Is 'Political Correctness' Really Helping? Let's Try Universal Empathy Instead
Washington, D.C. Council member Trayon White apologized to the Jewish community after comments he made on his personal Facebook page about the Rothschilds controlling the weather. Conveniently for them, apparently whatever the monopolistic dynasty doesn’t want said about the family and its indisputable control of world wealth can be written off as an “anti-Semitic conspiracy”—even if the actual comment has nothing to do with the Rothschilds being Jewish.
What a ghoulish masterwork of semantics: Now anything unflattering said about the "international bankers” can be flagged as anti-Semitic and therefore written off as conspiracy theory and/or hate speech, regardless of whether their heritage has anything to do with their control of world wealth.
When a black D.C. Democrat cannot have an opinion outside of consensual reality without being accused of racism by the MSM that defines it—and is then forced to apologize for his “offensive, anti-Semitic comments” and meet with local Jewish leaders—there is a serious problem with free speech in America.
Mr. White also said earlier this year, during a city council meeting, that everyone knows the Rothchilds “control the World Bank” and "pretty much control the Federal government.”
No one demanded an apology in response to that comment. In fact, what’s even more notable here is that no city official in the meeting even objected to his “conspiracy theory” at the time, according to D.C. Metro area news channel WUSA9 during the segment posted above.
Before you write off Councilman White as an uneducated thug who needs more sensitivity training and less ganja—the way he’s been framed by the very same racist constructs of which he was wrongfully accused himself—the subject of weather modification and the weaponization of weather for “weather warfare” has been seriously discussed and studied by officials in the Air Force. So, this is not simply a fictitious idea invented by wacky conspiracy theorists out of thin air. (But that’s a subject for another day and another post.)
That said, if monopolistic dynasties like the Rothchilds are thought to control the federal government and there are branches of government actively studying weather warfare and/or weather modification, it would follow logically that families like the Rothchilds may very well control the weather. In other words, maybe Mr. White is neither anti-Semitic or laughably nuts.
However, for the purposes of this post, I am less interested in the details surrounding Councilman White’s comments or the validity of his claims that the Rothchilds control the weather, the world bank and/or the Federal government, and more interested in the pernicious and illogical notion that anyone who speaks out against international bankers is labeled anti-Semitic.
I am also interested in examining whether political correctness and free speech can actually coexist, or if they simply give society cognitive dissonance.
Can Political Correctness and Free Speech Coexist?
Political correctness today demands no one think or say anything that could offend another person. This then empowers the victimology of anyone who subjectively feels offended by a statement and can then accuse another of being his or her attacker/aggressor/oppressor. As a result, this disempowers (or at least dissuades) individuals from using free speech to freely debate arguments in the marketplace of ideas.
“We’re going too far down this road and it’s happening a lot faster than people think. So, it’s time for people to wake up,” says Canadian Professor Jordan B. Peterson of the University of Toronto in this talk on Postmodernism and cultural Marxism. “But they’re too afraid. The conservatives are afraid that they will be targeted, as individuals, mobbed by the social justice warriors online and taken out. So, they don’t say anything. It’s not even the just the social conservatives who won’t say anything—it’s mainstream liberals who won’t say anything. So now the journalists are censoring themselves. They’ve already told me that. The politicians are censoring themselves. It’s like ‘What the hell? What’s going on?’”
As Peterson said so poignantly during his shockingly polite interview with British interviewer Cathy Newman that went viral, “In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. I mean, look at the conversation we’re having right now. You’re certainly willing to risk offending me in the pursuit of truth. Why should you have the right to do that? It’s been rather uncomfortable… You’re doing what you should do, which is digging a bit to see what the hell is going on. And that is what you should do. But you’re exercising your freedom of speech to certainly risk offending me, and that’s fine—more power to you, as far as I’m concerned.”
In the most extreme cases, political correctness has arguably led to the deaths of innocent Americans. A contributor for The Hill argues here that political correctness was to blame for both the Orlando massacre and the San Bernardino shootings, after law enforcement programs that were investigating terrorists got shut down on the pretense they were “offensive” to Muslims.
Morally Superior Westerners Advocate for Peace and Equality
There is a relatively new Chinese epithet, baizuo, that means “naïve Western-educated person who advocates for peace and equality only to satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority.” The definition on Urban Dictionary says, “A baizuo only cares about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment while being obsessed with political correctness to the extent that they import backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism. The Chinese see the baizuo as ignorant and arrogant westerners who pity the rest of the world and think they are saviors.”
I recently heard the Founder of Renegade University Thaddeus Russell describe many academics he has encountered in a similar way, during this interview with Canadian podcaster and author Stefan Molyneux.
Mr. Russell said many of the professors and intellectuals he met in New York City were "mean-spirited" individuals who demonstrated “zero empathy for the people sitting next to them” and yet they had this “tremendous love for humanity as an abstraction.”
