Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Is Political Correctness Classist?
It's the language of the political elite, not of the people
I’ve been thinking recently about political correctness, and specifically the way that many people seem to find it odious and irritating – so much so that Donald Trump’s hideously inappropriate comments seem to make him more, not less, popular with his core voters. The standard left-wing assumption is that basically white men have had the right to behave like insensitive boors for hundreds of years, and that they feel that they are being oppressed if they’re told they can’t be assholes. I’m not going to deny that that’s probably part of the equation, but I think that in some cases there’s something more valid going on.
There’s an interaction that I see over and over again that goes essentially like this:
Person A: (Makes mildly offensive – or worse, offensively stupid – remark)
Person B: (Calls out person A)
Person A: (Gets defensive/Makes a joke/Makes light of it/Calls person B uptight/Reverses the call out/Becomes unreasonably angry)
Person B: (Just can’t. Ugh.)
Just to be clear, I have been person B on more than one occasion. But I’ve been trying to think about what motivates person A. My tentative hypothesis, which I think is probably true in at least some cases, is that the objection to political correctness is not actually so much a knee-jerk defense of racist or sexist attitudes as it is an inarticulate objection to classism.
Classism is problematic, in that every intelligent person on the left knows that it is bad, bad, very bad – but none the less, leftist discourse is constantly, profoundly classist. Discussions of how to end oppression, including the oppression of poor, marginalized, and less educated people, are routinely carried on in language that can’t even by parsed by someone with a high-school reading level. As a theoretical category of social problem, the poor and underprivileged are given great respect. But when an actual person who can’t spell very well, speaks in a regional dialect from a lower-class area, and can’t express himself very articulately tries to argue that he also needs protection from oppression, he’s often dismissed as an “entitled” white man who doesn’t understand the systemic barriers endured by marginalized groups.
Part of the problem is that discussion about classism is well thrashed out in academia, but almost never discussed on the street. So whereas black people are more or less universally aware of the problem of racism, and women are all aware of sexism, and queer people know all about homophobia, lower class people are often not aware that classism is a thing. They’re aware of it as something they experience, but they don’t have a name for it. And without a name for it they can’t effectively call it out.
So they’re left saying things that sound completely incoherent like “You’re the real racist,” when what they actually mean is “What you just did there was publicly shame me for not having the educational background and middle-to-upper class social experience necessary to realize that my behaviour was potentially offensive to educated members of a particular social minority. This behaviour is not offensive, or at least it does not seem to be offensive, to members of the same minority who are also members of my class. Thus your call out is actually an expression of classism, meant to stigmatize and shame me for my lower-class upbringing and lack of education.”
Even if a person was able to articulate this sentiment, calling out classist behaviour is almost impossible because even in leftist circles lower class people, and less educated people, are routinely stigmatized. To say “I only have a high-school education. I work in a factory. That’s why I don’t know the most up-to-date acceptable word for a cripple,” is to invite classist sneering, opprobrium, and contempt (or perhaps a condescending attempt at education) from those who are supposed to be the guarantors of inclusivity.
To rub salt into the wound, slurs that stigmatize low intelligence, poor education, or a lower-class background are considered completely appropriate by almost everyone. “Idiot,” “yokel, “moron,” “boor,” “knuckle-dragger,” “troglodyte,” “ignoramus,” “hillbilly,” “bum,” “trailer trash,” “redneck,” and “mouth breather” are all fair game – and a person who really is genuinely low class, and genuinely not very well educated, is liable to be frequently and repeatedly shamed using these words if they attempt to break into higher level social discourse. This is particularly true if someone who is not of the correct class voices an opinion that is at odds with the consensus of their higher class, educated peers. Such transgressions are usually swiftly punished by collective outrage and mockery.
One of the most common justifications for such social punishment is the appeal to political correctness. I’m not talking here about cases of blatant racism, sexism, etc. but rather about behaviours which only the educated elite realize are inappropriate. In extreme cases, this can include terms or behaviours which are acceptable to the majority of a marginalized group but which are considered offensive by a small minority who are active mostly in academia (the convention that you should say that a person “has autism” rather than saying that they are autistic is a good case in point – especially since many real autistic people adamantly insist that the latter is the non-offensive option.) In such cases, political correctness becomes a weapon in the arsenal of classism. What is offensive is not that the person harbours any genuine racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, or ethnophobic views, but rather that they don’t know the proper approved behaviour that will allow them admittance into polite society.
