The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Two Cheers for Political Incorrectness

I have to admit, the politically incorrect can surprise and delight, but I can really give it only two rousing cheers. The first relates to its truth: ironically, political incorrectness is usually far more correct than political correctness. I give it a second cheer because it's often pretty funny. But I withhold the third cheer because it can be uncharitable, forcing me to suppress my laughter. Of course, that's true of much humor.

Political correctness, however, deserves not a single cheer. We joke a lot about political correctness, but it's really not all that funny. Indeed, at the very heart of all political correctness, one finds the lie, and a lie is rarely humorous. Even the phrase itself -- politically correct -- belies its supposed truth and highlights the lie at its core. Something is either correct or incorrect, true or false. There's not a lot of gray when it comes to the truth. Once we modify the word "correct" with "politically" or any other modifier, we're admitting that it's really something other than correct, that it's in some way incorrect; that is, it's a lie. This all brings to mind Pope Benedict's warning about the "dictatorship of relativism." You can read his homily addressing the subject here.

Enforced political correctness, of the sort often mandated throughout our society -- by government at all levels, the educational establishment, many corporations, and much of the media --  is ostensibly aimed at eliminating language that might offend certain ideologically protected groups identified by race, ethnicity, sex and sexual preference, age, disability, religion, etc. Its real purpose, however, is something far less altruistic. What it really does is grossly restrict speech and even thought, all in an attempt to force the individual to say and think only what others believe to be acceptable.


George Orwell (1903-1950)
Political correctness, like the "newspeak" in Orwell's 1984, is designed quite simply to impose ideologically acceptable thought on the populace, to protect those in power from ideas that they believe threaten the maintenance of that power.

The very fact that not all groups are protected says a lot. The Catholic Church, for example, is by no means politically correct because its teachings so often conflict with the current Zeitgeist. Indeed, its stances on abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, and a host of today's other hot-button issues place the Catholic Church near the top of any politically incorrect list. 


Antonio Gransci (1891-1937)
This is, of course, all driven by ideology, what has been called "cultural Marxism," which has its roots it the work of the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci, among many others. One of the best books on Gramsci and the other European leftists who so greatly influenced postwar American intellecturals is Michael Walsh's The Devils Pleasure Palace. And if you're interested in digging a bit deeper into PC's roots, read this paper by Dr. Jefrey D. Breshears.

Have you ever noticed that PC folks tend to be as humorless as their beliefs. Such serious people, always on the lookout for slights, for anything that runs counter to their concept of ideological purity. One cannot simply disagree with them. Depending on the subject at hand, one who disagrees must be a hater, a racist, a misogynist, or a Xenophobe...the list of handy labels is long.

Political incorrectness, on the other hand, is almost always good for a laugh, unless, of course, you're so PC that you think nothing is funny. It also demands a certain degree of courage to be non-PC these days, and I suppose that's why I so admire the politically incorrect pundits who point out the lie at the heart of the politically correct. Perhaps his political incorrectness is the reason behind Donald Trump's growing popularity among the American people who have likely grown tired of having to suppress their opinions and beliefs. Trump is certainly not afraid to shout his opinions from today's cyber rooftops. One might consider some of his statements foolish or ill-advised, but they're certainly entertaining. Whether this is a suitable trait for the presidency is another question.

Anyway, all this talk about the ongoing conflict between the PC and the non-PC led me to retrieve some observations I had tucked away for future use. I don't agree with everything that follows, but these politically incorrect comments -- many at the expense of our very PC president -- are certainly good for a laugh or two.

"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." -- George Carlin

"I recently read a poll reporting that the majority of Israelis believe that Obama favors the Palestinians. Well, duh!, I mean if it's not bad enough that the Community Organizer in Chief curtsied to a Saudi prince, gets angrier about homes being built in Israel than nukes being built in Iran, can't say enough nice things about the religion of our sworn enemies, and denies that we're at war with Islamic fundamentalists, there's the matter of the U. S. Consulate in Jerusalem. It seems that it is dedicated solely to Palestinian interests. It has $530 million with which to fund summer camps, free movies, business classes, and 'promoting and preserving Palestinian cultural heritage,' whatever in hell that might be. Notable suicide bombers down through the annals of history? The programs are translated into Arabic, but not Hebrew. The education finance grants are available to candidates who must be Palestinian residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, or the Gaza Strip. Is my memory going, or aren't they the same folks we saw dancing in the streets on 9/11?" -- Burt Prelutsky

"The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it." -- H. L. Mencken
George Carlin -- Burt Prelutsky -- H. L. Mencken

"A society in which men and women are governed by a belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society -- whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society -- no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be." -- Russell Kirk

"There are, of course, millionaires and billionaires who are leeches on society, who bleed our GDP and contribute nothing to the commonweal. There was, for instance, a bright young man who worked all the scholarship angles so that wealthy donors (with their tax-dodging charitable contributions) paid his way through fancy schools. He embarked on an urban scam called 'community organizing.' Then he obtained a large sum for writing a book about his life and accomplishments at age 34 when he didn't have any accomplishments and hadn't led much life. He wormed his way into politics with all its perks and benefits. And now his big house, his stretch limousine, and his luxury jet are paid for out of the public treasury." -- P. J. O'Rourke 

"The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right." -- G. K. Chesterton
Russell Kirk -- P. J. O'Rourke -- G. K. Chesterton

"Back in America, the coastal sophisticates joke at those knuckle-dragging rubes who believe Obama is some kind of 'secret Muslim.' But really Occam's razor would favor such an explanation, wouldn't it? That a post-American Middle East divided between bad-cop nuclear Shia and worst-cop head-hacking Sunni was the plan all along. Because there are only two alternatives to that simplest of simple explanations: The first is that Obama and the Z-graders who fill out his administration are just blundering buffoons. And we all know, from Michael Beschloss, that he's the smartest president ever, so it couldn't possibly be colossal stupidity on a scale unknown to human history, could it? The second is that his contempt for American power -- a basic class signifier in the circles in which he's moved all his life -- is so deeply ingrained that he doesn't care what replaces it." -- Mark Steyn 

"They are ready to do such horrible things. When they are ready to fly planes into the World Trade Center, when they are ready to fly planes into the Pentagon...when they have this kind of hatred... and you know they're looking at us and they're laughing at us worrying about water-boarding." -- Donald Trump

"I too was once a male trapped in a female body, but then I was born." -- Chuck Norris

"If I were to say that all men throw a baseball faster than all women, I would be talking about the extension of the terms 'men' and 'women.' That is, I would be talking about each and every man and woman. In that case, my claim that 'all men throw a baseball faster than all women' is clearly false, since there are individual women who throw a baseball faster than individual men. One the other hand, when I say that 'men pitch baseballs faster than women because they have more upper body muscle strength' I am referring to what is comprehensibly true of men and women. And in that case, it is incontrovertibly true that men in general pitch baseballs faster than women in general. The distinction between extension and comprehension is clear, easy to understand, and essential to the proper exercise of our mental powers. This is why political correctness makes us dumb." -- Francis Beckwith
Mark Steyn -- Donald Trump -- Chuck Norris -- Francis Beckwith

Equally interesting are the many comments made by those normally heralded as icons of the left. You won't find the following quotations is today's PC textbooks, or in a professor's class notes, or in the campaign literature of a neo-Marxist presidential candidate like Bernie Sanders.

"I cannot conceive of Israel withdrawing [from the West Bank and Gaza] is Arab states do not recognize Israel within secure borders." -- Nelson Mandela

"The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink...[we're] going to do for blacks exactly what blacks did for the revolution. By which I mean: nothing." -- Che Guevara

"I shall never fight in the Armed forces with a Negro by my side...Rather, I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds." -- Senator Robert Byrd (D - WV) 

"We have no compassion...we shall not make excuses for the terror." -- Karl Marx

"We must meet hate with creative love...Let us hope there will be no more violence. But if the streets must flow with blood let it flow with our blood in the spirit of Jesus Christ on the Cross." -- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It's an odd world we live it, isn't it? Keep your sense of humor, and laugh at those who hate.

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