With the current trend of growing political correctness, we have seen a decrease in being definitively correct. With all of these terms being thrown around so liberally, our current social sphere of media news has become rather muddled. While it is always important to let arguments stand for themselves under a critical eye, this has become increasingly more difficult in today’s world.
There are essentially two main reasons for this. These two reasons have not only created miscommunication but have stalled progress in important debates as some proponents take advantage of this subtle dissonance. Definition dissonance to be exact. What am I referring to?
Well, for starters, anyone can use a label no matter how closely one does or does not fit the definition. That is their right. This leads to the current problem, however. A person who joins a political movement to further their own personal agenda can use the definition of the movement to appear justified. Even if what they are doing is fundamentally in opposition to their stated ideology, they still use the definition. They are not being definitively correct even if they don’t say anything politically incorrect.
Let me give you an example that makes it clear what I am referring to. Religion has been used to justify very cruel and self-interested actions seen throughout history; slaughtering an entire people for gold and profit is seen as spreading the word of Christianity.
Now, historically and as a society we have grown to a point where we can turn around and criticize this for what it was “That’s not an accurate representation of Christianity, that was an abuse of the label!”, one might currently say. The Spanish Requirement of 1513 was a declaration by the monarchy of Spain to justify the complete attack on the inhabitants of the New World under the banner of religion. After all, enforced subjugation is just fine if it is for the higher goal of enlightening their souls, right?
Obviously we all know that this was not a true representation of the theology but a misrepresentation to fuel national interests. Of course, at the time, any dissenters who would point out the injustice and say how against the ideology these actions were would be directed to the specific ideas and values within the religion that can loosely support these decisions when taken in a broader, less accurate context despite the deeper controversy. If they weren’t simply persecuted, that is.
In other words, while it may look like we are doing something else, we have a banner broad enough to cover it all up. I know you, the reader, could not possibly imagine any current political ideologies or movements that would fall into this category. Someone can invalidate the literal definition of an ideology through their actions, while shaping the meaning to their own likening, yet point back to the definition of the broader movement as defense. It is no wonder people are confused today on what terms REALLY mean.
It is the ultimate shield against those who cannot navigate the overly-technical waters of today’s politics, a game played well by those who abuse it. This leaves them practically impervious to the general public. But hey, who cares? If their goals and actions do not make sense to begin with, any reasonable person with their critical thinking intact should be able to spot the inconsistencies and dismiss them no matter what definition they hide under. Simple, right?
Actually, they have the perfect sword to match that perfect shield. It does not combat your personal argument, however. Instead, it passes right through you into a straw man. This “sword” has no basis in truth nor anything to do with YOU. What sword could I be referring to? Ah yes, here those tricky definitions come into play again. As stated, it is an iceberg to hide parts of the actual movement under water from public awareness and now, a blanket to smother their persecutors.
If you try and point out my hypocrisy, I only need pick a statement out of context and label you something so extreme and offensive that you are socially attacked due to the stigma. Then your argument is seen as invalid. The words themselves can hold such power nobody cares if it is true or not, it is the Red Scare all over again! Labeling themselves provided justification for their defense yet labeling you justifies your persecution!
In this definition “square shape through the circle-hole smashing” logic, the hypocritical can maintain power while avoiding any real debate. They operate outside of politics and seem to have amnesty. Why is this, how can they avoid being definitively correct? Because all reasonable voices are dismissed and disagreement portrayed as villainous under powerful reactionary terms. The power lies in the public, not in the logic and that is a real tragedy for critical thinkers as most people operate on emotion.
Many people are out there who hold people accountable, such as these notable YouTubers: RageAfterStorm, ShoeOnHead, ArmouredSkeptic, Chris Ray Gun and The Rubin Report. I am not saying all of their thoughts are accurate or that I agree with them in all cases but they are willing to criticize openly and without hesitation those who step outside of their definition shields and call them out on their hypocrisy. They go in guns blazing. No powerful influence could twist them into a label they don’t identify with, without immediate backlash. We’ve seen this when some who identified as feminist tried labeling them as alt-right. They respond to and resist this categorization, pointing out how they don’t fit the definition.
However…sometimes a popular YouTuber or other individual/group without clearly defining their stance will speak out against this definition abuse. They do this knowing that political conversation relies so much on communication and intention, not so much on being politically correct. The media often retaliates against this with labels and character attacks. This twisted wordsmithing could be called no less than political and personal abuse.
Two popular examples that happened quite recently: PewDiePie and JonTron. Are they Nazis?
Of course they are! How could anybody, especially the news, ever use such an “offensive” term to describe them without plenty of collaborating evidence? Oh right, through definition “Rorschach inkblot” logic where things mean what you want them to. Where if you say the more dangerous word first, you win! This often happens when people sacrifice being definitively correct in the pursuit of political correctness. Anybody who looks into these issues will see that, looking at the definition of Nazis and White Supremacists as they were called by popular media, they do not fit the label nor support those ideals.
All arguments presented by these resources, such as clips of PewDiePie doing a Hitler salute, are taken out of context so blatantly and purposefully that only somebody who knew nothing at all about the issue could possibly believe them! And that is all it takes as most people have no familiarity. Those people who do not know any better, they are the new frontier for politics. Our recent political elections have shown how strong emotions, not logic, form the decisions of the average person.