Political correctness thus functions as a kind of etiquette and like all etiquette it serves two purposes: first, to smooth the way for conversation by making it mannerly, and second, to systemically exclude the lower classes from serious discourse and positions of power.
Lower class people may not be able to articulate this, but they experience it constantly. It almost certainly drives at least some of their hatred of political correctness, and it may be part of why they cheer enthusiastically every time Trump says something outrageously offensive. Not because they want the right to be assholes, but because they want the right to be included. They want to be able to contribute without constantly being called out for unintentionally transgressing the staggering set of politically correct rules – rules which higher class people learned in their homes, their neighbourhoods, their schools and their universities and which lower class people are expected to learn primarily by being rudely corrected on FaceBook.
The PC terror of the Twittermob
Jon Ronson finds something nasty lurking in the eye of the Twitterstorm
Two web developers, Hank and Alex, were sharing tech-related in-jokes about ‘dongles’ and ‘forking someone’s repo’ at a conference. It was private, jokey wordplay – or at least, that’s what they thought. A woman in front of them, Adria Richards, overheard the jokes, became outraged, took a photo of the pair, and posted it on her Twitterfeed. ‘Not cool’ ran the tweet as she ‘called out’ their ‘inappropriate’ and ‘sexist’ jokes. At the end of the conference, they were reprimanded by the conference organisers and eventually sacked from their jobs. It didn’t end there. The woman who tweeted her outrage received abuse from freelancing misogynists who themselves were outraged by the firing of Hank and Alex. Hackers attacked the IT server system at Richards’ workplace and she, too, was sacked.
It is a grim story, but it is one that, unfortunately, is becoming commonplace. Author and broadcaster Jon Ronson, in his new book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, examines the peculiar twenty-first-century phenomena of the Twitterstorm and ‘calling out’ culture. Ronson is a very good and likeable journalist. He has a talent for spotting a potentially great story and the tenacity to bring it to life. He is a journalist in the old-fashioned sense of the word. He pursues contacts, leads and interviews – many times over – until he’s scooped a decent story. And, unlike so many hotshot broadsheet writers, Ronson is always more interested in the people he’s writing about than he is in himself. It is this approach which means his contacts are often prepared to open up to him and which explains why his writing can be so compelling.
Ronson, though, has his detractors. His interest in oddballs and freaks suggests he is not someone who takes things too seriously. Yet his eye for the wacky and the strange sometimes ends up hitting on hard political topics. For example, his 2001 documentary, The Secret Rulers of the World, captured how radical lefties were embracing conspiracy theory, once the theory of choice for far-right nutters. Likewise, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed captures how the easily offended, often radically minded, have wrecked people’s lives in a manner which would make corrupt, repressive states feel proud. What’s alarming and chilling about Ronson’s case studies is that, far from being isolated incidents, they increasingly reflect a general trend towards the curtailing of free expression.
Take the case of the American, Justine Sacco. Before a trip to South Africa, she made a throwaway quip on Twitter, to her 170 followers, about how white people can’t catch AIDS in Africa. This bad joke was a dig at her own apparently cosseted existence rather than at black AIDS suffers. But sadly for Sacco, this joke was lost on one of her followers (she doesn’t know who), and by the time she had landed at Cape Town Airport she was trending on Twitter. Ronson provides an extensive list of the tweets in response to Sacco’s original post. They were a mixture of pious, indignant rage and low-level sadism. ‘We are about to watch this @JustineSacco get fired. In REAL time. Before she even KNOWS she’s getting fired.’ Ronson makes the point that Sacco was the first person he’d interviewed who had been destroyed, not by the government or big business, but by her fellow citizens.
The same was true of Lindsey Stone. She and a friend had a long-running ‘stupid joke’ that involved pulling poses contrary to what a public sign says, such as smoking in front of a no-smoking sign. At Arlington in Washington DC, the pair saw the ‘silence and respect’ sign for US soldiers who had died in combat - this prompted Lindsey to do a goofy am-dram one-finger salute pose in front of the sign. Due to Facebook settings not being as private as many of us think they are, especially for uploaded photos, this private joke became public. Four weeks after returning from Washington DC, Stone became aware of online hostility towards her and her photo. Incredibly, a ‘Fire Lindsey Stone’ Facebook page had been created and had attracted 12,000 likes. The company Lindsey worked for, LIFE (Living Independently Forever), was inundated with emails demanding her sacking – a request that was quickly met. According to Ronson, Stone ‘fell into a depression, became an insomniac and barely left home for a year’.
