Tuesday 26 December 2017

Five degrees of Political Correctness/ "convergence"

My basic understanding is that Political Correctness/ Secular Leftism is here-and-now pervasive in all large or powerful institutions and organisations in the developed world - in all the mainstream political groups and parties (right, left and centre, nationalist and internationalist, totalitarian and libertarian) - and in all the individual persons in positions of significant leadership and power.

Digging deeper, metaphysically this represents that major type of Positivism (aka. materialism, reductionism, scientism) that dominates the modern era (increasingly since roughly the 1600s, obvious since about 1800, dominant since the middle 1960s).

Nonetheless, although I regard the most important insight to be that the PC ideology is pervasive - there is a secondary question of degree of 'covergence' - and 'Vox Day' has come up with a thought-provoking preliminary checklist for classification

Convergence describes the degree to which an organization prioritizes social justice. There are five stages of corporate convergence:

Infiltrated. The corporation has been entered by people devoted to social justice, but they do not have any significant influence or authority within the company. Employees are hired, fired, and promoted on the basis of either merit or connections. The marketing tends to reflect the company's products and services.

Lightly Converged. The social justice infiltrators have begun to move into their preferred areas, such as Human Resources and Marketing, but they don't have any real influence over the corporation's policies or corporate strategies. The company starts to make occasional noises about "outreach" and "diversity", but doesn't actually change its employment practices. The marketing is still mostly about the company's products, but now features improbably diverse scenarios.

Moderately Converged. Social justice advocates now control Human Resources, which is used as a corporate high ground to exert influence over other departments as well as the executive team. The corporate marketing begins to devote more attention to signaling corporate virtue than selling its products. Managers are encouraged to hire diverse candidates and to stop holding low-performance employees accountable. HR begins holding mandatory awareness sessions and hiring diversity consultants. The corporation's customer service begins to go downhill.

Heavily Converged. Social justice advocates now control the corporate high ground and the strategic centers. Significant elements of the executive team and the board are devoted to social justice, often in a very public manner. Implicit hiring quotas are imposed and it becomes almost impossible to fire anyone for anything short of murder in the workplace. HR openly dictates corporate policy to employees, often without consulting the executives. The marketing materials not only signal corporate virtue, but openly advocate various social justice issues. The corporation shows indifference to its core customer base and begins to obsess over new markets that mostly exist in its imagination.

Fully Converged. The corporation devotes significant resources to social causes that have absolutely nothing to do with its core business activities. Human Resources is transformed into a full Inquisition, imposing its policies without restraint and striking fear into everyone from the Chairman of the Board on down. The CEO regularly mouths social justice platitudes in the place of corporate strategies and the marketing materials are so full of virtue-signaling and social justice advocacy that it becomes difficult to tell from them what the company actually does or sells. The corporation now shows open contempt for its customers.

This seems like an accurate classification, overall (including that there is no zero-point mentioned - because I would assert that all corporations are at least 'infiltrated').

I would have three suggestions:

1. The corporations/ organisations/ institutions I know best - UK Universities and the NHS - seem to lie in-between moderately-and heavily converged; i.e. to be moderately transitioning to heavily converged.

If this is, indeed, the commonest current state, then perhaps it should have its own category?

2. "Managers are encouraged to ... stop holding low-performance employees accountable."

This is correct in terms of accountability for employee performance in what is advertised as the institution's core business activities (products, services or whatever).

But does not seem to capture the whole picture, in the sense that my impression is that increasingly even the slightest degree of complaint, dissent or disobedience often seems to be enough to provoke sanctions from HR (legal sanctions, entrapment/ dirty tricks, and full-on psychological threats and harassment) - even when that employee contributes greatly to the core business.

So, as with most tyrannies, in the modern institution obedience to (the real) authority is the primary virtue, and disobedience the only sanctioned sin.   

3. The essence of political correctness is that it is oppositional (i.e. the Left is always, overall and strategically opposed to The Good - but what aspect of Good is being attacked varies by time and place).

'Convergence' therefore has no stable positive doctrine. No 'utopia'. By which I mean that the positive doctrines (equality, antiracism, feminism, the sexual revolution in its various aspects) are merely expedient and temporary; so that in-groups and out-groups are frequently being changed.

Therefore, in the converged corporation (as in the Soviet Union) nobody and no group is ever safe - at least, not for long. Any sometime celebrated and indulged group (e.g. The Proletariat) can later become relabelled as public enemy number one (white, male, native-born 'rednecks').


pyrrhus said...

A very accurate description of what we are seeing in many American institutions, including corporations like Disney. With no end in sight....

My personal opinion is that SJWs and their insane activities are just another aspect of Mouse Utopia as it envelopes the West. There may be no survivors...

John Fitzgerald said...

Echoes of this in That Hideous Strength and the National Institute for Coordinated Experiments (NICE). Functionaries like Cosser and Steele work really hard at what's supposed to be the core business, but the 'inner ring' have no interest in what they do. They barely bother to pay lip service to it. Their agenda lies elsewhere and it's dictated to them by demonic powers.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I find the use of the term "convergence" interesting. I suppose it refers to the variety of goods and services that companies in a free market compete to provide being all replaced with a uniform objective of promoting and imposing Marxism (in the practical outcome as well as ideological sense).

William Wildblood said...

This is all horribly true. It raises the question of why people sell their souls to the infernal bureaucracy. Is it just ambition, can people be so spiritually dead as not to see or care? Or is it fear? If I don't get them they'll get me? It doesn't say much for most people's integrity.

Bruce Charlton said...

@CCL - Yes, I think convergence is a good coinage. It corresponds to the way that in the USSR the management of all organisations primary responsibility was to satisfy the government/ party - rather than custmers/ the market/ perfom a function or anything else.

Looking more deeply, all Christians would actually desire 'convergence' on Christianity - that is, the ideal would be that all people and organisations would primarily be structured and run such as to promote God's 'plans'.

However, that goal might properly be very distal to the everyday functioning - for example a farmer could farm in accordance with Christian goals, but his daily focus would properly be on food production.

As so often, the problem with Leftism is that what they want is evil; and that they pursue evil in evil ways (e.g. by lying, and by deliberate inducement of other sins such as despair, pride, lust, fear etc.)

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - There are many reasons why people do not oppose the prevalent evil, but the most important is (as Solzhenitsyn said, famously) that we in The West have forgotten God.

This makes our lives purposeless and meaningless. Hence we are mostly cowards with no reason to be brave; living in a state of incipient despair; and focus entirely on proximate expediency - favouring short termism and selfishness simply because nothing else is believed-in.

William Wildblood said...

The thing is so many of us do deny God but we have all heard of him so there really is no excuse. It's not as if teachings about God are hidden. i think people just don't care because, compared to all previous generations, we live such spoiled existences with very little real hardship in our lives.