Tuesday 30 November 2010

Misunderstanding the Post-Christianity in PC


Secular right commentators are always banging-on about the Christian nature and roots of PC.

This is correct, but - being secular - they completely misunderstand, indeed invert, the meaning of being Post-Christian.

The secular right emphasizes the Christian elements in PC - residual from Christianity.

But this is entirely to misunderstand. 

The proper emphasis is on the Post, not on the Christian.

It is the fact that PC has rejected Christianity which is of significance; not that PC retains some scattered aspects of Christian ethics.

Specifically, it is the rejection of the pre-requisites of Christianity which cause the problem of PC.

In particular, there is underlying PC a nihilistic rejection of reality; this was caused when Christianity was rejected.

(In order to get rid of Christianity) what was rejected was a whole way of orientating humanity in reality: most of it pagan, some of it monotheistic, a relatively small amount of it being specifically Christian.

So, PC Post-Christianity is not just Post-Christian, but also Post-Monotheist and Post-Pagan. None of these traditional religious perspectives make any kind of sense to PC.

So PC Post-Christians reject the soul, life after death, reality, the possibility of knowledge of reality, the possibility of God, the possibility of revelation, miracles, prophecy...and so on and on.

It is being 'Post' all-this-stuff that is the problem about PC - and it really has nothing to do with the Christian elements residual in PC.


Everything matters or nothing matters: Original sin versus nihilism


There are two basic human possibilities, in confronting existence - either everything matters, or nothing matters.

Both are unbearable.


If everything is significant then nothing is forgotten, we are never alone, souls are eternal, reality is endless, awareness is total. 

If everything matters then either everything which is, is good (despite appearances); or everything which is, is evil - tainted with evil: by sin, by original sin.


If everything which is is good, then we must (merely!) recognize the fact that life as it is, has been and will become, is perfect (or the best possible) - including ourselves. All change is illusory.

(But then why am I so miserable, so appalled? - says human judgment. In practice, the inference is that everything which is, is good - except human judgment, which must - for some unimaginable reason - be deluded.)


If, on the other hand, everything which is, is evil; all is (at least) tainted by sin; then if even just one person, one being, somewhere in the world is suffering (now, or will suffer in the future) then life is invalidated, poisoned.

If we do not recognize the fact, this is because we are tainted with evil ourselves.

We are (at least partly) evil creatures, trying to live in an evil-tainted world - forever without end.

The weight of sin is vast and unbearable.


Either way, good or evil, there is no escape.

We must live with this awareness forever.

And this is hell - or more precisely Hades/ Sheol - the afterworld of eternally witless, gibbering, semi-demented ghosts.

Little wonder that modern humanity tries to escape into the opposite.


Humanity tries to escape from the infinite weight of eternal and universal significance... into nihilism.

Whatever happens is temporary, all evaluations are contingent, life is neither good nor evil overall because these have no real meaning. We live for a while (apparently - but in reality who knows?) - then life is following by... nothing.

For the nihilist: No matter how bad things may seem, at least we can, we will, escape them by death.


Yet nihilism does not stop at that.

Nihilism does not allow us to escape a bad life by death, nor does it wrench us from a good life by death. 

Because if nothing ultimately matters; then actually nothing matters.

Everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen is insignificant despite appearances, despite the evaluations of human judgment (delusion, merely). 

As an instance of awareness, each of us is utterly alone - we know of no other reality: neither things nor people.

Even if there are, or were, or might be, things or people: then nothing lasts.

Even if anything lasted for a while, all moments are (almost instantly) lost in time and space.


Moments may (momentarily) seem eternal and of infinite significance (the world in a grain of sand) but of course in a world where nothing matters we know always that this (or any other positive statement) is nonsense - it means nothing. And we strive not to know this, but always fail: brought down by the relentless weight of accumulating knowledge of insignificance.


The human condition is simple (necessarily so), and there are few alternatives, and all were articulated and recorded by the early literate civilizations - especially by the Greeks and Jews.

We have not moved-on from this - indeed we have moved backwards such that modern man has lost awareness of the human condition.

Affecting to disdain the simplicity of the human condition, modern man pretends that incoherence is complexity!


How come? How is it that our civilization is so very backward and unintelligent compared with all previous civilizations on record?

The reason is that we are not a pagan society, nor are we a primary monotheistic society: we are a post-Christian society.

As post-Christians (in rejecting Christianity including the assumptions by which we used to know Christianity), moderns  perceive, moderns know, less than nothing about the human condition.

Moderns recognize none of the great simplicities, we think we know things which we do not know, and that which modernity thinks it knows (anyway) makes no sense.


Why are moderns so dumb: so very, very - so incorrigibly dumb?

Yet moderns think they are sooo smart?

In a word: frag-men-tation.

Ultra-specialization (reality reduced to meaninglessly- disconnected fragments) plus distraction (short attention span: really short).

And by a group utterly annihilated (reduced to nothingness by) fragmentation, I mean the intellectual elite.

I mean those people (managers, politicians, media people, 'religious leaders', propagandists of all stripe: teachers) who invented, made-universal and live-by the sound-bite.


Result? Moderns are nihilists whose cognition is so fragmented and dispersed that they cannot even recognize their own nihilism!


Monday 29 November 2010

Why don't PC rulers relinquish rulership to favour 'deserving group' members?


It is one of the strangest spectacles of living under political correctness to observe relentless propaganda and pandering favour of designated 'deserving groups' of which the PC leaders are not themselves members.

This raises the obvious question of why - for example - every white, heterosexual, native-born and descended ultra-PC male leader does not promote the cause of political correctness by simply resigning in favour of someone who he (supposedly) regards as more deserving by virtue of them not being a WHet-NB&D male.

Or, beyond this, every devout and ultra-PC leader should perhaps resign in favour of anyone who was more deserving - so that a female non-heterosexual should resign in favour of a female non-heterosexual who was also an immigrant.

And so on.


Yet, despite being an obvious implication of genuinely PC belief, this never seems to happen.

Indeed, nobody ever seems to consider this very obvious possibility. 

Of course much of this apparently inconsistent behaviour is due to dishonest, careerist hypocrisy, but it is not purely careerist dishonest hypocrisy.

If it were only due to bad reasons then the more-devoutly-PC would continually and forcefully be denouncing the hypocritically-PC for their backsliding.

I infer that there must be reasons which persuade the most devoutly PC that it is OK to leave un-mentioned the apparently inconsistent behaviour of the predominantly WHet-NB&D male leadership.


I think there are at least two ways of conceptualizing the behaviour of why a sincere and devoutly PC WHet-NB&D male leader might not relinquish their power and positions.

The first reason is that WHet-NB&D male PC leaders genuinely want to relinquish their power but simply cannot make themselves do it, due to their own sinfulness, which they fully understand and wish to overcome but cannot.

The WHet-NB&D male leadership are 'addicted' to power and cannot make themselves relinquish it , like another person might be addicted to cigarettes but cannot make themselves give up.

In private, they will confess their sin, and as repentant sinners they atone for their sin - in this case by creating abstract systems of allocations such that people such as themselves will in future be prevented from taking power.

So that the sincerely PC foes of the WHet-NB&D male leadership refrain from denouncing them, refrain from pointing out their obvious inconsistency, on the grounds that the WHet-NB&D male leaders are actively atoning for their sin of holding power by making sure that never again will WHet-NB&D males be allowed or able to get into similar positions of power and leadership.

So, hypocrisy goes un-denounced by the devout, so long as the leadership confess, repent and atone for their sins by serving the cause of 'virtue'.


But in addition to this is the system orientation and indifference to individual behavior among the leadership which was characteristic of the communists, and presumably has been inherited from them.

From this perspective, acts of individual sinfulness and virtue from the leadership is irrelevant to the cause - which is a matter of objective policy.

From this perspective, an individual resigning power to another individual is irrelevant, since this would not change the system.

It is better for leaders do whatever changes the system in the desired direction, rather than indulging in personal acts of virtue which leave the system intact.


So communists always hated the 'philanthropy' of individual charity - partly because it might delay the revolution by ameliorating the condition of the proletariat, and partly because it depended on the 'whim' of individuals which ought not be depended-on.