Public shaming in the twenty-first century, especially for mildly jokey rather than criminal behaviour, can be devastating for its victims. Ronson, who admits that he’s done his fair share of ‘calling out’ tweets, is right to say the process degrades us all. A harder question to answer is why such unhinged responses to bad jokes and legitimate opinions have become the norm rather than the exception.
In trying to answer this question, it would be easy, and wrong, to indulge in anti-human prejudices, and to his credit Ronson picks apart such lazy theories. He demonstrates how the nineteenth-century French doctor and thinker, Gustave Le Bon, was wrong with his ‘group madness’ concept, developed in The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. Le Bon’s theory was that humans totally lose control over their behaviour in a crowd. Our free will evaporates and a contagious madness takes over.
Ronson notes that Le Bon is still popular because ‘we tend to love nothing more than to declare other people insane’. But the problem with theories like Le Bon’s is that they can’t explain why some people get involved in Twitterstorms and others choose not to. It seems that how people react in a crowd or on social media is based on patterns of behaviour that reflect wider belief systems. The predilection to behave in this way exists prior to the coming together of any pitchfork- or Twitter-wielding mob.
For the sociologist Émile Durkheim, the process of punishment and shaming served to change an individual’s behaviour and uphold society’s values. From Medieval times through to the nineteenth century, the authorities were willing to tie people to public whipping posts or place them in stocks for their transgressions. Local newspapers would have published a digest detailing the amount of squirming that had occurred. Punishment is primarily expressive – it expresses society’s moral outrage at the offence. Through rituals of order, such as a public trial and punishment, society’s shared values are reaffirmed and its members come to feel a sense of moral unity. Thus ‘calling out’ someone’s Twitter transgressions could be said to be motivated by a desire to do good for wider society. Ronson draws a not too far-fetched analogy between public shaming on social media and how citizens in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) informed the Stasi (the GDR’s terrifying secret police) on their neighbours – they thought this was the right thing to do.
The question today is how and why harmless jokes, or the ‘wrong’ opinions, are seen as transgressive and worthy of what the criminologist John Braithwaite calls ‘stigmatic shaming’ (which means there’s no final forgiveness for the individual’s ‘bad behaviour’). But in the twenty-first century the nature of stigmatic shaming has changed, too. Ronson notes how individuals who have been exposed to public judgement for aspects of their sexual behaviour, such as sleeping with prostitutes, are no longer social pariahs. Max Mosley or Wayne Rooney, for instance, were not cast out of public life following tabloid revelations of their paid-for sex romps. Shaming no longer involves the transgression of traditional or religious values but, instead, the transgression of politically correct codes. And it is on social media where the regulatory power of PC codes is most keenly felt.
Twenty-five years ago, the term PC was a joke, largely used by conservatives to lampoon the behaviour of liberals and lefties. Today, far from PC having ‘gone mad’, it has gone thoroughly mainstream. Critics of PC are often viewed as closet bigots, people who simply want to make racist or sexist comments without any comeback. But this misses the point about the problems with PC. PC is designed to control individual behaviour rather than create a more equal or fair society. Through PC, problems to do with racial or sexual inequality have been recast as problems of language etiquette. Justine Sacco’s family, for instance, had a long history of actively supporting the ANC in South Africa during the struggle against Apartheid; her tweet was also a joke against herself and perceptions of ‘white privileged’ Americans. But all of this was irrelevant because the politically correct use of language is considered more important than a person’s actual opinions or deeds.
Protecting other people’s self-esteem or emotional states has become important because humans are no longer seen as being able to cope with ‘disagreeable’ words. This has pretty much become the organising principle on university campuses throughout Britain and America. But the culture of limiting ‘offence’ has only encouraged people to perceive and exaggerate all manner of comments as ‘offensive’. We’ve reached the point where an individual’s subjective ‘hurt’ now triumphs over solidarity with other people. Indeed, solidarities based around work, how most of us are only one pay cheque away from penury, was once a powerful social bond among the powerless in society. It was widely recognised that handing employers a stick with which to beat an employee could be used against yourself and others. This is why, 30 years ago, nobody would call on someone else to be sacked from their job on the basis of something they had said, no matter how reprehensible they thought it was.
