January 28, 2015

Why Jonathan Chait thinks political correctness "went into a long remission" and now has returned.

My post about Chait's NY Magazine polemic — "Not a Very P.C. Thing to Say/How the language police are perverting liberalism" — blithely puzzled over Chait's assertion that political correctness was a late-80s/early-90s phenomenon that "burst onto the academic scene" and "went into a long remission" and now "has returned."

All I said was "I missed that remission... or Chait missed the nonremission." In case you couldn't tell, that's my way of saying there was no remission, but I didn't delve into why Chait experienced a remission, why the late-80s/early-90s political correctness affected Chait and he's affected again. I did say that Chait is reacting now because he and people like him are getting attacked from the left — "women and [people of color] are getting really cranked up and free-speaking and it's making him feel threatened." In this light, Chait is not so much a proponent of free speech at all, but a silencer of critics.

Liberals present themselves as the good people, and lefties — if they choose to attack liberals — puncture that smugness. But the left attack on liberals that burst onto the academic scene in late-80s/early-90s — I was there to see it — was a pre-internet, anti-free speech movement. Chait mentions "the theories of Catharine MacKinnon, a law professor at the university" — the "radical feminist critique of the First Amendment as a tool of male privilege" — and the "pro-p.c. activists" who pushed campus speech codes "purporting to restrict all manner of discriminatory speech." The left critique at the time said that free speech empowered those who were already powerful and that repression of speech was needed in support of true, substantive freedom and equality.

But that's not the left-wing of today. Alex Pareene does a nice job of explaining the difference:
Chait, like many liberal commentators with his background, is used to writing off left-wing critics and reserving his real writerly firepower for (frequently deserving) right-wingers. That was, for years, how things worked at the center-left opinion journalism shops, because it was simply assumed that no one important—no one who really matters—took the opinions of people to the left of the center-left opinion shop seriously. That was a safe and largely correct assumption. But the destruction of the magazine industry and the growth of the open-forum internet have amplified formerly marginal voices. Now, in other words, writers of color can be just as condescending and dismissive of Chait as he always was toward the left. And he hates it.... Now, not only is it harder to avoid reading negative feedback from people with different perspectives than you, especially if you engage online at all, but there are actually important people—people with status, who've won awards and hold positions of authority—who listen to those people with different perspectives. Ta-Nehisi Coates is at The Atlantic, for godssake, not In These Times.
That is, today's left attacks on liberals don't rely on the old shut-up-you're-silencing-me demands. The left is getting its speech out there. Lefties are employing the good old-fashioned "more speech" remedy that liberals recommended back in the late-80s/early-90s to the lefties who complained that they were being silenced by the overpowering speech of affluent white males.

It is, ironically, Chait who's feeling silenced and flummoxed by all this new speech.

Maybe that recommendation of more speech was in bad faith back in the late-80s/early-90, when the dominating white male liberals had reason to believe their speech would always be far louder and more widely distributed. Now, with the internet, everybody's talking and jostling for position.

A Facebook billionaire took over The New Republic, which had been Chait's lofty platform of liberalism, and Chait wrote "A Eulogy for The New Republic." He's in mourning! He's in mourning for the death of the cultural dominance of elite liberal media. Shhhh!

How perfectly amusing! Liberals are force-fed their own "more speech" remedy, and they don't like it. Another twist in the glorious history of American free speech.

77 comments:

jr565 said...

Political correctness went into remission? what?
Think of the left on gay marriage, or global warming, or racism. Or sexism.
It's been a never ending story

rhhardin said...

A woman complained to my boss about a lunch-table observation of mine in the 80s, having to do with kettle logic.

My boss and I discussed the issue, for he had to react to the complaint. We ended with him saying, "Well, don't talk to women."

I did not feel silenced.

What a great story, I thought. Everybody knew it in an hour.

I don't know if amusement is recognized as a reaction.

You'd think writers would know about it.

MayBee said...

I have to say I noticed a bit of a remission. There certainly wasn't a straight line from when it started in the early 90's to now. I'm not sure it's even all that relevant in real life, mostly on Twitter and college campuses.