Likewise, the politically correct heirs of  communism would rather use the drive and skill of WHet-NB&D males to implement a system which will - in future - be such that its leaders will be anything-but WHet-NB&D males.


Sunday 28 November 2010

How *not* to be systematic: Orthodox Christianity and Real Science


Mainstream modern management is characterized by an uncontrolled and uncontrollable totalitarian impulsion to impose system on all instances of social organization concerned with the production and distribution of valued goods.

System is understandable as meaning standard practices leading to predictable outcomes.

Libertarians emphasize the standard practices (impartial process) with outcomes being variable according to the outcome of competition and selection; in contrast political correctness emphasizes the predictability of outcomes with processes being adjusted to achieve a pre-determined end result.


Modernity cannot even comprehend social affairs running without a system; this is because modernity is secular, atheist, materialist; has no higher human value than happiness and no higher concept of justice than system.

Consequently, modernity cannot conceptualize any possibility others than various combinations of system and chaos.


But there is a third possibility, and this is to transcend the debate, move the analysis to a higher level.  In particular to move the debate to the religious level.

At the religious level the dichotomy of system and chaos is transcended by the ordering capability of divine guidance and intervention.

Minus a belief in the reality of divine guidance, system is supreme as a principle of order and tends inevitably and unstoppably towards totalitarianism - and the only alternative is chaos.


For many hundreds of years - there was no 'system' for choosing the Emperor of the Byzantine Roman empire, and this lack of system was deliberate. 

All possible systems to select the Emperor were regarded as merely human creations (hence inevitably partial and corrupt), while the choice of Emperor was supposed to be made by God (the Emperor was God's representative on earth). 

The Byzantine attitude was that the correct choice of new Emperor would emerge with divine guidance, so long as the society was devoutly Christian and sincerely asked for God's guidance.

The idea was that this deliberate lack of system would lead to the 'best' choice - best from a divine perspective, which might mean a 'bad' Emperor for a while, as an instrument of divine punishment for heresy or lack of devotion.


And for the past two millenia or so, the Christian Orthodox church has had no centralized and formal system of authority; no final court of appeal. 

This could be expressed as a long list of negatives - there is no Pope or senior priest (the nearest being five senior Bishops), no final authority (the nearest being some early Ecumenical Councils), multiple national jurisdictions which are diverse and independent, no clear centrality of doctrine or training for priests or formal criteria for ordination...

These are negatives - but the negatives are (on the whole) deliberate; because in a positive sense, such lack of system leaves more space for the operation of the Holy Spirit by more possible routes and means. 

Naturally, this is only effective (even in theory) when many or most people people are devout and sincere, and especially when some are extremely holy (spiritually advanced).

In particular, Saints - before their death - have authoritative knowledge of higher things (living both on earth and in heaven simultaneously) - although even here the humanity of the Saint and (especially) of those less advanced souls trying to understand the Saint, mean that the Saint is not 'infallible' in a legalistic sense.

(The true Saint will speak the Truth, to the best of his ability in that time and place; but may not be correctly understood.)


Essentially (as I understand things), the focus of authority in Orthodoxy is located in 'the Church' conceptualized in an ideal fashion, as the collective mind of those who are devout, divinely-ordained and spiritually-advanced (each of whom has limited knowledge, prone to error and may be corruptible). 

But who decides who these people are who are are 'devout and spiritually advanced'?

The answer is (roughly) those who are also devout and spiritually advanced.

And there is Revelation - written evidence and oral transmission of how to understand and interpret it. There is the Bible and the oral transmission of the early Church Fathers, and (perhaps) modern Fathers who are spiritually in sympathy with, perhaps actually in touch with these sources...

In effect, there are multiple loops of loose and slow influence and feedback, through which the Holy Spirit may (via devout souls) shape the Church over the generations.


From the modern Western perspective all this is perceived merely as lack of system and equated with chaos.

Indeed, from a Roman Catholic perspective, Orthodoxy is often perceived as being anarchic (due to their denial of the Pope's supreme authority) - hence merely chaotic.

Or else Orthodoxy may be perceived as systematic but exhibiting circularity of reasoning of the 'whatever happens is good' variety - by which deficiencies are arbitrarily re-labelled as strengths.

In other words, that the Orthodox choice to use 'tradition' as authority, and to keep traditional mostly undefined, is arbitrary.  


However, this criticism of 'arbitrary circularity' applies to all human systems without exception when they are evaluated using materialistic, non-transcendent criteria; and the more highly systematic the human system, the more arbitrary.

At the highest moral level of secular modern organization - political correctness - there is the 'arbitrary' decision to regard abstract systems of principled human allocation as the highest authority. 

And in secular right wing (libertarian) socio-politics (the less powerful, less moral and more hedonic form of partial-PC) there is an equally arbitrary decision to regard the outcomes of markets as the highest authority, or the outcome of scientific processes, or the outcome of democratic procedures.

And within religions, the Orthodox point to the primacy (and 'infallibility') of the Papacy as an artificial (and - the Orthodox would claim - arbitrary) mechanism for terminating dissent and increasing the temporal (not spiritual) power of the church. 

The institution of Papal infallibility is seen as system which many be advantageous in the short term, but which renders the Church more humanly corruptible and less susceptible (i.e. susceptible by fewer channels) to the influence of the Holy Spirit.


Science provides a further example. I believe that real science can only survive in a society which acknowledges the reality of the transcendent; because otherwise arbitrary system (specifically peer review) will displace real science on the basis that it is reducing chaos.

So modern mainstream careerist professional scientists all regard the science of the past as chaotic; and see the application of formal systems of peer review to science (to all evaluations: education and training, appointments and promotions, grants and publication, prizes and prestige) as evidence of scientific progress (increase of order, reduction of chaos) - when in fact this is merely the imposition of arbitrary system: the imposition of scientific totalitarianism.


Yet, real science in the past was not more-chaotic, it was instead orientated towards a transcendental understanding of science as Truth.

Science in the past therefore had this spiritual aspect, which is closely analogous to the operation of Orthodox Christianity (albeit at a lower and more partial level).

In real science of the past, scientists could, and did, have a court of appeal above and beyond formal procedure - a level of authority and validity above the formal processes of peer review. 


In other words, real science had a transcendent level above peer review against which peer review could be evaluated, which regards peer review as merely a means to an end and equally capable of harm as benefit.

Indeed systems such as peer review are intrinsically harmful when regarded as valid in their own right, because they impose upon the transcendent, eventually make invisible (hence impossible) the transcendent. 

Transcendent scientific Truth was that which the most honest, devout and idealistic scientists pursued directly and unsystematically, with feedback not being abstract, formal and explicit but mainly coming from other honest, devout and idealistic scientists in a process that was circular only at a materialist and worldly level - but which was constantly and sincerely being referenced to a higher and transcendental level.


My take-home point is that there is a coherent alternative other than chaos to the current Western trend for ever-increasing bureaucratization and abstract systematization of human society, an alternative to the ever-increasing subordination of humanity to abstract procedures and allocations.

But that alternative involves moving the debate to a higher and religious level, and regarding systems in terms of serving divine rather than human purposes.

So long as we stick at the level of secular materialism, the trend will be towards the extinction of human agency: the trend will be towards totalitarian political correctness.

Totalitarianism versus chaos; a totalitarianism of arbitrary systems or a chaos versus the arbitrary lack of such systems: these are the only coherent alternatives for a secular materialist society, and secular materialist societies will always be moving toward the one or the other because no other alternatives make any sense.



The nature of totalitarian secular political correctness is encapsulated in the words of that great prophet of modernity: Saruman, in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, when he says:-

"We can bide our time (...) keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order, all things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak and idle friends."  

For Saruman, lined-up against Ignorance, Anarchy and Chaos there is only Knowledge, Rule and Order: the alternatives are therefore primitive disorder or a unified, consistent, totalitarian system. 

He therefore envisages a system of imposed behavior which (arbitrarily) has Saruman at the summit - who happens to be immortal - but which in principle might equally be headed-up by Sauron, or Gandalf (who are 'angels/ demons'), or even Elrond or Galadriel (immortal humans - i.e. elves) as its ultimate authority. 

