Thursday, December 30, 2010

Political Correctness Inspected

f there is one thing we can point to as the cause of the precipitous decline of Western Civilization it is the rise to supremacy of Political Correctness. PC is so much more than just the speech police. It first hit my radar decades ago as simple speech correction by self assigned entities of virtue who would call out those who didn't tow the line. One can remember Howard Cossell crying out "look at that monkey run!" when calling a Monday Night Football game as a black, err, I mean African American, no, no, I mean black player made a mad dash to the goal line. (Ironically, as a person who loathes political correctness I just felt compelled to stop myself from using a rational and descriptive word in favor of the politically acceptable term, interesting to say the least...) Anyway, by the time this incident occurred and Howard Cossell had been publically chastised the foundation for political correctness was already firmly entrenched.

Today no one can or does deny that Political Correctness exists and that it holds tremendous power in its exercise. Yet, everyone claims to hate it. Liberals and conservatives, the young and the old, the rich and the poor all claim to hate what PCism has done to rational discourse in our society. What or who gives it such power?

PC has found it's home inside the bureaucracies of Western Civilization. Political Correctness is the natural child of communism and socialism, all seeking to downgrade the individual in favor of the collective. It shouldn't come as a surprise since communism and socialism are themselves the children of Western Civilization. In a communist utopia the the elites and the common man would be subsumed into the collective, eventually becoming indistinguishable. This we know instinctively to be impossible. It is thought that Political Correctness was conjured up as a tool of the elites to strip the masses of their individualism while maintaining their hold on the upper reaches of society. According to the scholar Bruce Charlton, PC's ultimate goal is the destruction of what it means to be human...

excerpt from:
Bruce Charlton's Miscellany "Political correctness cannot be explained by selfishness among the elite" (hat tip to Al Fin)

...the culture of atheistic, leftism - which is now PC - stripped away the basic toolkit of assumptions with which humans were born into the world. So the culture of radicalism rapidly made humans helpless in the face of reality; took pre-designed people - created for this world - and made them into (psychologically) formless blobs.

The hope behind this was that formless blobs would be amenable to re-programming - and indeed they are (many of them). But, in an unreal world, what to reprogram them with?

The formless blob humans created by PC deprogramming are being filled with the highest thing known to PC; which is impersonal abstract altruism; they are being filled with the idea that the highest goal a human can aim-at is to impose upon human behaviours an abstractly virtuous system which does not depend on individual humans, does not require moral humans, does not need human choice - human agency.

At a deep level, PC has become a program to destroy humanity (destroy not the physical form of humans, but destroy their agency, freedom, choice etc) - and this is not seen as a bad thing to do, since humans are intrinsically selfish animals, and therefore the highest imaginable thing in the PC world is an abstract system which shares-out 'goods' despite what humans might feel about it. Of course PC cannot justify that imposing a system of altruism is objectively a valid endeavor. Because no endeavors are valid. There is no valid positive goal for PC - it is negative and reactive against our spontaneous perception of selfishness/ injustice/ corruptibility.

PC is therefore always working-towards - and if it ever actually arrives and achieves its goal, then it will collapse from its internal contradictions.
That collapse might still leave humans enslaved to abstract systems of altruism, but the humans so enslaved would no longer be politically correct.
:END excerpt

If we take Mr. Charlton's definition and break it down the true hideousness of PC comes into focus.


impersonal adj \(ˌ)im-ˈpərs-nəl, -ˈpər-sə-nəl\
2. b : not engaging the human personality or emotions c : not existing as a person : not having human qualities or characteristics

ab·stract adj \ab-ˈstrakt, ˈab-ˌ\
1. a : disassociated from any specific instance b : difficult to understand : abstruse c : insufficiently factual : formal

al·tru·ism noun \ˈal-trü-ˌi-zəm\
1 : unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others 2 : behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species

Reading these definitions one thing is perfectly clear, there is no place for individuals, or individual freedom in the world of political correctness. Is it any wonder Political Correctness is so destructive to a nation like the United States where individual liberty is actually a right.