Bob Ellison said...

"...the left attack on liberals that burst onto the academic scene in late-80s/early-90s..."

I don't recall seeing or reading about this. The left and modern "liberals" have been breeding like rabbits for all my life. There's lots of hate from one branch to another, but they're all the same species.

What are you writing about?

hombre said...

Does a fish see water?

Aunty Trump said...

Chait's problem is that he cares what they say. "We have no enemies to the Left" is not looking like a solid policy for liberal writers anymore.

MayBee said...

I actually don't think "Shut up" is a good example of more speech. Which is what I see happening and what I see as toxic.

I also think trying to disregard people because you imagine they have some privilege isn't an example of more speech.

rehajm said...

Also, when speech is free, it's harder for Chait to get overcompensated for distributing his.

jr565 said...

In the French revolution, eventually everyone got the guillotine not just the royals.

MayBee said...

...because they want to shut people up based on what they are.
They don't want to hear men "mansplain". They pretend to get upset at Mitt's "Binders full of women" because they don't want a conservative man to see women as equal.
They talk about "access" to birth control rather than "someone else paying for it".
They don't want people talking about gender except in their preferred ways.

Yeah, they want more speech but they want it to be their speech. Disagreers shall be shouted down and made shamed into shutting up.

It isn't a free speech victory. It's the opposite.

Aunty Trump said...

I also think trying to disregard people because you imagine they have some privilege isn't an example of more speech.

Let them. There is no majority, or even plurality, in the US that thinks that acknowledgment of genetically determined gender is "transphobic." Or that the seriously queer are somehow the absolute moral arbiters on all issues.

Bob Ellison said...

There was a real leftist attack on "liberals" (as the term was then understood, it referred to people like Scoop Jackson in the 1960s and early 70s.

That hasn't happened since then. Leftist wackos have been on the fringe for the most part in American politics, with the possible exception of our current President.

But leftist philosophy has grown, grows today, and is tied in evil fashion to statist (fascist) policies.

I'd like to see a leftist attack on leftism, uh, liberalism. That would be a sight. Not gonna happen.

MayBee said...

The political left has made it forbidden to criticize anyone for being who they are born to be. Except for people who are white.

So they pile onto that for all they are worth. Because nobody is really judgement-free. It is their outlet for pretending they've created some new human nature.

As the link begins.."So, here is sad white man Jonathan Chait's essay "
See? He's white! He's a man! It's ok to attack him for that!

The Drill SGT said...

Lefties are employing the good old-fashioned "more speech" remedy that liberal recommended back in the late-80s/early-90s to the lefties who complained that they were being silenced by the overpowering speech of affluent white males.

The "more speech" thing may be the position of the Far Left Radicals against the Liberals, but their approach to speech from the Center and right is:

- Speech Codes
- Hate speech bans
- refusal to allow journals to print articles by "Climate Deniers", "Islamophobes, "Rape Culture supporters", "Gay Bashers" (e.g. Prop 8 supporters), etc

Free speech for me, not thee...

jr565 said...

The problem with the liberals view on race, for example, is that if you look at those pushing liberalism in the media, they are largely lily white. And so if you're going to bring up white privilige eventually it's going to boomerang back on liberals because, they too are white.
So too with liberals assault on wealth. Those who are making the the complaints invariably turn out to be wealthy.
Feminism is largely rich white women. You have to have a lot of money to attend colleges to learn about white male oppression.

Laslo Spatula said...

I have a craw, and sometimes things get stuck in it. Probably an interesting OED on 'craw' but I digress.

What stuck in my craw is this:

"...but there are actually important people—people with status, who've won awards and hold positions of authority..."

First: the use of "actually": dismissive of all that do not fit the criteria to come: elitism trigger warning, that. The 'little people.' Smug. as Althouse says.

Then: "people with status, who've won awards and hold positions of authority." I assume the left has binders full of these people. Elite status, with status defined by the elite. Winning awards of the elite, given from the elite.

