In yesterday’s “Camp of the Saints” post I noted that in the Modern Multicultural State, certain concepts simply cannot be thought.
Anyone who wishes to retain his job and avoid social stigma — or even arrest, in some countries — must make sure never to voice any of these anti-PC thoughts publicly, should any ever happen to flit across his consciousness. An imprudent choice of wording — especially if he is already a member of a suspect class, such as a white person, a Christian, or a conservative — can entangle him for months or years in diversity training, lawsuits, hate speech charges, and eventual financial ruin.
The ascendance of Politically Correct Multiculturalism in our public spaces is an obvious, indisputable fact. Although we have operated under PC MC rules for decades, they have reached new levels of grotesquerie in the last ten years or so. The baroque extravagance of a system that could criminalize the singing of “Kung Fu Fighting” is so absurd that it seems impossible anyone could really believe such nonsense. Do all the bureaucratic layers of Western officialdom — teachers, social workers, clergymen, policemen, magistrates, judges, and legislators — really adhere to PC MC? Or is it like official Marxist-Leninist doctrine during the last days of the Communist empire — believed by no one, yet having power over everyone?
Actually, it’s hard to tell. After the Soviet Union fell, it was clear that almost no one believed any of the Communist claptrap they were forced to parrot. But while the regime still held together, who could be certain? You, Comrade Ivanov, knew that you didn’t believe in it yourself, and you were certain that a handful of your most trusted friends shared your disbelief. You also suspected that your supervisor at work and some of the minor party apparatchiks you interacted with held Marxism in absolute contempt. But beyond those boundaries the issue was hazier. It was still the official state ideology, after all, printed in every book and blazoned on every cornice. It seemed timeless and indestructible, the very foundation of the state.
Until the day it vanished.
After that the reality became clear: Communism had been a lie that millions of people were forced to proclaim as truth, year after year, despite their inner convictions. The psychological degradation induced by this compulsion did permanent damage to those who suffered under it, and its effects can be felt to this day.
We’re in a similar state today in the West, but with the difference that the rigid ideology that imprisons us is superficially more plausible. It has to be — unlike in the USSR, dogmas imposed on Westerners have to survive in a much more open communications environment. PC MC has to be at least somewhat believable, or it could never hold together.
Western societies are still in the samizdat stage. Neither glasnost nor perestroika has yet begun, so assessing how widely the reigning ideology is believed is still a matter of guesswork. If you’ve ever told a politically incorrect joke to a friend at work, you know the protocols — the glance over the cubicle partition, the ducked head, the lowered voice. You never know who might overhear, nor what the eavesdropper might do if he were to catch you in the act.
Most people understand all these PC MC rules quite well, whether they spend much time thinking about them or not. They’re just part of the natural social environment, like not going naked in public or not eating mashed potatoes with your fingers.
Yet the new rules have only been in place for a few decades. Fifty years ago everyone could laugh at Amos ’n’ Andy, but nowadays you can’t easily find the show, and if you did, you wouldn’t laugh at it, not where others could see you.
The rules have changed. We all must tread stealthily in certain areas, lest we get caught and dismembered by the ever-vigilant Proctors of Political Correctness.
As Hesperado has argued persuasively, a regimen so pervasive and so thorough could never have been imposed entirely from above, on orders from an elite oligarchy who somehow control the minds of the masses. Political correctness is already aligned with the basic superstructure of what is commonly considered good and right. It just takes it a little bit farther. PC MC is an extension of Christian ethics, but stripped of any scriptural authority, deity, or supernatural component. The result has been liberally mixed with “Cultural Marxism” and then pushed to an absurd extreme.
The new ideology revolves around the major axis of “race”, but race as loosely defined — for its purposes Muslims make up a single race, but Puerto Ricans and Cubans are two distinct races. The system is illogical, inconsistent, and deeply incoherent, but it depends on never being closely examined by anyone who is forced to adhere to it. The entire thing is constructed like Catch-22:
“Catch-22,” the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. “Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”
“Didn’t they show it to you?” Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. “Didn’t you even make them read it?”
“They don’t have to show us Catch-22,” the old woman answered. “The law says they don’t have to.”
“What law says they don’t have to?”
You are told what the rules require of you, but you’re not allowed to look closely at those rules — that would be racism.
Race is the principal bludgeon, but it’s only part of a larger arsenal of weapons used to fight “discrimination”. The Sin of Discrimination is very versatile, and can cover virtually any action or thought that social engineers might want to stigmatize.
Examining an assertion using logic and careful analysis is not permitted, because that is the very definition of discrimination, which happens to be the gravest sin we can commit in our Modern Multicultural Utopia.
That’s some catch, that Catch-22.
Therefore we must take everything on faith. We are told what is bad, and we learn not to go there. Our minds are trained to veer away from anything that might encroach on one of the forbidden areas — not just obvious things, like golliwog dolls and Chinamen with pigtails, but more subtle trespasses, such as referring to watermelons or tamales outside of an acceptably respectful context. The rules become more byzantine every year, so people tend to err on the side of caution by avoiding any phrases that might refer to ethnicity — you never know when such statements might be a sign of racism.
You just never know.
So now we have a gargantuan and elaborate system of impenetrable rules with which we must conform, but which we are enjoined from scrutinizing overmuch. How can such an insane system be maintained in a population that is otherwise (mostly) sane?
