John Derbyshire has written an excellent rant on what he sees as "a trend towards a European-style society dominated by an arrogant overclass of credentialed intellectuals".
We have not, in fact, gone "beyond tolerance" at all, we have merely invented new kinds of intolerance. We have not swept away caste-feudalism and replaced it with a shining meritocratic egalitarianism; we have just traded in one style of caste-feudalism for another style. This is not a society "in which people feel free to hold whatever private views on all human groups and behaviors." People are ashamed of their private beliefs and fearful to disclose them. They are baffled by the fact that sincere opinions held by their parents and grandparents, rooted in custom, good sense, scripture, and everyday observation, are now shouted down as "bigoted" and "intolerant." What use are private beliefs anyway, if they are excluded from the public square by a suffocating conformity, imposed by an ever-vigilant Thought Police backed by armies of predatory lawyers? Under this relentless pressure, private beliefs fade from all but the bravest hearts, to be replaced with the state-approved formulas: diversity, inclusiveness, equality, compassion, respect.
And it is not merely private beliefs that are crushed out of existence by this pressure. I wondered aloud a few paragraphs ago whether I am supposed to extend my "respect" and "regard" to groups with high crime statistics, or groups that spread disease, or groups that hate America. The answer, as we all know, is not merely: "Yes, Sir, you are." The answer is, that if I even mention such plain facts, I am a very wicked person. The orthodoxy of "tolerance" that Ms. Noonan is so pleased with seeks to stamp out not only private opinions, but also actual facts.
The full essay is excellent and I strongly recommend reading it in full. One important point he makes is that the taboos against the strong biological basis of human nature and of differences in behavior and cognitive processes between people are having the effect of slowing down research into these areas while the research is going ahead in other countries. This gives an advantage to, for example, China in developing a better understanding of intelligence and in the development of techniques for boosting intellectual abiltiies.
Our taboos and enforced political correctness cost us in all sorts of ways. For example, Steve Sailer has made the very excellent observation that the Orientalist scholars of the Arabs were basically squeezed out of academia by Edward Said and other left-leaning critics of the Orientalists. This had the effect of eliminating American academia as a significant source of experts to help formulate US govenment policy toward the Middle East. This, in turn, opened the door for rather ideological neoconservative activists who didn't understand the Arabs very well to exert much greater influence over US policy. So by preventing more reasonable and rational people from doing scholarly work on the Middle East Edward Said and his America-hating allies gave power to their ideological enemies.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 March 24 12:08 PM Civilizations Decay|