Who are the elite? Those who hold positions of 'authority', obviously. Example given: 'authority' equals writing for 'The Atlantic." The kind of 'authority' where responsibility has been successfully removed. Actually.

I always joined importance with accomplishment -- of actually doing 'important' things; this, it seems, is only now true if one has won 'awards'. And 'awards' from the proper people, I would assume.

The important people, defined by those who think they are important.

That is what is in my craw.

I am Laslo.

dreams said...

This is the guy who bragged about hating George Bush.

Here he is a quoted trying to silence Republicans at this link.


"Except that Chait doesn’t seem to live by his own principles. Because last week he wrote a column in which he argued that climate skepticism ought to disqualify someone from holding public office:

The Republican Party confidently and forthrightly rejects the firm conclusions of science on a major public-policy question. Isn’t that a completely disqualifying position? If a candidate for a managerial job at your office insists that two plus three equals seven, it wouldn’t matter how well-qualified this candidate may be at any other aspect of the job. Even if you agreed with everything else the Republicans stood for, how could a party so obviously unhinged be entrusted with power?"

http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2015/01/27/jonathan-chait-anti-pc/

Aunty Trump said...

The important people, defined by those who think they are important.

Because we let them.

Fernandistein said...

MayBee said...
They talk about "access" to birth control rather than "someone else paying for it".


"Political correctness" is a euphemism for dishonesty and hypocrisy.

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:eah, they want more speech but they want it to be their speech. Disagreers shall be shouted down and made shamed into shutting up.

think of how the left argues transgenderism. Facebook offers up the option to be dozens of genders on Facebook and if you question the logic then you are a transgenderophobe. You have to accept that gender is a social construct or you are a hater, bIgot and fearful of transgenders.
To the point where basic biology becomes bigotry. The Vagina monologues stops getting played on college campuses because it isn't inclusive of women without vaginas.

Gabriel said...

I think the far left is more than comfortable with silencing speech they don't like.

See how they demand that invited speakers be disinvited to campus, and then shout them down or disrupt their events in other ways.

In my years in academia I never saw any real tolerance for free speech. We had to remember that speech is a "shared space", meaning that others who complained quietly, without speaking up themselves, were able to have other views silenced.

Perhaps the days of "no enemies to the left" are fading, but "no allies to the right" has never been stronger.

Matt Sablan said...

The biggest issue is that Chait and other PC proponents never imagined a world where they'd be held up to their own rules or have them turned on their own. For example, ten years ago, no one would have imagined using racist things said by Hollywood types against them, since they were, essentially, playing for the same team.

Remember the guy who said Jindal or Rubio were trying to rub the brown off their skin? He thought he could get away with it because his target was an approved hate-able target. Though, that might be unfair, since actual racist language is different from PC language.

Essentially, the left is being treated like they treat Republicans, and they don't like it.

Bob Ellison said...

"...the left attack on liberals that burst onto the academic scene in late-80s/early-90s..."

Still wondering what this means. I was there. Don't recall it happening.

Did you dream it?

Tibore said...

The irony is that the "more speech" solution on the left is simply leading to expanded debate about what speech is to be suppressed. For the left of the spectrum, the attitude towards speech has always been "Me; not for thee".

That shibboleth about liberals being in favor of free speech had in the 90s turned into a line of BS anyway. Since then, all I've ever noticed is a list of what topics are "offensive".

Sofa King said...

Meh, "more speech" is always less wrong then censorship. But it can still be wrong.

Aunty Trump said...

single-earner households are getting a bonus another way: the labor a mother or father performs in the home caring for a kid or wiping down a counter is unpaid and therefore goes untaxed. When two parents work outside the home and pay someone to watch their children, both those incomes are taxed. - The Nation

Let 'em talk. Amplify their loony ravings.

John henry said...

I first ran into the term "Politically correct" in '67 in San Francisco. It was a leftist term then as now. For example:

"It is not politically correct to mention that the Viet Cong are murdering villagers who take US medical aid"

It may have been factually correct, but since it harmed the cause, it was not "politically" correct to mention it.