It’s obvious that control is not imposed primarily from the outside. Yes, the unfortunate few occasionally get fired or arrested, but the vast majority of people comply with the rules without any threat of immediate penalty. PC MC is simply what they live — they have internalized the system.
Yet the system is massively irrational. It makes no sense whatsoever — when you turn over the rock and expose its pallid propositional integuments to the full glare of the sun, it shrivels into incoherent nothingness.
Primary internal controls must thus operate outside of consciousness. This is what makes the system so effective, but it is also what makes it hard to analyze. To understand what’s happening, we must don our Freudian garb and put the Western mind on the metaphorical couch. We want to learn what makes it tick, but we can’t find out directly.
Deep-seated taboos — including the traditional Freudian ones, such as Oedipal urges — are maintained mostly without reaching consciousness. The more stringently forbidden the fruit, the more it is withheld from the mind’s eye.
Politically Correct Multiculturalism has not been around long enough to operate entirely unconsciously. Most people are aware of it in general terms, and many may even chafe secretly under its restrictions. But the core of it — the absolute taboo against disliking people who are different from oneself — has almost completely disappeared from conscious thought. For most Westerners, it is all but impossible to think about it.
As a thought experiment, imagine you are a white person visiting an ethnically diverse area of a major city. You feel vaguely uneasy walking down the street, and with good reason — it is a known anthropological fact that public contacts between persons of different ethnic groups are much more likely to end in conflict or violence than those between people of similar backgrounds.
There’s nothing wrong with this fact. It’s a normal part of human nature, and has been this way ever since we speciated from our cousins among the anthropoid apes. To view such instinctive reactions as bad or sinful makes no rational or scientific sense. Yet you, Mr. Whiteman, know those feelings are bad, so your only recourse is not to think about them. And you don’t — you’re just a bit nervous and keep glancing covertly from side to side as you walk.
Then you round a corner and find yourself in an all-white neighborhood, with nobody in sight but honkies just like yourself. You feel a sudden burst of joyous physical relief, and in your euphoria, before you can stop yourself from sinning, you think, “Thank God! White people!”
The good feeling lasts no more than a moment, however, before it is replaced by shame and self-loathing. You miserable sinner! Now you must suffer!
Fortunately for you, at that point your unconscious defenses kick in, and the evil feelings are quickly pushed out of consciousness. Orthodox PC MC thoughts return to fill the pool of your awareness. In a few minutes the crisis has passed, and the waters are still again.
To protect ourselves from sinful politically incorrect thoughts, we have been trained to believe that the only alternative to PC MC orthodoxy is to become like David Duke or Adolf Hitler. There’s no acceptable normalcy in between, and the bugbear of the ultimate bigots — our Racists-in-Chief — looms over us if we allow our thoughts to veer from the straight and narrow.
However, as with all repressed psychological responses, there is a price to pay. No one has to repress behaviors that offer no attractions, and the more attractive they are, the more vigorous the internal defenses required to keep them out of sight.
The idea of living amongst one’s own kind is deeply appealing to most people. It is based on an instinctive urge, with a layer of cultural affinity added to make it that much sweeter. Our sense of belonging is augmented by visual, aural, olfactory, and even pheromonal cues. These are my people. This is my tribe. This is where I belong.
To squelch these normal, healthy feelings requires enormous psychic effort. Constant energy must be invested to prevent forbidden thoughts from appearing. Any stimulus that tends to awaken those natural impulses must be fought as if it were a physical invader.
Depending on the force of the disturbing stimulus, the reaction will vary from uneasiness and irritation to intense fury. Such anger is based on the terror of discovering what lies underneath — “Yes, I am just like David Duke! I’m just like Hitler! How did this happen to me? I wanted to be a good person! NO-O-O!!”
This helps explain the viciousness exhibited by progressives when they are confronted with the irrationality and silliness of their belief system. It tells us why they are so prone to resort to violence, even when their interlocutors never threaten them or raise their voices.
The system simply must be maintained. To do otherwise is to descend into a hell of evil behavior, so the PC MC superstructure must be protected at all costs. No matter what means are required — lying, cheating, assault, murder — the ends justify them. Psychic annihilation awaits those miserable folk who fall away from the true path.
So what about the people who are not held captive by PC MC? What allows them to be free? How is it that any of us managed to escape a psychological force that is so powerful and so ubiquitous?
There’s no ready answer to that question. Conservative Swede has often said that ridding ourselves of PC MC dogma requires an exorcism.
Demonic possession explains the current madness as well as anything else. We can trot out more shrink-speak, but any analysis of such widespread and apparently insane behavior has to look beyond normal cause-and-effect for a meaningful explanation.
The average reader of this essay will already have experienced his own “Gadarene swine” moment, when the PC MC demons passed from his soul into the pigs, who then plunged madly into the sea. Through the grace of God, or Cthulhu, or Randomness, or whatever external agency he believes in, he has been freed.
The good news is that those who have experienced such an exorcism can themselves help exorcise the PC MC demons from their fellows. The changes that we work can occur only incrementally, at the margins — a friend here, a family member there, a susceptible co-worker, a chance acquaintance on the street.
You may not be aware of the effect you have, but you keep trying anyway. Or, if you’re lucky, you experience that rewarding moment when the other person says, “Hey, you know, that’s true — I’d never really thought about it that way before, but you’re right.”
Those are the results we all work for. The demon departs into the infernal regions. The patient sits up, blinks, shakes his head, and begins to think again. He begins to think the awful thought, the dreadful thought, the forbidden thought.
The thought that dare not speak its name.