If Charlton is right Political Correctness will (eventually) collapse of it's own weight, but not before it takes out entire societies and civilizations. Currently many liberal causes and passions use political correctness as a bludgeon. It's used as a poison in the court of public opinion against its enemies, rendering entire rational arguments invalid by virtue of a slip of the tongue. Their day will come, hypocrisy eventually reaches critical mass and the unequal application of the "poison" on only right of center transgressors will no longer stand.

How do we fight political correctness? This is an enemy without a focal point, there is no army, no king, no central command. It exists primarily in the bureaucracies, halls of academia and the popular media all of which have the power to influence and cast aspersions. We can work outside these institutions as much as possible. We can teach our children to think for themselves. We can start to develop alternate institutions such as home schooling or the Tea Party-like movements. We can fight the media by disabusing ourselves from its perceived power. We can play the game without losing ourselves and use political correctness as a rope to hang the left every time they slip up. The time has come to fight fire with fire.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Where are we going?

So where are we going?

The better question may be: are we going up or are we going down? It is in our human nature to see the sky falling, believing the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Can we even see the sky when our gaze is on each tedious step we take through the muck and mire of daily life? I'll be first to admit it's hard to be an optimist even if all the evidence that has come before predicts a better future than the past.

When the Soviet Union collapsed twenty years ago I saw a spectacular future for the world. To me the Cold War represented shackles on all of humanity. I was convinced that much of humanity's potential and Earth's treasure was wasted on waging the MADness of the U.S./Soviet conflict. Well, as it turns out there were shackles holding us back. The Cold War wasn't holding back astounding human potential, it was holding back pent up conflict in every little corner of the world. Face it, the twenty years that have passed since the end of the Cold War have been a major disappointment. How could I have been so wrong?

I am ready to admit my naivete. Yet, according to people like Matt Ridley, Thomas Sowell and Peter Dupont there is still reason to be optimistic. The good old days weren't all that good.

Still, considering the state of affairs the world finds itself in am I really the one being naive?

One of the problems with my perception is that I live in times when changes in the human condition are readily apparent. Up until about two hundred years ago the pace of change in daily life was glacial. Since then the transportation of people and goods (ideas and trade) has set the world on a breakneck pace. According to Matt Ridley's book "The Rational Optimist" (hat tip to Al Fin) trade and specialization has been responsible for the blessings of prosperity we have enjoyed since the 19th century. The way the average Westerner lives today is radically different than the way our ancestors lived in the 1770's. Our colonial fore-bearers had more in common with the humans who battled the mammoths ten thousand years ago than with us.

We tend to see everything in the here and now, failing to consider there were dark times and dire predictions many times before and yet mankind forged ahead. Things were pretty bleak in the American heartland in the 1930's. What must Europeans have thought about their future as the smoke cleared in 1945?

Looking at the state of affairs here in the United States one can easily conclude we are heading downhill and fast. Ridley acknowledges in his book that the U.S. and his homeland of Britain may be in for a rough couple of decades, but progress, innovation and specialization continues. Trade with China and India has moved capital and jobs where it is more efficient for the time being. History shows that when one power contracts financially another expands. It took significant political an economic changes in these emerging economies to ensure that progress and prosperity continue unabated. Refreshingly Ridley reinforces what most people know instinctively (whether they will admit it or not) that prosperity is a positive benefit to all of humanity and not some planet-destroying consumerist nightmare. Additionally, it is individual freedom that results in millions of transactions of personal choice and not government planning or humanitarian drivel that is the primary engine of prosperity.

To that point Thomas Sowell shows us in his book "Economic Facts and Fallacies," how the use of undefined terms and non-evidenced based assumptions are used to manipulate an uninformed public. Much of the financial, political, and psychological basis for left-wing policies are shibboleths and canards. When everything is structured in the language of social justice, racism, sexism, fairness and inequality it weakens the pillars of a prosperous society. This is what has happened to the American psyche over the past 40 years. We have talked ourselves out of our place as the economic leader of the world even while we still are. While there is always an element of truth in the doomsayers proclamations their heavy handed prescriptions applied with a brute force of the courts almost always burdens society with terrible, debilitating and unintended consequences.