I later, reading Lenin, found that he used something very like the term. For example:

"It is not correct to say that people are dying of starvation in Moscow."

He admitted that it was factually true but it should not be said because it made the party look bad.

When something is "politically incorrect", it generally is also factually correct.

I did not realize that the term ever went out of fashion.

The concept certainly never has.

John Henry

SGT Ted said...

The speech police aren't engaging in "more speech". What they are engaging in is mob rule and bullying.

The same left is all for "hate speech" laws which is the tool to enforce their mob rule on dissenters. They would happily pass laws outlawing non-leftist expression if they could get away with it.

The SJW crowd isn't using speech to persuade, they are using speech to attempt to shut others up by casting dissent as a quasi-criminal act in need of shaming mobs and social banishment.

This is Stalinist, not American.

MisterBuddwing said...

I have to say I noticed a bit of a remission. There certainly wasn't a straight line from when it started in the early 90's to now.

My own non-scientific impression is, P.C. didn't really go into remission, but rather settled down into a dull roar to the point it was almost background noise.

But in the past couple of decades, we've seen the rise of conservative talk radio and - more importantly - the Internet, and now all the voices across the political spectrum have been fully unleashed.

traditionalguy said...

After finding time to read the article, I found it to be well written and enlightening as an analysis of the need to divide once united people into victim groups that "Community Organisers" can feed off of.

The worst type of political pathologies flows from the attempts by organizers to divide groups on any way they can.

Divide on skin color, divide on gender, divide on sexual preferences, divide on patriotism views, etc. The groups then each need a powerful leadership cadre to rule over them until the war between groups is won. But it is never won.

Watch Obama go. He divides and divides and divides with continuous victim tropes being all that he speaks. But Obama is not helping victims at all. He leaves them in disasters that he made for them.

Sebastian said...

"It is, ironically, Chait who's feeling silenced and flummoxed by all this new speech.

Maybe that recommendation of more speech was in bad faith back in the late-80s/early-90."

Hmm, ad hominem, but likely true.

Nonetheless, "all this new speech" (with implied threats of violence toward incorrect speakers) aims to silence rather than expand debate. Chait is right to be concerned, even if he is late and has questionable motives.

"All this new speech" is also a power play by the left. So far, liberals mostly respond by giving in to the implied blackmail -- a writing gig here, a faculty position there, canceling this or that bad campus speaker, imposing government regulations targeting disfavored groups, and so on. But that can't go on forever. Chait's piece is an indicator.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't recall seeing or reading about this. The left and modern "liberals" have been breeding like rabbits for all my life. There's lots of hate from one branch to another, but they're all the same species."

Maybe it looks like that from your distance, but that was not what it was within academia. Liberals were attacked from the left. I saw this from inside, among left-wing academics whose theories were aimed at liberalism. Liberalism was critiqued using class-based theories and with feminism and critical race theory. I was surrounded by people who would group liberals with conservatives.

Bob Ellison said...

That's interesting. It didn't make it to Harvard College or the Kennedy School.

I was in the middle in the late 80s.

There was no leftist attack on liberalism from my distance, and I was not distant.

Let me suggest that you may think the debates inside your groups at the time were more lively and more widespread than they really were.

Anyway, it's still the same thing: leftism is leftism. Doesn't matter what you call it. And leftists tend to hate each other as splitters.

Bob Boyd said...

The project has been to keep moving the center to the left. Now Chait is surprised to find himself occupying the space to the right?



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DJovR5FIrY

virgil xenophon said...

Ellison@9:03am/

"And leftists tend to hate each other as splitters."

Yes, just ask Trotsky..

Aunty Trump said...

"Freedom is moving easily in harness." - Robert Frost

Once we are all properly re-educated, free speech will once again be allowed.

CWJ said...

Alex Pareene from the embedded quote -

"...but there are actually important people—people with status, who've won awards and hold positions of authority..."

What a frighteningly predictable definition of importance. Indeed, why the definition at all other than to "other" those without status, awards, or authority. Why not just say important people?

Steve M. Galbraith said...