One of the most depressing trends covered in Ronson’s book is how calling for someone to be sacked from their job, even though a tweet is unrelated to their work, is often the first demand social-media users all-too gleefully make. It shows just how atomised and lacking in solidarity Western societies have become. Trying to get someone sacked was once considered a terrible thing to do. Now it is considered the right thing to do. Ronson’s book demonstrates how social media reflects and exacerbates such malignant trends, such as calling for the state or employers to punish people for opinions, jokes or beliefs considered offensive or inappropriate.
Nevertheless, Ronson is somewhat off the mark when he applies his criticism of public, social-media shaming to the case of author and ‘motivational public speaker’ Jonah Lehrer. In 2012, journalist Michael C Moynihan became suspicious of quotes Lehrer had attributed to Bob Dylan in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works. In fact, the quotes were completely made up. Other editors and book publishers quickly discovered that most of Lehrer’s articles and work featured fabrications, inaccuracies and evidence of plagiarism. Ronson uses the case of Lehrer as part of his exploration of public shaming, but actually it’s not entirely legitimate to compare Lehrer’s downfall with the cases of Sacco, Stone and others. In Lehrer’s case, it was a journalist, and then social media, who forced Lehrer to be held to account for his dishonesty and fakery. He was not being destroyed for bad jokes or bad opinions.
Ronson feels uneasy that Lehrer had ‘been exposed by the sort of person who used to be powerless’ and reminds the reader Lehrer had written some wonderful stuff. There’s a danger here of confusing Twittermob intolerance with stinging public criticism and ridicule. Increasingly, many journalists are hostile to ‘below the liners’, ordinary members of the public who leave ridiculing comments underneath an opinion piece or review. There’s a tendency to confuse the online public who are simply opinionated with Twittermobs and intolerance. Ronson is right to cast a weary and critical eye over the Twittermob mentality. But journalists’ views and opinions still ought to be fair game for challenge and ridicule. At times, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed doesn’t clearly make the distinction between robust public debate and intolerance.
It is also worth pointing out that shame and being shamed are not necessarily bad things. The existence of shame is a recognition that genuinely transgressive acts are problematic. Shaming, therefore, provides a check and balance on wayward behaviour. It is the mechanism through which, informally and organically, civilised boundaries are maintained by society. It is also less repressive because such informal controls do not involve the state and the judiciary. What makes the Twittermob’s acts of ‘shaming’ so brutal is that individuals who haven’t done anything wrong end up having their lives destroyed. Telling bad-taste jokes does not warrant being given unemployable pariah status. Ronson’s engrossing book, and the sorry tales he covers, is a depressing snapshot of Twitter’s tyranny of intolerance and the closing down of a free society.
Anti-Semitism of the progressive churches
Hal G.P. Colebatch, writing from Australia
One of the nastiest perversions of Christianity in the world today – the attempted demonisation and isolation of Israel –has been carried out by, among other bodies religious, a German Protestant Church, under, naturally, the World Council of Churches.
One would think a German church, of all things, would hesitate before sticking a toe in the filthy pool of anti-Semitism. Anyway, its Australian equivalents are some way but not all that far behind.
The WCC and liberation theology in general, Catholic and Protestant, have been singing a bit smaller since the fall of the Soviet Union, but are still with us, with hatred of Israel replacing their previous leit-motif of anti-anti-Communism, while their attitude to the almost daily Islamic atrocities remains conciliatory,
Australian academic Bill Rubinstein, writing in last October’s Quadrant, pointed out that attacks on Israel and ‘Christian Zionism’ (ie pro-Israel evangelical churches) have become the No. 1 cause of progressive churches in much of the Western worlds, in some cases trumping even homosexual marriage.
Rubinstein comments ‘the Presbyterian Church of the USA is simply obsessed with its deep hostility to Israel. Not towards, say, Saudi Arabia, where no Christian may set foot.’ In North Africa Boko Haram and other Islamic groups murder Christians wholesale – the Christian death-toll may be in six figures for the last few years -without a word of reproof from liberal clerics. The WCC’s silence is as loud now as was its silence during the Cold War regarding the Soviet Gulag.