But for Saruman's (ultimately triumphant) rival Gandalf, by contrast, the totalitarian systemization of 'Knowledge, Rule, Order' must be subordinated to divine purpose (which necessarily includes the free will of autonomous individuals) and divine providence (the operation of which is merely impaired by wholesale and arbitrary systemization). 


Saturday 27 November 2010

The delusion of being non-PC (and other ramblings)


Perhaps the biggest group of examples of people thinking that they are not politically correct when they actually are) is when they argue in favour of impartiality/ neutrality of procedures.

I will call such a person 'would-be anti-PC' - they want to be anti-PC but are trapped into supporting politcal correctness by the unavoidably-PC nature of modern discourse.

The would-be anti-PC are, in fact, trapped into supporting PC by their desire to 'make a difference', by their desire to engage with the modern socio-political-managerial discourse, by their wish to appeal as widely as possible and to build a 'movement'.  

High level (roughly 'managerial') modern discourse only permits variants of PC arguments, such that people who wish to oppose PC either have no effect, or lose their positions, or actually strengthen PC.


For example, if someone opposes 'diversity'/ 'affirmative action'/ group preferences for college admissions then it seems almost inevitable that his argument be made in terms of wanting (for instance) a 'sex blind' system.

And in a sense that is almost-exactly what he does want, the would-be anti-PC wants sex not to be an important feature in college admissions, wants other factors (educational, cultural, moral etc) to predominate.

So a person who opposes mantras such as 'we ought to appoint a woman', and opposes the cyclical celebrations of appointments being made to 'a woman' will argue (usually, indeed almost invariably) that it 'shouldn't matter' about the sex of the appointee.

But this is a mistake at multiple levels. 


In the first place, as we should (by now) know from experience, arguments for neutrality are utterly ineffective against PC.

They are, however, acceptable within PC.

Arguments in favour of procedural neutrality are acceptable precisely because they are utterly ineffective!


(If such neutral arguments happen to become effective at some point - for example in Ward Connerly's anti-AA initiatives - then the neutrality argument become demonized by PC precisely as if it was not neutral but was advocating the opposite of PC-approved affirmative action. Since PC intervenes to reverse the natural and spontaneous effect of neutral systems, and judges by outcomes not processes, then for PC you must  discriminate; and the only substantive debate is who are the favoured groups.)


Yet the sex of the appointee does matter, that is the whole reason for the debate in the first place.

For proponents of procedural neutrality to say that it 'shouldn't' matter is already to be creating an abstract ideal world of pure impersonal functionality - a world in which the 'efficiency' of systems (efficiency being inevitably measured on the basis of a selected criteria over a limited time frame, and with no reason to assume the measure is generalizable to other variable and other time frames)... in which efficiency of systems is intrinsically more important than the people in the systems and the people who are affected by the systems.

Procedural neutrality therefore contradicts spontaneous common sense just as PC contradicts common sense ; and in this specific domain PC is in fact closer to common sense (in its assumption that men and women are different and need different treatment) than is procedural neutrality, which is presumably why PC wins most of these debates.


(Another example: Common sense says that bad people are more likely to do bad things than good people, so the law should take character into account in determining guilt. But specialized procedural modernity has it that guilt must be established by objective facts that take no account of personality.

(At the end of this process of abstraction, schoolteachers find that they are unable to take account of character in determining guilt: a well behaved and habitually truthful child accuses a badly behaved and dishonest child of theft; the bad child denies theft; lacking objective evidence (the stolen money has been spent) the situation is framed as 'one person's word against another' and the bad child goes undetected and unpunished.)

(Multiply this situation by ten million and you have modern justice. )

(The situation arises because the PC advocate realizes that the good child might for once, be lying. And that, since humans are sinful and corruptible, the good child might for once be dishonest. Worse, the good child has an incentive to be dishonest. And that any system which believes good people and disbelieves bad people is an oligarchy of the good over the bad (yet nobody is wholly good, nor wholly bad); and the good will also tend to become corrupted and (in principle) good may become bad and bad good.)

(All of these criticisms are true - but all of these are taken to be reasons why abstract systems are preferable to common sense - which is merely an assumption unless you believe that it is possible for an abstract system to be free of human sinfulness; and that humans would know when this was the case; and would adopt, implement and sustain the sin-free abstract system. To believe this is pure unfounded assumption with zero evidence in favour and vast shoals of evidence against. However all of these things are indeed believed by PC, which is why PC is psychotic - in the sense of being based on absurd premises.)


We cannot pretend that a system of men and a system of women is or should be seen as 'the same' - except in a very narrow, selective, partial and biased sense of 'the same' which begs all the important questions.

In effect, to say that men and women are 'the same' (or the same in practice) is to make an assumption - not to report an empirical situation.

Modern systems have not discovered that men and women are the same - they have assumed it.

Empirical evidence, as usual, cannot settle the question (although almost all evidence shows differences between groups of men and women - this is never enough, and can always be reinterpreted to favour either side).

Neutrality about important matters (such as whether a position is held by a man or a woman) is in the first place impossible, and in the second place actually undesirable as a goal even if it were not impossible - although the problems of neutrality typically do not emerge quickly.


(Indeed, and this is Charlton's Law - really just a generalization, rather than a law - i.e. that all actually-enacted policies that are harmful overall in the long term, are specifically advantageous in the short term - which is why they get adopted. And since specific advantage is easier to define and measure, the fact of overall harmfulness is not effective at getting the policy removed or reversed. E.g. a policy which benefits a specific interest group - e.g. subsidies to mohair farmers - can survive for generations despite causing overall harm.)


My contention is that the West took a wrong turn about these matters around AD 1000 (the Great Schism) when the Roman Catholic church (gradually) broke away from the Eastern Orthodox - and like most mistakes it was initially richly rewarded (otherwise the mistake would not be made) - by tremendous 'progress' in philosophy and scholarship (especially Thomas Aquinas), then in science, and later in the economy.

The mistake was built-in specialization; progressive specialization of all functions, with no end or limit.

And the Great Schism built-into the thought systems of the West a fatal error, of which PC is a remote and indirect consequence.


By secularizing knowledge, by creating The University - autonomous philosophy (instead of having learning focused in monasteries) the West eventually made political correctness - which is now everywhere and inescapable in the West.

(My contention is that PC is not a sideshow, but the main feature in the West.)

And PC is the West's Nemesis, because the West cannot decisively overturn PC without overturning that which made it The West.

The West cannot overcome PC without ceasing to be The West. 

Yet, if this overturning of PC does not happen, then the West will itself be overturned.


This is not a paradox: it is an outline of possible futures.

And the delusion of being non-PC is widespread ultimately because to be anti-PC is to be anti-West (in tendency, albeit not in intention).

Yet at the same time, to be pro-PC is (obviously) to be anti-West (sometimes in intention, but always in tendency).

But then The West never was sustainable, it was a blip (albeit a thousand year 'blip'!).

And as soon as The West began to implement its assumptions towards completion (which is political correctness), just so soon The West began actively (as well as passively) to destroy itself.


NOTE: The apparent exception is those who advocate orthodox Roman Catholicism as a theocratic principle. By the exception is only apparent, in my opinion.

My critique is that RC is semi-modern, hence has never been able to hold the line against ever more progressive functional specialization.

Aquinas created the 'perfect' philosophy - but it was almost immediately swept-away (by Scotus, Occam etc) - since when philosophical change has been almost continuous, generation upon generation, and attempts to hold the line with Thomism have never succeeded - never remotiely succeeded.

Since the philosophical base of RC has continually been changing, RC has continually been changing - modernizing: become ever more functionally specialized. 

This is because RC includes decisive features of modernity: independence of philosophy from theology, universities from monasteries, the Pope from tradition - in a nutshell, ideology from holiness...

And once modernity (progressive specialization) has been built into a system, it is cannot stop itself - and it cannot stop itself because continual specialization creates continual autonomy, so there is no way of one part of the system stopping another.

You just get more and more specialization until the whole social system falls apart into dysfunctionally small fragments; and all the King's Horses and all the King's men cannot put Humpty together again.