“They wanted to save people who were nothing but abstractions and numbers to them,” he said. “They spoke on behalf of people they never met, they never will meet, and they only know as numbers. They only know that maybe they exist somewhere in the world—but we need to save them. ‘We know what they need, and we need to save them,’” he said.
Mr. Molyneux responded to Mr. Russell by saying "there is a certain religiosity in that, to me.”
“When I think of more fundamentalist or consistent forms of religiosity, there is a love of the abstraction, which is the deity, and—to some degree—an indifference to the individual,” he said. “You must bend or distort the individual in service of the religious abstractions.”
It is ironic that while baizuo comes from communist China, it actually defines a lasting result of its communist-loving cousin, cultural Marxism: "Political correctness.”
In fact, Trier, Germany—the birthplace of philosopher and economist Karl Marx, best known for writing The Communist Manifesto—just unveiled a controversial statue in the city on Saturday, May 5, the 200-year anniversary of Marx’s birth… which was a gift from the Chinese government. No joke.
Wait. What’s the connection?
Stay with me, if you will—and please thank Stephen Thomas Kirschner for his in-depth post on “Cultural Marxism: The origins of the present day social justice movement, and political correctness,” which helped shape many of the following sections.
The Birth of Cultural Marxism
Two advocates of Marxism, Antonio Gramsci of Italy and Georg Lukacs of Hungary, argued the reason that Marxist class theory didn’t take hold was because Western values were too deeply entrenched—most notably its emphasis on the individual over the collective and Christianity—and must be destroyed before a communist utopia could be achieved.
Lukacs introduced some of the first sex education classes in Hungary, which were designed to undermine the traditional sexual views of the West.
Meanwhile, his friend and fellow Marxist Gramsci invented “Cultural Hegemony” in his “prison notebooks,” while imprisoned under Benito Mussolini. Cultural Hegemony outlined the factors that prevented Western civilization from embracing the communist revolution. These included:
Patriotism and national unity
Gramsci also believed the media and academia had to issue a “counter-hegemony” message, which would help undermine these foundational values of contemporary Western culture to advance Marxism.
The Frankfurt School
A group of German Marxists who were influenced by Gramsci and Lukacs as well as psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and sociologist Max Weber, opened a think tank at Frankfurt University in 1923 called “The Institute for Social Research,” which later became known as “The Frankfurt School.” It was dedicated to using culture to defeat the "establishment" rather than class conflict—Karl Marx's classic engine of revolution.
The main thinkers at The Frankfurt School were Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, and Erich Fromm. Although these men generally agreed with Marx, they believed he greatly underestimated the power of culture. Given that many of “the workers” were now rising into the middle class, they no longer had an incentive to overthrow the system.
When Hitler rose to power in 1933, this group of intellectuals fled to New York City and took up positions at Columbia University, where they reestablished a version of The Frankfurt School in NYC that now focused on American society rather than German society.
The Frankfurt School concluded that to end working class passivity, the pillars of Western civilization, especially the nuclear family and Christianity, must be destroyed.
The Origins of Political Correctness
Due largely to the influence of Gramsci, communist leadership in Russia joked in the 1930s that they needed people to believe things which were not exactly true or readily seen. In other words, they wanted people to believe that things to the Party’s liking were “politically correct,” even if they were empirically or factually incorrect or unprovable.
In order to reinforce their strategic spin on “reality,” the Party started policing language. This led to an inability to criticize the Soviet state or question the system. (This is one example where “political correctness” and free speech were clearly incompatible and suggests they cannot coexist harmoniously.)
Contrary to popular opinion, the foundation of political correctness was not laid in “saying something nice” or “compassionate language.” It was simply rooted in a desire to control the discourse in order to shape culture. Many argue this remains true today, as outlined below.
The Frankfurt School After the War
After Hitler was defeated, many members of The Frankfurt School at Columbia University went back to Frankfurt, Germany. Herbert Marcuse did not. He stayed in the United States, where he said the Marxist revolution would not be brought about by “the proletariat” (the Marxist term for the working class) but instead by a coalition of blacks, feminist women, homosexuals, and students. This is how the term “cultural Marxism” came into existence.
Known as the father of the New Left, Marcuse promoted "polymorphous perversity," unleashing sexuality as a form of liberation to challenge Western norms, and adapted Freudian ideas for political ends. From 1943-1950, he worked for the CIA's predecessor organization and the U.S. Department of State.
Marcuse gained much popularity with students during the 1960s due to the Vietnam War and draft. He spoke at protests and wrote books that swayed popular opinion.
As one of the main thinkers who redefined the concept of “tolerance,” he promoted the view that most left-wing ideologies should be embraced because they’re “tolerant” and most right-wing ideologies should be suppressed for the opposite reason. Marcuse's essay Repressive Tolerance (1965) even argues openly for the censorship of opponents on the right.
