“White people don’t understand danger. They just don’t. You done seen the Discovery Channel. White people have no sense of danger at all. They just be looking right at the cobra. Just the cobra is right the fuck there, and they want to do an interview with the motherfucker. “Look at the fangs!”” – Katt Williams, It’s Pimpin’ Pimpin’
“Every city in the world has the death penalty for stepping in front of a bus. How do we live with this draconian rule? By not violating it.” – Mencius Moldbug
Political correctness is often defined as “a ban on noticing things.” Progressivism is frequently faulted for failing to engage or explain basic observable reality, and the role political correctness plays in this is obvious. It is the spirit which pervades every interaction between humans. If Progressivism is best understood as crypto-Calvinism, political correctness may well be its Holy Ghost.
Not all danger is the result of failure to engage with reality, but all failures to engage with reality are dangerous. On an intuitive level, humans understand that literal senselessness, that is: being without senses, is dangerous. Blind people run into things and fall of ledges, deaf people can’t hear warnings of danger, and congenital analgesiacs, those born without a sense of pain, have to learn intellectually a lesson babies don’t even need to be taught: what hurts and is harmful, and what doesn’t. However, humans are less adept at understanding the dangers of sophistry which blinds minds. After all, the blind cannot fake sight, but sophists easily fake wisdom.
Nevertheless, a failure to understand that a charging bear is dangerous impairs survival just as surely as failing to seeing the bear in the first place. Those who attempt to seize moral high ground by denying the obvious appear no more noble than Monty Python’s Black Knight; committed, courageous, yet clueless. This is not an esoteric philosophical battle confined to ivory towers, academia, and blogs. The widespread willingness of Western elite/elect to act without regard to reality is dangerous in direct proportion to the power they wield.
Political correctness is both an abstract concept and a practical reality. In practice, it becomes not only an instance of the abstract, but also a method of signaling affiliation. Remember that the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes isn’t merely a lesson in conformity; integral to the fraudulent tailors’ tale was the lie that the clothes were only invisible to stupid, evil people. The motive of the lying adults was not merely a fear of not fitting in, (which can cover principles/moral issues but also the arbitrary/matters of taste), it was a fear of being seen as unholy (strictly a moral issue). Claiming not to see the emperor’s nakedness served as a claim to moral superiority, and a way to avoid moral criticism.
As a refresher, signaling theory deals with both the benefits of signals, both true and false, as well as the costs. While social acceptance is the benefit of what is essentially political correctness’ false signaling, the cost is an inability to assess danger. Our elite’s social acceptance depends on their acceptance of danger. Because they act on behalf of the state and organizations they control, this means that in practice it is the foot soldiers of those states and organizations which pay the price of the elite’s benefits.
Of course, the elite themselves suffer the price of their signaling from time to time as well. These instances hardly need pointed out; witness the perpetual outrage in the media against any suggestion that people take reasonable precautions against known threats:
- People and businesses avoiding “the wrong part of town”
- Alcohol and sexual assault
- Placing pornographic selfies on the internet
- Women who date questionable men, who become…
- Domestic abuse victims who refuse to leave violent partners
And the list continues.
The dialogue between Liberals and Conservatives on such issues is both pathetic and laughable, and eerily reminiscent of the Fourth Circle of Dante’s Hell:
Conservatives: Teach women to avoid dangerous situations!
Liberals: No! Teach men not to rape!
… I saw multitudes
to every side of me; their howls were loud
while, wheeling weights, they used their chests to push.
They struck against each other; at that point,
each turned around and, wheeling back those weights,
cried out: Why do you hoard? Why do you squander?
The simplistic arguments will go nowhere, because men and women have taken to the field as monolithic entities engaged in mortal combat, instead of good men and good women siding against bad men and bad women. (Responsibility can be placed squarely on the shoulders of modern feminism. The concept of The Patriarchy made the present battle lines inevitable.) It is mere factionalism spurred by ideology than any real attempt at avoiding objectively observable danger. In fact, signaling loyalty to the cause has led countless young women to pay the price of signaling by routinely placing themselves in dangerous situations. Most have made it out just fine. Some have not.
With the fervor of zealots and the mental agility of jousters locked into their attack runs, both sides are unable to have two separate conversations; one pertaining to the attacker’s responsibility for the crime, and the other to the victim’s opportunities for self-preservation. A sane approach to the situation would entail holding criminals responsible while protecting potential victims as two entirely separate issues. This is possible when the world is viewed as being composed of good and bad people. But it is not possible when it is composed of “men who commit crimes” and “women who suffer,” and therefore, it doesn’t.
The above example stems from what I term a categorical error; the dividing lines between things are drawn in the wrong place and therefore items in various categories are treated improperly. In this case, it takes the form of easy-to-recognize factionalism.
I want to use an example which cannot be viewed as factionalism: the recently distributed nude celebrity photos taken by hackers from iCloud. Again the “hackers shouldn’t have taken the photos” vs “stealing is wrong and its all the hackers’ fault!” perpetual motion machine has fired back up, but that isn’t what I want to discuss.
The subject here is how political correctness prevents the consideration of reasonable precaution, or, in similar terms, risk management.
I bank online. Others put nude selfies online. We would all be upset if we were stolen from, and we would both receive equal sympathy from progressives. We both “put stuff online” and we both had it taken from us. We both had reasonable expectations of privacy, which were both violated. The end.
