I was reading John Hayward’s article on Beauty Queen Conventional Wisdom and it suggested something I’ve been thinking about for a while.
I will probably rock no one’s world with this, because it’s so obvious, but sometimes very obvious things need to be stated, or else we overlook them. Because they’re so obvious.
The Political Correctness which dominates our public thought and public expressions is a type of soft gestural liberalism which serves as a safe haven for people who do not know much or think much, and thus becomes the default position of millions upon millions.
For example: Let’s say some racial or sexual issue came up. I don’t have to know much about the issues or the questions to know that one sort of answer is presumptively safe and will never get me into trouble. Oh, people may challenge it, but it’ll never get me into trouble. That answer is, reflexively, “Whatever most of the black folks or women folks are sayin’, I agree with that, whatever it is.”
George Zimmerman? Oh, obviously he’s a murderer. I know that without even looking at the facts. Spike Lee’s all pissed off about it, so, you know.
Note you don’t really even have to agree with it. But if forced to respond, it’s always a safe answer.
Anything involving the environment? Look, I just love trees, man.
And so on.
These sorts of answers are safe harbors for the stupid and horrifying anathema for anyone who actually likes to think about such issues. They’re intellectual poison, and, I think, they’re designed to be exactly that: By offering people a quick and easy way out of actual thinking — no one ever died from thinking too hard, but why take chances? — such answers provide a disincentive to thinking.
If not thinking is always safe, and thinking (and expressing an actual opinion) subjects you to possible penalties (social ostracism, name-calling, firing, even jail), then why think?
This form of lazy non-thinking is the true opiate of the masses.