Friday 26 November 2010

Is it possible *not* to be politically correct?


Not really - at least not in public discourse.

Almost everybody reading this blog is politically correct - and this means you, gentle reader.

Especially if you are not a religious realist, who sees life as primarily a matter of salvation, then you are PC - or rather, if you reflect and probe your underpinning belief systems you will find that PC is where your ideology is tending - in theory and also in practice.


This is because we intellectuals (and if your are reading this you are an intellectual) live in a discourse of political correctness; and the higher we get the stronger and more pervasive this becomes.

At the highest level of status, power and influence in public discourse, PC is universal. There are no exceptions - not even The Pope is exempt.

That is a measure of the power and pervasiveness of political correctness.

Has there ever before been an ideology with this international scope and strength?


Of course many people imagine that they are opposed to political correctness, but in reality they are just PC-moderates made uneasy or amused by the PC-avant garde: yet ten years down the line and they will be saying the same things themselves, and vilifying those who disagree.


So, if you want to be non-PC then you need to make sacrifices; and you will be (more or less) on your own.

Being non-PC is not, therefore, a matter of building a political movement; it is a matter of personal salvation - done because you ought to do it, not with hope of changing the world.

Hence it is fraught with its own hazards: of going off the rails due to lack of objective guidance; and worst of all the sin of spiritual pride (of 'prelest' as Russian Orthodox call it).

However, lacking any non-PC support network, there is not really any alternative.


So, how to stay on the rails, lacking public support - and indeed in the face of almost monolithically hostile pro-PC discourse?

In the face of a world view based upon deep premises which cannot be challenged but which lead inexorably to PC?

Well, the answer is simple albeit variable between individuals, but has the same general character - a mixture of avoiding (as much as possible) participation in the mass media, and the PC discourse of high level modern functionality; combined with immersion in non-PC discourse (which will necessarily mostly be written, and from the past).

That's it!


Of course tradition is borne not by the written word but by interpretation, by humans.

On that basis we haven't got a chance, since the tradition is broken and there are no non-PC spiritual advisers whom we know-of.

But then there is the hope of external help, from outside of the human world, by praying for the grace to understand.

Ultimately, that is what we must rely upon.

Good luck!


What is primary for PC: altruism or hedonism?


It is my contention that, although political correctness routinely makes evaluations in terms of satisfying individual preferences (within a range of approved choices) - in fact abstract altruism trumps preferences whenever the two come into conflict.

Essentially, I see the secular, libertarian right (and therefore partial-PC and not-full-blown PC) as the party of pure preference-satisfaction: the party of primary hedonism.


For political correctness, arguments based on optimizing the satisfaction of preferences are used when convenient, but they are ignored when they conflict with the imperative to replace human agency with abstract allocative systems.


So, for example, in health services or in education, there are various powerful empirical arguments from the secular libertarian right which suggest that 'market mechanisms' will improve functionality: will enhance effectiveness, efficiency and preference satisfaction.

Yet political correctness completely ignores these arguments, and immediately moves the debate to a higher level of moral evaluation.

Those who favour any form of competition in the provision of health or education (personal payments or voucher systems perhaps) are not refuted; instead they are ignored for as long as possible, then they are demonized.

For PC competition between autonomous agents is an evil, it is simply unacceptable; unacceptable even as an effective means to a valued end.


The moral level is that which is used to justify abstract systems of allocating 'goods': e.g. bureaucratic allocation of health service goods, or various types of allocation of educational 'goods' such as 'affirmative action'.

These PC allocations of goods are not justified on the basis that abstract allocation enhances health or educational functionality, nor that these methods are more effective or efficient, nor that most people want them.

(Or, at least, any such functionally-oriented justifications are swiftly dropped when confronted with the secular right perspective.)

Rather, PC systems of evaluation are justified on the basis that they are more fair, more moral, than others.

People who oppose abstract allocative systems are therefore believed to be evil (or ignorant) - and when opposition to bureaucratic healths service provision, or to group preferences is justified on grounds of effectiveness and efficiency, then this argument is interpreted as being materialistic, heartless and inhumane.


Of course, in reality PC is itself materialistic, heartless and inhumane - but at a higher level than the secular right.

PC is heartless and inhumane, however not in pursuit of functionality - of effectiveness and efficiency, but instead in pursuit of abstract moral goals.

Individual human happiness, and freedom, are willingly (indeed joyfully) sacrificed on a mass scale by PC in pursuit of abstract moral goals.


Such is the idealistic aspect of PC, why PC feels objectively morally superior to the secular right, at a gut level - because its evaluations are higher, being moral rather than functional.
Indeed PC evaluations are the highest of which PC can conceive.

And PC evaluations are quite possibly the highest so far attainable by any form of secular materialism.

Therein lies their strength and appeal.


(The only known higher evaluation than PC are religious; but PC does not believe in the reality of any religion, nor does the secular right. So, in terms of mainstream secular morality, political correctness is the highest, the most visionary and utopian of the 'realistic' ideologies on the market.)


Thursday 25 November 2010

Where is moral authority located for political correctness?


Political correctness is internally consistent, but is based on false premises; or, at least, it is the premises which must be challenged and changed if PC is to be reversed.

The reason that this is unlikely is that the major premises of PC are merely the premises of mainstream modern secularism. In other words, politically correct discourse takes place within a nihilistic framework which denies (among other things) the reality of God, the soul, afterlife, transcendental goods (truth, beauty, virtue) and the supernatural.

Any apparent meaning or purpose in life are simply within life, and are purely subjective. 

The special quality of PC is that it retains a belief in what might be termed a secular version of Original Sin: the ultimate selfishness and corruptibility of human beings.

And, whereas communism believed that human beings were perfectible (a perfect society would, according to communism, yield perfect humans) - PC believes that humans are necessarily selfish and corruptible: that humans cannot be trusted, ever.


This deep insight into human nature is the source from which political correctness draws its ideological strength; because it is true that humans are indeed necessarily selfish and corruptible.

Therefore political correctness is based upon a deeper perception of reality than its secular right opponents - who often try to argue that not-all-humans are 'that bad' or that humans as such are not-that-bad.

Well, actually, humans are that bad!  


But that is not the end of the matter.

The big question is not to quibble over the fact that humans are fundamentally sinful, but what are the implications of the fact.


That humans are sinful has been a truism of religious insight for as long as we have records.

There is nothing new about regarding humans as sinful - that is not a novelty of PC in any way shape or form.

But what is new about PC is what to do about the fact.

What is new about PC is the response to perceiving the sinfulness of humans.

Traditional religion, perceiving humanity to be sinful, located goodness in the non-material, transcendental or supernatural world. So that in Christianity, virtue was located in God.

But for PC there is no God; and therefore - having noticed or discovered that humans are (contra communism) sinful - PC tries to locate moral virtue in a material but non-human realm: the realm of abstract system.


Here is an important difference between the majority of unreflective, careerist and opportunisticPC drones and the inner elite of self-aware, moral and devoutly-PC:

the careerist PC masses locate sin in right-wingers,

while the elite and devout PC recognize the sinfulness of all humans.

So the careerist PC masses seek a solution in replacing rulership of the sinful right with rulership of themselves (i.e. the virtuous left);

However, the deep and devout PC elite seek a solution not in replacing one gang of sinful humans with another; but in replacing all human agency in all circumstances - even their own.

The sincerely and truly-PC seek to subordinate everyone including themselves to abstract systems.


This is not itself paradoxical: the PC elite seek to put-in-place abstract systems which will (among other things) destroy the PC elite; but this is a moral sacrifice that the PC elite are prepared to make.

And, since for secularism, there is no higher moral ideal than altruism (to benefit the general good at the cost of one's one individual good) then the PC elite perceive themselves to be the most moral of all people.

That burning abstract idealism even-unto-self-annihilation is, indeed, is the source of the immense pride, strength and resolution of the PC elite.


For political correctness to be a moral discourse, it must locate moral authority; and it does not do so in individuals.

And PC cannot (by its assumptions) locate moral authority in God or any transcendent realm.

So where is moral authority for PC?

