Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Update on the Barna Survey at Jihad Watch


Last night, the comments field on the thread on Jihad Watch about the Barna survey numbered about 160 comments. I woke up early this morning to see a whopping 220 comments.

After browsing through the remainder of the comments, I do not see anything to alter my view from my previous essay on this blog. Mostly, there seems to be more of the same evidence of poor pedagogy—delimitation of the problem of PC through the device of scapegoating the “Leftists” as well as the subcategory of that device, scapegoating of atheists (along with a whole lot of tangential wandering off the topic into squabbles about religion and atheism in general—which in turn leads, when commenters are not veering off into the question of whether Hitler was religious or whether the theory of evolution is viable, etc., to scapegoating from the opposite side—which, just as its diametric scapegoating, has merit, but tends to ignore the larger picture).

I will only advert to one example. One poster writes about an atheist commenter before him who apparently touted the equivalency theory about religions:

What a world this person must be living in! But then it does go a long way to explaining how (this is through the moronic “substitutions” [or equivalencies]) one arrives at Bush is the “terrorist” and Osama is the heroic defender of his peoples. It is through such mindless, jaw-droppingly stupid “substitutions” that one arrives at moral inversions/reversals. Next such lunatics will be locking up the police and freeing the inmates (believing all the while that they are acting in strict accordance with the dictates of “justice!”)

This commenter is delimiting the problem again, or appears oblivious to it, at any rate, seeing the offending animal (the Atheist) and his offending logic (the translation of the equivalency theory about religions into the equivalency theory about terrorism), where the more pertinent offense is properly with regard to the wider PC culture of which many atheists—along with most people in the West—partake, and in which most people in the West participate.

This religious equivalence theory is roughly the same error as the error higlighted by Spencer in his original thread about the Barna survey, since the atheists (actually the predominant group were agnostics) cited by that survey who worry more about radical Christianity than about radical Islam are doing so likely because, on the basis of the PC equivalency theory, they fear both, and therefore logically fear those who are closer and more numerous around them in the West (i.e., the radical Christians). However, as I have argued elsewhere, the PC Multiculturalist equivalency theory tends, among most of its adherents, to encrypt a deeper theory of anti-Westernism stemming from a neo-Gnostic revolt against the Cosmos, and concomitant with a confused and amorphous romanticization of non-Western cultures, and this therefore is not really equivalence at all but a positive abasement of the West. The commenter above seems to dimly notice this, with his phrase “moral inversions/reversals”—which spill over into the sociopolitical and geopolitical realm (such as, to take one example out of a hat of thousands, when the dapper and banal—and totally ordinary—American newscaster Bryan Williams of NCB news with bland glibness remarked that George Washington and the Revolutionary soldiers of the American Revolution were roughly equivalent to the “insurgents” and “freedom fighters” of Iraq who routinely mass-murder women and children, behead priests, torture Christian boys, assassinate barbers for giving the wrong haircuts, etc.).


This kind of equivalency theory—which for some PC-infected souls remains equivalency, but only in a suspended intellectual medium of incoherency, while for others it really masks, more or less consciously, a neo-Gnostic anti-Westernism which may or may not find an outlet (particularly insofar as Communism is seen as no longer viable) in gravitating toward some “superior” Third World culture (these days Islam being the sexiest)—is not a problem whose cause is modern atheism; nor is its cause even Leftism per se: its cause, its massively nourishing matrix, is the broader, deeper, dominant and mainstream paradigm of PC Multiculturalism.

2 comments:

americaningermany said...

I feel like Forrest Gump whenever I post here.

I admire Erich, but I could never write anything that could ever even begin to equate with his superior knowledge on any given subject.

Erich, you're way out of my league, but I'll be bold enough to write some of my own thoughts anyway. At the risk of making a fool of myself.
I can only call it the way I see it. That's all. Please correct me where I am wrong here.

On the subject of Political Correctness.

Because I feel like Forrest Gump, I will quote him: "Now I don't know much about anything...", but it seems to me that "political correctness" is directed at, and applies mainly to "whites", whether those whites are Christians, Atheists, or Pagans, and whether they are living in the U.S. of A., or in Europe, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, or South Africa...

I have yet to see other races that are really worried about being "politically correct".

That is not to say that, for example, a non-Muslim Hindu would not be accused of racism for speaking out against Islam...could happen...I know they suffer under islamic thugs.

However, Blacks in America call each other Ni..ers, they also have no qualms about calling white folks "Crackers, Honkies, and a few other unflattering names..", without fear of being punished.

Have you ever heard of an African, or Arab, or a Mexican, that really WORRIES about being politically correct? I haven't.

They all pretty much say whatever they want to, about anyone they want to, without even the slightest thought about "political correctness". And that, even in OUR countries!

I do not imagine that blacks in South Africa really worry about what they call those hated "white folks". Do they? If they don't like someone of another race, nationality or religion, then they will just say it.

Mexicans have no worries about telling us to "Go Back to Europe!" Where is the political correctness in that?

They don't have to worry about being prosecuted.

On the other hand, especially "white" Europeans and Americans have to be VERY careful what they say about other "peoples" for fear that they might end up in court, fined, fired from their jobs, and even end up in jail for making so-called "racist statements" or for "inciting racial hatred".

I have really yet to hear of many, if any, serious charges against ANY non-whites for making ANY kind of "racist" statements, whatsoever.

