Political Correctness: The Continuation of Revolution by Other Means
The folowing paper was written on June 1996. It’s republished here from my blog Nemesis, as I believe it’s still relevant since the dictatorial reign of political correctness continues unabated both in Australia and America. And its highlighting of some of the disastrous effects it had , and continuous to have, within the Australian context, readers of Daring… might find it to be of some interest, as a sober study of the “beast”.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
A specter is haunting freedom of speech the specter of political correctness. All the moral and political values of democracy, liberalism, individualism, freedom of speech and expression, are haunted and cast out as empty and false bourgeois values, as they were by Marxian revolutionaries in the past. Under the “revolutionary” order of political correctness, these values have no substantial right to exist, if they are going to be used to criticize and call into account the self-appointed guardians of the less privileged in our society. Needless to say, no votary of this new dispensation would concede that the adoption of the precepts of political correctness would suborn and undermine these venerable values of democracy. And without any doubt, the followers of political correctness would consider such an accusation as laughably nonsensical and a calumny to their true position.
It’s not unusual, however, for people who are so clearly aware and conscious of their thoughts and actions, to be completely oblivious and unconscious of the consequences that emanate from these same thoughts and actions. In the “blind rage” of their “correctness”, they cannot see nor can they imagine the wide and meandering ramifications of outcomes their precepts are engendering, and in the darkness of their blindness, they cannot perceive where the latter are leading. For once you proscribe, even by implication, certain ideas and opinions, or by giving them red neck status, and forbid their voicing or prescribe the form of their expression, you erode the value-hold these ideas have in the general community, hence making it more easy for people not to adopt and not to express them in the form of their own liking. Consequently you deprive people their inalienable right, in a democracy, both to voice and express ideas in accordance to their individual wishes and preferences, i.e., to choose the forms and figures of speech by which to articulate them. In the past, phrenologists use to put mad people in straitjackets. Presently, the high priests of political correctness are putting reasonable conventions in the straitjacket of their own “madness”.
The followers of political correctness have deliberately chosen not to conduct the debate of their propositions before the court of reason, but in the emotionally charged precincts of the boudoir. Whence they can dub and castigate their opponents with the emotive terms of racist, sexist, etc. with the purpose of shutting them up. Where reason is absent, however, the issues that are important to the advancement and public good of a society tend to swing to-and-fro without resolution. Even when a resolution is reached its outcome, more often than not, arises from a bad compromise that the best side of the argument makes to the worst, due to the mistaken belief that it’s better to come to some sort of conclusion, even by means of a bad compromise, than to no conclusion at all.
The protagonists of political correctness, in the torpor of their satiated intellectual state, are not aware that they are conceiving and are giving birth to a “Frankenstein”, who will wreak havoc on the institutional values of a democratic society. Nor are they conscious that by succeeding in dubbing certain forms of speech and expression as socially unacceptable, they will crack the foundation upon which a democratic society functions. The vigor and robustness of liberal institutions depend wholly and utterly in the strong disposition and will of the people to exercise their democratic rights regularly and fearlessly and not let them fall in a state of desuetude.The latter is a real danger and no hyperbole. In contemporary democratic societies, when human rights and social justice are strongly stitched in the social fabric and have great political and moral appeal among the people, it would not be difficult for a small group of political activists, who ostensibly profess to represent the interests of the less privileged and less favored among us, to persuade a sizeable part of the majority that political correctness not only protects and augments the rights of the under privileged, but it’s also a better fit to our democratic structure in alleviating, and, indeed, in eliminating injustice, than the “formal freedoms”, according to them, that emanate from liberal institutions. The latter, after all, from their radical perspective, are no more than the instruments by which the powerful are depriving the socially indigent from their rights, with the outcome of keeping the latter in a permanent state of disempowerment. The acceptance of such a proposition by a large number of people, as well as by many Labor politicians, is already becoming de rigueur. Especially, when it’s supported and promoted by the artfully “credible” voice of sections of academia, as well as by the fourth estate, the media, which has chosen, with some exceptions, to shroud its critical faculties behind a veil of darkness, avoiding to criticize the paltriness of reasoning that is embedded in such a proposition. That the influence of political correctness is real, and that it can determine the discourse of political and civil debate in our society, or stifle it, is demonstrated by three recently published events.
Examples of Political Correctness
First, the maladministration of the financial affairs of ATSIC and the venal practices of some of its leaders, have been known by at least one former minister of Aboriginal affairs, almost five years ago. Yet that minister refused to investigate these serious allegations and directed his department not to probe into them, apparently being concerned and fearful of the backlash that would have risen against him and the government from most leaders of the Aboriginal community. Who would have slurred such an investigation and they would have claimed, as they do now, that such investigation would have brought reconciliation to an end. It was due to this reason, that the former minister abandoned his ministerial responsibility.