The left is in favor of more speech?

No, the leftwing is demanding that speech be silenced and that only their "more speech" be allowed.

Chait is defending the marketplace of ideas - even if, as a liberal he passed by the aisle stocking leftwing ideas; but the leftwing is demanding that certain products cannot be sold.

Sure, they may (more speech) call everyone racist and sexist and homophobes. But they are doing more than offering more speech. They are, at the least, marginalizing those ideas and at the most demanding those ideas not even be expressed.

They may be using "more speech" but their goal is to suppress other speech.

Marc said...

Two posts in two days, so I went to read the Chait essay. While I'll admit to enjoying the poor fellow's discomfiture as much as anyone, it is quite sobering, this early in the morning, to be reminded that there are real people out there who really believe the liberal/left pc identity politics rhetoric and propaganda. Tsk. The Romans sometimes inflicted the punishment of hitting the poor criminal in the mouth with rocks, damaging the teeth and jaw and eliminating the possibility of intelligible speech. These nasty people still have a ways to go before they reach their full potential.

MayBee said...

Exactly, SMGalbraith.

rehajm said...

tim in vermont said...
single-earner households are getting a bonus another way: the labor a mother or father performs in the home caring for a kid or wiping down a counter is unpaid and therefore goes untaxed.


Is this seen as an appropriate benefit for stay at home parents or as an opportunity to "raise revenue" during the next round of tax hikes?

William said...

You have to be willfully ignorant of history to claim that left wing politics inevitably leads to joy and peace and help for pain......In the early 19th century, the greatest human rights abuse was chattel slavery. Among the left, the hip causes were increased male suffrage and Greek independence. The abolitionists were men like Hamilton, Adams, Wellington who were considered monarchists (read fascists) by the left.......In the 1920's, the most oppressed people on earth were not Italian immigrants to America, but the rural workers of the Soviet Union who were systematically underpaid and underfed to the point of starvation. Their wretched deaths were in the millions, and such deaths passed unnoticed and unmourned.......Nowadays the most flaming examples of injustice are not among the shoplifting class of Ferguson, Missouri, but don't look to the left for reporting or even awareness of such injustices.

CWJ said...

More Pareene from the quote -

"Chait, like many liberal commentators with his background, is used to writing off left-wing critics and reserving his real writerly firepower for (frequently deserving) right-wingers."

Why the "frequently deserving?" The sentence doesn't require it, nor does it add to his point.
No, like my comment above concerning important people, it serves to signal tribal allegiance. These sort of things are ritualistic "one of us" conventions.

I find them tedious and increasingly irritating, and in this particular case, ironic. Here he is doing this defensive signaling in a piece about the enforcement of political correctness. Too funny.

MayBee said...

I think this current situation has been exacerbated by the high numbers of women's studies, African American studies, and Chicano Studies majors who have graduated from university programs studying nothing but themselves and finding no jobs except for writing about themselves.

And American society has been programmed to be polite and listen to women and minorities so we don't look mean. So these groups with an inflated sense of self- and group- importance inflict themselves on the rest of us, trying to control the language to their liking.

Angle-Dyne, Samurai Buzzard said...

Pareene: "Ta-Nehisi Coates is at The Atlantic, for godssake, not In These Times."

An example of a sentence that rings truer when interpreted out of context.

Rumpletweezer said...

Who would have imagined that Rules for Radicals would become the handbook that brought about conservative dominance in society?

Michael K said...

"In the French revolution, eventually everyone got the guillotine not just the royals."

If you read "Citizens" , you will learn that many of the early supporters of the Revolution were young aristocrats who all went to the guillotine along with the politicians like the Gironde Ministry. What survived were the super radical sociopaths. Even Robespierre was shot and then guillotined at the end.

In fact, his death marked the end of the "Terror."

RonF said...

"godssake"

Really? He can't type "God's sake"? If he doesn't believe in God, why use the term at all? Or is he trying to trivialize God, to bury His meaning?

He's a lot more trivial than God is.

RonF said...