So, I'll ask the same old tired questions again. I have my own ideas, but I don't trust my own thoughts on it.

So, when did this PC-sickness really begin?

Why has it been spoon-fed to us for decades?

AND, Who started it?

And why can't we seem to rid ourselves of it?

Erich said...

Thanks for your compliments; I don't know if I deserve them, and I'm glad you overcame your "Gump complex" to post. You raised some good points/questions.

You wrote:

it seems to me that "political correctness" is directed at, and applies mainly to "whites", whether those whites are Christians, Atheists, or Pagans, and whether they are living in the U.S. of A., or in Europe, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand, or South Africa...

Yes -- not only is it directed at white Westerners, it was created by them too, and continues to be perpuated by them.

I have yet to see other races that are really worried about being "politically correct".

That's right: the modern West is the only civilization in history with such a sophisticated and powerful culture of self-criticism -- for the past 50 years or so veering off more and more into excessive self-criticism. A certain degree of self-criticism is good for any person or society; but self-criticism taken to a morbid degree, as the West has been more and more indulging in, is no longer good. This excessive self-criticism wouldn't be all that dire, were there not now a major global enemy, Islam, whose danger requires us to recover our sense of pride in order to defend ourselves and in order to recognize the good things of ours that are worth defending.

Blacks in America call each other Ni..ers, they also have no qualms about calling white folks "Crackers, Honkies, and a few other unflattering names..", without fear of being punished.

One part of the jigsaw puzzle of PC is the idea that cultural underdogs who were historically oppressed by the "top dogs" should get preferential treatment, which includes that the underdogs can be racist while the "top dogs" must utterly purge themselves of any traces of racism (thus the comedian Michael Richards had his career ruined for a minor rant that black comedians can indulge in for years without hurting their careers).

Of course, according to the PC paradigm, the only real "top dogs" of history have been the whites of the West (i.e., the West). And the only underdogs, the oppressed, are all the non-white non-Westerners. Since the fact of Islamic imperialism, which treated (and continues to treat) fellow Third Worlders worse than the West did, does not fit into the logic of the PC paradigm, it is ignored and actively suppressed as indicative of "racism" on the part of the person trying to call attention to it.

It is never made clear how long this preferential treatment for those who have been "oppressed" by the white West should last: there is an implicit incoherence to it, which leads to a logic of supremacism: and the only Third World culture that has a relatively sophisticated ideology and trans-national solidarity such to really pose any problems -- for taking this logic to the extreme that would be dangerous for the West -- is Islam. (The Black Power movement (non-Muslim) in the USA posed some problems for a while, but far less so than Islam did and does. Now, we see incipient signs of Islam attracting various disaffected people of Third World backgrounds who are so angry at the white West they would ignore the far worse Islamic imperialism and slavery -- that is, if these Caribbean and black "reverts" ever get to the stage of actually learning about that historical record.)

"Have you ever heard of an African, or Arab, or a Mexican, that really WORRIES about being politically correct? I haven't."

Right -- they don't worry about it in terms of self-criticism or self-examination: they do worry about it, of course, in terms of directing it at the white West in order to exploit the guilt of the white West.

I have really yet to hear of many, if any, serious charges against ANY non-whites for making ANY kind of "racist" statements, whatsoever.

The only one I remember was when Jesse Jackson get a lot of flack for referring to a certain American city (I think Chicago) as "Hymie town" (meaning town of Jews).

So, when did this PC-sickness really begin?

Well, this is a very complex issue. I've written a few essays on my other blog, The Hesperado, that explore it. In terms of PC being dominant and mainstream throughout the West, it seems that it began about 50 years ago. Before that, one can recognize PC attitudes and expressions and even laws, etc., but it seems the further back you go, the more of a minority opinion it was. (On my Hesperado blog, I have an essay analyzing a Western scholar of Islam who wrote an article as far back as 1917 that is remarkably PC about Islam and Muslims and the Third World in general).

Why has it been spoon-fed to us for decades?

I hesitate to use this kind of metaphor for trying to understand the PC phenomenon. Your metaphor implies that it's something being done to us, and "we" are the victims. This kind of metaphor easily leads to the notion of some sinister cabal of "elites" who are manipulating us. I just don't buy that. That could be true for an evil dictatorship, like the USSR, Maoist China, Saddam's Iraq, Iran, etc. But Western Europe, Australia and North America are not that way: so something else must explain this PC phenomenon becoming so dominant and mainstream. I can't boil it down yet; it's something I'm still trying to piece together in my head. It might be helpful to realize that it's almost worse than your metaphor: in many ways, we are spoonfeeding ourselves!

AND, Who started it?

There are no specific indidivuals to point our fingers to as having actually started it (even if certain individuals have been influential). Maybe a helpful way to understand it is that PC is itself a part of the general movement of Western Progress. This Progress has been paradoxical, carrying with it forces that go against it -- such as the culture of excessive self-criticism I mentioned earlier. One metaphor I use is that, while Progress represents the health of the West as it keeps growing and evolving, PC represents too much health -- like a morbid flush or fever that ends up turning around and eating its own body.

And why can't we seem to rid ourselves of it?

Good question. I think the nexus between PC and Progress is one key to understanding the answer: PC is so intimately bound up with other features of our Progress, there still remains a kind of reflex action of self-defense when PC is challenged, as though Progress itself were being challenged.