I think its time we had a serious think about groups and what they mean. Political correctness seems to me to be a kind of intellectual slight of hand. A sort of jumping from level to level of abstraction hoping no one notices that fundamental differences have been made in identity and leaving any opponents of actions by a group vulnerable to the usual slurs of racism and the usual politically correct claptrap.
Allow me to illustrate. While the best essay I have seen on political correctness (by the most excellent writer of the anti Jihad, Fjordman) I feel that there are a few more things that need to be said about it.
Lets look at a group, say, black people. Pretty much this is a group of people that have one or more defining attributes for which there is no choice or control and that before the law must be equal as people. Seems like a good idea to me. Lets make all people equal in rights and responsibilities. A no brain’er really.
Now lets look at Nazis as a group. Well I don’t think a political movement should qualify as deserving of equal before the law in all ways do you? Germans OK but not Nazis. What about gay people? interesting problem. we now have issues of nature Vs. nurture and free choice and some of western thoughts oldest philosophical conundrums but at the end of the day who cares who people sleep with as long as they are all consenting adults right? I’m more or less OK with this as well although some details need hammering out from a legal point of view.
Communists? Communists are another political movement and don’t deserve special legal status as a group. Frankly no one does. All things are covered in ‘People are equal before the law’ as far as I’m concerned. Also, an attack on communism as a method of economic or government rule is not an attack on Russians or any other nationality. I have yet to hear of someone who doesn’t like communism being accused of bigotry against the Chinese.
Now lets look at religious groups.
Christians have a ton of categories and subsets and flavors but all of them are people with a belief or a heritage. Its safe to say that most people identified by self or others as ‘Christians’ are better described as ‘post Christians’ as they do not have many or even any of the beliefs of the original church’s, do not attend a church or Christian organization but merely are cultural remnants of a history of Christianity.
So the oft repeated cry that the Nazi’s where Christian and have committed the worst atrocities and so on is pure nonsense. It was not a Christian movement and many of its victims where Catholics as well as every other kind of Christian. It was a ‘Nazi’ movement pure and simple.
OK what about Jews? I have yet to hear any definition of Jews that makes any cogent sense whatsoever. As a rule, Jews as a group are defined by those who hate them and the definition is pretty much a complete fiction. In fact it was arguably not till Hitler that they where seen as a race at all but as a religious group. In fact, at this point I would say people who actually practice or believe in the religion of Judaism are the minority of people who self identify as ‘Jews’. The rest are like Christians, a kind of cultural remnant with some minor variance in holidays and things to observe but basically the same value set. They, like Christians can be of any race or gender or degree of religiosity or even atheists (quite common) or converts to another religion altogether (usually Buddhism) but are still identified as ‘Jews’ by themselves and others.
So its not really anything. But that doesn’t free it from brutal persecution from other groups based almost entirely on impugned attributes. This might also be said of persecution of any actual racial group.
Then again we have groups based on behavior or beliefs. Is it racist to have an unfashionable opinion on gay people? certainly not. Homophobic? That’s a rather sterling example of the slight of hand the new left uses to confound. Make up a term to make it not even possible to question any belief or activity of a group and equate it to racism. Homosexuality is a behavior. People may or may not object to it but its a behaviour. If you want to decide its not a choice (which it may not be) then you are entering into a slippery slope, which we in fact are already half way down and accelerating, into accepting all forms of behavior whether its violently anti social or merely a deviation from the norm sexually. Which brings me to my next group,
This is a group which transcends race certainly. While its true that in many nations most notably the Sudan, Arab Muslims are slaughtering black Muslims clearly it is not a race although racism itself is a founding principle of this group. Islam is a group defined by shared beliefs and history. Its a mixture of religious ideas and a political system of manifest destiny. The word ‘Islamophobia’ has recently found its way into common speech as a way of silencing any criticism.
Again, this is a clear attempt to link criticism of Islam with criticism of a race. Islam is no different than any other religious or political group. A person has choices as to how they behave and how they think and even if they do not, we must act under the assumption that they do. This is critical to any attempt at a rational system of justice or government. Its a central pillar of democracy. The very concept of choice is essential. Therefore, Islam is no less subject to criticism than is Nazism communism capitalism or any other belief set or way of life. Unlike communism when people criticize Islam they are often referred to as racists or Islamophobes or any number of variants. The fact is, Arabs, a group who arguably could be called a race, are not universally Islamic and in fact those who are, are the first victims of Islam, itself, a pernicious meme which destroyed some of the worlds greatest arab civilizations.
Interestingly a central dogma of Islam is killing Jews. Islam was ready to embrace the Hitlerian vision of Jewish peoples as a race well before most of his own generals. In fact Herr Adolph discussed his final solution with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem well before any of his own SS knew about it.
We, as a people world wide not only have a right to think about these issues we have a duty and a responsibility to do so. Islam and neo-leftism are trying to reshape our very world and individual rights and freedoms on every front whether its using the now reversed notion of ‘tolerance’ (now meaning we must dumb ourselves down to the most intolerant among us whether its non smokers or Muslims who are offended by drawings) or raw terrorism.