How many times have you heard folks apologetically saying, "I know it's politically incorrect, but. . .." Underneath the hesitation is often a hint of defiance. As if they're thinking, "Yes, I know some people might object, but by golly this is America and I'll say it anyway." Why does political correctness exert so strong and strange a grip on us?
Let us take a look at just three of the many thoughts and ideas that the cult of political correctness forbids us to utter.
The former president of Harvard, Larry Summers, suggested that it might be worth studying whether innate differences would explain why fewer women than men succeed in math and science and discovered that saying that boys and girls are different is forbidden.
". . .here in America, the cult of political correctness forbids ordinary folks from expressing a belief, say, that homosexual activity is loathsome and children ought to be protected from it."
The Boston Archdiocese's has stopped offering adoption services because Massachusetts law requires them to place children with homosexuals. Pope Benedict XVI, may God bless him, seems to need some political correctness re-education. He has termed homosexual adoption "gravely immoral." That may be okay for the Holy Father, but here in America, the cult of political correctness forbids ordinary folks from expressing a belief, say, that homosexual activity is loathsome and children ought to be protected from it.
In July 2002, an Egyptian immigrant named Mohamed Hadayet, opened fire with a .45 automatic at the ticket counter of El Al Israel Airlines in Los Angeles airport killing two Jews and wounding many others. Without mentioning the word Muslim, the Los Angeles Times mused helpfully on what Mohamed's motive could possibly have been. Let's see, perhaps he suffered from a really bad migraine.
Earlier this month, another Mohamed, this one from Iran and burdened by the last name Taheri-azar, was charged with nine counts of attempting to murder students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He told police that he had been planning for two months to avenge America's killing of "his people across the sea." Yet the New York Times reported the incident without speculating who "his people" might be or even mentioning the word Muslim, once.
"Astonishingly, in a society that prides itself on its openness and welcomes even shocking candor into public discourse, some things are somehow understood to be off limits."
Obviously most Muslims are not terrorists but it is absolutely forbidden to observe the unarguable truth that most terror is perpetrated by Muslims.
Astonishingly, in a society that prides itself on its openness and welcomes even shocking candor into public discourse, some things are somehow understood to be off limits. Among them, thou shalt not speak of sexual difference, thou shalt not criticize homosexuality in any way whatsoever, and thou shall never acknowledge that the culture of the Koran is at war with the twin civilizations of the Bible.
There is only one other environment which encourages this level of intolerance for dissent. Let Mr. Abdul Rahman, an Afghani convert to Christianity tell you all about it. He will soon be sentenced to die for rejecting Islam, a death-penalty offense under Afghanistan's constitution, which is based on Islamic law. Obviously Christianity is politically incorrect in places that believe in Islam. Come to think of it, Christianity is politically incorrect in places that believe in secular materialism too, places like American public schools.
"We have all come to recognize subliminally that saying something politically correct is equivalent to insulting someone's religion."
Therein lies the vital clue as to how the cult of political correctness exerts such control over Americans. We have all come to recognize subliminally that saying something politically correct is equivalent to insulting someone's religion. That is why we feel uneasy being politically incorrect--it is equivalent to blasphemy.
We were created in such a way that hearing our beliefs contradicted outrages us much more than hearing someone misstate a fact. A trivial example might be the sightseer who contradicts my assertion that Mount Rainier is 14,410 feet high. Of course I do not react indignantly. Life is too short to argue with tourists who haven't read their guide books. But the reckless vacationer who challenges my conviction that Mount Rainier is the most beautiful mountain visible from any major American city doesn't escape so lightly. The ignorant fool has aroused my wrath. He has insulted my belief.
"In reality, there is very little difference between the words belief and religion. The problem now is that Congress, while certainly avoiding the establishment of religion, has raced toward the establishment of belief."
While facts never ignite our passions, even trivial beliefs do. That beliefs defy proof is part of what locks them into our souls and turns us against those who assault them. When I label recycling as nothing but the sacred sacrament of secularism, I am blaspheming the beliefs of those who hurl their angry denunciations at me.
All this could have been avoided had the first amendment to our constitution read, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of belief." In reality, there is very little difference between the words belief and religion. The problem now is that Congress, while certainly avoiding the establishment of religion, has raced toward the establishment of belief.
The belief established by Congress and which the idea makers in media and the thought generators in academia eagerly grabbed onto, is the belief in secular materialism. The doctrinal beliefs of secular materialism include the sacrament that humans are just another species of animal on the planet. Like animals, there is very little difference other than the blatantly biological, between human males and females. To state otherwise in Harvard is like a Christian evangelizing in Afghanistan. They may not try to execute you in Harvard as they don't believe in the death penalty. However they will try to destroy your life.
As far as homosexuality is concerned, the secular materialist would reject breathing if it happened to be an admired practice in the defining volume of western civilization, the Bible. Thus, anything the Bible endorses, such as public prayer or encouraging men to marry women, becomes evil while that which the Bible condemns, such as homosexuality becomes protected.
"I'm sorry, I know my words today are politically incorrect but. . .. by golly, this is America and your rabbi will say what he believes."
Finally, mentioning the word Muslim in the context of terror attacks forces secular materialists to confront the fact that religion remains the most powerful force shaping humanity. If secular fundamentalists notice that most terror is perpetrated by Muslims, they attribute it to coincidence. They cannot bear the thought that religion must have something to do with it. What is even more unpalatable for the secular materialist is facing the truth that not all religions are the same. Some religions nurture peace, prosperity, and life, while others do not. Since all of these indigestible conclusions flow from mentioning the word Muslim in the context of terror, thou shalt not say the M word.
When Harvard tried to destroy Larry Summers, or when Massachusetts insisted that their state religion of secular materialism must trump Catholicism, or when the New York Times ignores reality, they are all practicing their religion. They call it acting in accordance with their beliefs, but it is really exactly the same thing. They treat blasphemers as ruthlessly as the Taliban did though with fewer weapons and less courage at their disposal. Nonetheless, to feel their hostility is to know the meaning of political correctness and why we occasionally sound apologetic. I'm sorry, I know my words today are politically incorrect but. . .. by golly, this is America and your rab bi will say what he believes.
© Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Read the entire article on the Toward Tradtion website (new window will open). For free and unrestricted use with attribution.