Purging Oneself of Political Correctness

In a series of posts below, I tried to show that Anthony Browne committed a number of what he himself takes to be the sins of political correctness in his recent pamphlet, The Retreat of Reason, published by the “think” tank Civitas. In this post, I’m afraid to report that the PC virus has spread even further into the ranks of those who take themselves to be its most hardened opponents.

In the pamphlet, p.8, Browne castigates the politically correct, who “often believe you can justify their version of truth with a lie”. He uses the example of the Mirror‘s publication of faked photos of British troops doing bad things to Iraqi prisoners, and says that “the paper’s supporters still justified them after they were proved to be fake on the grounds that they illustrated a greater truth.”

There’s a complete idiot in the United States called David Horowitz. If you don’t know who he is, you’re quite lucky. He’s one of the heroes of Anthony Browne’s wretched screed: having been a “leading (far) left commentator”, he is “one of the most high profile defectors from political to factual correctness”, and “has now become a scourge of the dishonesty of the left and political correctness” (p.81).

But what have we here?

But as hearings ended in Philadelphia Tuesday, critics of the Academic Bill of Rights were saying that they had scored key points. David Horowitz, the conservative activist who has led the push for the hearings in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, admitted that he had no evidence to back up two of the stories he has told multiple times to back up his charges that political bias is rampant in higher education…In a phone interview, Horowitz said that he had heard about the alleged incident from a legislative staffer and that there was no evidence to back up the claim. He added, however, that “everybody who is familiar with universities knows that there is a widespread practice of professors venting about foreign policy even when their classes aren’t about foreign policy” and that the lack of evidence on Penn State doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem…

The other example Horowitz was forced to back down on Tuesday is from the opposite end of the political spectrum. He has several times cited the example of a student in California who supports abortion rights and who said that he was punished with a low grade by a professor who opposed abortion. Asked about this example, Horowitz said that he had no evidence to back up the student�s claim…

Even if these examples aren’t correct, he said, they represent the reality of academic life…

Oh dear. So much for his conversion to “factual correctness”. Anthony Browne will be disappointed.

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