Saturday, December 20, 2008

Unspeakable truth, mandatory lies

One of the weirdnesses of 21st-century life is that certain facts are politically incorrect. Notice I said facts, not opinions. Joel Stein of the L.A. Times points to one such verboten truth:
I have never been so upset by a poll in my life. Only 22% of Americans now believe "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," down from nearly 50% in 1964. The Anti-Defamation League, which released the poll results last month, sees in these numbers a victory against stereotyping. Actually, it just shows how dumb America has gotten. Jews totally run Hollywood.
Stein backs up that statement with extensive evidence of Jewish dominance within the entertainment industry and, unlike the ADL, sees no reason to be embarassed by it. Yet, to the ADL, it is considered a sign of enlightened tolerance that 78% of people falsely believe that Hollywood is not dominated by Jews. So, according to the ADL, the alternative to delusion is bigotry. Steve Sailer observes:
In general, isn’t it weird how it has become fashionable to be naive and less worldly . . .? It used to be that people felt proud of knowing the score, of understanding the way of the world, of being clued in to how things work.
Today, though, it’s cool to be ignorant.
Ignorance as enlightment follows a definite pattern, as with the case of how Tom Clancy's Palestinian terrorists in The Sum of All Fears morphed into neo-Nazis in the movie version. One can no longer generalize about group tendencies without inviting the charge of fostering "hate." Kathy Shaidle notes the "moral exhibitionism" of those who react to her "matter of fact, everybody-knows statement about . . . Black culture" by condemning her as a racist. Kathy correctly locates the origin of such condemnation in modern academia. Our education system nowadays seems to emphasize a vision of egalitarian homogeneity, so that people are fungible units without any distinctive ethno-cultural traits to differentiate them.

Furthermore, academia seems to be teaching young people to argue by exceptions, to naysay any general observation by responding, "Yeah, but what if . . .?" The "what if" is always some hypothetical case intended to disprove the general observation. You see this all the time in the abortion debate.

The overwhelming majority of abortions are merely retroactive contraception to terminate an adult woman's inconvenient pregnancy. Yet pro-choicers are always conjuring up the specter of the 14-year-old incest victim, or the woman whose pregnancy presents potentially fatal medical complications. One might allow for every such exceptional case and still prohibit 97 percent of abortions -- reducing the annual number of U.S. abortions from more than a million to less than 50,000 -- but in the mind of pro-choicers the existence of a relatively few exceptional cases justifies unlimited abortion.

Which brings us back around to the ADL's survey. A certain percentage of people who would agree with the statement about show business being "pretty much run by Jews" are anti-Semites, and these exceptional cases are, to the ADL way of thinking, sufficient to justify the presumption that all who agree with that statement are tainted by anti-Semitism. (And the dangers posed by anti-Semitism are so great that, if you don't donate generously to the ADL, tomorrow the brownshirts will be goose-stepping down Main Street.)

BTW, Barack Obama hasn't named a single Jew to his Cabinet. Does that make Obama a Jew-hater? Why are the forces of enlightened tolerance denouncing Kathy Shaidle, when they ought to be watching out for President-Elect Eichmann?

UPDATE: Linked at Dustbury -- thanks.

Often, in my debates with pro-choicers, I am accused of being anti-contraception, anti-woman (indeed, frequently assumed to not be a woman), heartless, stupid and against any possible exceptions for abortion. This isn't the case; I think contraception is a good thing if you don't want children, and even though I personally wouldn't have an abortion for rape or incest (perhaps not even the life-threatening pregnancy), I could allow those exceptions if it meant barring the 97% of abortions done for other reasons.
But this never seems to be enough for the hardliners. Because if you point out where you might agree with them--on contraception, for instance--they will simply keep moving the goalposts. What about the morning after pill? What about babies born to abused women? What about all those babies already born but living in orphanages?
Indeed. It's like any other argument with a liberal. In The Vision of the Anointed, Thomas Sowell has a chapter called "The Irrelevance of Evidence" that captures this tendency quite concisely. At some point, you realize that you aren't really arguing about abortion, or education, or immigration, or whatever the issue is supposed to be. Rather, you are arguing against the liberal's sense of his innate superiority to ordinary people like you. This is a point he will never cede under any circumstance, and therefore argument is useless.


  1. "In general, isn’t it weird how it has become fashionable to be naive and less worldly . . .?"

    Enter Sarah Palin and her supporters!
    I mean, if anything exemplifies the topic of this post, it is Palin.
    Politically incorrect to state the fact that she is a glorified housewife ? Or that she is very popular in a state overrun by ass-backward hicks?
    Oh I can go on and on...
    PS- Levi Johnston's mom!

  2. By some strange coincidence, Gilbert magazine arrived today, and its agenda for the month is to examine the notion that G. K. Chesterton was anti-Semitic, based on a handful of throwaway lines, his friendship with Hilaire Belloc, or any number of other dubious considerations.

    In that issue, Nancy Carpentier Brown observes:

    "Our current culture holds the twin paradoxical views that racial diversity is gloriously wonderful, but racial descriptions of individuals are taboo. Celebrating diversity is good; describing diversity is bad. We should acknowledge that people are of different races and be glad, but not glad enough to wonder what those races are."

    We will yet hang ourselves with the rope of "tolerance."

  3. The "what if" is also THE plot generator for tv and movies: yeah, but what if the terrorist was a Mormon!? We'll turn it upside down just to prove how stupid XYZ prejudice is.

    Of course they merely demonstrate how stupid THEY are, but oh well.

  4. There are important truths here, but the most important truth of all is merely implied: When what we know runs counter to the dictates of "political correctness," we are compelled, by measures little short of imprisonment, to remain silent.

    It's been perfectly clear for a long time that there are differences among the races, genders, and ethnicities as statistical aggregates, and that those differences can become important in certain contexts. Even Jesse Jackson has admitted as much -- remember his statement about being followed down the street at night and being relieved to find it was a white man behind him? -- but this is part of the taboo: only those who've been awarded victim status are permitted to speak the forbidden truth, and only similarly accredited victims are permitted to acknowledge it.

    Charles Hill has it exactly right: political correctness is bidding to be the death of us.

  5. "only those who've been awarded victim status are permitted to speak the forbidden truth"

    A poor choice of words from a poorly informed mind.
    I think the problem is people aren't really quite sure what constitutes politically correct speech and what doesn't. I've heard many argue that it is political correctness that prevents them from using the N -word.
    But political correctness runs both ways. Christians are loathe to let others acknowledge certain truths about their faith. They invariably play the victim card.( My favorite is when Christians feel slighted and then say something like " well what if we had said something derogatory about Martin Luther King". Quite telling since MLK isn't anybody's spiritual savior and isn't representative of anybody's faith. Always wondered why some reverted to this argument?)
    Anyway,is it politically incorrect to point out the fact that Kathy Shaidle is a delusional douchebag?

  6. Young 4-Eyes, both of your "comments" started out so well, yet ran out of intellectual gas after the first sentence. It's astonishing that you think you are making a point. Keep trying, you are young after all.

  7. Young Lasik:
    I applaud you in your attempt to put me in my place.
    And I also thank you because, as your name shows, imitation is the highest form of flattery.
    When your eyes heal and you can finally take off the bandages, see to it that you don't blink, lest you miss me running rings around you....