The answer is a negative, not a positive. The answer is that moral authority is located in the non-human, in the denial of the human, in the abstract.

It is not that political correctness favours any particular abstraction, because PC does not know the answer to the location of moral authority; but that the moral authority must be located in the non-individual abstract.

PC is therefore fundamentally oppositional.

PC knows what is wrong, but does not know what is right; it knows what needs destroying but not what should replace it.

So political correctness invariably demonstrates an inflexible and relentless tendency to destroy that which it opposes (which is, essentially, any possibility of individual human agency); but PC is all-but agnostic about what ought to be put into its place.

Indeed, PC is all but indifferent to what replaces individual power and choice; just so long as it is replaced.


The replacement for individual agency is almost always one form of bureaucracy or another: committee decision, peer review, voting; algorithms, flow-charts, protocols, guidelines, quotas...

It doesn't really matter which of these or others because they are all more abstract and less personal than individual agency.

Abstraction and non-personality (even if not impersonality) are intrinsically superior to individual agency, always preferable.

Examples: Democracy (of whatever type or procedure, and no two examples are the same and most differ very widely indeed) is always and intrinsically superior to monarchy; peer review is always and intrinsically better than individual decision; committee leadership are always and intrinsically superior to any individual leadership (and all individuals, without exception, must always be ultimately subject to some committee).


Political correctness is therefore intrinsically and necessarily oppositional and negative; it is necessarily and intrinsically motivated by negative emotions of hatred (for the careerist and opportunistic mass of the PC) and despair (for the devoutly PC).


So political correctness is almost all-pervasive in modernity - it is not a weird or fringe belief, even in its extremes.

Public discourse therefore occurs only and always between the more-PC and the less-PC - but all moral secular discourse is PC.

The secular right is therefore fundamentally and necessarily PC in so far as it makes moral arguments - because it locates virtue in abstract systems. The disagreement between the libertarian right and the liberal left is merely a minor quibble over what kind of abstract system is preferable and how it is to be implemented.

Non-PC public discourse is ruled-out, forbidden; ignored or punished but never, never included.

We are all politically-correct now!


Well, all are PC except a few people outside of public discourse and in other places outside of The West.

This is why PC cannot be defeated by any existing strand of public discourse - public discourse (right and left) is all fundamentally PC in its assumptions, and differs only in degree.

This is why there is no possibility of de-converting the PC elite - there is nobody to de-convert them! There are no countervailing trends.

PC can only be replaced, not reformed. 


Wednesday 24 November 2010

Phenomenology of devout political correctness - the perception of sin


Political correctness is - at its deepest level - based upon a human experience.

This experience is one of having in the mind an abstract and ideal sense of how things ought to be, and a perception of how very far away from this are actually existing states of affairs.

Thomas Sowell has talked of Cosmic Justice - which is the ideal of matching actually existing states of affairs with this imagined abstract and ideal sense of how things ought to be.


Against this deep inner experience, 'pragmatic' ideologies such as libertarianism have little traction.

Anything which advises people to be 'realistic', accept humans 'as they are', or to work within 'constraints' is perceived (by the devoutly PC) to be an evil temptation.

Because the difference between the ideal abstraction and perceived reality is qualitative (not quantitative).

This is why PC has no 'sense of proportion' - this is why (under a dominant PC public discourse) a single casual overheard private comment can lead to an international crisis of perceived racism, sexism or whatever - because there is an infinite difference between the ideal abstraction and anything which falls short of it.

Any imperfection relative to ideal abstraction is therefore the tip of a vast iceberg of wickedness and corruption.


And of course this is perfectly true.

Libertarians and pragmatists who attempt to deny the pervasive sinfulness of the world, or to argue that the possibilities of good are severely constrained, or that selfishness can be made a means to attain the good (as in market economies, or in natural selection) are therefore perceived as apologists for evil.

Which indeed they are!


Therefore,  devoutly PC have as their starting point the same experience as all deeply spiritual people - the problem of sin: of humankind's innate corruption.

But since PC is wholly this-worldly and materialist, they have a priori ruled-out any possibility of a religious answer to sin.

Therefore, political correctness is engaged in a search for this-worldly 'salvation' from a sin which is perceived to be intrinsic to all humans!


The pre-PC answer was communism: which saw humans as products of the environment.

For communism, if the environment was right, then humans would be free from sin.

And when humans were made free from sin, then the system would become self-perpetuating and the state would 'wither'.

Totalitarianism was only temporary; a means to the end of an ideal anarchy of sinless humans.


Political correctness comes after communism, and is a response to the recognition that the 'ideal' society does not eliminate sin.

With PC there is no expectation or desire that the state will 'wither' - rather the implication is that the state should be all pervasive.

The implication of PC is that totalitarianism is not just a transitional state, but the desirable form of human society.

In other words, since humans are (it turns out) incorrigibly sinful, then they require permanent and all pervasive supervision and regulation by 'the state'.

And in PC 'the state' must become abstract - must not be a matter of specific human beings, but an abstract system which is (ideally) independent of the humans beings who happen to be implementing it.


So the ideal of political correctness is an eternal, all-monitoring, all-controlling, all powerful, impersonal abstract state.

Once this is in place everywhere, it will become self-sustaining.

And humans will not longer be able to be sinful.

Humans will be made to be virtuous - not by other humans (who are sinful) but by a perfected abstract system.

Problem solved...


(Irony alert.)


Defining 'altruism' and 'goods' with respect to political correctness


I have said that 'altruism' is the main goal of political correctness. I should be clearer about what I mean.

Fundamentally, PC does not have a specific blueprint for society - instead I believe that PC is essentially negative and reactive.

PC is negative towards existing states of affairs, wants to change them, and reacts by changing them in a particular direction but without a pre-specified goal or endpoint. 

So by 'altruism' I really mean not a positive explicit ideal of allocation, but instead something more like 'anti-selfishness'. 


The present (pre-PC) state of affairs/ distribution of 'goods' is assumed to the be bad because it is the result of interacting selfishnesses; what is instead desired is a non-personal system of allocating goods according to abstract considerations.


So, altruistic allocation refers to 'goods'.

By 'goods' I mean all of the this-worldly, material entities which are valued.

At one level these are economic goods (money, other tyes of wealth); at another level they are the status symbols (high prestige jobs, or places at high status schools and colleges, or prizes); at a further level 'goods' includes desirable states of mind such as happiness and self-esteem - albeit states of mind are only measurable with (more-or-less-plausible) proxy measures.


In sum, political correctness favour more altruism of 'goods'; in the sense of replacing personal (hence selfish) decisions and choices with abstract systems to implement 'anti-selfishness'.


Tuesday 23 November 2010

Why is modern intellectual discourse so shallow, flippant and reckless?


The short answer is because intellectuals do not think intellectual discourse is serious.

And they do not think intellectual discourse is serious because they do not think that anything is serious, because they are atheistic nihilists who do not believe in reality and who will soon be dead, anyway, so why bother?

Inter alia modern intellectuals do not believe in the soul, or life after death, or the transcendent or the supernatural.

(And if an intellectual does happen to believe these things, they are anyway excluded - both implicitly and explicitly - from modern intellectual discourse and cannot influence its structure or processes.)


Intellectual retreats in the face of to serious rational discourse:

1. Who knows? Nothing is certain. Subjective factors interfere everywhere. It is dangerous to claim certainty when none is to be had. Maybe you are right, deep down, but as we never can know reality then we will never know for sure... In the meantime I might as well enjoy myself, or at least avoid unnecessary suffering.

2. Nothing is really real. Well, ultimately nothing is real anyway; so whether you are more correct than I am doesn't really matter, because the universe is ultimately chaos; any apparent order is just a random blip on the road to entropy. In the meantime I might as well enjoy myself, or at least avoid unnecessary suffering.

3. It will last my time. Maybe you are right, maybe my views will lead to disaster, maybe the current behaviour is not sustainable or will destroy itself - but all that matters is that things keep going just long enough until I am gone. After all, when I am dead I won't know anything about it either way. In the meantime I might as well enjoy myself, or at least avoid unnecessary suffering.