"women's studies, African American studies, and Chicano Studies majors who have graduated from university programs"

What - besides academic positions teaching such stuff - do people with such degrees actually do for a living? Other than the equivalent of "Do you want fries with that?"

Michael K said...

"the high numbers of women's studies, African American studies, and Chicano Studies majors who have graduated from university programs studying nothing but themselves and finding no jobs except for writing about themselves."

They are finding jobs as "diversity counselors" in academia and business. I've met a couple.

When I was in college, I had a couple of friends who were Geology majors. The joke then was that Geology majors could only find jobs teaching Geology. The same applies to these people. Student loans are funding these jobs.

Aunty Trump said...

These sort of things are ritualistic "one of us" conventions.

Shibboleth is the word you were looking for.

robother said...

For Ann, who has been in academe most of these past 25 years, there has been no remission. For Chait who left academe for the smug liberal confines of journalism, there was a remission. With the election of the One in 2008, and forevermore, PC identity politics has assumed a large role in the Democrat turnout operation (not coincidentally internet-based). Bullies got to keep in shape between elections, and what better punching bag than your little liberal brethren and sisteren?

Mike said...

I have to disagree with you, Ann. What Chait's complaining about is not "more speech". It's the pre-emptive shutting down of speech lest someone be offended. It's trigger warnings and microagressions. It's Ayaan Hirsi Ali being disinvited from a speech as well as many other speakers. It's speech codes and "free speech zones". He highlights the violent assault on pro-life speakers at a California campus. That's not the more speech approach; that's silencing.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Maybe that recommendation of more speech was in bad faith back in the late-80s/early-90, when the dominating white male liberals had reason to believe their speech would always be far louder and more widely distributed. Now, with the internet, everybody's talking and jostling for position.

So now we face the 'national debate' which cocksure 'intellectuals' and gummint members have been demanding - only now, it's a real debate, not just a blatherfest moderated by themselves towards a correct conclusion.

Poor babies, we're back to 1791.

damikesc said...

The New Left is, again, eating the Old Left.

Conservatives have noticed this problem for DECADES and got ignored.

Oh well. We were always the "dumb" ones anyway. Enjoy your stultifyingly boring discussions on the most pointless minutiae possible, Progs.

damikesc said...

To the point where basic biology becomes bigotry. The Vagina monologues stops getting played on college campuses because it isn't inclusive of women without vaginas.

When a group's core philosophy is a Monty Python joke taken seriously, it's time to quit.

John Christopher said...

I think that Chait has not recovered from last December when he was the one being called a racist or his paeans to The New Republic.

MayBee said...

This is from Megan McArdle today, about the fact that the accused fraternity in the Rolling Stone fake rape had proof they didn't do it, but withheld that information:

The brothers didn't necessarily refrain from talking because they expected more trouble with the freelance jurors who vandalized their fraternity house and threw bricks through their windows, or because they simply expected that reporters would treat them harshly for daring to contest the allegations.

This is the goal of the current "political correctness". Keeping a false narrative going because you look horrible pointing out it is false.

In the meantime, those seeking power use the false narrative to yield yet more power.

The Elizabeth Warren medical bankruptcy study.
The number of rapes on college campus.

Two examples of this lately.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...How perfectly amusing! Liberals are force-fed their own "more speech" remedy, and they don't like it. Another twist in the glorious history of American free speech.

I don't think "more speech" is really what's going on here, though, Prof. Or, more precisely, more speech (from a broader market with lower barriers to entry) is certainly going on, but that's not what's causing the problem to which Chait refers. The particular rhetorical approach--one might call them speech tactics--used by the Left is designed not to win the argument (or not only to win the argument) but in fact to make opposition to their position impossible. They strive to accomplish that goal without even making arguments, when possible. Wanting to win without having to argue is not a goal unique to the Left, but their tactics make that goal more plausible because those tactics target the victim-protection reaction most people have and define non-Leftist as automatic bullies (oppressors, imperialists, etc).
Think of the knee-jerk characterization of opposing speech as "attacking" the Left, of ideas they disagree with as "triggering," or of having to hear hostile points of view as "traumatic." When you and your mob define any oppostion as literally dangerous (and harmful to classes of people about whom we should care like women, minorities, etc) you're not really engaging in "more speech" so much as seeking to influence others to preemptorily conclude that your opponents are bad and it would be harmful to even listen to contrary arguments. As others mentioned this tactic used to involve things like speech codes, but the less-formal mechanisms currently employeed are not less effective--they're probably more so since you can't fight a rule that's never defined.

