In the Nineteenth Century, intellectuals raised the argument that Western Civilization was wrong about all its major conclusions, from Christianity to Democracy to Capitalism, and that a rational system of scientific socialism should and would correct these errors and replace them.
This, over the next hundred years, was attempted, with the result that in a single generation the socialists and communists and national socialists of various stripes had killed more people and wrought more ruin than all world religions combined during all the previous generations of history.
Meanwhile, the visual arts were reduced to aberrant rubbish not merely ugly and untalented, but objectively indistinguishable from the work of schizophrenics; literature reduced to porn and tales of failure and decay; science was reduced from an honest and objective pursuit of truth to a whorish tool servicing political ends, particularly the ends of environmentalist hysterics, but creeping into other areas; universities degenerated from bastions of learning protected by traditions of academic freedom to the foremost partisans in favor of speech codes and political correctness; family life was and continues to be assaulted; abortion continues to carry out a slow and silent genocide of negro babies, girl babies, and other unwanted humanoids; law enforcement has been redirected from protecting the innocent because they are innocent to protecting the guilty because they are guilty; the Fair Deal and New Deal of the socialist philosophy at its height of intellectual respectability did nothing but prolong what should have been a ten month market correction into a Great Depression that lasted ten years; Welfare programs encouraged, exacerbated, and created a permanent and unelevatable underclass in America, ruining the very lives the programs were alleged to help; Affirmative Action has made race-hatred, accusations of racism, and race-baiting a permanent part of American life, despite that no less racist nation ever has nor ever could exist.
So the Left has not only failed in everything they attempted, and failed at every promise they made, they failed in an immense, astonishing, unparalleled, and horrifying way, a way so deep and so vast and so gross as to never have been seen before in history nor ever imagined before, not even by science fiction writers. Even Orwell did not foretell of a time when men would voluntarily adopt Newspeak and Doublethink and all the apparatus of oppression, freely and without coercion. Even he, the most famous writers of dysutopia of all time, could not imagine the modern day. The failure of the Left is indescribable: one can only grope for words like ‘awe-inspiring’ or ‘astronomical’ to express the magnitude. If Lot’s wife were to look steadily at what the Left has done, she would turn to a pillar of salt, so horrifying, so overwhelming, so dazzling is the hugeness of failure.
Now, when your prediction and worldview and way of life and philosophy turns out to be an utter failure of epic, nay, apocalyptic proportions, you have one of two choices. The honest choice is to return to the drawing board of your mind, and recalculate your ideas from their assumptions, changing any assumptions that prove false to facts.
Pardon me. I have to stop typing for a moment. The idea of a Leftwinger actually doing this honest mental act is so outrageous, that I am overcome by a paroxysm of epileptic laughter, and must steady myself ere I faint.
Back again. The second option is to construct an illusion, an elaborate falsehood, a lie, and pile lie upon lie upon lie, so that every single line item of the huge multi-volume manifest of failures, false promises, pratfalls and atrocities can be justified by reference to something other than the truth.
This second option is political correctness.
Political correctness is the attempt to stifle truth by means of social cues. By social cues, I mean that set of unspoken signals and understood expectations a man attempting to follow and conform to the consensus uses to determine the wishes of the consensus.
It is often called ‘peer pressure’ but let us avoid that term, because pressure implies that the confirming is unwilling to conform and must be pressed into it. The opposite is true. The conformist is desperate to conform, and panics when the normal mechanisms of rewards and punishments, applauds or criticism, is not immediately visible. They feel the same way a motorist at night would feel approaching an intersection at high speed with the traffic lights broken.
Political correctness obviously cannot use social cues to conduct a debate between two men, nor an honest introspection between a man and his own soul. What it can do, however, is find any topic where a line item uncomfortable to the self-esteem, the lies, and the self-flattery of the Leftist is threatened and rule that topic to be out-of-bounds, anathema, beyond the pale, heretical, crimethink.
So, when in a pack, the Leftist cooperates with the conformity of the consensus by sending signals, either overt or subtle, telling other members of the rabbit-warren of his ilk when a word or deed or thought is appropriate, that is, conformist, and when it is inappropriate, that is, crimethink.
We sane people often accuse the Leftists of behaving in this way to gain power, or to control the minds of others. This is the precise opposite of the truth. The Leftist is not attempting to control the minds of other men, he is attempting to induce other men to control his mind.
It is not for the sake of power, but for the sake of comfort, that the social cues are used to determine content of right or wrong and true or false rather than using facts and logic to determine the content right or wrong and true or false.
When a Leftist comes across a sane person, at first the Leftist will use the social cues system to discover what is the appropriate or expected behavior, and so at first he will seem to live in reality. It is only after a few moments of increasingly disconnected and disjointed speech will the sane man discover that the Leftist is neurotic, and, if the topic turns to a core Leftist dogma, psychotic.
