Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Politics Is Turning Us into Idiots

By Lipton Matthews - April 04, 2023 at 09:18AM


Political correctness in Western societies fosters polarization and a toxic culture of ignorance. Although people are rightly outraged by the cancellation of prominent figures, the most glaring consequence of political correctness is the proliferation of ignorance. When speakers are cancelled for contradicting sacrosanct opinions, this leads to an environment where people never arrive at the truth because ideas are not disputed in the public domain.

This devolution of Western culture stymies free speech and intellectual progression. While some view cancel culture as primarily an assault on freedom, its effects are infinitely more pernicious. Societies evolve by exchanging inferior ideas for superior ones, and cancel culture is disrupting the mechanism filtering out bad ideas. Due to cancel culture, people hold steadfast to false doctrines; the belief that the gender pay gap is a result of discrimination is a classic example that continues to circulate despite evidence showing that gaps are an outcome of working hours and occupational segregation.

The effect of endorsing inaccurate assumptions is that such beliefs will be employed to justify misguided policies. If people think that women on average earn less than men because of discrimination, they will lobby for policies to rectify the problem, and such policies could be expensive to implement. Entertaining ignorant beliefs will also make it difficult to improve social mobility and narrow the highly touted black-white achievement gap.

Current narratives state that blacks are underperforming in education because of racism, and some propose abolishing standardized tests as a tool to help black students. However, research shows that black students are likely to do well when teachers impose rigorous standards rather than when standards are diluted. Case after case reveals that when scrutinized, politically correct views fail to pass the accuracy test. Nonetheless, wrongheaded ideas are propagated as gospel to the detriment of intellectual progress.

People are entitled to express political opinions and promote them as accurate. However, critics are not obliged to accept folly as truth. The popularity of dubious ideas would not be a problem if proponents would desist from compelling critics to espouse these views or be expelled from polite society. Institutionalizing fallacious ideas has resulted in widespread confusion, especially since these fallacies are inconsistently applied. In polite society, it is objectionable to say that race is not a social construct, and even mainstream consensus purports that race is primarily a social category, but it must be noted that consensus is not evidence.

Yet, despite the acceptance that race is malleable, Rachel Dolezal became a pariah after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black. However, why should this pose a problem when race is a social construct? Culture is shared and learned, and we all have the capacity to appreciate foreign cultures. Based on the malleability of race, a white person identifying as black should not be seen as problematic. Sex is biological, so although a man can identify as a woman, he can never become a woman. Yet, activists are infuriated when white people identify as black, even though doing so is more logically plausible than a man identifying as a woman.

Some find white people identifying as black offensive because they claim that doing so provides these white people with benefits that belong to historically oppressed black people. But this is a double standard, since men who identify as women gain benefits that belong to women, who are also seen as oppressed. It is mind-boggling that woke activists can’t see the parallels between transracialism and transgenderism. Moreover, equally outrageous is that they don’t seem to recognize that trans women are depriving real women of benefits when trans women profit from gender quotas.

For years, feminists have been arguing that women have been disenfranchised. Today, many feminists, except for some radicals, advocate for the disenfranchisement of women by embracing male athletes who compete with females. Instead of empowering women, the idiocy of political correctness inspires feminists to endorse the marginalization of women. Allowing men to compete with women diminishes opportunities for female advancement, but stating the obvious will ruin one’s career.

Kathleen Stock was ruthlessly hounded by the unthinking mob for arguing that allowing men to identify as women creates dangerous spaces for women. Stock asserted that the desire to be seen as trans friendly has led companies to advocate policies that make women susceptible to violence:
Even more pressingly, if we lose a working concept of “female” . . . self-declared trans women (males) may well eventually gain unrestricted access to protected spaces originally introduced to shield females from sexual violence from males. We are already seeing the erosion of these, as companies and charities open formerly female-only spaces such as changing rooms, shared accommodation, swimming ponds, hospital wards, and prisons, to everyone out of a desire not to appear transphobic.
Moral blind spots and contradictions are baked into the psyche of political correctness. Another issue is that denying the genetics of IQ is fashionable despite evidence to the contrary. Politically correct thinkers struggle to appreciate that IQ is genetic, but they don’t have a problem accepting the heritability of other traits or diseases if they can prove that such inherited characteristics disadvantage minority groups. For example, many believe that blacks are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure because during the slave trade’s Middle Passage, Africans who retained salt had lower mortality rates. Therefore, they passed on genes conducive to salt retention, which leads to hypertension.

However, this idea was thoroughly debunked by Heidi L. Lujan and Stephen E. DiCarlo in an academic paper:
Available evidence suggests that the difference in salt-sensitivity between African-Americans and Caucasians (European-Americans) is significantly smaller than what the Slavery Hypertension Hypothesis suggests. In fact, Chrysant and colleagues were unable to find differences in the blood pressure response to salt by race, age, sex, or body weight. Thus, salt sensitivity is not a racial problem, but rather a human problem, and the generalization that blacks are salt sensitive and whites are not should be discarded.
Nevertheless, the evidence does not seem to disabuse politically correct activists of incorrect notions. Indeed, sensitive topics can be involved in political debates, but sympathizing with delusional people will create a generation of idiots and destroy civilization in the process.

Reprinted with permission from Mises.org.



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