Secondly, in the Easton Affair, Carmen Laurence, the premier of Western Australia, before and after her condemnation by the Royal Commission, was able to cover her brazen lies behind the hood of sisterhood. All the feminists were up in arms against anyone who would dare to criticize her. The feminist lobby of political correctness and its supporters within the Federal Labor Government were able to seduce and mobilize a “glitterati” of ministers and the Prime Minister Paul Keating, to defend the indefensible. Despite the doubt and moral apprehensions some of them, in all probability, might have had, about the veracity of their Labor colleague Laurence. Ostensibly, not even the former government’s glitterati would have dared to confront the wrath of the feminists. On the altar of political expediency and political correctness they sacrificed their moral and intellectual integrity, which fatefully led to a further lowering of their political credibility, and which in turn contributed significantly to their electoral defeat.
What was more disturbing, however, was the conspicuous absence of the moral and intellectual leadership of the country, and of the media almost as a whole, on this primarily important issue. That is, whether public personae had an absolute obligation to uphold the moral values of our society, and to tell the truth. What made the keepers and upholders of our moral values, our academics and church leaders, to be so closed-lipped on this fundamentally important issue? Were they afraid, that if they had spoken publicly and condemning this mendacity coming from a premier, they would be stung by the “bee” of political correctness? And was the media too, with some exceptions—one of which was Laura Tingle of The Australian—afraid of this same sting? As on this issue of the Easton Affair, it transmogrified the fourth-estate into the last estate, apparently, without any professional pangs of conscience!
Thirdly, the welfare state, which in a short time would become in so many areas the fraudulent state, and its extensive abuse, must have been known to government officials—and if it wasn’t known, these officials would be just as culpable both for the grossness of their ignorance and professional ineptitude. Yet these high officials and their ministers, with the exception of some of the more blatant abuses for which few persons were prosecuted, were unwilling to enter this hornet’s nest and initiate a commission of inquiry that would expose this widespread abuse of the welfare system. When the Paxton family was criticized for its lack of zeal, to say the least, to abandon the state of their unemployment, all the guardian angels of the welfare state were in full flight accusing the critics of being insensitive and unfair to the plight and distress that the members of the Paxton family were experiencing. And, indeed, that such critique was an invasion of their privacy. No lesser institution than the ABC adopted such a line of political correctness. Stuart Littlemore, of Media Watch, criticized Channel Nine for pillorying the Paxton family. If the powerful and independent ABC can be coaxed and allured by the “trendy” etiquettes of political correctness, what else can lesser mortals do than succumb to these same etiquettes?
The Labor Opposition Turns A Blind Eye
What is astonishingly surprising however, is the statement of the leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley, that there is no “wholesale fraud” in welfare payments. In a recent Four Corner’s program on the ABC, that covered the issue of outdoor workers in the clothing and textiles industries, the unions covering these two industries claimed, that there were at least three hundred thousand people who were working in these industries and who were rapaciously exploited by employers. In the course of the documentary, it was revealed that the majority of these workers were at the same time receiving some form of welfare payments that they were not entitled to receive as employed workers, as well as not paying any taxes on the wages they were receiving.
The unions had known for years of the existence of this outdoor work and had made several approaches to the former Labor government to stop this rampant exploitation that was affecting migrants by appropriate legislation. In this context therefore, the statement of Kim Beazley, to say the least, is puzzling. With such a large “population” of employees receiving unemployment or welfare payments that they were not eligible to receive and for the leader of the Opposition to state that there is “no wholesale fraud” in the welfare system, one can only say that apparently Kim Beazley is no “populist” and therefore cannot be blamed for not having a “populous” definition of wholesale fraud.The paramount question is why, with such overwhelming evidence of fraud the former Labor government abdicated its responsibility and did not do anything about this widespread fraud of which obviously was aware and instead adopted the ‘don’t rock the boat’ attitude? Was it apprehensive that if it had set up an investigation in regards to it, it would trigger the animadversion of the welfare and ethnic lobbies? And beyond the political embarrassment that it would bear, if such investigation verified the existence of the fraud, was it also the “rattles” of political correctness that such a probe would cause which cowered the former government from exercising its responsibility? But beyond any doubt, in all these three events it was the perverse influence of political correctness that led to the eclipse of political probity and responsibility.
Whence comes political correctness? The collapse and burial of the revolutionary utopia in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union have left a withered crop of revolutionary and radical ideologues spiritually and ideologically homeless. The levity of the utopia however, too proud to admit defeat, has levitated these homeless ideologues into the haven of political correctness, breathing, hence, into its revolutionary progeny a new lease on life.
The show trials of the future will be staged therefore by a radical elite of political correctness ensconced in academia, and by a motley of followers, i.e., feminists, gayists, indigenists, multiculturalists, and a miscellany of lobbyists, who, under the august values of justice, tolerance, equal opportunity, and diversity, will be setting up new “Gulag archipelagos”, where freedom of speech and expression will be incarcerated and muzzled. Political correctness is the continuation of “revolution” by other means. But the “pushers” of this revolution are like an “ageing actor’s face full of often acted artificial passions”, to quote the wunderkind Orson Welles, and feigned roles. And like all the artificial and extreme experiments of the social, political, and economic engineers of the past, who by a set of panaceas and fanciful ideas tried to change the course of history and failed, the attempt of the adherents of political correctness to cripple the march of reason and put it on crutches, will also fail.
The above paper was written in June 1996