And yet humanity overcomes to create even more with less.

We have seen this with our own eyes, more than once. Doomsayers predicting the collapse of economic and environmental systems are as old as the written word. Today's global warming or climate change if you will, is only the latest sky is falling narrative. The real danger here is that coordinated efforts by governments and NGO's can enact policies that will shackle rich, energy consuming societies in favor of poorer nations, when in the end the charlatans themselves will be the only real beneficiaries.

The same is true for the financial manipulators. There is a fine line between debt and disaster. A monetary and fiscal system reliant on debt can't make debt the enemy and the savior through manipulation and continue to create prosperity. It takes debt to inject new money into the system, providing the fuel for wealth creation. However, the use of massive amounts of government debt as we are seeing today can't succeed due to the inefficiencies of forced redistribution. Such government spending drains private capital through higher taxes, increased debt burden or inflation. Right now with taxes and hyper-inflation held in check the looming debt burden actually leads to deflation fears. Nothing is more dangerous to prosperity than deflation.

On one side you have the debt scare mongers and on the other the government panacea. Neither side has exclusivity on truth, but this statistic is telling: since the end of World War II, average annual Federal government spending was a relatively consistent 19% of gross domestic product, but in the last few years it has spiked up to around 24% or 25%. If you were to include state and local spending, total government spending is now probably about 50% of GDP. We have seen a proportional dip in our economic prospects as a result. With much of the government spending going toward transfer payments via social programs overall prosperity suffers the inefficiencies of government ineptness.

Is there new hope that the government beast will be tamed? I'm skeptical. The Republican track record during the Bush era was hardly different than the Democrats. It is hopeful thinking on The Wall Street Journal's Peter DuPont's part to believe that "when the Republican House comes into session there will be new rules, new procedures, and very new thinking about what the government should be doing."

DuPont does offer this The Wall Street Journal sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with... "The single most important result of the November 2 election is the marginalization of the House Democratic left... Paul Ryan has replaced Barney Frank as the most prominent House spokesman on economics."

Amen to that!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

If there is ever a good time to set aside life's worries and tribulations it is Christmas Day. Visit with family and friends, eat good food and smile a lot. It is good for your soul whether you're a believer or not.

As commercialized as Christmas has become it is still a time of hope, of grace, of companionship and good will. All these things Jesus wished for us. There will be other days to contemplate repentance, forgiveness and life everlasting.

Christmas itself is not the pinnacle of the Christian tradition, but it is important. More than anything it brings friends and families together. For this one night nearly the world over hearts lighten, children smile and people of the planet Earth take a second to inhale...


Friday, December 17, 2010

They Just Can't Help Themselves

We are fools to think that the mid-term election of 2010 would change anything in Washington DC. These people just can't help themselves. And the newly re-forged Republications... Spines of steel I tell 'ya.

Voters were rightfully dismayed by the Harry Pelosi Show. Even their trusty sidekick Barrack the Dog ran out of tricks. The Hope and Change Tour was a major disappointment. Still, the show goes on while the audience just turns the channel - the new season of The Bachelor is coming soon.

As if the clear repudiation of the policies and and philosophies of the Democratic leadership we've been under for four years (yes, 4 years since Harry and Nancy took over) wasn't loud and clear they were back at it again with the so-called tax compromise bill.

You'd think that the extension of the Bush era tax cuts - all of them - constituted a major victory for the Republicans. Well, what did we really get? Certainly not a tax cut. Our taxes will stay the same. In fact the most unfair tax of all, the death tax is going up. (I never understood the mentality that because someone dies their assets suddenly belong to the government).

The tax cut extension would've been good if the spending was held down, but it wasn't. Billions for an extension of unemployment benefits, billions for "green energy" schemes, billions for the implementation of government health care, billions for pet projects. Sure, one could argue that the unemployment benefits are a stimulus for the economy. I think it's a catch 22. It does nothing to get people back to work. It's a band aid, the kind of band aid the Democrats love, the kind that create more dependency on big government.

At election time the country was bleeding red ink, massive government stimulus failed to even spark the economy, hope and change had become uncertainty and despair and the voters sent an unmistakable signal to change course. Signal received, signal ignored.

