PC, 'white lies', and Christianity
0 comment Saturday, August 30, 2014 |
I like this piece; it expresses many of the same thoughts I have had about "political correctness" which is merely one of the more smarmy and obnoxious manifestations of liberalism.
The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don't have to lie. I don't have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don't have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine.
Nor do I have to say that everyone's special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don't have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don't have to pretend that Islam means peace.
Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It's not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are.
This is leftism's great strength: It's all white lies.''
It is true that conservatism, real conservatism, is grounded in a realistic attitude toward life, and in an honest appraisal of flawed human nature. In that sense, many of today's 'conservatives' and Republicans have abandoned that realism and have, perhaps unwittingly, bought into the liberal view of the world and of people. The liberal view is generally a utopian, wishful-thinking ideology. It tends to divide people up simplistically according to how closely they conform to liberal morality: those who engage in the pretense and flattery that we call "political correctness" are of superior character, while those who do not are classed as "mean-spirited" and hateful. Many Republicans and self-styled conservatives share the liberal predilection for quashing any frank speech which steps on the wrong toes; if we speak harshly but truthfully about illegal immigrants, we might be called "hateful" by a Republican almost as often as a Democrat. We have seen how skillful many Republican politicians are at pandering to various protected groups, and how they are just as practiced at uttering 'white lies' as are the Democrat politicians.
So the culture of white lies, craven flattery, and rose-colored glasses is not confined to one political party.
As a Christian, I am aware of how the Bible warns us against "flattering lips" and a lying tongue:
They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: [with] flattering lips [and] with a double heart do they speak.
- Psalms 12:2
The Bible also tells us repeatedly that we are not to be respecters of persons, and that includes giving preference to the poor or to the rich; we are not told that respecting the persons of 'victim groups' is permissible, any more than respecting the person of the rich or the famous.
Of course if someone is truly a victim, they are entitled to justice and sympathy where appropriate, but thanks to liberalism and its warped "compassion", everybody, including the most heinous criminals, is portrayed as a victim. Terrorists and mass killers have their vocal champions among the Politically Correct because of this twisted notion of 'victimhood.'
So our society, in its obsession with exalting 'victims', has become enmeshed in lying, distorting, and dissimulating.
But because it is all done in a "good cause", to spare someone's feelings, or to rectify some claimed injustice, however distant in time, it is seen as moral and noble. Thus the evils of lying and hypocrisy are called good.
These issues came to mind whenever our President or some other official spoke fawningly and flatteringly about Islam as a "Religion of Peace." Secretary of State Rice spoke of the "benevolence that is at the heart of Islam." When I discussed this with fellow Christians, who personally did not buy the 'religion of peace' cant, they justified the flattery and guile as being simply "diplomatic." But if lying and dissimulating is wrong, do we call it right because the need for "diplomacy" outweighed the commandment to be truthful?
Usually when I asked this question, somebody would respond, "well, do you expect the President to say Islam is a false, evil religion? He can't say that." No, he can't say it publicly, but are those the only choices? Being honest does not necessitate that we insult or confront or provoke everyone with blunt candor, but it certainly requires that we not truckle or flatter, especially when the object of our flattery is not the least deserving of praise or compliments.
We are living in an age when mealy-mouthed 'niceness', a bland, limp-wristed desire to placate and mollify, is considered the highest virtue. But I am left to wonder: is the motivation fear? Are we afraid of those we flatter and fawn over? Do we think that our niceness will disarm them and lead them to spare us, or do we simply want to ingratiate ourselves and buy goodwill and benevolence? Or is it a pharasaical desire to appear morally superior, like the Pharisee in the Gospels who loudly thanked God that he was not like other men, a sinner?
Do even the liberals believe their flattery and "white lies" or is it just a pose? Or are they speaking the lies as "affirmations", believing that saying it enough will make it so?
I have heard it said countless times by many people of all political opinions that Christianity is the cause of almost every social ill of our times; leftists, of the atheist or anti-Christian variety, think Christianity leads to xenophobia and persecution, and they gleefully cite the Inquisition, the Crusades, and of course the 'witch trials', slavery, and every other crime of history. Then, I have ultra-liberal Christian acquaintances, who see Christian doctrines as the basis for their pacifist, multiculturalist, all-'tolerant', 'progressive' ideology. According to them, the Bible supports open borders, mass immigration, socialism/globalism, the whole gamut of leftist ideas.
Here,Fjordman's latest essay seems to indict Christianity:
A Christian Background for Political Correctness?
As a non-Christian, I have been complimenting Christianity for contributing immensely to many of the positive aspects of our culture. But precisely because Christianity has so profoundly shaped our culture, isn�t it plausible that it may also, at least indirectly, have contributed to some of the flaws that currently ail us as well?
According to the blogger Conservative Swede, whom I have debated this issue with at some length, Christian ethics is more unfettered in modern liberalism than it is in Christianity itself. The West, and Europe in particular, is sometimes labeled as "post-Christian," but this is only partly true. We have scrapped the Christian religion, but we have still retained some of the moral restraints associated with it, which have been so mired into our cultural DNA that we probably don�t even think about them as Christian anymore. Yet our humanitarian ideas are secular versions of Christian compassion, and it is Christian or post-Christian compassion that compels us to keep feeding and funding the unsustainable birth rates in other cultures, even actively hostile ones. Likewise, there are elements of Christian thought, such as universalism, that could be seen as the inspiration behind our one-world Multiculturalists.
