Friday, 1 April 2011

Draft Epigraph and (new) Introduction for 'the book'



This book is intended for normal, mainstream, secular, modern disaffected and alienated intellectuals; those who are complicit in political correctness (as are all intellectuals) but who are (when not distracted, drugged or dreaming) in a state of despair.

This book will, I hope, help such people to understand their condition, and present the likely choices. It will not help them to save their world (too late for that) but it may help them to save their souls.



Political correctness (PC) is the dominant ideology of the Western intellectual world – PC is what the West has instead of a religion.

Political correctness obviously dominates its core territory of politics, public administration (the civil service), law, education and (especially!) the mass media. But PC also substantially shapes everything else: foreign policy, the military, policing, the economy, health services, and personal life: the mating game, friendships and even family life.

Therefore political correctness is objectively totalitarian. Just as with the cruder totalitarianism of the mid-twentieth century, PC has created a population that lives in fear: fear of being denounced and losing everything – committing a thought crime or uttering a hate fact for which there is no defence, and the sanctions against which range from social ostracism, through loss of job, financial penalties, impoverishment, mob violence and imprisonment (for ‘hate crimes’).

Consequently the mass of people, especially those of status - with power and influence – have learned and internalized the constraints of political correctness, so that it is now something inside us, as well as pressing upon us. The lies, shabbiness and wickedness of PC now permeate our very thought processes.

So, political correctness is the ruling ideology of the West, and it is everywhere, so it cannot be attacked or overthrown without attacking and overthrowing pretty much everything. Political correctness is therefore de facto unrefutable, immovable, expansile... and yet, of course, as we all recognize, PC is self-destroying.

Am I saying that Western civilization is doomed? Yes, very probably it is doomed.

Can anything be done to prevent this, anything political perhaps? No – I don’t think so.

So why am I bothering to write a book about it?

The answer is simple, but will strike most of my target audience of secular intellectuals as bizarre at best, nonsense at worst: the answer is so that some individuals may escape the general corruption and save their souls.

Because, PC is – more than anything else – destructive of the soul – proceeds, indeed, from the denial of the soul.

And if you don’t know what I mean by this: Read On...



Dirichlet said...

You're off to a great start. I believe your critique of PC is quite complete, but it's all scattered throughout blogs and scientific papers. Having them together in a single book is going to require a big effort, but it'll be worth it -- count me among the readers.

Bruce Charlton said...

@D - thanks. I'm planning to e-mail a draft 'word' copy of the whole thing, assuming it gets done, to my regular commenters as a 'thank you'.

Anonymous said...

Peter S. said...

A recently come across book that may be of interest in this vein is: "Society Against Itself: Political Correctness and Organizational Self-Destruction", by Howard S. Schwartz. Thomas F. Bertonneau recently wrote a detailed review here: Schwartz's work "The Revolt of the Primitive: An Inquiry into the Roots of Political Correctness" may also be of interest. I have yet to read either, so can't comment in greater detail.

SonofMoses said...

Wonderful, Bruce.

It is liberating and heart-warming to read the truth set out so simply and powerfully, and so refreshing that you take no hostages.

Please continue, and I concur with everything Dirichlet says. We await the completed opus with eager anticipation.

By the way, did you have a good reason to say unrefutable rather than irrefutable. If not, I personally find the latter more euphonic.

a Finn said...

I recently started a Finnish language blog, and I said it is, among other things, unashamedly Christian blog. I lost about a third of the potential readers. You can perhaps expect something similar, but it is worth it.

I already now like you book. I will link it widely in Finland.

The Crow said...

If there is anyone who can write this thing, then you must be one of the few that can.
Yes: it is too late to stop the rot.
Yes: we could learn to live in a different way, in spite of it.
The "soul" will remain, no matter how seriously its destruction is undertaken. Nobody kills a soul, but the soul, itself.
Those who survive, will survive more or less intact, and from the lower curve of the sine-wave, will climb again to ascendancy.
The cycle of life continues.

hbd chick said...

i don't believe in souls (at least i think they're very unlikely), but i'm not pc. (~_^)

altho i disagree with you on that point, on many a day i do agree with you that we're doomed. i haven't given up complete hope yet, but we are in a very, very big mess.

look forward to reading the rest of what you have to say on the matter!

Alex said...

Some idle thoughts on what's already a pretty thorough analysis of the PC phenomenon (on this blog).

Among its several aspects, political correctness appears as a species of cant. As a rule, we are conscious of our hypocrisy and sanctimonious meddling - though we often aren't self critical enough to desist. But internalising "the ruling ideology of the West" is a process of unconscious assimilation, I think.

Maybe after the acquisition of PC attitudes, it's a case of what man hasn't been reasoned into he can't be reasoned out of? Intuition and self deception are typically involved in desiring politically correct ends.

A good book can emerge from the many trenchant and acerbic commentaries on political correctness which have been published in Bruce's Miscellany. However, it will be a labour of conscience that's unlikely to save any souls corrupted by the egregious fixations of the hour.