They just can't help themselves.


Friday, December 10, 2010

I Don't Even Like Chipotle...

I stumbled across this article about Chipotles restaurants in my home town and was actually heartened - and I don't even like Chipotles!

The message has to be sent to those in this country illegally and to the businesses that exploit them.

I don't like the idea of anyone losing their job if it can be avoided, but this action taken by local Chipotles was the right thing. According to The Minnesota Immigration Rights Action Committeee (MIRAC), a local group that fights for the legalization of undocumented workers, around 50 of the restaurant’s Latino workers have been fired in the last week.

An I-9 audit was completed where they check the paperwork and fire anyone who can’t prove they have the right to work. The fact a Mexican restaurant was targeted is telling in this era when legal Americans hard up for work themselves are tired of illegal immigrants taking jobs as lawbreakers.

For its part a spokesman for Chipotle said, “We are fully cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Minnesota in connection with a document request they have made.” ICE it seems offered no comment.

No one want's to see another human being lose their job at this time of year. However, these people made the choice to come here illegally and these choices have consequences - and they knew it. Honestly, would I have the right to expect a Mexican business and the Mexican government to ignore the fact that I had come to their country illegally and took a job from a citizen? Shoe meet the other foot...

The real moral failing here is as much the Federal government of the U.S. as it is the poor Mexican crossing the border uninvited. The fault lies as much with the past 4 administrations as it does with the current one. The government is not doing its job. Frankly this American is tired of seeing good jobs being exported to China and then workers being "imported" from Latin America to fill the ones that can't be sent overseas.

At the end of the article one commenter summed it up nicely by conveying the sentiment that it's not easy to see anyone thrown out of work. JohnCS said: They are human beings trying to feed their families and get ahead. Unfortunately we (the U.S.) cannot absorb so many low skilled/poor and provide entitlements anymore. They must work on fixing their own countries.

I applaud Chipotles, I'm sure it wasn't easy.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Palin Question Answered

I do like Sarah Palin - for many reasons. No real need to go into them here, that's not the point of this exercise. The question is should Palin run for President in 2012 or not? I say not.

There is one reason and one reason only. If Obama is to be ousted, which simply has to happen, we need the one advantage we having going for us right now. Energy. The center/right has it and the center/left doesn't. The one sure way to energize the center/left is nominating Sarah Palin.

Today the left is utterly demoralized by Obama and the right is energized by him. It was this same sort of energy that propelled Obama to power, energy that was extracted as voters of all stripes were drained by the second Bush term. It is a dead certainty that a Palin nomination would be a rallying cry for Democrats and independents, but she would also cause serious strife on the right. Establishment Republicans and the Washington conservative elites are already deriding her. For good or ill the eventual Republican nominee needs these people on his or her side. The Republicans, the right-wingers, a large majority of independents and even the Tea Party will need to be on board if they intend to beat an incumbent Democrat with the main stream media in his camp.

Obama must go in 2012. Palin is young, and with some seasoning she may have real shot at it under different circumstances, but right now I believe she is the wrong person. This isn't a high school popularity contest, this is the future of our country at stake. Palin's core beliefs are correct in my opinion, but she is not going to be able to articulate them when half the country truly believes she is not up to the job.

It's too bad that the media didn't do their job in 2008. It is clear by now that President Obama is in over his head, he was improperly vetted and inadequately challenged by the opinion makers at the time. Under the current circumstances it really should be a slam dunk for the Republicans in November of 2012, a Sarah Palin nomination, I'm sad to say, would make it a toss up.

All that said if it came down to Obama vs Palin... I'm with Sarah.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Sun Sets on the Mariner

"The Sun Sets on the Mariner"

18 x 24 acrylic
by Craig Willms

Here's a new painting I recently finished as part of my Vacation Photo Project. This scene I'm told is a sunset viewed from "The Mariner" a Door County hotel on Lake Michigan. Sadly The Mariner has since closed... Inspired by an excellent photo shot by frequent Mariner guest Mike Wagner.

Please visit my online art gallery Static Art to see more of the project.