One major component of Western self-loathing is the idea that we should we be punished for crimes, perceived or real, committed by our ancestors before we were even born. It could be argued that this idea has its roots in Christian thinking, in the concept of original sin, committed by Adam and Eve, but where all their descendants are subject to its effects. Christian ethics have proved more durable than Christian beliefs. Even when we have supposedly left the religion behind, we still believe we have to make atonement for the sins of our forefathers, but since we no longer believe that Christ has made that sacrifice for us and washed away our sins, we end up sacrificing ourselves instead.
This proves that unbalanced Christian ethics without Christian beliefs can be unhealthy, especially if combined with a high degree of cultural feminization and a focus on the feminine aspects of the divine, the self-sacrificing.''
There are quite a few conservatives, of the secular sort, who blame Christianity for the West's decline and possible demise; some of these people are very bitterly anti-Christian, and suggest that the West can only survive if we renounce the 'weak' religion of Christianity. Fjordman is not as extreme as those critics, but I think he somewhat caricatures Christianity, and takes the modern, liberal version of Christianity as the norm, or the standard.
Some of the extreme critics of Christianity as the supposed destroyer of the West assert that we should find a new religion which will serve us better; some even suggest that we go back to the pre-Christian religions of Europe. Now supposing that it were even possible to reconstruct the old religions of Europe, which I doubt, this idea seems wrong-headed. The underlying idea is that a religion is simply a man-made institution or belief system which is meant to serve us: if it does not serve some purpose of our own, we simply shop around for a religion that suits us better, or tinker together a religion of our own. This presupposes that there is no God, a God who is and who exists, with a nature of his own. In effect, this is essentially an atheistic attitude: the idea that God exists only insofar as we construct him or conceive of him, and thus we can make a religion that is useful to us.
Fjordman cites the Christian doctrine of original sin, and blames it for our present 'guilt complex' in the West. To be fair, the doctrine of original sin does not mean that I am guilty for the personal sins of my ancestors. And Christians believe everyone, of every race and nation, is equally a sinner, but the leftist idea of Western guilt convicts Westerners only; according to the popular PC belief, only Western white people carry ancestral guilt. Western white nations are endlessly castigated for slavery, while the liberals never condemn the present-day slavery in the Third World, or the past guilt of the Arab nations in the slave trade. Liberals, influenced by Rousseau and his 'noble savage' idea, seem to see Third World peoples as innocent and childlike, capable only of being victimized, of being sinned against but not sinning. 'Victim' groups are seemingly exempted from accountability, much as we exempt minor children.
The modern idea of a uniquely Western guilt and the need for 'atonement' via self-abasement is not intrinsic to Christian belief.
I would say, and have said, that Christianity in past centuries did not emasculate the West; far from it. Were it not for the efforts of Charles Martel, El Cid, John Sobieski, and the efforts of the Crusaders, Islam would long ago have swallowed up Europe. Our Christian forebears had firm defenses against invaders; they did not understand Christianity as requiring that they welcome mass invasion by 'strangers', as today's Open Borders fanatics believe. They did not generally believe that Christianity demanded pacifism and passivity; certainly there were some who championed such ideas, but they were not the dominant group in Christendom.
Our Christian ancestors, who practiced a "muscular Christianity" that has all but vanished, were not guilt-ridden doormats to the world as we in the West are; did they misunderstand their Christian faith for all those centuries? Are we moderns and post-moderns the first to "understand" the supposed message of self-destruction inherent in Christianity? I would say, in our secular and confused age that we are the ones who have a corrupted form of Christianity. Christianity does not call on us to lay down before our enemies and offer our necks for the chopping block.
Those who say that Christianity is to blame for the West's enfeebled condition are missing the obvious fact that, were it not for the efforts of their Crusader ancestors, Europe as we have known it would never have come to be.
Christianity in our modern times has been, like our society as a whole, in a state of imbalance. As Fjordman mentions,
..unbalanced Christian ethics without Christian beliefs can be unhealthy, especially if combined with a high degree of cultural feminization and a focus on the feminine aspects of the divine, the self-sacrificing.''
But the overemphasis on the feminine aspects is not representative of historic Christianity.
It's no accident that liberal Christians tend to exclude the Old Testament; David, in the Old Testament, calls God a "man of war." The book of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for war as well as a time for peace.
I am not a theologian or even much of a Bible scholar; I claim no authority on the subject, but simply as a daily reader of my Bible I know that there is wholeness and balance in the Biblical message; there is a place for strength and for the more masculine virtues, as well as the gentler and softer ones.
If the West falls, thanks to our dissolving borders and to the Islamic onslaught, Christianity is not the culprit; it is too easy to scapegoat Christianity. Our forefathers for 1300 years withstood Islam and they defended their territories and their way of life successfully. And they did so as Christians. The modern-day distortions of Biblical teachings, and the secularized perversions thereof, called 'leftism' are to blame for our present loss of nerve and will.
I continue to think that if the West fails to rediscover its historic faith and purpose, there will not be much of a future for the West.

Labels: , , ,