Free speech or PC?
0 comment Monday, August 4, 2014 |
Nothing appears more surprising to those who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.'' - David Hume, "Of the First Principles of Government," in Essays, Literary, Moral and Political.
Some further thoughts on Political Correctness:
When Hume wrote the words above some centuries ago, he was obviously not writing about Political Correctness or what some call Cultural Marxism, but the words are very much applicable to our present situation.
The tyrannical opinion of our day is exemplified in what we term Political Correctness.
Political Correctness, of course, is just one aspect of the leftist/liberal conquest of our society. Some conservatives disagree on the importance of 'PC', seeing it as merely a symptom or a secondary enemy.
But Political Correctness, this onerous set of unwritten laws which constrain the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and truths, limits our thoughts as it confines our speech.
When I wrote my post yesterday on PC and Capitulation, my purpose wasn't to promote the use of inflammatory language for the sake of it. Suppose the truth itself is considered 'inflammatory'? In Britain, Nick Griffin of the near-outlaw party BNP, said in a private meeting, that 'Islam is a wicked and vicious faith.' I would suspect that most Moslems would consider that opinion 'inflammatory' or 'hate speech,' and thus would support Mr.Griffin's prosecution and potential imprisonment for uttering those words. We have often heard the saying that free speech does not allow us to shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre. But as one wry commenter said, suppose there IS a fire in a crowded theatre? And suppose Islam IS a wicked and vicious faith? It surely isn't flattering to say that, but I could cite supporting evidence for the viciousness of Islam, in the form of quotes from the Koran, the Hadiths, the sayings of Mohammed, and from the words and deeds of contemporary practitioners of Islam. So would I be guilty of hate speech if I had truth on my side? And if that truth might alert my hearers to some danger to themselves? Just as crying 'fire' in a crowded building might save some lives, sometimes unpleasant and unflattering truths serve a needed purpose. Yet we prefer to avoid offending rather than speak uncomplimentary words, and in doing so, we are failing to warn those who might suffer harm from a clear and present danger.
I sometimes despair of being able to awaken people from their slumber; we have all, including me, been influenced by this dissimulating spirit of liberalism, in which truth is relative,and in which there is a hierarchy of people about whom truth may or may not be spoken, depending on who they are. This dissimulating spirit will be the death of us in the West, as we close our eyes to impolitic truths, and engage in games of 'let's pretend.' Let's pretend Islam is The Religion of Peace, and pretend there are only a 'tiny minority of extremists' who have 'hijacked a noble religion' and misunderstood it. And let's pretend that our Latino invaders are 'hardworking people who are natural conservatives, good Christians, wanting to do the jobs that lazy Americans won't do.'
Let's pretend that the Latinos will all assimilate and vote GOP. Let's pretend that we can have hundreds of different nationalities,ethnicities, religions, sects, and races in the same space, and that we can all Just Get Along because We Are All The Same Under The Skin. Let's pretend we are a Nation of Immigrants. Let's pretend that women are just as good in combat as men, and that they differ only in plumbing. Let's pretend that little old American ladies are just as likely to be terrorists as young Middle Eastern men.
And let's pretend that the Space Brothers from the Pleiades are going to land and lead us all to an age of harmony. What the heck? It's as plausible as all the other beliefs above. They are all based on wishful thinking or self-deception, and on wanting to avoid difficult choices and conflicts.
I realize that my readers, even my regular readers who have borne with me since I began this blog, don't necessarily agree with me; I am aware of the fact that my thinking strays outside the established and respectable bounds. So be it; I am compelled to call things as I see them. If I am going to pull my punches, why blog? Life is too short, and our situation here in America and the West overall is so urgent that taking the slow and subtle approach is a luxury that we don't have the time for. And obviously, not all of us agree that such is the case. Not everyone feels the same urgency that I feel. I honestly hope that I am overreacting, and I hope I will be proven wrong, and that our Republic and the West will survive and prevail. I was just talking with someone about this situation, and she said that the country is being lost just gradually enough that most of us will accommodate to it, unwilling to disturb our everyday lives, and so we slouch toward oblivion. I am afraid this is just what will happen, what is happening. I feel sometimes as if I am watching a sleepwalker about to stumble off a cliff, or into oncoming traffic, and that all my efforts to awaken the sleepwalker are useless.
What gives me hope is that I encounter a lot of people who, when in a one-to-one, private conversation, will admit to feeling great trepidations about what is happening to our country; they are disturbed and chagrined, but few people feel free to discuss it. When I introduce the subject people often seem curiously relieved, as if they are glad someone else notices it, and glad that they can speak openly about what is generally ignored. There are people out there who are waiting for a chance to talk about what is happening to our country, and who just don't know how to articulate their dread or uneasiness. That much is a positive sign; many people are aware that the media don't tell them the whole truth, but those who are not internet-savvy don't know where to look for the facts that the MSM don't touch. Word-of-mouth is the only way some people can be reached. In my sleepy little corner of the country, the wave of invaders is only just now beginning to appear, and many people have so far been insulated from the vast changes taking place in our country. Reality, however, won't leave us undisturbed in our idyllic little world forever.
