Saturday, September 24, 2005

Communist Propaganda Writ Small

The brilliant Theodore Dalrymple, a British doctor who writes social commentary, in this interview covers a variety of important topics:
Frontpage: You make the shrewd observation of how political correctness engenders evil because of "the violence that it does to people's souls by forcing them to say or imply what they do not believe, but must not question." Can you talk about this a bit?

Dalrymple: Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
We must shake off the shackles of politically correct thought. That in itself is one reason I am delighted the new pope is living up to his old nickname of "The Hammer" and putting the hammer down on gay-overrun seminaries and non-chaste gay priests:
The agency said the new document would indicate that men with homosexual tendencies shouldn't be ordained even if they are celibate "because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers."

In an apparently new element, the agency said the document would also say that already ordained priests, if they have homosexual tendencies, would be "strongly urged to renew their dedication to chastity and a manner of life appropriate to the priesthood."

The American prelate overseeing the evaluations, Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, said earlier this month that most gay candidates for the priesthood struggle to remain celibate and the church must "stay on the safe side" by restricting their enrollment. He stressed that the church was not "hounding" gays out of the priesthood, but wants to enroll seminarians who can maintain their vows of celibacy.
The simple fact that it's so incredibly un-PC for the church to do this, and yet do it they apparently will, and without consequence in spite of the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, will be of far-reaching importance.

Shouldn't we be tolerant of the Catholic church's views on who can be one of its own priests?

We must liberate our minds from Pre-Conceived (could that be what PC really stands for?) opinions.

I can feel the outrage over this already, but it doesn't have a logical leg to stand on, especially given the objective proof about the inappropriateness -- nay, the avoidable tragedy -- of allowing gay men to be in unsupervised close contact with teenage boys.

Which is the same reason the Boy Scouts are right to not have gay Scoutmasters.

And is the same reason why it would be ludicrous for me, a single man, to be allowed to be a Girl Scout leader.

It's the exact same thing.

Except that I'm not an approved victim or minority, so I am held to sane standards whereas gays, according to PC-logic, are not. Tolerance has become equated with being "more" equal, just to prove out virtue.

Dalrymple continues, apropos of this recent on the roots of Suicidalism,
Frontpage: You discuss the horrifying suffering that women endure under the vicious and sadistic structures of Islam's gender apartheid. You touch on the eerie silence of Western leftist feminists on this issue, noting "Where two pieties -- feminism and multi-culturalism -- come into conflict, the only way of preserving both is an indecent silence."

To be sure, the Left has long posed as a great champion of women's rights, gay rights, minorti rights, democratic rights etc. Yet today, it has reached out in solidarity with the most fascistic women-hating, gay-hating, minority-hating and democracy hating force on the face of the earth -- Islamism.

What gives? It's really nothing new though is it? (i.e. the Left's political pilgrimages to communist gulags etc.)

Dalrymple: I think the problem here is one of a desired self-image. Tolerance is the greatest moral virtue and broadmindedness the greatest intellectual one. Moreover, no decent person can be other than a feminist. People therefore want to be both multiculturalist and feminist. But multiculturalism and feminism obviously clash; therefore, you avoid the necessity to give up one or the other merely by disregarding the phenomena. How you feel about yourself is more important to you than the state of the world.
And also,
Frontpage: Your observation about humans' thrill for danger and how this interrelates with humans' pattern of self destruction and the voluntary choosing of misery is very profound. Could you share your thoughts with us about this?

Dalrymple: It is clear to me that people often want incompatible things. They want danger and excitement on the one hand, and safety and security on the other, and often simultaneously. Contradictory desires mean that life can never be wholly satisfying or without frustration.

I think it was Dostoyevsky who said that, even if the government were 100 per cent benevolent and arranged everything for our own good, as judged by rational criteria, we should still want to exercise our freedom by going against its dispensations.

One reason for the epidemic of self-destructiveness that has struck British, if not the whole of Western, society, is the avoidance of boredom. For people who have no transcendent purpose to their lives and cannot invent one through contributing to a cultural tradition (for example), in other words who have no religious belief and no intellectual interests to stimulate them, self-destruction and the creation of crises in their life is one way of warding off meaninglessness. I have noticed, for example, that women who frequent bad men - that is to say men who are obviously unreliable, drunken, drug-addicted, criminal, or violent, or all of them together, have often had experience of decent men who treat them well, with respect, and so forth: they are the ones with whom their relationships lasted the shortest time, because they were bored by decency. Without religion or culture (and here I mean high, or high-ish, culture) evil is very attractive. It is not boring.

Frontpage: You mention that your dad was a communist. Tell us about his world view and how this affected your family and your own intellectual journey.

Dalrymple: My father was a communist though he was also a businessman. Our house was full of communist literature from the 1930s and 40s, and I remember such authors as Plekhanov and Maurice Hindus and Edgar Snow. It was always clear that my father's concern for humanity was not always matched by his concern for men, to put it mildly, for whom (as individuals) he often expressed contempt. He found it difficult to enter an equal relationship with anyone, and preferred to play Stalin to their Molotov. We had The Short Course in the house, incidentally, and one of my favourite books (which I used to leaf through as a child) was a vast picture book of the Soviet Union in 1947.

I think the great disjunction between my father's expressed ideas (and ideals) and his everyday conduct affected me, and made me suspicious of people with grand schemes of universal improvement.


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