In addition, he is believed to be at least partially responsible for sparking the “everyone is a winner” mindset prevalent within recent generations, since he once said, “Everyone is an individual deserving of love.”
The trickle-down effect of this has, many argue, led to increased narcissism and self-entitlement among a generation of Americans who were led to believe they were equally special regardless of what they did, which certainly has communist overtones. In addition, it inherently sets these individuals up to feel oppressed by anyone who is not a marginalized member of society.
Marcuse later returned to Germany and died in 1979, but the students he influenced in the 1960s went on to teach at various universities and higher education institutions, where they carried on—and further developed—his philosophies.
Modern Advocates of Cultural Marxism
“Modern Marxists consider themselves an elite political vanguard, rationalizing the pursuit of power through deception and subversion,” according to this op-ed in the Washington Examiner by Victor Gaetan, a Senior International Correspondent at the National Catholic Register and a contributor to Foreign Affairs magazine.
Among the contemporary advocates of cultural Marxism are Hillary Clinton and George Soros.
As a result, Clinton’s loss was a major setback for the contemporary manifestations of cultural Marxism, as her mentor was the infamous Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky, a Marxist ideologue and the subject of Hillary Clinton's college thesis.
Alinsky advocated confrontation and polarization as techniques for gaining power, especially for minorities. "The end justifies almost any means," he wrote.
In his speech to the Republican National Convention, Dr. Ben Carson pointed to the Clinton-Alinsky connection, noting that Clinton's adviser dedicated his most famous book to Lucifer, the devil.
Ideas promoted by the Frankfurt School are so embedded in U.S. universities, "progressive" political movements and the Democratic Party that Catholic EWTN TV commissioned a full-length documentary on Alinsky and his progenitors, "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," which underscores how prevalent cultural Marxism still is today.
What about Mr. Soros?
“The story of Soros cultivating the support of Hungary’s elite, many of whom were in the Communist Party, is instructive,” according to this analysis of George Soros and the Central European University by Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist. “You can get an idea of how Soros viewed Hungary as his wholly owned subsidiary from a New Republic article written by Michael Lewis on January 10, 1994,” among other things.
Preserving Western Society Through Empathy
I think it’s important to note here that much of what motivates many Americans to follow the cultural Marxism ideologies put forth may indeed flow from their truly authentic desire to follow the golden rule above all—and care for the poor—and that is a beautiful thing.
Everyone is an individual deserving of love. This is true. And we should do unto others as we would have done unto us. We should also care for those in need. But real love is both conditional and unconditional. And real love does not have sympathy for certain categories of people it feels sorry for and antipathy for those it doesn't.
As far as caring for the collective and world vs. caring for an individual or nation, which is often positioned as an either/or debate in contemporary dialogues (e.g. globalists v. nationalists), are we individuals or are we one? What’s the enlightened point of view, for those of us who would use love as a lighthouse through this sea of confusion?
It seems that both are true simultaneously: We are all one and yet we are unique.
In Kabbalah, each individual is viewed as a unique expression of the divine with his or her own role on the wheel of life. As Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (also known as Baal HaSulam) said, “Each and every individual in society is like a wheel that is linked to several other wheels, placed in a machine. And this single wheel has no freedom of movement in and of itself, but continues with the motion of the rest of the wheels in a certain direction, to qualify the machine to perform its general role. And if there is some breakdown in the wheel, the breakdown is not evaluated relating to the wheel itself, but according to its service and role with respect to the whole machine.”
Jordan B. Peterson reiterates this point (in a more intellectual manner that is appropriately consistent with his unique expression of the divine) during his talk on Postmodernism and Cultural Marxism. He highlights how important it is to retain the idea that emerged in the West that “the state is regulated by the ethic of the individual.”
“The individual has intrinsic value and that value is predicated on the recognition of the individual’s capacity to generate order out of chaos,” he says. “And that’s the identity with God that was implanted, so to speak, in human beings at the beginning of time according to our founding—let’s call them mythologies. There’s something about that that’s right. Now, if we lose that, we’re gonna suffer for it, man. We’re gonna suffer for it.”
Final Thoughts on Empathy and Goodwill
I think the answer to all of this circumlocution about “political correctness,” the value of the individual vs. the collective and our role in shaping society is hidden in plain sight somewhere between what Mr. Russell and Mr. Molyneux said during their exchange: People are not abstractions. They are not categories or numbers. And there is nothing more important than having empathy for people around you.
Empathy is not the same thing as sympathy. It does not mean having sympathy for compassionate-sounding ideas and language that actually marginalizes and categorizes people as abstractions. It also does not mean having antipathy for those who are not yet fulfilling their role on the wheel of life within the universal body (and then calling them onto the carpet for their maximum shame and humiliation, for our personal, vengeful delight). This eye for an eye mentality has no place in the lives of true, bleeding heart liberals.
Goodwill requires a conscious choice to apply the larger picture that love gives to any circumstance. And the conscious choice of goodwill is empathy—not political correctness.
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