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An almost perfect account of PC's origins,
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This review is from: The Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness and the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain (Second Edition) (Paperback)Perhaps not surprisingly, Browne's political pamphlet has received some fairly stinging attacks - always a great way to draw attention (and sales) to it. Julian Petley has written a discourteous review of The Retreat of Reason and regrettably fallen foul of concentrating on the odd factual error in an effort to divert attention from many of Browne's arguments.
PC thought and action though has evolved to the point that the "common" people - not just academics or our former liberal elite - are regularly touched by it. Anyone who has been unfortunate to have become a victim of crime will invariably encounter PC (sic) behaviour from their local police - often in their sheer lack of interest in pursuing the perpetrator. When citizens deal with local authorities, the NHS, and even many commercial organisations (such as Sainsbury's) they'll encounter PC behaviour at some point.
Browne explores the origin of PC and knocks over some of it's foundations (with relative ease it has to be said.) He points out the now-regular conumdrums that PC-literate folk suffer from, almost constantly - when they have to somehow balance their strict morality with its consequences - pointing-out the likes of Ken Livingstone - formerly known for promoting equality in all forms, but who will quite happily invite a Muslim scholar to London who calls for the murder of gays and the formal chastisement of women.
One element of the book rankles with me - Brownes almost puppy-like love of big corporations and enterprises. These are the organisations that have willingly shipped technology abroad (to Communist China for instance) and hopelessly failed to invest in skills and training for decades. Brownes lavish praise for capitalism might be out of step with some readers who are (like me) a little skeptical of its so-called triumph.
Browne though pulls his punches. The knots that PC folk get themselves into have led to our former left-wing and liberal elite falling into the maw of facism in recent years - an observation regularly pointed-out by commentators like Nick Cohen and the former Leftist David Horowitz in the US. Enchanted with a desire to challenge Western concepts in all forms, PC has moved from its Marxist heritage to occupy the ground that those around in the 1930's would have recognised as distinctly facist. Thus we see so-called "Lefties" demanding the introduction of Sharia Law (through the SWP/Respect) whilst the likes of Peter Tatchell are frantically discouraged by those who are desperately floundering with their moral compasses.
PC's greatest failure is to rob society of the liberal elite and left-leaning individuals that would have protested for our freedoms of expression, encouraged (proper) equality for women and gays and fought off the siren call of facism. Now, because of PC, that generation has been lost and we are none the better for it. Browne points out that we will need a new Age of Elightenment to repair the damage that PC has done - but those who used to work to change the Establishment have now become part of it.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Apr 2008 19:36:37 BDT
Good review. I particularly liked your observations on big corporations - specifically, how they have "hopelessly failed to invest in skills and training for decades". Very thought provoking. And to think of the contribution that that alone has made to the crappy fabric of modern British society! Seems to me that this nation is suffering from a desperate poverty of ambition and responsibility. Add PC and Left-wing fascism to the mix, and ............
Thank GOODNESS there are books and reviews like this to be read!! (But someone please tell me who the hell to vote for!)
In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2008 16:39:36 BDT
William Podmore says:
Good point about the employer's failure to invest in skills training. But please, you shouldn't be asking to be told who to vote for! Think for yourself man. Then you might also drop the Sun-level thinking about 'leftwing fascism'. There's tendencies towards fascism in Britain alright, and they come from this authoritarian and warmongering government. And it has grievously failed to invest in the British people, instead using mass immigration as a substitute for apprenticeships for young British people.
In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jan 2009 22:41:58 GMT
There's only one party brave enough to challenge the PC brigade. Brave Non Pc.
Posted on 24 Jun 2009 00:27:30 BDT
You say this book is 'an almost perfect account of PC's origins.'
This seems to me totally untrue. There is, as far as I know, no single author, legal personage, or group, which originated PC, which I take to be a mixture of support for immigration, suppression of facts about immigrant violence and cost, giving voting rights out like confetti, selling off assets, support for the EU, controlling beliefs by law, putting the local population at disadvantages, and other things - there are more or less exact analogies in the USA and in European countries.
I *think* though I may be wrong that this is clear proof of behind the scenes manipulation, because in each case weird, unconvincing, and phoney explanations get into circulation by BBC or press or by unelected government spokespeople or phoney charities and quangoes. There is no direct source who or which can be quizzed and questioned. In short, this book does NOT explain the origins at all! It describes symptoms, but not causation.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jul 2009 21:02:33 BDT
B. Newport says:
That's a good point. Chapter 3 'The Origins of Political Correctness' is just 3 pages long, and even then Browne admits to not being too certain about the origins. At the beginning of Chapter 4 - 'The Triumphs of Political Correctness' he says;
"Despite its counter-culture and possible Marxist origins..."
So a valid point. I don't think any single source can be attributed to the origin of PC; it's a movement and state-of-mind that doesn't have a leadership and a heritage that can be pinned-down. More it's the apex of many converging elements of political thought and social degradation. As Western society has decayed markedly since the end of WWII, given an extension in part of a few decades because of the joint paranoia of the Cold War, then perhaps PC is just another step-change down. To corrupt Churchill 'never before in human history has a social and political movement promised so much and delivered so little.'
In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2010 21:26:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jan 2011 12:50:07 GMT
C. W. Bradbury says:
When pondering on the likely culprit responsible for a crime, Police forces seek to discover who benefits by that crime; those who benefit most immediately becoming prime suspects. By following this line of reasoning, the prime mover behind immigration and the 'Politically Correct' legislation used to enforce it becomes obvious.
Due to the catastrophic destruction of WWII, the Western World entered peacetime with a chronic labour shortage. The military personnel discharged almost before the dust had settled, did little to fill the ranks of industry, depleted as they had been by some 50,000,000 casualties; so inevitably wages began to rise. Horrified that the workers rapidly rising living standards would have to be maintained over the longer term; big business immediately began pressuring Gov't to increase the labour supply by both 'liberating' women to work rather than raise families; and by encouraging 'New Commonwealth' immigration. Over the last fifty years the effect of steadily rising immigration has been a constant downward pressure on wages, identical to the effect slavery had on wage levels in the Roman Empire.
As the wartime damage was made good however, the labour shortage disappeared; but immigration continued, Why? Because the big employers could use the mass unemployment, artificially created by mass immigration; to force wages to unsustainably low levels. The victims of these criminally irresponsible policies are the ill-educated millions now condemned to the 'underclass', who exist on the modernday equivalent of a handful of rice; but are unable to take even unskilled employment because a week's wages won't pay the rent, let alone support a family.
From the employers perspective, another advantage of PC 'Equality' legislation, is the opportunity to label those who oppose their cheap labour policies as 'Racist'; a term now regarded amongst the 'politically correct' employer/governing class in the same way as 'Heretic' was regarded by the Spanish Inquisition.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2012 15:02:54 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Feb 2012 15:06:53 GMT
F. M. Muse says:
Some quite thoughtful contributions here. To those of you who have not read it, I strongly recommend Christopher Caldwells 'Reflections on the Revolution in Europe' which is a realistic look at one of the key issues of the day and in part deals with political correctness vis a vis the influence of Muslim immigration in Europe at the time of writing. Personally I would be extremely chary of reading Browne's book, given his background and mildly (or should that be 'wildly'), hysterical views on things such as the NHS and trade unions.
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