The same double standards prevail in the equivalent Australian churches, particularly sections of the Uniting Church which attack Israel ceaselessly, but say virtually nothing about the murderous intolerance of the Islamic countries and societies or Islamc terrorism in the West.
The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the WCC invited member churches and civil society organisations to join together in 2014 for a week of anti-Israel advocacy and action. PIEF supports the virulently anti-Semitic BDS movement, aimed at marginalising and de-legitimising the State of Israel, and ignores the atrocities committed by Palestinians against Israelis. Isis likewise does not seem to appear on the progressive Christian radar, despite crucifying Christian girl captives who refuse to convert.
Either spontaneously or in obedience to the diktats of the WCC, the Uniting Church in Australia has placed a ‘prayer for peace’ online which, while trying at first to give an impression of even-handedness, contains the unprayerful words: ‘In July, 2011, the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly Standing Committee resolved, on behalf of the Assembly, to join the boycott of products produced in the illegal Israeli Settlements within the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank.’
The WCC helped publish a book Christians and Muslims: The Dialogue Activities of the World Council of Churches and their Theological Foundation which demands the West ‘abandon its pro-Israeli attitude.’ The latest clerical anti-Israel campaign turns upon allegations that it is stealing ‘Palestinians’’ water. To a student of religious history it may bear some resemblance to the medieval anti-Semitic libel of Jews poisoning water.
On Ash Wednesday, the WCC and its subsidiaries launched a campaign, ‘Seven Weeks for Water’ at a (German) Lutheran Church in Jerusalem, with anti-Israel activists in attendance, including someone called the Co-Coordinator of the Ecumenical Water Network (an absence of a sense of the ridiculous in its titles is one of liberation theology’s distinguishing characteristics). Israeli sources say there is a ‘water crisis’ in Arab areas but that this is due to backward agricultural methods, wastage, and failure to provide adequate infrastructure. This was also the impression I received when visiting. Israel leads the world in dry-land farming techniques.
There is also the question of how far the Palestinian Arabs’ own leaders are responsible for keeping their own people as ‘victims’ for international propaganda.
Something called the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJP – how quickly one gets lost in the jungle of acronyms!), was launched in 2013 by the WCC Assembly.The Ecumenical Water Network (EWN), in 2008. The WCC’s press center advertised its Seven Weeks for Water campaign as a ‘pilgrimage of water justice in the Middle East, with specific reference to Palestine.’
Meanwhile, a woman Member of the Palestine Legislative Council, Abu Bakr, has been sheltering within the council building in Ramallah since President Abbas ordered her arrest. Her crime? Blowing the whistle on the financial corruption of a cabinet minister closely associated with the President. She claims that the minister has been privately selling water to Palestinians and has illegally taken more than $200,000 from the Palestinian budget. There has not, of course, been one word about this from the WCC.
The WCC, associated ecumenical movements, and the web of organisations and relationships between them defy an organisational chart, or accountability, unlike government corporations which are, in Western countries, subject to parliamentary or other scrutiny, or private corporations which must publish balance-sheets and be accountable.
The PJP and the EWN are closely interlinked. The intent of launching the Seven Weeks for Water campaign was made plain by General Secretary of the WCC, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in his Jerusalem church sermon: ‘As the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is focused on issues of the Middle East, particularly in this year, we hope your stories and struggle for justice and peace will become the stories and struggle for the churches around the world. May this Lenten season help us to reflect on these issues more deeply. May the Seven Weeks for Water during this Lent help us to highlight the water crisis in Palestine …’
Mr Dinesh Suna, the Coordinator of the EWN wrote on his Facebook page: ‘The IRG meeting of the WCC’s PJP started today at Bethlehem. To set the tone of the discussion we went to listen to stories of struggle to end occupation of Palestine by Israel’ (‘Struggle’? Suicide bombings, perhaps? Knifings of women and children?). ‘It was quite a touching moment for us to hear these stories…’
Any doubt whose side the WCC and the progressive churches are on now? While the progressive churches are losing membership hand-over-fist, in Australia, America and Europe, the demographically young, and very often pro-Israel, evangelical churches, are flourishing. The formation of the Australia-Israel Association in WA in 2014, held at an evangelical church, drew an overflow crowd. [Real Christians love Israel]
America’s Twenty Immigration Winks
America seems unable to have an intelligent conversation about immigration. In 1986 after over a decade of work, we finally passed immigration law reform. Senator Al Simpson of Wyoming, the Senate leader that got the legislation passed, told me he hoped we understood the enforcement part of the law is more important than the forgiving (amnesty) part of the law.