It seems to me there is a similar difference in kind (between "more speech" and enforcement of a code barring opposing viewpoints/argument) between choosing to boycott a given publication or product and agitating to have a person fired from their job--the latter certainly seems like a more common tactic these days. The ethos seems to be that people on the other "side" should now pay a personal price (in terms of their job, relationships, etc) for holding incorrect views. I don't think Chait's example of Rosin being mocked on Twitter was a very good example (as that seems like "more speech") but certainly the PC Left has used Twitter and similar tools to successfully agitate for the firing and/or ostracization of individuals who dared to cross the PC line in some way (I'm thinking for example of the young woman who made a bad joke about AIDs when flying to Africa). Some of that is certainly due just to the more-connected nature of modern communication and the vast expansion of the market, but quite a lot of it is attributable to the shift in tactics and tone Chait identifies. Ironically enough Chait's complaint is not likely to garner too much sympathy from those to his political right--they've been subject to these tactics for much longer and rarely if ever received help from the sensible liberals Chait claims to represent.

CWJ said...

Tim in vermont,

I wasn't particularly looking for any given word, but shibboleth is a good one.

If I could only remember the word describing offending a party unnecessarily; ah now I remember, gratuitous.

In addition to being tiresome, the left's shibboleths grate because they are nearly always couched in gratuitously demeaning most everyone else.

There we go. Thanks for the word.

Sydney said...

Liberals present themselves as the good people, and lefties — if they choose to attack liberals — puncture that smugness.

Boy, is this the truth. And it is very hard to argue against people who think themselves better than you. Is that why the the left have been successful in puncturing the smugness? Are those on the left able to present themselves as even better than liberals? Can't understand why, unless it is that there is even less nuance to their arguments. Such as - "Everyone must eat so all food must be free, otherwise INJUSTICE!"

rehajm said...

When you always need an antagonist you sometimes have to improvise.

gerry said...

There's a difference between leftists and liberals?

Wow.

Biff said...

MayBee said..."I'm not sure it's even all that relevant in real life, mostly on Twitter and college campuses."

Are you familiar with the current United States Department of State and the Office of the President?

bbkingfish said...

This may be that rarest of cases, where Chait and Althouse both are right (correct).

The PC police were much less active enforcing liberal values during the 90s and the 00s, so Chait was correct.

Althouse also is right to assert that the PC police all the while were still among us. From 1994 through approximately 2012, the PC police were busier than ever, purging the right of all those anachronistic RINOs. Now that the RINOs are extinct, the cops can go back to enforcing liberal values on liberals, as was God's original intent.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Keep in mind when you read the exceprts from the Binders gals that these are real people and some of them likely have power over others--some of them are somone's boss, someone's editor, someone's instructor. These types of people exist and their particular intellectual pathology (for lack of a better term) has real consequences for real people.

Brando said...

I don't think that's quite it--that Chait is fretting about more far-left voices getting heard. His complaint--and it's a valid one--is that so much of trend on the far left now is in fact about silencing others--"trigger warnings", "microaggressions", admonitions to "check one's privilege." This trend is not about raising new awareness or exploring new ideas--which would be welcome, even if the ideas were wrong--it's about dismissing and shutting down. It's saying "your opinion is not just wrong, but oppressive to me and so it has to be stopped". How can anyone defend that trend, unless they buy into the idea that there are the "weak" and the "powerful", and these designations are directly tied to one's accepted victim status (so a rich black man is still a victim because of his race), and that the powerful are always oppressing the weak and therefore the powerful must be silenced for the weak to be heard.