Daniel said...

Mr. Charlton,

I can't express how eager I am for you to continue your project. In fact, I hesitate to do so, because I know that projects of this nature are delicate creatures. Even the most whole-hearted encouragements that other commenters offer, however earnest, make me wince a bit. It's a work you must do on your own. You cannot do it for public praise, as you well know. Even the small remnant that follows your blog and others like it, even we eager students, cannot be the reason. It has to be what it must be.

Nevertheless, because it's a lonely world, I offer my encouragement.

I would also like to offer a humbler service. I'm an excellent copy-editor and style editor. I'm American, so we have slightly different takes on the proper usage of English. But I'm classically educated, and a stickler for proper usage. Your blog posts often contain typographical and even occasionally grammatical errors. In the interest of freeing you up to do your far more important work of actually thinking, I offer my service as digital amanuensis. If you are at all interested in help cleaning up your drafts as you work on them, please email me at I can easily clean up your drafts on a daily or weekly basis as you work. Without a major publisher, it's difficult to get proper copy- and style editing services. I'm not perfect, but I have a knack. I humbly offer whatever help I can lend.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it fascinating. The only theory that can explain the genesis of the calamitous times we are living in is the very last one that moderns would use to explain it.

Brett Stevens said...

I think you've hit on the vital ingredient:

PC is a thought system of totalitarian levels of control.

It is a replacement for what we love with what we fear.

To an empty person, it is guidance.

To anyone else, it is illusion masquerading as benevolence.

Looking forward to the book.

Bruce Charlton said...

Thanks to all for encouragement. I was touched by Daniel's offer of copy editing - which is, for me, an horrific chore. At the moment, however, I need to press one with the first draft - not looking back.

But it is important to re-assert that the book will not be very good. I do not write naturally at book length. The book will be, at best, *substantively* just a collection of blog entries (more or less) in chronological order which many commenters already have read.

Indeed, there is a danger that the tidying up and compiling and so on may kill the energy and what little style the blog entries had, so the best stuff may already be available.

The book is being done from a sense of 'duty' but not in any great hope.

SonofMoses said...

Dear Bruce,
Everything you say about your inability to effectively write, or organize a relatively full length book may indeed be, or seem to be, true. But please take the following into acount:
Only you can do this. The vision, understanding and appreciation of the need are all there actively, potently and creatively within you.
It really is very important that somebody does this. It looks like it’s got to be YOU.
You could be wrong in your estimate of your limitations. The Muse (Holy Spirit) may yet deign to visit you if you just remain open to the possibility.
Here I am without doubt being patronizing, I know, but I assume you have played around with plans of development? i.e. organizing your prolific matter into definition, history, multifarious aspects, examples (although you seem to have an irrational dislike of even the thought of clothing theory with local habitation and circumstance), prospects of the survival of Hope, Goodness, Truth and Beauty in spite of everything, etc, etc.
Although you characterize PC as a mosaic, it still has a history, a mindset and a set of assumptions, such as materialism, (false) universality, etc. etc.
I could say much more if you wished, but may I end by authorising you on behalf of all your loyal readers to take a short holiday in which you empty your mind and just wait (unexpectantly, even prayerfully) for inspiration or higher instruction as concerns the layout. Once that becomes obvious, the rest should just fall into place.
The introductions you have so far shown us have been truly magnificent.

Brandon said...

If one denies the soul, he/she denies their own body, for the physical body is the form the soul takes in this dimension; ie, the physical body is the soul, manifested.

The Crow said...

An afterthought...
PC has a great deal in common with religion. It sets out an arbitrary moral code, as if that code was the Word of a non-existent God. It can not be questioned, in the way that The Word Of God could not be questioned, until recently.
The church has been brought down by open ridicule: anything ridiculous encourages the "cool" people to denounce it as rubbish.
Surely PC is just as vulnerable to open ridicule as any religion only more so, by way of its arbitrary nature.
Ridiculing it is easy: there is no basis for its "morality".
Its clout relies solely upon the number of its adherents.
Maybe it is not so omnipotent as it seems to be...

The Crow said...

A thought, Bruce:
What about penning a guidebook pertaining to "Defense Against The Dark Arts", as in: "A Guide To Defending Oneself Against The Verbal Attacks Of Leftists".
I had to do a lot of research and indulge in a great deal of applied thinking, in order to arrange my thoughts in a suitably defensive way, to deal with the accusations of the left, given their propensity to accuse me (and others) of such things as:
Bigotry, discrimination, racism, homophobia, chauvinism, sexism, islamophobia, ageism, patriotism, monarchism, patriachism, nationalism, traditionalism, religionism, etc., etc...
I don't think this has yet been done. I think it really should be.

Bruce Charlton said...

SoM - thanks for the encouragements. I am indeed working on the book at present , with very variable results...

Crow - what en excellent idea for a manual! Of course there are two
different types of defense - of the self and of the soul. Saving one may entail sacrificing the other.