The error here is a complete failure to understand the concept of risk.
The world is dangerous, and not all dangers can be eliminated from life. Therefore, to avoid becoming a bubble-boy living in a padded room, it becomes necessary to decide what dangers are worth exposing oneself to in order to achieve certain goals. In concrete terms: if you decide to hunt a lion, you must accept that the lion will also hunt you.
[Note: even if one did seclude oneself in a padded room, he would still need to eat, and someone would have to bravely step out into the jungle to hunt or the farmyard to plow. The distance at which society places people from their sustenance is a constant source of lost insight. All-encompassing safety is the distinct privilege of wealthy urban dwellers, a demographic which tends to, for some reason, overlap with ironic hipster neckbeards and their ilk.]
This is risk: weighing the value of a reward and the likelihood of achieving it against the severity of dangers and the likelihood of suffering them. It is a math problem that progressive ideology might be able to solve, if progressive ideology did not ban any and all attempts to do so.
Let us return to my online bank accounts and Jennifer Lawrence’s leaked photos.
Online Bank Account
Benefits: Rapid, easy transactions with vendors online and in-person via credit and debit cards. No need to carry large amounts of cash and risk losing it, accidentally or otherwise.
Risks: Potential hacking, theft of funds.
Risk Liklihood: Low
Risk Recovery: Insurance reimbursement, recoupment
Nude Selfies on iCloud
Benefits: Easily share naked pictures of myself with a presumably large number of people
Risks: Pictures obtained by unintended recipients. Literally, global humiliation.
Risk Liklihood: Low
Risk Recovery: Impossible
In this framework, risk is now a math problem rather than a moral issue. Jennifer Lawrence isn’t to be chided because she did a “bad thing,” but rather because she took unnecessary risk for minimal benefit in making her photos so easily accessible. Some might argue it was an unnecessary risk to take them at all; again, not for any moral reason, but because some of us wouldn’t be satisfied even if every naked photo of us were under lock, key, and armed guard in a facility on the Moon. The good/bad moral binary (and post-modernists and progressives hate few things more than binaries) has been replaced with a formalized greyscale, and while folks will disagree as to the exact shade of grey that demarcates the boundary between good choices and bad ones, most will agree that the miniscule benefits of having naked photos in the cloud do not offset the chance of their inadvertent release in the minds of the wise. [Virtue ethics again, ftw]
I want to offer a few more very short examples as a way of returning this discussion to the macro level. Human cultures all engage in various risks not strictly necessary for life. Some cultures eat blowfish. Some ride motorcycles. Others ski or snowboard. Some hunt dangerous game. Others climb windswept, oxygen-less mountains. Their fathers are proud. Their mothers worry.
Again, none of these activities are necessary, but several cultures nevertheless engage in them. This again raises the point that, to a large degree, culture is arbitrary; it is the answer to the question, what do we do? This helps explain why risk-taking behaviors tend to cluster within cultures, or, more commonly in the West, how entire cultures come to be defined by the risks they take for fun: bikers, hunters, climbers, and the like.
Now consider the emerging Progressive monoculture, which largely whittles things down to common denominators. The only common thread that everyone can agree on is that “safety” is good, and if a little is good, more is better. So, without a significant biker population, progressives rule motorcycles to be dangerous and heavily regulate their safety requirements. Without a significant hunting population, progressives rule guns to be dangerous and heavily regulate them. Predictably, self-driving car inventors have already made the case that when self-driving cars become safer than human drivers, it will then be immoral to not buy and use one! In light of arguments such as these, the collapse into a singular culture appears inevitable.
[The correlation between ignorance of guns and regulation has had comical moments, most notably the Colorado lawmaker who presumed magazines were expendable items that came preloaded. Accordingly, a plan was hatched to eliminate large magazines by banning their sale and waiting for existing supplies to deplete.]
Returning to where we started; political correctness is a ban on noticing things, which is inherently dangerous in the same way that closing one’s eyes while walking will inevitably lead to walking off the sidewalk; orderly systems without constant input tend to chaos and individual human beings require a lot of constant inputs just to stay alive. The inability to meaningfully discuss reasonable conduct, risk avoidance, and standards of behavior stem directly from a refusal to engage with danger in any terms other than ideological demographic-baiting along any lines other than the lines of who is at fault (criminals) and who is not (victims). The lack of any meaningful culture upon which to base any standards for evaluating risk, however arbitrary, leaves us with only the ability to discuss right and wrong. Whereas a common culture which can place relative values on things like death-from-pufferfish vs how-tasty-is-pufferfish, or the convenience of naked selfies on iCloud vs the humiliation of naked selfies worldwide, a lowest-common-denominator Progressive culture leaves us with nothing but the impulse to lynch all perpetrators in righteous fury and console all the wronged as victims of the most cosmic of cosmic injustices.
While Progressives liberally (ha!) wield post-modern insistence on non-binary systems to destroy their opponents, Progressives themselves are animated by the very black-and-white perspective that they themselves impose on the world against all reason. The Holy Ghost of Political Correctness inevitably leads them to crusade against “the world” in the exact same vein as Protestant theology calls for. However, without the refinement and judgment of any actually developed theology, the crusade amounts to little more than blindly swinging swords at their enemies to signal their identity to friends.
They are the Black Knights.