No such luck. We still remain stuck in a nation with virtual open borders pushing diversity and multiculturalism in an age of terrorist jihad absolutely oblivious to what is now happening to Europe. And our media brethren remain congenitally unable to be honest about the issues we face.
Ironically, forty years ago we almost got it right. The New York Times wrote about the then forthcoming immigration commission report and the hope for reform: "How can one seriously argue whether to increase legal immigration by 80,000 or 250,000 when maybe 6 million illegal aliens are already here and thousands more are coming daily? There can be no sensible policy without the means to enforce it." They continued: our overall immigration policy amounted to a great "big wink"-or the big pretend-a combination of minimally protecting the borders but largely doing nothing once people got into the country.
Let us examine some basics.
Half a million people overstayed their visas last year. We have no law enforcement method to determine where these people are or who they are. So says the immigration policy directors in the US government. Wink number one.
According to Congressional hearings, the US immigration authorities have deliberately let out of custody thousands of convicted felons, many of them guilty of violent crimes such as rape and murder, and not deported them, as required by law. Wink number two.
Yes it is wonderful some policy makers want to deport convicted violent felons who are also criminal aliens. But what the commentariat has missed is that these people first have to come here to America illegally, then commit a violent felony, then be apprehended and arrested, then convicted and only then deported. Why not stop them from coming into the country in the first place at the border? Wink number three.
We have more than 300 sanctuary cities, counties and states. Violent felons, criminal aliens, finish their prison sentences but the Federales are not notified so these dangerous people can be deported. They get out of jail free and often end up murdering and raping American citizens again. Wink number four.
The arrogant ruling class says they need little people to mow their laws and wash their restaurant dishes. And people from outside the country that can work off the books, avoid taxes, and allow Americans that should be doing those jobs sit home, join gangs, drop out of school, smoke dope, eat bon bons, watch television and yes, have babies out of wedlock. Anyone ever hear of welfare reform and work requirements? Wink number five.
Those here illegally can not only work off the books (that's illegal) but send their children to our public schools (which is legal) where we will (to be compassionate and multicultural) teach them in any number of languages (see California) at a cost to the Federal, state and local governments of $12,000-$14,000 a year just for school. (Camden New Jersey exceeds $25,000 and California averages $18,000). We pay and they don't. As Victor Davis Hanson explains we are the only successful multiracial society-E Pluribus Unum-- because we have been bound by a common language, culture and values. Wink number six.
We won't enforce the immigration laws we have. While I watched incredulously after testifying on immigration at the Maryland State House, one local Maryland state legislator told Mexican television just outside the hearing room: "There are no illegal aliens in America there are just people adjusting their status". Wink number seven.
We not only won't enforce our immigration laws we will demand that the border patrol take "dreamers" or "unaccompanied minors" and transfer them to social service agencies to settle in America. But the border patrol are highly trained law enforcement professionals who both Presidents John Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower used to escort young black students when integrating our schools. Use them for what we should be doing-protect the border. Wink number eight. When asked whether we should have an intelligent discussion of what immigration policy in America should be, do not under any circumstances reference the 1965 immigration law debate where the chief sponsors insisted the new law would not change "our primary European background".
Don't admit the new emphasis on family connections in the 1965 law deprived the American people of the ability to decide which people with which skills would be allowed to come to America or what has been described as a "transfer of policy control from the elected representatives of the American people to individuals wishing to bring relatives to this country." And as National Review correctly explained, don't bring up that prior decades long limits on the practice of importing labor to break strikes and compress wages helped create the American middle class.
Declare such discussions racist and demand that we move on, and ignore that open border enthusiasts such as La Raza and Univision insist that only certain ethic groups be favored in immigration flows because after all we all want "America to become Mexico". Wink number nine.
When confronted with the overwhelming evidence that a major strain within Islam is violent and seeks with terrorist tactics to impose shariah law on the countries where they live, claim Islam has "nothing to do" with terrorism, that Islam is a "religion of peace" and say it's just bigotry that seeks to prevent potential Islamic jihads from terrorizing America. "Radical extremists" are never Muslims. Wink number ten.