We can all mock Chait for having his smugness punctured, or reaping what he's sown--but he's not wrong about this.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Pareene makes this claim, one I cannot being to comprehend (at least the first half of it):

"...[Q]uite a lot of people - including, again, Coates - seemed to think that Chait's New Republican [sic] had been a hotbed of the most poisonous form of American "liberalism", a place where a cadre of white people with degrees from the best schools debated amongst themselves whether or not black Americans were worthy of equal treatment under the law, and even whether black Americans were genetically equal to whites."

Okay, that last part is about TNR, under Andrew Sullivan reign, running a piece from Charles Murray's "The Bell Curve".

But when did this "cadre" ever suggest that blacks were not worthy of equal treatment under the law?

In any case, this is clearly a fight between the leftwing and liberals. More to follow.

Real American said...

I would not classify the responses as "more speech" I would classify it as "irrelevant non-sequiturs".

For example, if Person A says they think Obama's executive amnesty is a bad idea because it thwarts the rule of law, the leftist response from Person B is to call Person A a racist because he either hates Brown people (Hispanics) or Black people (Obama).

The "more speech" approach would to argue the opposite position, if there is one. The typical leftist response these days boils down to "shut up". It does not serve as "more speech" but an attempt to shut down the conversation without addressing the substantive issue. Is it speech? Technically, yes. Is it "more speech"? Not really. Is it helpful? Nope. Quite the contrary.

What it does is it signals to Person A that Person B is incapable of having an intellectually honest discussion, principally because Person B does not want to have an honest conversation because her ideas probably won't hold up to scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Preach on!

jr565 said...

Brando wrote;
down. It's saying "your opinion is not just wrong, but oppressive to me and so it has to be stopped".

But this has always been with us. Back in the 60's it was a black thing you wouldn't understand. Now it's you excercising your white privilege so you can't talk about something.
two sides of the same coin.

Unknown said...

"When I was in college, I had a couple of friends who were Geology majors. The joke then was that Geology majors could only find jobs teaching Geology."

What are you talking about? Geology majors go to work for oil companies and get paid boatloads of money by them. In the last few years of $100/bbl oil, salaries for new geologists from top schools are in the low six figures. What weird liberal arts college did you go to?

Unknown said...

I should add that any of the extraction industries -- diamonds, iron, steel, copper, etc. find geologists of compelling interest. Seriously -- "no jobs but teaching geology" -- WTF?

Brando said...

"But this has always been with us. Back in the 60's it was a black thing you wouldn't understand. Now it's you excercising your white privilege so you can't talk about something."

Maybe it just seems more prevalent now--or the use of social media brought a lot more of it to the surface.

The "identity" rating part of this is likely why the Left hates Clarence Thomas with a passion--a black man brought up poor in the deep South should, by their thinking, have far more weight to what he says. The fact that he rejects what they believe so completely must be very difficult for them to reconcile.

Those of us who believe that no matter who you are, your opinion may be thoughtful or it may be crap, don't have to get hung up on whether you're the son of a sharecropper or a scion of the Bush family.

chillblaine said...

Political correctness never went away. It morphed into the social justice movement.

Kirk Parker said...

Anglelyne,

Indeed. I take this as "Stock in The Atlantic sinks... In These Times rises".

Douglas said...

I'd like to point out that the term "politically correct" is used in Communist China today in a completely un-ironic way to refer to the need to conform to the Communist Party line or suffer some discipline or penalty. Happily, it's only a problem in the US for people who give a rat's a*s what leftists think about them. Michael Dougherty has explained why leftists never turn their PC fire on him:

"Translated into the Calvinist religious terms of the Canons of Dort, I am reprobate and beyond saving. My conservative political convictions manifest my status as one among the living damned, doomed from eternity to 'the common misery into which, by their own fault, they have plunged themselves' I can’t help being an oppressor." http://theweek.com/articles/536299/whats-wrong-political-correctness-few-observations-from-amansplainer

Having given up liberal guilt in my youth I too can say what I want without fear of chastisement from the local Party cell.