word – micro-aggression. The list of micro-aggressions keeps growing. It includes such phrases as “Where are you from?” “Wow your English is great!” “The most competent candidate will get the post,” “Everyone will make success if he works hard,” “America is a land of opportunities.” Of course, the list covers everything that parents tell to their children, men tell to women and any comments on physical description, culture, nationalities or religion.
Such rules are forced by vocal activists known as cry bullies (terrorizing everyone with their constant complains and cries) and social justice warriors. These are mostly students that find no better way to develop their auto-evaluation but fighting for someone’s rights (usually without being asked to do it) having no idea of the real world. The prototype of such persons was described yet 400 years ago in the novel “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.” It was indoctrinated at schools and universities where left intellectuals away from reality and enthralled by illusions teach children their own imagination of the world.
The ideology called “feminism” has been progressing too. The name of this movement was adopted from the movement of 1960s when men and women finally received equal rights and there was no need in that movement any longer. Now, feminists do not fight for equal rights. They are fighting against what they call “patriarchy” and sometimes make shocking ideas. For instance, they claim that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is “a musical hymn to rape,” that the Bing Bang theory frightens women and holds them from engaging in physics, Newton’s Theory of Mechanics is a theory of rape, and that we live in “rape culture.” Actually, they claim that any heterosexual intercourse is rape! Some universities introduced rules of “Affirmative Consent” i.e. a man must ask a permission for his every action (May I undo this button? May I touch you here?) and continue only after receiving her verbal positive answer. If a man and a woman do it under influence of alcohol, this is considered rape despite anything, because she could not control herself.
In addition, they claim that any inequality in any profession is discrimination. For instance, male programmers account for nearly 85% of total programmers - this is discrimination of women (yet I did not hear anyone to complain that 100% of miners and taxi drivers are men or that “the stronger sex” accounts for 93% of all occupational fatalities). By the way, “the stronger sex” is a sexist term like any other term stereotyping men or women. There is no difference between them, as sex is a social construct the men created to enslave women.
Meantime, in U.S., female students are soaring at colleges and universities. They have the best rates and higher incomes than males below 30. Employers prefer hiring females and avoid firing them. Actually, there is gender discrimination and it starts yet at school. A member of the feminist movement of 1960s Christina Hoff Sommers wrote a book entitled “War against Boys” wherein she tells how the distorted idea of feminism has affected the education system of U.S. that perceives boys as “wrong” girls and totally ignores the peculiarities of their mind by orienting the education process at girls. The current generation of men in U.S. is extremely emasculated and is afraid of women, as in case of any conflicts, men are almost always recognized as guilty. Some feminists want to ban the DNA paternity testing without mother’s consent so that in case of divorce a man could not prove that the child is not his. In addition, debauchery is promoted among girls – slut walks are organized regularly to promote debauchery and fight “rape” (the way feminists understand that word). And finally, the right to abortion is fundamental and minors can undergo abortion without the consent of their parents.
Why do they do it? To destroy the monogamy and the family that they consider an institute of enslaving women. They welcome debauchery and childlessness. Such trend in the West has been observed for already 50 years and has caused an irrecoverable damage to the gender roles.
However paradoxical it may appear, more and more women feel unhappy despite their seeming privileges. The problem is that men and women differ from each other not only biologically but also mentally. The idea that gender is largely a social construct is so absurd that only university “intellectuals” are ready to believe in it. Women gravitate towards careful choice of life partners and the propaganda of debauchery is a kind of psychological violence of some women to others. Yet this topic is a taboo in the West.
How it happens that in a society where freedom of speech is a fundamental value, political and social issues are tabooed and avoided?
The answer is that freedom of speech and democratic institutes are necessary for liberals just to come to power. Afterwards, they want to liquidate these ideas. Look back in time. Bolsheviks fought for the freedom of speech and against secret police. However, when they came to power, they created a secret police that was much more repressive than the one of Tsarist regime. In U.S. and Europe, progressive liberals are on the same path. There are more similarities between Bolsheviks and post-modern liberals than one could think. Simply, we have overcome that epoch, while the West is yet to come to it. Although it will be certainly different but its ideological basis is the same – Marxism.
Actually, as tabooed issues grow, people are becoming more sensitive and feel insulted for any remark or issue, the public is becoming less tolerant to the idea of independent opinion. Political correctness is an attempt to sterilize the communication of people and atomize the society.
It would be extremely naïve to think that it is a purposefully controlled process. It is quite natural a process to which the logic of everlasting economic growth as the highest value leads. This process would have no chance if it were not economically viable and were not supported by business.
Dismantlement of national, cultural, and religious identities through multiculturalism and political correctness helps unify the sales and labor markets. Single standards and single demands help producing goods in larger scales and, as a consequence, with lower cost value.
Feminism increases the number of workers. A woman that has a happy family and children is less attractive to employers than an ambitious woman ready to work for 80 hours a week for career growth. Can one focus a woman on the work, if her child became ill? It is much more profitable to integrate women into economic activity despite their natural preferences and desires and even at the expense of their personal happiness.
If there are no higher values, economic benefit starts dictating everything. For instance, mass media turn into distributors of advertising that attract and entertain the audience. It is better to be the first to publish information, even if it is not feasible, than to be the second and publish reliable data. No one will read it for a second time, which means that there will be no benefits from advertising either. Actually, such severity and professional accuracy is not supported by the mass market.
Democracy has turned into a competition of various marketing campaigns focused on emotions and reflexes of the population. This splits and atomizes the society, instigates internal conflict to mobilize like-minders. Mass migration of unqualified workers ensures the votes for those who buy them for doles and benefits. It is favorable in a short-term outlook. After it comes the flood.
This is the logic of that process. However, I have big doubts that this Utopia can be implemented. Maybe, this model is economically efficient, but it turns people into objects that replace each other without any goal, just for improvement of the living standards. This model is doomed to sooner – by historical standards – failure.
A man needs a higher reason for existence than just practical utility and economic benefit. Culture, traditions, and religion link generations: our ancestors, us and our successors. They give a reason to our existence. The values offered by liberal post-modernists lack all this. More and more people started to understand this, which means that it is temporary illness the humankind needs to recover from. Perhaps, the severest stage of this illness is yet to come.