Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A great scholarly talk on history of PC

I thought that because of my Soviet bloc background, years at Harvard, and many years I dedicated to this issue, I knew a lot about the PC, its history, its genesis etc. So I couldn't learn anything really new, right? Today, I was led to the four-months-old talk by
Stephanie Maier from Americans for Prosperity: The Sordid History of Political Correctness
and it was an eye-opener. (Hat tip: Ron Paul.)

Especially at the end, she goes through the processes of the exponential expansion of the political correctness in the American society in recent years. And there are fun moments – e.g. a monologue in which Jay Leno says that the young generation (which hasn't ever seen any America except for the politically correct America) has been indoctrinated beyond any reasonable limits.

When he said he didn't like Mexican cuisine, he was immediately criticized by a 20-or-so-years-old intern as a racist! :-)

But the nontrivial part of Maier's talk is about the more distant history. She mentions Marx – it's someone whom (and whose impact) we know kind of well. But she largely avoids Marx himself and the ancestry tree that he produced.

Instead, she mostly looks at much less famous thinkers and schools working "exclusively" in the West – starting especially from the Fabian Socialists of Britain of the 1880s; and the Frankfurt school – who worked largely independently from the proletarians' efforts to bring the Marxist ideas into practice. She mentions lots of slogans and principles of their strategy that could have contributed to the apparent success of these efforts. The ideas need to conquer the people's psychology; they have to be done gradually, and so on.

Those movements worked on their ideas openly and they were thinking how to entangle Marx-like ideas with the culture and people's psychology, conscious, and subconscious in order to create the new world that obeys all their favorite left-wing rules.

Incidentally, when Hitler came to power, the Frankfurt school fled Germany and created a powerful colony at... Columbia University. So there's quite some tradition explaining why Columbia University has so many absolutely insufferable and obnoxious leftists.

Even if you think that you know a lot about PC, I recommend you the talk. It's a talk presenting many of these pathological developments not as a set of fluctuations vaguely inspired by the communist thought, but as an independent and deliberate movement that has well-defined roots in the 19th century.

It's my understanding that Maier has done all the research herself. I can't think of any scholar who would be as good a historian of PC as she is. She is exactly the kind of a scholar that the "humanities" departments of top universities should struggle to get. She knows a lot and she knows – and can figure out – how it holds together. Instead, the famous universities' "humanities" departments like to employ lots of mediocre people who are experts in overspecialized and ideologically twisted topics, e.g. in "the influence of slaveowners' black cooks in 1850s on the contemporary rap music and how to abuse those things in some elections".

Gary Johnson and illegal immigrants

As a bonus, let me mention one extra two-minute video that is one week old, much less general or insightful, but related to the topic of the political correctness.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for POTUS, was asked about immigration. (Click.)
The interviewer was just describing some facts – that Johnson supported some amnesty for illegal immigrants etc. Johnson immediately interrupted the host, got irritated, and said that it is "very incendiary" to the Hispanic population to call illegal immigrants "illegal immigrants". Instead, they have to be called "undocumented".

OK, so you immediately saw that Johnson is just another PC language cop. But the discussion didn't stop at this moment. What followed has assured the listeners that Johnson isn't just a PC language cop, he is a giant arrogant aßhole.
Host: Why is it (incendiary)?
Johnson: It just is. Just so that you know.
Sorry, Johnson, but "it just is" simple cannot be an acceptable answer to a "why" question. You just failed to justify your previous statement by any evidence or explanation. But you seem to think that your previous claim may be taken seriously, anyway? It cannot. Do you think that you have some authority to dictate the host how he should call illegal immigrants? You don't have any.

If you haven't given any argument or justification, the other man participating in the interview cannot suddenly "know" what you want him to believe. You haven't changed anything about the evidence so he still knows what he knows and he still knows that you are full of šit.