But the moment the conversation veers to some topic on which the social cues have not ordained a falsehood, the Leftist will answer truthfully, and his remarks will once again be related to reality, at least until the intellectual fashions change.
For example, he might express concern about violent crime in society, or fret that minorities or women are treated unfairly. These seem perfectly reasonable thought at first. Upon questioning, he will reveal the roots of his thought is that women are the victims of a war against them propagated by a conspiracy of boogiemen and hobgoblins, and that homosexuals must be allowed to marry each other, lest the White Supremacy movement in America will rise up and thrown them all in concentration camps, while the Pope removes all contraceptives from the poor, destitute, suffering distaff side of the race. And then the entire planet will fry under the influence of global warming brought on by genocidal oil companies, whose dearest wish is to kill all humans. But humans are a blight and the best thing that could happen to the environment is that we all should be wiped out.
I wish I were kidding or exaggerating. I am not. These are reports of real conversations I have had with Leftists, and not isolated crackpots either, but members of the mainstream.
The Leftist will display social cues, such as an unconvincing pantomime of shock or, better yet, jeering laughter, if the sane man makes any statements of fact or logic, or talks about the real world.
In other words, the Leftist will try to signal to the sane man that his opinions are socially inappropriate. They are harmful to the warren. They might create discomfort. They are thoughtcrimes. They are outside the consensus. They are nonconformist. Whether they are true or not, logical or not, is never raised as an issue, nor do these words have meaning in their vocabulary. ‘True’ means a narrative that helps the consensus; ‘logical’ means shut up.
Naturally when a sane man hears an insane idea, and the insane idea is not given any disguise of attempted reasoning to make it appear even mildly plausible, he does not react as expected to the social cue. It is as if the light turns green on the road leading off the cliff, and the sane man does not press the gas to go. It is as if the stagehand whispers to a man who is not in the play the scripted lines meant for someone else, and so he does not say them.
When the cues do not work, the Leftist is stranded, and has only two options: he may either abandon the social cue system of determining conformity (in which case, like it or not, sooner or late, he will discover he is no longer a Leftist) or he redoubles his efforts at signaling the social cue. He flashes the green light more brightly, or whispers the scripted line more forcefully.
In this case, in order to make the signal more forcefully, the Leftist will make even more outrageous accusations against the sane man, as if to warn him how angry the warren of little fluffy bunnies will become if the lone wolf does not immediately take his assigned number and get in line and conform.
So he moves from the accusation that the badthought is ‘inappropriate’ to ‘insensitive’ to some word implying a mental disease like ‘transphobic’ or ‘Islamophobic’ to some word implying the worst thing the Leftist can imagine.
Their colorless and flat and foolish world has neither gods nor devils, neither good nor evil, so the worst word in their vocabulary is the rather mild ‘fascist’ (which means a Mussolini socialist, that is, a type of Leftist considered anathema by other Leftists) or the utterly meaningless ‘sexist’ or ‘reactionary’ (which are words that shock only members of the Left, to whom they apparently have an emotional connotation, even if they have no denotation) or the dread and dread social cue of last resort, which is to call someone a ‘racist’ (which is what the Leftists are, since they judge all men solely by race, not by merit).
To add absurdity to folly, one of the line items in the failure manifest is the realization that the Left are unintelligent, unintellectual, undereducated or, rather negatively educated (their indoctrination process by design makes them stupider), and conformist.
This means that the conformist narrative of the warren of the bunnies, all snuggled together for intellectual warmth, says that each of them are free and independent thinkers smarter than the sane people. Everyone is smarter than average. The way to prove you are smart is to act like a total fool.
The question here is not why the criticism of the Nineteenth Century intellectuals of democracy, decency, and Christianity was permitted. Democracy permits dissent by its very nature, decency includes a decent sense of fairplay to allow each man a time to have his say, and the faithful Christian expects not merely criticism from the world, but hatred and defamation.
The question is why, now that the fever has run its course, and astronomical numbers of the dead slain by socialism cry out for vengeance from a bloodsoaked world, these lunatics are permitted to continue, long after their mental bankruptcy and moral depravity have been so amply demonstrated for so long?
And the answer to that is too painful to admit. It is not merely cowardice on our part, but also the lure and pomp and false promise of life in a lax and dishonest society that lacks all standards of right and wrong.
We live in a madhouse where the inmate run the asylum because we let the crazies throw the doctors and wardens out the windows.
So now the halls of power, the courts of law, the groves of the academy, the agora of news media, the temples to fine art, and the amphitheater of popular entertainment are all firmly in the control of Tom o’Bedlam, Ophelia from Hamlet, and the Joker from Batman.
John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program“). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.
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