Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obama Worship, and the Perils of Political Correctness

A recent article in the Weekley Standard caught my attention, about the relationship between Obama the Candidate and Obama the President. In this view, much of the recent disappointment in Obama's performance as president is traced to the perception among some of his supporters as the Grand Messiah of the "Religion of Humanity"---a world-view which elevates the god of science to prominence in a modern world often caught between those too primitive to understand it, and those too unenlightened to recognize it. To these adherents, it is proposed, Obama reflects the hope that the world can be saved, if only the "right thinkers" of the politically correct crowd manage to persevere. I thought the article was very interesting, though there is always a danger in pressing interesting thoughts and theories a bit too far.

I've long thought that there was a quasi-religious bent to a quite a lot of the "politically-correct left", both in terms of their fixation on dogma to the exclusion of facts (as with the Global Warming crowd), and their demonization of "non-believers" (as in branding as racists, sexists, or warmongers anyone who disagrees with them). Some organized religions have similar tendencies: though usually the sharper edges are mitigated by a sense of humility, some exhibit the same "holier-than-thou" attitude that seems to be all the range among the "right thinkers" in the PC crowd.

All the same, I think it's a mistake to take this thought too far: I suspect most of what the writer identifies is subliminal, rather than deliberate. In many respects, I think it reflects the longing for an ideal leader or a way toward a less-imperfect world, rather than a conscious effort to establish a specific set of new institutions. But this doesn't really change the possible dangers inherent in our modern version of orthodox "political correctness." It is still as stifling, as destructive of liberty and a free human spirit as if it were deliberate.

Perhaps I'm hopelessly naive, but I think it's more productive to view it as misguided and amenable to reason than the result of a conspiracy of "correct thinkers." I usually follow the advice of Napoleon...who said, more or less, that it's usually a mistake to ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity or incompetence. least if I'm any guide...calling someone an idiot for believing what they believe rarely changes any minds; showing them that they're mistaken may. At least, as long as they're not actually idiots...but then, you can't always reason someone out of an idea they never reasoned themselves into in the first place

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a veteran public prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, specializes in the appellate practice of criminal law and writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.

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