As a true professional, the journalist remained calm and impartial but didn't give up. So he asked whether the term "illegal immigrant" was accurate – because they came to the country illegally. Johnson exploded in anger and argued:
Johnson: They came to the country because they couldn't get in legally and the jobs existed.
Great. So they still came illegally. When someone needs to buy expensive cars for his family members – cars that existed – after he robs the bank illegally, because he couldn't rob the bank legally (and the money in the bank also existed), it is still true that he illegally robbed the bank and an angry third-rate ideologue can't change this fact.
Johnson: You and I would have done the same thing.
Speak only for yourself, aßhole. The fact that you have the mentality of a criminal who is always eager to break the law when you may materially benefit doesn't mean that the host and other people are the same scum. I would never do it. When I spent 10 years in the U.S., I have had 5 different visas in total including 10 stamps on them and was careful to obey every small requirement of all the laws, including annual "update stamps" whenever the visas lasted for more than year plus the departure from the U.S. within a week after the last H1-B visa expired.

I hate when people with this lousy morality or lacking the respect for the law have the arrogance to assume that because they're doing such things, everyone else does it, too, or it's a "normal thing". Needless to say, this harmful fallacy is omnipresent. For example, it's being used by Babiš and his supporters who say that most small entrepreneurs are evading taxation – because Babiš and his supporters would do it in that role. Well, that's a very lousy and "incendiary" accusation, especially if it is pretended to be evidence for anything.

Johnson continued with a tirade that it was terrible when undocumented immigrants' papers and history would be studied individually. What the hell is wrong about checking for people's legal status and violation of the laws individually? Johnson adds that what Trump wants to do is "incendiary", too.

But the arrival of proofs how f*cked-up a person Gary Johnson is escalated. The host didn't want to be automatically associated with all Trump's statements so he asked:
Host: But isn't it unfair to equate all Trump statements with the simple usage of the term "illegal immigrant"?
And Johnson began to scream "undocumented!" again. Holy crap. The word "illegal" simply cannot be replaced by the word "undocumented" in that sentence because the host was specifically asking what it meant and how bad it was when someone uses the term "illegal immigrant". If the question contained the term "undocumented immigrant", it would be a completely different question. Is Gary Johnson really incapable of understanding that? Does his obsession with bullying people and trying to ban some words completely prevent him from understanding the basic rules of logic?

When he calms down just a little bit, he claims that decades ago, it wasn't considered illegal to enter the U.S. without visas. Well, that's just bullšit. In 1921 – and, with adjustments, by 1924 – the Congress introduced the National Origins Formula and legally restricted immigration. Racially and education-based quotas were imposed etc. Due to the generous application of the law, there was tolerance for immigrants from Mexico – like today – but they were also unequivocally illegal. The 1954 Operation Wetback deported thousands of illegal Mexican immigrants. It was needed to act because the immigration from Mexico increased 60-fold in the previous decade. Border patrols and other things were established in order to scare the Mexicans and encourage them to flee back to Mexico.

In 1965, lawmakers adopted the Hart-Celler Act. The racial quotas from the 1920s were formally abandoned. The writers wanted most of the post-1965 immigration to be from Europe etc. but because of unintended reasons, the reality was that the immigration from Asia and other places went up and the illegal immigration from Latin America was a significant portion of the illegal immigration. It was called "illegal immigration" at all times.

At the end of the interview, the host appreciates that the interviewee is incendiary and is careful not to use the term "illegal immigration". But he asks whether it's an illegal act to enter the U.S. without documentation. Johnson ends up conceding that "technically yes". That's cute. One may diminish the importance of similar facts as "technical". But it's still true that the law enforcement in a healthy country with the rule of law should operate according to these "technical" truths!

Because of that, don't the journalists have the duty or at least the right to use the correct technical language as well? Why are people like Johnson so obsessed with forcing a technically incorrect (but perhaps "politically correct" in their opinion) vocabulary on everyone else? If you're a sloppy criminal, Mr Johnson, it's just you and it doesn't mean that everyone is or has to be a sloppy, illogical criminal.

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