by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonathan Chait wrote a long essay on the ways in which the politically correct try to shut down debate on issues they don’t care to discuss. The standard leftwing response to Chait’s piece was to tell him “quit whining” or, as Amanda Taub did over at VOX DOT COM, to just deny that political correctness, writ large, exists.
Yes, that’s right: the left has been reduced to political correctness denial.
It was amusing to watch the denials and the shrugs. Even as they were occurring, we saw proof of Chait’s thesis. In certain instances, the proof was so stupid as to be funny. …
… Then there’s this amazing op-ed, highlighted yesterday by Freddie deBoer. In it, a proud “anti-fascist” named Malcolm Harris uses the language of the academy and the theory of “privilege” to argue that it should be okay to commit violence against those with whom you disagree. It is a straightforward, straight-faced argument that we should use fascistic means to crack down on “fascism,” all in the name of “anti-fascist” goals. Words fail.* But remember: Jonathan Chait is a dope who had his feelings hurt on Twitter so the things he said are bad aren’t real.
Yesterday, the Daily Beast published an interesting report by Cathy Young on the case of Emma Sulkowicz. You probably know her better as “that brave girl carrying around her mattress at Columbia to symbolize how she was raped and the school refused to expel her rapist.” The Daily Beast‘s reporter uncovered new documents: Facebook conversations between the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator that show a friendly relationship lasting for months after the alleged “attack.” For committing the crime of reporting, Young was denounced on Twitter, harangued for victim blaming, and excoriated for “proving we still have no idea how to talk about rape.” The treatment of Young—the viciously nasty way she was treated for objectively reporting both sides of a story—serves a purpose. It’s a warning, a lesson to anyone else who would dare question the veracity of a “victim’s” story. …
… Political correctness exists because political correctness works. It’s a method of shutting down debate, of silencing the opposition, of promoting the narrative at all costs.
Folks on the right often use Erick Erickson’s line “You will be made to care.” I don’t think that’s exactly right, however. The politically correct don’t particularly care if you care. A more accurate formulation is probably “You will be made to shut up.”