Thursday, June 30, 2005


This is a brief excerpt from a long psychoanalytic article about political correctness -- which sees political correctness (or Leftism generally) as an infantile rejection of the father -- where the father is identified with conventional authority and the real world generally

Media figures claim that, while they may have a certain political point of view, they can still be good journalists. I have agreed with that. All that is necessary is the recognition that one can be wrong. But if what has been called a bias is really political correctness, then the possibility of being good journalists disappears. The reason is that political correctness involves the repudiation of reality and it is inconsistent with the psychological assumptions that underlie good journalism. You can have bias and good journalism, but you cannot have both good journalism and political correctness....

For the politically correct, differences in status are regarded as illegitimate, and claims that some have earned their status by concrete achievement are dismissed as smokescreens to cover up oppression. If some have more status than others, that means that they have stolen that status from those who are of lower status. Within the ambit of political correctness, the meaningful and moral life is a project of reversing the effects of this collective crime. It means transforming the world so that those who have been deprived of status in the past are compensated with love, and those who have had more status are hated for their crime. But transforming the world, in this case, simply means transforming the way people feel. In the absence of an objective world, feelings are all there are. We can easily see the role that information media will play in this project. That will include those media previously given over to the task of journalism, but they will no longer be practicing journalism. Journalism will have died.

The reason why PC is lethal to journalism is rooted in its rejection of the idea of an objective world, an idea that PC absolutely cannot tolerate. If there were an objective world, people could legitimately gain status by achievement, by doing something beneficial in terms of our collective capacity to live in that objective world. Only through denying the possibility of achievement is it possible to reduce the world to the simple morality play of oppressors and oppressed. For this reason, the very idea that there is an objective world becomes an object of scorn and hatred. Obviously, this precludes the possibility of journalism recognizing the possibility that it has gotten the facts wrong. In the absence of an idea of an objective world, journalism could only mean the furtherance of the politically correct morality play, but that isn't really journalism at all. What is it? The answer is simple. It is political correctness, which is an end in itself....

Mary Mapes has maintained that that the forged documents meshed perfectly with the known facts about George Bush. As the Thornburgh Commission demonstrated, she is wrong about that. However, the documents certainly meshed perfectly with the fantasy she had about George Bush. That fantasy was, for her, the ultimate reality, and so it was for many others. When Dan Rather said that the documents were "fake but accurate", that is what he had in mind.....


These would-be healers of our purported woes dogmatically believe and promote the doctrine we call 'therapism'. Therapism extols openness, emotional self-absorption, and the sharing of feelings. It encompasses the assumption that vulnerability rather than strength characterises the American psyche and that suffering is a pathology in need of a cure. Therapism assumes that a diffident, anguished, and emotionally apprehensive public requires a vast array of therapists, self-esteem educators, grief counsellors, work-shoppers, healers, and traumatologists to lead it though the trials of everyday life. Children, more than any group, are targeted for therapeutic improvement. We roundly reject these assumptions.

Because they tend to regard normal children as psychologically at risk, many educators are taking extreme and unprecedented measures to protect them from stress. Schoolyard games that encourage competition are under assault. In some districts, dodgeball has been placed in a 'Hall of Shame' because, as one leading educator says, 'It's like Lord of the Flies, with adults encouraging it'. Tag is also under a cloud. The National Education Association distributes a teacher's guide that suggests an anxiety-reducing version of tag, 'where nobody is ever "out"'.

It is now common practice for 'sensitivity and bias committees' inside publishing houses to expunge from standardised tests all mention of potentially distressing topics. Two major companies specifically interdict references to rats, mice, roaches, snakes, lice, typhoons, blizzards and birthday parties. (The latter could create bad feelings in children whose families do not celebrate them.) The committees, says Diane Ravitch in her recent book The Language Police, believe such references could 'be so upsetting to some children that they will not be able to do their best on a test'.

Young people are not helped by being wrapped in cotton wool and deprived of the vigorous pastimes and intellectual challenges they need for healthy development. Nor are they improved when educators, obsessed with the mission of boosting children's self-esteem, tell them how 'wonderful' they are. A growing body of research suggests there is, in fact, no connection between high self-esteem and achievement, kindness, or good personal relationships. On the other hand, unmerited self-esteem is known to be associated with antisocial behaviour - even criminality.

Therapism tends to regard people as essentially weak, dependent, and never altogether responsible for what they do. Alan Wolfe, a Boston College sociologist and expert on national mores and attitudes, reports that for many Americans non-judgmentalism has become a cardinal virtue. Concepts of right and wrong, good and evil, are often regarded as anachronistic and intolerant. 'Thou shalt be nice' is the new categorical imperative.

Summarising his findings, Wolfe says: 'What the Victorians considered self-destructive behaviour requiring punishment we consider self-destructive behaviour requiring treatment.... America has most definitely entered a new era in which virtue and vice are redefined in terms of public health and addiction.'

More -- much more -- here

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