When asked what these people are being radical or extreme about, move on to the next question. Can't possibly be radical or extreme about Islam now can they? Is it vegetarianism? Even though the Islamic conquests began when Mohammed was well, conquering. But it has nothing to do with Islam. [And if you criticize the prophet we will cut your head off.] As former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich asked "How can you have an open borders policy in the age of international terrorism"? Indeed. Wink number eleven.
Make anti-bigotry and anti-racism as the watch word for and open borders immigration policy but avoid any questions whether current immigration policy that shows a preference to certain ethnic groups is itself racist. Wink number twelve.
Amnesty is of course the only desirable course for all 11 million aliens here, and well, even if it's 20 million. Avoid certain questions such as "How will you vet these people?" Or "Where are they going to get the income to pay all those back taxes we were assured they were not avoiding because they couldn't possibly be working off the books because they are all law-abiding?" Wink number thirteen.
Demand that all immigration policy come down to only the single question of whether all people now here illegally get to stay in America-amnesty-or whether you are going to support Nazi like "mass deportations". Wink number fourteen.
Avoid all questions about actually enforcing immigration and employment law-E-Verify, employer sanctions, a work requirement for welfare reform, tax avoidance scams. All if actually enforced reasonably would result in a very significant number of those here illegally going home but don't examine that question. Years ago when claiming the outflow of illegal aliens in America going home equaled the number of illegal aliens crossing our borders, the administration said the phenomenon of "self-deportation" was responsible. Avoid that topic as well, go back to the default "mass deportation" verbal racket. Wink number fifteen.
Pretend that amnesty has to be everyone or no one, compassion or evil. Don't examine whether AFTER a new immigration enforcement system, including E-Verify and employer sanctions, after a work requirement in re-instated and welfare reform is on the books, after a moratorium is in place on immigration and refugee flows from states that sponsor terrorist groups, we can then take a look at people wishing to stay in America on a case by case basis under criteria carefully vetted and examined by Congress and the American public. Instead insist amnesty has to be up front and the first and only thing you do. Wink number sixteen.
You have to replace your roof. But it can be fixed. And a huge thunderstorm is coming that day. The contractor says let's take the roof off and in a week we can have a beautiful new roof in place. And you ask whether in the meantime the rest of the house will be flooded and ruined if the storm takes place. And the contractor again shows you pictures of a beautiful roof. Ignore that the number of illegal aliens arrested at the border from terror sponsoring states increased to 462 in 2015 alone, from 255 in 2011. Wink number seventeen.
When you dramatically increase the production of marijuana in America, pretend the Mexican cartels cannot read the papers and thus understand basic supply and demand economics. Pretend they didn't quadruple heroin production and drive the price of smack to below that of on the street prescription drugs. And pretend that the heroin isn't coming across our border brought here by criminal drug gangs-these people are just adjusting their status, remember? And pretend we do not have a heroin epidemic and it's not related at all to open borders. Wink number eighteen.
Be aghast at anyone who will suggest we build a wall. Deny the Israelis successfully built a wall of over 700 kilometers and that it cut suicide bombings and terrorist attacks by some 85%. Don't admit the cost is $2 million a mile and for $4 billion the US could do the same over the 2000 mile long southern border. And deny that adding border patrol agents and other surveillance equipment to the border would dramatically improve our ability to stop the flow of gangs, criminal aliens, drug traffickers, and coyote smugglers-don't talk about it. Remember its racists to insist that our national sovereignty allows us to say to potential immigrants both "Yes" and "No". Walls around the compounds of the liberal rich and famous are for protection. Walls on your border are racist. Wink number nineteen.
And finally, act shocked that anyone would be so callous to suggest a wall be built and actually paid for by those benefitting from hundreds of billions in remittances and free education received over the past 45 years. For only one million children costing $10 billion a year for school is a net $400 billion cost to US taxpayers since the Supreme Court decision requiring America to provide schooling for children here illegally. Take the 600,000 barrels of refined petroleum products we send to Mexico every day and add a small $7.50 surcharge. That comes to $1.6 billion a year. The wall is paid for in two and one-half years. But don't discuss this. Call everyone a racist. Wink number twenty.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.