Thursday, February 2, 2012
By Barry Rubin
President Barack Obama will probably be defeated in November by people voting for the Republican candidate who will then tell their friends that they voted for Obama. For them, that will be a compromise between responding to the reality they see as opposed to being in fashion and not being called nasty names by one's peers.
It is like the story told by the latest Western woman to be sexually assaulted by a mob in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Listen carefully to what she says:
“Heather said that she came forward to talk about what happened to her `because people need to know what goes on. It is the only way to start making it a problem that will have to be dealt with.’”
“However, many people told her to not reveal what happened to her because she was told, `it would hurt the image of the revolution.’ But Heather said after seeing the reports of others and their assaults, `I felt it was right to say something.’”
These few lines contain the most important of all wisdom for this year, 2012.
Heather articulates one of the greatest ideas of the Enlightenment and of Western civilization. The way to progress, succeed, and to solve problems is to speak honestly. That’s why freedom of speech is the very first principle in the U.S. Bill of Rights. But the dominant philosophy of the current age—Political Correctness—is based on exalting lies on behalf of allegedly good causes.
If that doctrine was about the important of honesty it would be called Factual Correctness. Political Correctness is the doctrine of dictatorships, not democracies and certainly not the democratic way of life. It is not merely saying that the end justifies the means but that the end justifies sabotaging the real means for attaining success, thus guaranteeing disastrous outcomes.
Many—unfortunately including lots of journalists and academics—proudly think themselves virtuous to lie and urge others to lie. What use then are schools, universities, and the mass media?