Friday, May 3, 2013

Calling B.S. on Political Correctness

I am sick and tired of political correctness.  I believe it has become a game--a deadly game that is more about power and control disguised as compassion and empathy.

Here is why I believe thus:

I have seen more than a few comments recently railing against the term "illegal immigrant."  The reasoning: a person should not be labeled as illegal.  A person's actions are illegal, the person himself or herself is not illegal.  At first glance, this argument makes sense.  Pure, rational sense.  Until you think about what is going on.  And that's the key, to think.

Now, before we go any further, let's take a bit of a detour.  I promise we will get back on the current track, but we must take a trip and see how cultures define themselves.  I am drawing on Dr. Revi Zacharias' Veritas Lecture on tolerance here.  Dr. Zacharias actually draws from Dr. Paul Tillich in the following assessment on how cultures principally organize themselves.

#1. A theonomous culture.  This culture is not a theocracy.  It is a culture where people believe that God's laws are so self-evident that they guide the entire culture.  I believe this ideal is espoused in the opening lines of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  Self-evident truths endowed by the Creator.  Theonomous culture.  The United States can no longer be considered such a culture because with the rise of secularism, any talk of God has generally been relegated to the private sphere.

#2. A heteronomous culture.  "Different law."  In this culture, there exists a governing few who dictate which laws should and should not be followed.  You have the leadership at the top and the masses below.  The masses must follow the laws whether they agree with them or not.  Most would probably say the United States is not such a culture; however, I'd just about beg to differ at this point.  You will see why below.

#3. An autonomous culture.  "Self-law."  In this culture, each person is a law unto his or her self.  We are self governed and self regulated.  Ideally, this means we interact with one another and treat one another with respect.  We do not have to agree with one another.  Yet we have enough of a shared understanding that we can disagree with one another with cordially without celebrating or accepting another's point of view.  Most would argue the U.S. seeks to be this type of culture.

Where does political correctness fit?

If it is not self-evident that political correctness fits in with a heteronomous culture, let me go on and show you it belongs in that category using the push to do away with the term "illegal immigrant."

What is the shared definition of illegal immigrant historically and legally?

Well, if you are like me, you would immediately say, "A person who breaks the immigration laws of a particular country by entering that country without following the proper process."  The historical, legal definition does not define a person as illegal.  Instead the definition calls the person's actions illegal while recognizing the humanity of the individual.  Let me stress this, and I apologize for shouting: THIS IS THE AGREED UPON HISTORICAL AND LEGAL DEFINITION.

Now, what is being done with political correctness?  The historical, legal definition of "illegal immigrant" has been replaced with a substitute definition--a definition which is technically correct but that ignores the historical, legal meaning.  It is an overly literal reading of the phrase--an illegal person.

So, political correctness is substituting a different definition for the historical, legal definition, knocking down the substitute definition and declaring the phrase "illegal immigrant" to be illogical, immoral, and so on and so forth.

Can you say, "Straw man argument?"

One might as well argue that we should stop using the phrase "cotton farmer" as it is illogical and immoral to call a person a plant.  Or that we should stop using the phrase "milk cow" as it is illogical to say that a cow is composed of milk.  Or we should stop using the term "wet nurse" as a substitute breast feeding woman is neither wet nor a nurse.

Can you see the stupidity of the argument?  And why would such a weak argument be used in trying to force a particular type of discourse? 

Heteronomous culture.  A particular group is seeking to impose its own particular laws and ideas upon culture--not through reason or appeals to logic, but by appeals to emotion.  Such emotional appeals are really nothing more than manipulation and can change in a heartbeat.

Which is why, I call B.S.


Bubba D. Luxe said...

Somebody called me a "nice guy" the other day. Should I be offended?

Kevin Haug said...

From a theonomous cultural view: Is it self evident that you are a nice guy? If so, then don't worry about it.

From a heteronomous cultural view: No. Don't worry what anyone says about you. Just be yourself.

From an autonomous cultural view: How do you define yourself? If you see yourself as a nice guy, then there is no worries. If you don't see yourself as a nice guy, then you have the choice of being offended or not.

I wonder if I can come up with any other cultural views to answer your question. This is fun. :-)