Thursday, December 10, 2015

Quartz Defends Emphatic Correctness

Many criticize the rise of emphatic correctness which is s sort of radical mutation of political correctness. President Obama has, many liberals have. I did earlier this morning.

To be sure EC also has its defenders. It's argued taht this is a legitimate refusal on the part of African-American students to any longer accept racism.

"Campus political correctness is no threat, it’s a wish for a better future."

"The zeal with which students have called for these changes—and their surprising success—is reminiscent of the debate over the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston shootings this summer. Initial calls to ban the flag were met with resistance, but were quickly overcome by a swelling tide of voices both online and in real life demanding the flag be outlawed and removed."

"The rhetoric of student protesters across the country this fall has taken on the life or death tenor befitting such an endeavor."

"It is the same tone that characterized the fight to ban the Confederate flag this summer, only this time it has resulted in the protesters being characterized as hyperbolic, na├»ve “social justice warriors.” In a column for New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait warned against the threat student protesters’ “hypersensitivity” poses to “free speech,” and Conor Friedersdorf has condemned students’ preoccupation with ideology in the Atlantic."

"In the case of the debate over the Confederate flag, no one could say its dramatic tone was misplaced: nine deaths in Charleston preceded it. But in the case of the events at Yale, for example, it was a seemingly well-intentioned letter to a college of students that precipitated the eruption of what has turned into a bitter argument over cultural sensitivity and exclusion. This has led to critics labeling the students as immature. For those unfamiliar with what happened at Yale in October, Freidersdorf’s article offers a nice recap. He rightly characterizes the letter written by Erika Christakis (who has decided not to teach next year) as “level-headed,” but misunderstands the students who reacted to it."

It's here that Quartz loses me. To put the Confederate flag flying in the SC capital with that teacher's email just shows a case of gross disproportion. I think there are many liberals like me who were totally for the CF being taken down who feel like maybe we don't' know what planet we're on when such an innocent well-meaning letter leads to such violent recriminations and demands for immediate terminations.

And what's further shocking is that these students like Jerelyn Luther won. Even after Erika Christakis' husband was forced to apologize he was still forced out for a 'sabbatical' and his wife as fired. Ok, they say resigned' but surely she was asked to.

It's hard to see a world where students have this power to just destroy anyone they want is a better world. The asymmetric response is what is so disquieting. When a well meant email is treated as if its writer is a KKK member, there's something skewed.

Then there are all the demands for striking the names of this or that historical figure off of this or that building. I admit the question of whether Woodrow Wilson should continue to be on the building at Yale is a matter of opinion.

For me the calculus is that the Confederate Flag was a racist symbol, full stop. It might be different if it really was a part of SC tradition since the Civil War but it actually was put up just in 1962 so it clearly was a protest against civil rights.

So my sense of rough justice is that the purpose of the CF was racist. Woodrow Wilson on the other hand isn't honored or remembered because he was a racist and even if in his bid to keep the Southern Democrats of his time he had rolled back racial progress in some very unfortunate ways you have to weigh against this all the positive contributions he made to Yale, to the progressive movement and to the country.

A lot of important aspects of modern liberalism begun under Wilson-the Federal Reserve, the income tax, progressive taxation.

To say all that is simply erased by his admittedly problematic racial record I disagree with or at least it's not to me nearly the open and shut case that the CF is.


  1. Nice post Mike, I agree.

    However, to play devil's advocate for part of it, you write:

    "For me the calculus is that the Confederate Flag was a racist symbol, full stop."

    Yes, but that's who the people there are. If they want to make wearing your klan robes an honor, then so be it.

    If Trump wanted to restore the confederate flag, to every state in the Old Confederacy, and he flat out stated that it was a symbol of racial harmony, misconstrued by generations of sub-human degenerate leftist scum in the media, would you object? I wouldn't ... I'd just be more inspired to vote for him.

  2. Well, there are also lots of black folks who have to live with this being pushed in their faces. Plus we had just had the Charleston massacres.

    That may be who the white folks are but why would their preferences be the only ones considered?

    So I don't have a problem getting rid of a purely racist symbol but feel differently if that's not the main meaning of it.

    I don't want to get to tarnish the memory of everyone in history who might have been racist-as quite honestly we'd have little left.

    But as the CF was really something added late-not from right after the Civil War I think it's fair to ask that to be taken down.

    I'll be honest I don't even understand your point for Trump. I'm inspired to vote for Trump in the primary, period.

  3. For me I'm a centrist liberal on the question. I obviously am critical of the new college radicalism-I notice that many former 60s radicals also are.

    But I'm not on the Right either like Rush who mock any concerns over racism.

    If in SC there are 70% racist whites and 30% blacks then I think it's fair in that case to side with the 30% blacks on matters of such blatant racial insensitivity.

    Now I'll admit I can be politically incorrect. Even now I don't want the Redskins to be forced to change their name.

    1. "I don't want the Redskins to be forced to change their name."

      Me neither. But it doesn't matter to me too much one way or the other. I wouldn't be terribly offended by a team called the "White Bread & Mayo Crackers" or the "Blue Eyed White Devils" ... but then I'm not feeling particularly victimized. So I guess that's my "white privilege."

      BTW, the words white, black, red and yellow used to describe skin color are a bit off, don't you think? "Brown" is OK. We're all actually shades of that. But if any of us actually saw a truly white, black, red or yellow man, I think we'd be shocked.

      Getting back to Trump: my point wasn't a very good one, granted, but I guess I was imagining Trump embracing the Confederate flag, pulling some horseshit out of his ass (as usual) and claiming it's the flag of peace and racial harmony... or perhaps that it was the flag that Jesus designed ("It's a fact! Look it up!" (to be read in a Trump voice)), and then I can imagine the GOP establishment knocking him for it, and perhaps the Beltway media... and then I can imagine reading a post here by Mike Sax defending Trump on the issue... and that defense sounding like "Trump is merely expressing the TRUE thoughts of the Republicans. They don't like it because he's making it public." And I'd be inclined to agree with my imagined version of Mike Sax on that. What does the real Mike Sax think? Suppose Trump did do that, and suppose the GOP establishment and the beltway media did criticize him for it. What would the real Mike Sax think? Would he write a post on it? What would that post say?

    2. Sure that would be the post. But remember, with the CF it has been public and flying in the SC state capital since 1962.

      So I doubt it would come up on this specific issue.

  4. O/T: Mike, this wins today's strangest new enemy of ISIS award: