POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

February 20, 2011 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

Not a way to redeem the world

By RALPH DOBRIN
Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon

Click: www.amazon.com  type:how to avoid armageddon

During the late nineteen thirties and forties a general mood of deep patriotism and acceptance of austere government rulings prevailed in Britain and the entire British Commonwealth, which also took hold in America after 1941. The Second World War was the catalyst. But starting with the nineteen sixties, the mood began to swing in the opposite direction and long hair, cannabis, LSD and nudity on screen and stage reflected the growing rejection of traditional mores and disenchantment with the Establishment. Old taboos such as foul language and laxity regarding sexual mores were no longer totally passé. Body bags and grisly images coming out of Vietnam deepened the disenchantment, especially in the USA, that began with the younger people, mainly those in the colleges. It soon spread to other parts of the world, notably Britain and Western Europe.

Universities have always been places where people question current views. Students are taught to probe and analyze. Intellectualism calls for fresh perspectives and college lecturers and professors were beginning to advance ideas that would have sounded outrageous a few years earlier, but were being picked up and aired on the radio and television and featured in newspapers. Even patriotism as a value was being questioned, as was the validity of religion as a moral guide. The right to have an abortion was demanded – even for the sake of personal convenience. Blacks were getting more parity with whites in every field.

Many of the changes in public attitudes were positive from a sociological point of view. The freedom to question governance more trenchantly is always a good thing. The near-demise of racism, especially against the Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities is a definite blessing. The call for more personal freedom can bring many advantages and also prevent abuse of administrative power.

During the 1960s, the term “politically correct” emerged, to describe an attitude promoting liberalism while opposing many of the old prejudices. In its pristine form it could be defined as the support or promotion of ideas, policies, and behavior that abolishes or minimizes social offense in gender, race, cultural or sexual orientation, as well as handicap and age-related issues. In addition to promoting liberalism, political correctness also implied activity for the prevention of war at all costs and an end to the blind patriotism that typifies “My country right or wrong no matter what.” It also became associated with reform in more humane treatment of criminals. On the face of it, a lot of good stuff. And the idea spread throughout the westernized world.

But nowadays, political correctness is often regarded disparagingly by traditionalists and staunch patriots, who in fact regard it as the antithesis of the liberalism that it suggests, because of what they perceive as deep intolerance to conservative values such as loyalty to the flag, sexual modesty and stricter social rules. To a certain extent this impression is understandable – especially when observing the petulance frequently expressed within college campuses by students and faculty against internal and foreign policy.

Scoffers of political correctness also point to the use of euphemisms such as “visually challenged” or “hearing impaired” in place of blind or deaf, or “Holiday” when Christmas is referred to, or politically-loaded jargon expressed by the predominantly Left-leaning media outlets, who use the words “militants” or even “freedom fighters” when reporting on mass shootings of ordinary people or suicide bombings by Arab-Muslim terrorists. A U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security reached a new height in idiomatic inventiveness by using the term “man-man disasters” for “terrorism!”

Open polemic is a natural and positive phenomenon in Western society, and should be encouraged. Throughout history in every human framework conservative views have always been challenged by new ideas. Old values and attitudes have always needed to heed the call for review and change. Frequently, what had been yesterday’s newly conceived progressivism and prevailed, becomes today’s obdurate conservatism. Currently, this eternal polarity covers the question of Islamic radicalism, global terror and Israel’s continued presence in Judea and Samaria.

The stance of Political Correctness in the West, while extremely antithetical to the restrictive intolerance to liberal thought and behavior prevailing throughout most of the Muslim world, nevertheless coincides eminently with Arab interests vis a vis Israel. Israel is perceived by most liberals and intellectuals in America, Britain and Europe as militaristic, discriminatory and even imperialistic. It’s need to defend itself against Arab ambitions to render it defenseless or bring about its destruction, is not recognized by people for whom, military force is anathema, while human rights are of paramount importance. Colleges and the media, the natural domain for liberal intellectuals, are often the main voices heard by the general public with regard to Israel.

Oil-rich Arab sources often provide massive financial support to fund their activities. Thus many colleges, especially in the U.S.A. and Britain – the very countries that have been spearheading the fight against militant Jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan – are actually the most vociferously opposed to their countries’ involvement, and to Israel as a whole.

But most people tend to stick to their overall attitudes. Most of us, whether blue-collar worker, clerk, philosopher or nuclear physicist, are actually quite narrow-minded and bullheaded when it comes to our political, ideological views or pet impressions of other types of people. And it is largely according to these set views that we categorize things as good or bad, right or wrong, sensible or stupid, acceptable or unacceptable. Also, depending on our tastes, likes and dislikes, or religious or ideological leanings and loyalties, we automatically decide whether to accept, condone, understand, reject or condemn. A headline in the newspaper or a short news clip on the TV can provoke an immediate reaction, expressed silently or as a verbal epithet or hurrah. Even intellectuals and scientists, despite all their academic training and professional discipline, which teaches them to probe thoroughly and objectively into questions and problems and analyze with an open mind, are as prone as anyone else to harbor fixed one-dimensional, one-sided myopic vision.

But surely sentient beings should have the capacity to assess every issue, no matter what, in an honest and orderly manner, the way a school pupil does long multiplication. And if a pupil doesn’t know how to do long multiplication, he or she will be honest enough to say, “I don’t know!”

Similarly, whether one is a conservative right-winger proud to be politically incorrect, or a liberal intellectual espousing everything associated with equality and human rights, we should still be able to think broadly, clearly and consider all relevant information, irrespective of whether only part of the factors appeals to us or not, or whether they tally or don’t tally with our political or ideological leanings. And that means personal honesty, open-mindedness and the toning down of obstinacy. It even means being able to admit not knowing what’s right or wrong, even about something associated with a political platform that we might support or oppose – if indeed we are not sure.

After all, with many issues, both liberal and conservative views present valid points. Concern for universal equal rights and the protection of the environment, together with the rejection of warfare, are indeed noble, worthy sentiments. But so are concern for the morals and security of one’s country and the maintenance of a respectful national identity. The trouble is that most people are stuck with their own rigid mindset that happens to tally with a particular political, ideological or religious leaning or loyalty. This precludes considering each issue on its own merits but rather whether it identifies with our own particular outlook. If it doesn’t then we are apt to reject it, irrespective of its merits. The converse is also largely true.

Very often logic doesn’t have any bearing on our attitudes and we choose to ignore certain salient facts or even accept falsehoods, thus all too often coming to conclusions that are not based on sensible reasoning, but on sentiment and bias. Frequently we simply lie to ourselves. And that’s very sad, because it means that part of the time our conclusions are flawed.

Labels such as politically correct or politically incorrect, or left wing versus right wing, conservative rather than liberal, religious or secular, and all the other affiliations should not determine conclusively the way we consider questions and search for answers. Solving problems properly and making the best, most sensible decisions are possible only if we employ honesty, truthfulness and logic. We should be alert to the fact that political or ideological leanings all too often quash objectivity and readily impede comprehensive thinking.

Understandably, it is difficult to detach ourselves from habitual leanings and traditional loyalties, and I’m not saying that we should discard our opinions at the drop of a hat just because someone presents a strong case about something that might be new for us or tempting in its apparent depth of insight or boldness. Remember the lurking snare of gullibility in the face of a forceful or eloquent claim. We should try to think with comprehensive rationality – at least on issues of domestic, national and global importance – while not automatically rejecting opinions and claims simply because they might not readily register in every detail with our presently held political sentiments, nor promptly and unconditionally accept them because of one or two points that do. 

Rejection or acceptance of anything is really a value judgment. To be fair and sensible, value judgments should be based on objective grounds such as factuality, honest perspective, comprehensiveness and logic. If motivated solely by political, ideological or religious attachments, or personal tastes, our value judgments might be determined by whims, wishful thinking and willful narrow-mindedness. And that’s no good for anyone.

To order the book click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid Armageddon

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Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

PERCEPTIONS BASED ON LIES – 1 PERCEPTIONS BASED ON LIES – 2

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