Browne’s Guide to Purging Political Correctness, #3

“Don’t psychologise those you disagree with: judge what they say at face value, rather than believing there are hidden, dark motives that entitle you to dismiss what they say without thinking about it.”

Here it gets fun, though this is a complex rule, which we’re going to have to break down into pieces.

First: Don’t psychologise those you disagree with.

“Everyone had an emotional investment in not disproving it” (p.viii). “I was met with an almost universally intolerant and intellectually dishonest response…” (p.viii) “Because for most people when intellect and emotion conflict, emotion wins.” (p.ix) “Media outlets such as the Guardian and BBC carried on reporting dishonest accounts, presumably because they had such deeply held emotional beliefs in the issue that they couldn’t bring themselves to write honestly about it” (p.x) “Members of the public, academics, journalists and politicians are afraid of thinking certain thoughts.” (p.xii)

“Few people like to think of themselves as politically correct, and fewer still would dare publicly to admit to it.” (p.1) “Many people will think first of what the true answer is, and in an effort to avoid controversy or offence, measure it up against the dictates of political correctness.” (p.5) “Moral cowardice has led to intellectual dishonesty permeating and corrupting our public debates.” (p.6) “In the PC mind, the pursuit of virtue entitles them to curtail the malign view of those they disagree with.” (p.7)

“In the battle between emotion and reason, emotion wins most of the time for most people: the heart trumps the head because it is more difficult to live with bad feelings than bad logic. Few are the souls tortured by bad reasoning; many are those tortured by guilt.” (p.14) “The easiest way to overcome the dissonance between what you want to believe and the evidence is not to change what you believe, but to shut out the evidence and silence those who try to highlight it.” (p.14) “People tend to believe that which makes them feel virtuous, not that which makes them feel bad” (p.14)

“Nothing makes multimillionaire Hollywood actors who live in Beverley Hills [sic] feel better about themselves than campaigning against world poverty by demanding more aid from the West…” (p.14) “Distrusting human nature, and wanting to perfect it, puts limits on the politically correct person’s faith in democracy.” (p.17)

“One of the most powerful psychological foundations of political correctness is liberal guilt. Many in the West from middle-class backgrounds suffer a usually unspoken guilt about their unearned privilege, which in turn can lead to an under-current of self-loathing in their views. Men often feel guilty about being men, and whites often feel guilty about being white, even though these are innate characteristics they can do little about.” (p.19) “When the former BBC director general Greg Dyke described the BBC as ‘hideously white’, what explains the word ‘hideous’ apart from liberal guilt?” (p.19) “The combination of Western guilt and fear of racism has all but killed off public concern about overpopulation in the last few decades” (p.19) “Liberal guilt never feels more satisfied than when it is self-flagellating”. (p,20)

“The West’s refusal to confront contemporary Islamic slavery is a reflection of the inability of PC thinking to engage a non-PC reality” (p.25) “The intolerant, sanctimonious moral superiority that sustains the beliefs of the politically correct means that they are easily offended by the views of others.” (p.26) “When two strangers meet and talk politics, the need for acceptance means that more often than not they will usually stick to the politically correct text, even if they don’t agree with it.” (p.35) “The Council for the Protection of Rural England campaigns about house building in the countryside, but it would never dare tackle one of the main, and most easily tackled, causes in the growth in housing demand, mass immigration.” (p.36)

“Political correctness is so powerful, and the guilt by association that it produces so effective, that even the politically incorrect fear being seen together.” (p.37) “Political correctness promotes the creation of a ‘victim mentality'” (p.42) “Although nearly half of the British want to leave the European Union, the fear of being called a little Englander means that not a single Member of Parliament publicly supports withdrawal.” (p.55) “The politically correct have a particular problem with crime. Their instinct is to support the criminal rather the [sic] victim of their crime, because criminals tend to be more socially disadvantaged…” (p.63)

My goodness. That’s a lot of psychologising for Browne to work on, and work through, as he seeks to purge himself of political correctness. How’s he doing on the second half of his recommendation?

Judge what they say at face value…

“When the successful, affluent, powerful Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh was ritually murdered in the streets of Amsterdam for insulting Islam, the politically correct, including the Guardian and Index on Censorship automatically sided with the comparatively powerless Islamic Dutch-Moroccan killer.” (p.10) That’s offered without any evidence of the Guardian saying any such thing — remembering that in order to conclude that Browne had emancipated himself from PC, we’d be looking for a statement of support for the assassin which can be taken “at face value”, so that we wouldn’t have to read between the lines, let alone hypothesise “hidden, dark motives”.

Or there’s this: “Many of the politically-correct left – including the Guardian, the Independent, most of the BBC… – have chosen to champion those who are deliberately trying to murder innocent civilians” (p.11). That’s from a discussion of elections in Iraq. Again: no evidence is offered of, say, the Guardian or the BBC “championing” the cause of those who murder civilians in Iraq, whether the kind that can be taken “at face value” or any other kind.

How about this: “The BBC can endlessly promote mass immigration against the wishes of its license fee payers with impunity…” (p.35)

Or this: “Index on Censorship is on the brink of turning from an organisation that campaigns for freedom of speech to one that campaigns against it.” (p.36) No footnote is given. (This pamphlet does have footnotes, so his reticence to offer the evidence on which he’s basing his judgments is frustrating. Index put an article out on its website, which it later, I think, withdrew, after the van Gogh killing, but Browne’s referring to the whole “organisation” being on the brink of a fundamental transformation, and clearly has far stronger evidence than that to back up a claim like this, unless his brain is still colonised by PC, of course.)

Oh, yes, and there’s this: “Many on the left in Britain supported the Ayatollah of Iran’s call to murder Salman Rushdie for insulting Islam…” (p.50) Not “some on the left thought that the book shouldn’t have been published”, but a claim that “many on the left” endorsed a call to murder. Again: Browne doesn’t offer any evidence, let alone evidence that can be taken at face value here. I think he still has some work to do here.

Moving on…

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