4. Death will put an end to it anyway. Even if things do not last my time, even if things do become awful - even if they become intolerable  - then I can always escape by killing myself. In the meantime I might as well enjoy myself, or at least avoid unnecessary suffering.


Atheism and nihilism therefore serve as a crutch to the intellectual elite.

A lot of people nowadays have a lot invested in their belief that death ends everything, and that therefore in the meantime they might as well enjoy themselves, or at least avoid unnecessary suffering.

Naturally enough, intellectual discourse under such circumstances is shallow, flippant and reckless.

After all, why not?


A young Glenn Gould rehearses Bach


I find this pretty amazing (I have been listening to Gould, and reading about him, continuously since 1978, but only came across this a few months ago):


Gould is rehearsing Bach, (mostly) unselfconsciously, on a rather battered and uneven-actioned piano (at his parents' holiday home).

At one level it is an enjoyable, albeit corny, 'genius at work' kind of thing. 

The performance is, I suppose, too fast; but what I find fascinating is the idea of what he was aiming at - especially when he tries the same passage several times.

A detached, crisp style, independence of lines - but one where everything is phrased - even the trills!


Monday 22 November 2010

Adult female trebles - a great late 20th century English invention


Over the past few hundred years, the English choral tradition had an insoluble problem.

Who should sing the soprano line?

All answers were a compromise.


Most churches used young boy trebles for the soprano line and either just-pre-pubsecent boys or adult male falsettists (counter-tenors) to sing the alto line.

The result was a homogeneous blending of male tones, but there were obvious limitations from having boy trebles - especially in terms of their childish and inexperienced level of musicality, and from the limited power and dynamic range of a boy's voice.

Experiments to solve this problem included castratos ('nuff said), adult male falsettists screeching up to the soprano line (eek!), and using adult women (who were potentially of much greater musicality, power and dynamic range than boys - but who sang with a warbling femininity which spoiled the purity of blend).


Then came the adult female treble: a woman who was trained to sing like a boy - with a pure, minimal vibrato, treble tone.

The first I heard of these creatures was in a mid 1970s recording of Tallis by David Wulstan conducting the Clerkes of Oxenford.

My understanding is that when Oxford and Cambridge colleges began to go co-educational, some the organists such as Wulstan (in English cathedrals the organists also train and conduct the choir) began to train the female undergraduates to sing like boys.

And it worked very well... very well indeed.


If Wulstan was indeed the pioneer - he deserves much greater recognition than he is currently accorded.


The Clerkes of Oxenford seem to have been the pioneers, but the heights were scaled by the likes of the Tallis Scholars (Peter Phillips) and The Sixteen (Harry Christophers) - then came along some adult women treble soloists such as Emma Kirkby - and the process was complete.

The problem was solved.

There is no compromise in the results of the best choirs using adult women trebles.

They achieve perfection in musicality, dynamics, volume - and even in that holy grail: tonal blend.


Group preferences are not intrinsic to political correctness


In trying to get to the bottom of political correctness, it is necessary to discard as inessential some of its most prominent features.

One of these prominent features of PC that is not really fundamental to it are group preferences: that is those 'affirmative action' policies that identify a favoured group and award them preferential treatment.

This is perhaps the most obvious, and destructive, aspect of PC - yet it is, I believe, merely a transitional stage.

If PC became more powerful, and succeeded in imposing mandatory abstract altruistic systems on acts of allocation of goods - then group preferences would be abolished.

In PC paradise, all humans would be treated as atomic individuals, indeed each act of allocation of goods (each decision or choice that had any affect on the distribution of valued human outcomes) would be treated as an atomic act, and brought under abstract rules.


This is because although political correctness uses groups, it does does not believe in the reality of groups.

More specifically, PC acts on the basis that groups are merely 'interest groups', contigent and temporary alliances, held together only by cooperation in pursuit of selfish material gains.

PC believes, in effect, that all groups are just like the Western media, public administration, legal systems, education and health care systems - which PC has easily subverted into politically correct bureaucracies consisting of shifting populations of atomic individuals.

This can be seen by what are sometimes seen as apparent paradoxes or slip-ups in the application of PC policies, but which in reality reveal what PC really cares about and what it is merely using tactically.


One significant illustration is that PC focuses on the moral importance of group preferences or affirmative action - yet makes no effort to define group membership.

Indeed, quite the opposite - group membership is continually being blurred and expanded.

If PC was serious about racial preferences, for example, then PC would define races very sharply so as to exclude undeserving people from the preferences. Yet in fact race membership is a matter of self-definition, and there are very seldom any attempts to challenge self-definitions with evidence.

Indeed when it is proven that someone has made a false claim of group membership in order to obtain privileges and preferences, this is ignored - or the liar is actually supported.

(There are many examples of this is relation to Native American Indians - indeed it may be that most of the most famous 'Indians' have not been Indians.)

But if PC had been serious about what they say concerning the especially deserving status of 'minorities', then they would have developed a strict and objective method of definitions and measurements of ethnicity, as happened with openly racist regimes of the past.

The fact that PC shows no sign of going down this path is evidence that they do not regard group membership as truly fundamental in their analysis.


Sex is a further example. Political correctness favours women over men, therefore it would rationally be assumed that the sex boundary would be policed.

Yet the opposite happens. Sex has been redefined as gender in public discourse, and gender has become a matter of lifestyle choice; as has sexuality.

It is so much a matter of daily experience that sexuality is blurred by PC that we fail to recognize the contradictory significance of the phenomenon with respect to the avowed objectives of PC in promoting favoured groups of non-heterosexual sexuality.


A real system of group preferences, in which groups were fundamental to the social reality, would not strive to blur sexual identity and sexuality - but would on the contrary make these a matter of objective definition and measurement; such that privileges would only go to those who 'deserve' them.


(An egregious example of this is the addition of 'bisexuals' to 'gay' and lesbian favoured groups. Bisexuals - apparently characterized merely by indulgence of a powerful and relatively undiscriminating libido - have been rapidly invented and manufactured into a PC client group by the mere act of defining and patronizing them. Presumably the group would as-rapidly collapse as a socio-political force, contingently upon removal of special status and privileges.)


From these examples I infer that - at a deep level - political correctness is not serious about favoured group identities; but that PC merely uses these in the game of power politics in order to attack, subvert and force-into-submission that which it opposes: which is individual choice and moral autonomy.

To recapitulate, at its root PC is secular and abstract, therefore it lacks - intrinsically - any positive goal, any objective and eternal positive scale of values.

PC is secular and materialistic - it conceptualizes selfishness as individuals intrinsically keeping an unfair share of goods for themselves - and that this is what makes individuals happy, what motivates them.  

Therefore, PC seeks to replace intrinsically-sinful human selfishness with abstract altruism on the negative basis that human selfishness is certainly bad while abstract altruism might be good.

Human agency is bad, abstract systems may be good.

The priority, therefore, is to impose an abstract system for allocating goods - abstract systems are always preferable to human agency, because agency will certainly become corrupt, while abstract system has the potential to be perfected.


So PC is currently engaged in the destruction of what it perceives to be evil, and attacks the foci of this evil using whatever weapons are effective.

At present, human agency is attacked by generating various gangs to attack it under various banners of egalitarianism, anti-racism, anti-sexism and all the rest. 

Gangs are made, are created, by patronage - by group preferences (group-based propaganda, laws, regulations, subsidies, exemptions etc).

But because these groups are merely seen as gangs, they are not regarded as potential rulers; to PC the anti-agency gangs are merely contingent and temporary mobs thrown against the enemy, and which will (it is assumed) dissolve into the component parts once PC patronage is switched-off.


In making such a big noise about favoured groups, political correctness is merely playing Machiavellian power politics.

In reality PC is trying to install systems to force all humans to be altruistic according to abstract rules.

PC is not trying to install favoured groups into power,and does not fear such groups becoming powerful, because they regard them simply as 'creatures' of PC, dependent on PC for their existence and survival. 


The moral universe of JK Rowling versus JRR Tolkien

Sunday 21 November 2010

Political correctness is not fundamentally egalitarian


The relationship of political correctness to the egalitarian impulse, the desire for equality, is interesting. So much of PC rhetoric concerns equality that it superficially seems as if equality of distribution of goods is the goal of political correctness.

