Friday, November 13, 2015

The Utopian Itch

Jonathan Chait thinks political correctness is a problem for the left, and I agree. He's also right that this isn't merely the ravings of a bunch of incoherent sophomores (emboldening mine):
The upsurge of political correctness is not just greasy-kid stuff, and it’s not just a bunch of weird, unfortunate events that somehow keep happening over and over. It’s the expression of a political culture with consistent norms, and philosophical premises that happen to be incompatible with liberalism. The reason every Marxist government in the history of the world turned massively repressive is not because they all had the misfortune of being hijacked by murderous thugs. It’s that the ideology itself prioritizes class justice over individual rights and makes no allowance for legitimate disagreement. (For those inclined to defend p.c. on the grounds that racism and sexism are important, bear in mind that the forms of repression Marxist government set out to eradicate were hardly imaginary.)
What passes for liberalism today differs from Marxist governments only in degree, not direction. Caveats about label-based argumentation duly noted, at the heart of modern liberalism lies an unshakable belief in the value of government to create utopias — i.e. the value of force.  Whether it is absurd soda bans, eliminating the demands for due process in rape trials, or murderously high sin taxes, the left has a never-ending list of laws that need enforcing. Correspondingly, tolerance for dissent is remarkably limited, and narrows over time, as shown by calls to prosecute climate skeptics as racketeers, or famously, its loathing for Citizens United. The protests at the University of Missouri started over a real problem, but they rapidly spiraled into something altogether different, and largely out of liberal concerns and attitudes. It was no anomaly, but more of an inevitability.

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