There are signs that the hold of the PC empire is weakening, and that the facade is crumbling. I think the facade needs just a little tremor to bring it down altogether. My feeling is that many people are hungry for some other points of view, because they sense that there is an edifice of lies, like a flimsy Hollywood backdrop, posing as reality.
There is a school of thought that posits that we should always prefer gentle persuasion and reason, attempting to be non-offensive so as to win over as many as possible. If that works, then by all means, be nonconfrontational. Believe it or not, in person I am nonconfrontational, being as mild-mannered as Clark Kent. I am not, despite my strong opinions, a rude or blunt-spoken person.
'For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak.'' II Corinthians 10:10
could have been written about me, although I am not in the same league with the man about whom it was written.
If genteel persuasion works, great. I prefer sweet reason to tussles, either verbal or physical. But sometimes, in my opinion, sweet reason does not move people; sometimes strong words are necessary to stir them, and to reach them on an emotional or visceral level. Yes, conservatives generally rely on reason, unlike liberals and leftists, who appeal primarily to various emotions. But there is a place for appeal to emotion, as long as it is to higher emotions like love of country, or yes, even righteous indignation. Think about Patrick Henry's famous speech, wherein he declaimed 'give me liberty or give me death!' Emotion? Yes. Our Founding Fathers were not averse to appealing to emotion. The great Oriana Fallaci, the strongest voice against the Islamic threat in our generation, spoke and wrote with intense emotion. In an age of postmodern ennui and detachment, she shone like a supernova in the darkness. And she was full of passion, emotion -- and strong language. The weak of heart couldn't endure what she said; she shocked the respectable folk. The same with Ann Coulter, whom the nice 'conservatives' recoil from. (I don't, however, equate Coulter to Fallaci; they are not in the same league.) But I admire Coulter's take-no-prisoners attitude. Does it scare off the 'moderates'? Or does it simply show us who is potentially on our side and who is more concerned with respectability?
Bloodless intellectual arguments almost never stir people to action. I regularly read some conservative blogs where interesting discussions take place, and in the most refined fashion, but the discussion is often too rarefied for me. I come from a long line of orators, men of action, judges, preachers and ministers, warriors, and warriors of words: writers. Discussing abstract ideas means little to me; I want to know how an idea applies to the real, concrete world I live in.
I confess to being impatient; as I said, I think time is short for America and the West. Soon the die will be cast, and we may be beyond the point of no return. So from where I stand, I believe we may have to 'triage'; pick those who are saveable, and focus on them, because we lack the time and resources to try to work on the lost causes. Among the 'lost causes' I count the 'moderate Muslims', who may or may not exist, and the 'mushy middle' moderate Americans who can't get het up about much of anything except American Idol, or their latest toys and gadgets, or even the latest partisan dust-up, which means about as much as a pro-wrestling match. These people often don't care about the country at large, or anything beyond their immediate life. I hold that we have to try to reach those who are halfway to realization: half-awake, not those who are sound asleep, even comatose.
I maintain that if someone is upset by a politically-incorrect word (and no, I am not talking about hardcore fighting words or insults) they will be just as appalled by politically incorrect ideas and thoughts. They can't be helped, unless they help themselves, or unless some experience jolts them out of the PC stupor. If someone can listen to non-PC ideas without getting the vapors or calling the thought-police, then they might be won over. Otherwise I don't waste my breath or my time and their time in trying to woo them. I 'shake the dust off my shoes' and move on. Time is short, from where I sit, and we have to know who is who.
Why disturb people with those troubling Politically Incorrect ideas? Because it is only by rejecting PC that we can see our way out of this impossible situation we are in. The facile slogans and the cant, which some of us laugh at, (Religion of Peace, Nation of Immigrants, Hardworking Folks, and so on) are the very notions that prevent us from seeing the reality of our situation, which keep many people down on the plantation, so to speak. It's easier to mouth platitudes and cant phrases than to examine things that may distress us.
I don't advocate alienating people knowingly; I don't propose insulting or offending anyone purposely, Those who know me in person would find that notion laughable. I treat others civilly, insofar as it's possible to do so.
But I think that as long as we are prisoners of PC, we are on the path to capitulation. A free people must have freedom of speech, and freedom to think and believe what we will, freedom to follow the truth wherever it leads. Freedom and PC can never coexist, and as long as we submit to speech constraints and thought constraints, we are no longer free people. Fear is the main thing which keeps people subservient to PC, or maybe it is more often habit and indifference? Thomas Paine said
The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance."
And centuries ago, French philosopher Etienne de la Boetie, in the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude said
Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces."
Our tyrant and Colossus is the PC emperor. And he is only as invincible as we let him be.

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