Yet this cannot be correct, since in practice PC is indifferent to group preferences and to reverse inequality.

So that in many high status educational institutions and professions (such as medicine), the majority of personnel used to be men, but are now women; and yet formal and aspirational preferences for women remain in place.

In other words, even when what were stated to be the primary goals of policy have been achieved and indeed overshot, the egalitarian rhetoric continues - and any continuing inequalities of outcome of a secondary nature (proportions of women in specific high status sub-specialities - such as surgery) are used as rationalizations for further or continued group preferences.

And in terms of ethnic minority 'representation' in the media, this has reached a level way beyond 'proportionality' and even beyond equality - approaching monopoly - without causing any apparent distress or discomfort among supposed egalitarians. Quite the opposite, indeed.


It seems that even a situation of monopoly representation, or monopoly allocation of 'goods' of any kind, by favoured groups (sexual, ethnic or whatever they might be) is perfectly compatible with a system of PC.

All the doctors might be women, all the leading politicians might be (or identify with) ethnic minorities, yet this is still perfectly compatible with a system of continued PC allocations.

Equality is not, therefore, the deepest impulse. What is deepest in political correctness is moral opposition to - and the desire therefore to subvert and invert - the existing state of affairs brought about by individual agency: by human desires, choices, beliefs.

Whatever state of affairs existed in the past or currently exists in the absence of an abstract system of allocation is intrinsically unjust, intrinsically wrong - on principle, and without need for evidence of wrongness (although it is easy to generate such evidence). 


My impression is that actual, real world equality of outcome is a matter of near indifference to political correctness.

Inequalities of one kind operate to stoke-up indignation and as rhetorical devices to persuade acceptance of policies which are favoured anyway; but inequalities of an opposite kind are uninteresting - or perhaps used as a test of PC-sincerity among the elite.

What, then, is the principle behind this?


I believe that PC uses egalitarianism instrumentally as a way of generating policies.

But egalitarianism is not really necessary - because policies are primarily oppositional, or inversional, rather than egalitarian.

In other words, PC looks at the human social world as it is and has been, that is to say a world of multiple causal processes, and regards it as intrinsically - necessarily - unjust.

The natural world is unjust because of intrinsic human selfishness.

Egalitarianism is just one device used to demonstrate the injustice. And inequality has the advantage of being amenable to definitions, measurement, monitoring - and being made the basis of bureaucratic procedure.

But indeed any argument is suitable for PC to attack any existing state of affairs which relies on individual choice, individual freedom.

The dissatisfaction (actual, inferred or imputed) of just a single symbolic person is enough to trigger wholesale change - so long as this dissatisfaction can be linked to the introduction of a system of abstract altruistic allocation.


PC is - at root, at its deepest impulse - based on a conviction of the intrinsic sinfulness of humans.

Political correctness therefore embodies the impulse to replace individual choice with abstract principle - but with what goal?

Often the stated goal of PC is utilitarian: happiness - the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Or the alleviation of misery and suffering. But, again, this cannot be taken at face value, because PC displays a near-total indifference as to whether its interventions actually do have the effect of increasing happiness or reducing misery.

Indeed, there are many situations when it seems that PC policies reduce happiness and increase misery - but PC is indifferent to whether of not this is so. There is a clear tendency to implement certain kinds of policies regardless of the consequences to human happiness.


For political correctness, happiness is not an achieved real world consequence of PC policies. Rather happiness is the moral duty of individuals living under PC; happiness is the state of humans when PC allocative policies are operating.

At an individual level, in particular, the goal is not just to try to be happy about a PC situation, but actually to be happy.

The pure elite PC intellectual ruler really is happy under PC. Whatever happens to him.

This is what I mean by the idea that PC requires submission of the individual to the abstract principles of allocation.


In sum, many of the contradictions of PC derive from the attempt to impose abstract systems of altruistic allocation on existing states of affairs which involve human agency.

Political correctness is, in ideal form, therefore completely opposed to human agency in all its forms.

The tendency of PC is therefore to identify and overcome all possible human freedoms and choices in relation to the allocation of 'goods'. 

That is, to replace the intrinsically selfish choices of individual autonomous humans with abstract systems of altruism.

This may sound an extreme formulation, but it is literally true.

Political correctness instrumentally uses human impulses (such as aspirations for justice, or equality, or happiness) to attack any and every social situation which currently lacks a system of abstract altruistic allocation.


The big problem for PC - in a system where human agency is intrinsically wicked - is what distribution counts as altruistic? 

Clearly this question has no ultimate answer, since PC denies the possibility of divine revelation; instead there are a series of pragmatic answers to what counts as altruistic - but all of these answers bear the mark of human choice so none of these answers are truly eternal abstractions.

The principle of subversion and inversion of whatever is individual, spontaneous and natural therefore serves as a rule-of-thumb to identify problems and to generate aims for the solutions. However these aims are inexplicit.


If men naturally tend to become leaders, then in a system of allocating goods according to sexual identity women should replace men; if humans are naturally heterosexual, then anything except heterosexuality should be favoured by altruistic principles.

The positive policies of political correctness are therefore somewhat arbitrary, changeable over time.

The evaluation of PC policies in terms of human happiness, suffering, income or any other principle is again variable - and often PC policies will seem to make things worse from any practical and measurable perspective.

But the politically correct solution is always intrinsically superior at an abstract level in so far as it removes the scope or possibility of individual selfishness.

Always PC aims at the removal of individual freedom and choice, since individual selfishness is intrinsic and will shape all free choices - selfishness is the ultimate evil.


Selfish human individuals must be subjected to impersonal principles of altruism - they must submit to these rules, and the virtuous humans are those which submit willingly, happily and regardless of the consequences

But the actual specific nature of these altruistic principles to which humans must submit is much less certain than that they should submit, since to be purely virtuous the rules ought not to come from human individuals.

Much of modern bureaucracy - voting, committees, the use of social statistics - can be seen as steps in the direction of developing algorithmic, machine-like mechanisms for generating altruistic principles without the participation of (corrupt) human agency.

(Because whatever individuals do will be, or tend to become, selfish and cruel).


The perfect, ultra-pure and idealistic politically correct intellectual aspires (as his highest goal in life) to create a perfect and autonomous mechanism for devising altruistic principles and 'implementing' them on humans.

Having created this mechanism for the imposition of abstract altruism, his own fate is a matter of indifference - he might step-back and watch, be rewarded, or be destroyed - but the machine, once built, will just keep running: just keep-on compelling wicked individual humans to do that which is abstractly just.


This nightmare of living-death - in which human wickedness is impossible because every single human decision related to the allocation of the goods of life has been subordinated to a system of abstract altruism - is the covert Utopian dream of the politically correct.


Saturday 20 November 2010

Weather forecasting in Newcastle upon Tyne


I find that the Met Office and BBC weather centre forecasts are only randomly accurate - i.e. useless.

In fact they are usually wrong about the current weather - so it is not surprising that the forecasts are so often wrong. 

(I suspect - from the emphasis of their web pages - that these organization expend most of their effort, these days, on pretending to predict the long term future of the climate.)


Anyway, this means that - like a farmer in the old days, I need to do my own weather forecasting when deciding how to prepare for the day ahead.

This proves to be reasonably accurate based on three pieces of information.

1. Current weather. Generally weather in the next few hours resembles current weather.

2. Wind strength. No wind means the weather usually stays as it is currently, strong wind means that the weather could change a lot.

3. Wind direction.

South brings warm humid days and torrential rainstorms/ thunder in the evening.

South West (the prevailing wind in England, supposedly) is usually overcast but little or no rain (it falls on the Pennines before it gets to us).

West is often very windy, and can bring heavy rain (it comes straight off the Atlantic through the Tyne Gap).

North Winds are cold, and North East winds often rainy as well.

East winds bring very heavy rain showers, sometimes with deceptive dry patches between.


Looking at the type of clouds adds a bit of precision - but the above is good enough. 


'Humphrey' Havard & Dolbear - some Tolkien sleuthing




Friday 19 November 2010

Linked performers and composers


In my personal pantheon there are three (and only three) examples of favourite performers linked with favourite composers:

Julian Bream and John Dowland

Glenn Gould and J.S. Bach

Joshua Rifkin and Scott Joplin

Each of these linkages has lasted over thirty years, so far.


Liberal PC feels like a higher morality than the secular right


One reason that elite intellectual liberal political correctness is immune to the secular right is that PC feels like a higher morality.

Therefore the most idealist and purely-motivated secular intellectuals will gravitate to political correctness.


Both the secular right and PC left agree that human happiness is the highest value, and both link this to an abstract process.

The secular right links happiness to evolutionary processes such as market economies, and in general competition and natural selection.

The PC left links happiness to altruistic (often egalitarian, but sometimes reversed-spontaneous) distributions of goods.


The secular right bases its reasoning on human nature and spontaneous tendencies, and tries to harness these for the general good by using abstract processes.

The general good is equated with the most efficient performance of social functions such as economic production (especially this), military defence, civil peace and so on.

The efficient ideal is to get the most and best quality of function for the least input of resources, and thereby to enable perpetual growth in all desirable functions.

In practice, the secular right regards the best outcome as that which emerges-from the operation of the best process. 


The PC left bases its reasoning on ideal human nature (how humans might, possibly, perhaps be - or at least not-certainly-not-be) and on desirable outcomes not processes - in principle, any process is permissible if it leads to the desired outcome.

The best process is that which leads-to (not emerges-from) the best outcome.

The crux of the moral difference between secular right and PC left relates to original sin.

The PC left sees original sin as that innate human selfishness and individuality which resists altruistic distributions of goods.

The secular right denies the existence of original sin; it takes humans as they are, and tries to work with them.

The secular right individual either feels no guilt about his own motivations and behaviours (his selfishness, nepotism, lust, pride etc.) or else strives not to feel guilt - and argues-against his tendency to feel guilt.

The PC left individual feels guilt at their own failure to embrace altruistic distributions: for example that they spend money on themselves rather than giving it to anyone poorer, that they favour their own family over unknown strangers.

The PC idealist - recognizing the incorrigibility of his sinfulness, and needing to exculpate his guilt - therefore seeks to be coerced by the state, so that he - and everyone else - will not be able to act selfishly.


The secular right individual typically espouses some kind of utilitarianism - and affects to seek the greatest good of the greatest number; or perhaps (in a nationalist version) the greatest good of the greatest number in his country, or perhaps (in the ethnic version) the greatest good of the greatest number of his race or ethnicity.

Yet this is not really rational - except as a camouflage for what is actually individual self-interest. If forced to choose between his own certain and immediate and long term good on the one hand - and on the other hand what is inevitably a conjectural and uncertain good for many or most other people - then it makes sense to be selfish.

But either he does not care about being selfish (being a psychopath) or else tries not to think about this.


The secular left individual also affects to espouse a type of utilitarianism, but is mainly focused on the intrinsic sins of selfish individuals.

He can see no real hope for a society of competing selfish individuals - and so seeks to disempower individuals and curtail their freedom to be selfish. Hence the PC advocate favours coercive impersonal mechanisms for imposing altruism on inevitably selfish humans.

But whence derives the assumed virtue of these impersonal systems? Why would not coercive mechanisms force people to be evil, instead of good?

Either he denies this problem (being psychotic) or else tries not to think about this.


Confronted by a choice between embracing selfish psychopathy and altruistic psychoticism - the most idealistic secular intellectuals will surely continue to embrace the bleak martyrdom of PC.


Mapping the causal pathway leading to political correctness


1. Abstraction. People of high intelligence have a tendency to think abstractly rather than 'instinctively' - and perhaps this may be especially so in some human groups which have evolved extra-high intelligence over the past couple of thousand years - such as the populations in Europe and East Asia.

2. Secularization. Loss of belief in the ultimate nature of reality as transcendent and other-worldly - therefore a focus on this world.

- This probably relates to a strong abstracting tendency. For example, highly abstract people - when they are religious - tend to believe in a non-personal God, and in the ultimate reality of abstract forces or processes such as evolution.

- Abstraction is also productive of nihilism: i.e. to the belief that there is no ultimate reality. Since the power of abstraction depends on the vicissitudes of mental functioning, to the abstracting mind all is intangible, changeable, disconnected from spontaneity, from common sense, from emotional-underpinning. Life tends to be perceived as a solipsistic play of shadows, momentary distractions, meaningless sufferings and equally meaningless pleasures.   

- Abstraction is very useful in some situations in some societies - but it is like a mental pathology in other circumstances.

3. The combination of abstraction and secularization leads to an elite world view (including a morality) which is materialistic (this-worldly) and which explains things in terms of abstract forces and dispositions.

4. The purest, most idealistic morality from this perspective is therefore an abstract but non-transcendent spirituality of the material.

- A clear early example is Marxism, which is all about economics - about the production and distribution of material goods. Yet at the same time, material production and distribution is explained abstractly, and linked with a spirituality. The end result is that in Marxism the matter of the production and distribution of material goods becomes the highest level of human moral concern.

- Marxism was the first large scale morality of altruism - in which altruism was made abstract and involuntary (in replacement for the earlier personal and voluntary 'noblesse oblige', alms-giving and philanthropy).

- So, Marxism therefore removed virtue from the individual and from the realm of choice, and made morality a socially-imposed abstract process. Under pure Marxism there were no good individuals, only the good society.

5. Political correctness takes this process further than Marxism, by extending the concern with the production and distribution of material goods to include the production and allocation of psychological goods. So that PC is concerned by such matters as happiness, suffering, status, respect and self-respect.

- However, since PC is materialist, these intangible psychological factors require operational definition in terms of material proxy measures: so that happiness/ suffering may be equated with income and wealth, or with the results of surveys such as happiness ratings or crime levels, or with measures of health;  status is equated with occupancy of certain jobs, or attendance at specific educational establishments, or possession of educational certificates, and so on.

6. Therefore the abstract spirituality of materialism is underpinned by concrete measures of a material nature; such that the monitoring, prediction and manipulation of these material measures is equated with the (intangible) psychological states with which they are taken to be causally-correlated.

- Following the pattern of Marxism, in political correctness there are no good individuals, and no good individual choices or decision; only impersonal and mandatory procedures or mechanisms can be morally good.

- Immoral individuals are such for their necessarily-selfish defiance of impartial procedure, which is seen to open-up infinite possibilities of disaster, chaos, corruption.

- Such individuals are guilty not for what they actually do, nor for the actual consequences of their actions, but for their failure to submit to objective and involuntary process.

7. Meritocracy. All societies are meritocratic to a degree - although the nature of the merit varies. Throughout the twentieth century 'merit' became equated with intellectual ability and attainment - and a society developed in which the intellectual elite were the ruling class.

- Almost all the main social functions therefore became dominated by intellectually selected personnel; but especially public administration (and to a lesser extent democratic politics), education and the mass media.

- Intellectual meritocracy allowed the pathology of abstraction to operate un-checked at the highest levels of social organization, expanding and changeing without effective feedback from common sense and spontaneity.

- And also without reference to religious morality.

8. Also throughout the twentieth century, there was a massive expansion in the bureaucracy - and the linkage of all bureaucracies with public administration. So the modern society became interconnected by a bureaucratic web of laws, regulations, subsidies and coercive sanctions. And these bureaucracies became less personal - with all major decisions being taken by committee, and by vote.

9. The mass media also grew to occupy ever more of the time and attention of the population.

10. So by the late twentieth century the interconnected bureaucracy and the mass media meant that the intellectual meritocratic elite could impose their morality upon the rest of the population - and political correctness was established.

- A positive feedback loop was established, by which 'PC reality' - as defined by the interconnected administrative bureaucracies and the mass media - feeds back into the abstract secular psychology of the ruling intellectual elite to enhance the detachment of PC from instinct and spontaneity; and the intelligentsia amplified the abstracting and impersonal systematizing signal to the bureaucracy and media.

- Cut off from normal psychology and from inconvenient truths, the hermetically-sealed system of PC expanded exponentially. 

- And all unchecked exponential processes destroy themselves.