So Buzzfeed, I mean buzzwords, will win the day through their loaded language no matter how many statistics and facts one brings up to. For example, showing that a wage gap between the sexes does not exist for individuals would be impossible with facts if the listener rather use emotional reasoning. How else could this 20 year old myth survive despite the studies?They do not need, or rather want, to use logic. PewDiePie had his series on YouTube Red dropped as Disney did not want to be associated with the negative press of “professional journalism” at its finest. I guess it is time reasonable people who like to use logic to debate important issues get out of Dodge.
There’s no point for people like us anymore. No matter how many subscribers we have or people we talk to, there is no way to convince a public that relies on emotion. The people who subscribe to these channels and these sources of news are generally already in a point of view that agrees. Of course, this is a hyperbole and I do not seek to discredit all of the important work these people and news sources like The Ruben Report do to fight against the injustice and the ignorance but I feel we are missing a key element of the issue here. We need to take the fodder from their slander weapons, the energy out of their hate speech that can so easily ruin lives.
How do we do this? So glad you asked captivated reader, the solution has two steps! It is a very simple solution, the gaping hole in the hodgepodge monster that our political media has become. First, we go back to the definitions when using political terms. That’s right, learn them. Understand them. Make sure to be definitively correct! It is not all of the extraneous information tied to the people or the movement, but simply the definitions themselves that matters here. For instance, taken from website www.britannica.com, liberalism in politics has this definition “Liberalism, political doctrine that takes protecting and enhancing the freedom of the individual to be the central problem of politics.” End of story.
Somebody comes up to you with their “liberal” identity politics that use socially identified group statistics and averages to make decisions regarding individuals? Let them know that is not a liberal idea. Sure, these group-based statistics can be analyzed to look for potential social influences that may affect an individual based on a characteristic. Pointing that out is fine! But assuming anything about said individual based on these statistics or making decisions from these assumptions, like affirmative action, discriminates against the individual. It judges them for their traits not for who they are as a person.
Is it possible that you could misrepresent an individual in this collective mentality? Definitely, and looking at the definition of being politically liberal, that goes against the ideology, as it restricts individual freedom. It tries to box them in regardless of their personal experience. Rip them out from the definition rocks these political poisons seek to hide under. Don’t let them get lumped in with real liberal ideology. To the public, seeing is believing.
The more the public is knowledgeable about definitions and movements, the less they’ll fall for mislabeling others like PewDiePie, who is definitely not a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. As someone born and raised in Sweden, this is unlikely nor is it likely he supports the Nazi movement because he made a joke involving Nazis. This is as absurd as it sounds and that is why the remedy is so equally simple. Educate people on the definitions we use, not on being sensitive to words or being politically correct. Priority number one in stopping this problem.
So that begs the question, what is priority number two? It ties directly into my first answer, people who identify with a specific political definition should be even more critical, not less, of those who share the same label. Hold those under your banner accountable so the common enemy has nowhere to hide and your movement won’t be misrepresented in the public. Don’t let the movement suit the schemes of the few…and yes I’m referring to you, feminists.
People who are by definition feminist are increasingly disassociating themselves from the term because of those who are a part of the movement. Some abuse the ideology to mask their hatred towards men and their need to play the victim in order to get what they want. Some use the label and completely understand the meaning as they follow it. They have good intentions, so keep at it! Pushing for gender equality is definitively correct! Just make sure you can clearly show where that is not the case with facts and reasoning. If this is an issue you are passionate enough to be active about, clear the snakes from your nest so you can remove those crippling cinder blocks from the wings of your movement.
You can point to the definition all you want when interacting with others but again, what a lot of feminism has become is so far from the definition it actually contradicts it. This would be definitively incorrect. Just look at famous “feminist” Big Red who clearly discriminates based on sex yet feels it is okay to do whatever you want if you say it is for feminism. Just Google her and see for yourself. Apparently advocating for men’s rights is hateful towards women and is against feminism. I wish I was misquoting.
So many people still support feminism at a literal level, but they won’t take the movement seriously or use the label to describe themselves. Not until more of what is shown in the media, hypocrites who openly use the label, come under criticism from the group they represent. How can any proper debate be had when one person is talking about the work done under a definition and the other is talking about an area of the movement that strays away from that? While still using the same word, this can get quite confusing.
You’re still using the same term, so while you think they’re attacking your entire ideology, you are inadvertently defending those who don’t belong in the movement by defending “yourself”. Just because you want more influence does not mean you should let anyone hide under your definition cloak to make you bigger. We’ve come to a time where you should look down and realize you’re not the one choosing where to go anymore. How should you go about this?
Well, my friends, that goes back to priority number one. You already tell people the definition so often that this should be no problem for you. Just do an 180 degree turn on who you tell it to next time, tell it to these people against politics that use legitimate social agendas to run their personal hate and intolerance. Make it so they have no room to hide.
For example, people are correct in saying reverse racism is not a thing. What people are typically referring to are actually examples of racism, just good old fashioned regular racism. Racial activists need to separate from those who try and marginalize racial discrimination against certain races, or say that it is impossible to be racist towards someone of a certain race, in order to preserve the integrity of their movement. How can people hear what you have to say when you have a foot in your mouth that you pretend isn’t there?
I recommend labeling these people who ride a movement and try to steer it towards their toxic ideals “political stowaways”. They will play the political correctness game while going to great length not to be definitively correct. Keep people informed on definitions, what terms actually mean, and the emotionally fueled boogeymen will have no ground to stand on. Their arguments, which are not factual arguments, will fall apart under open criticism without their label shields. That is why we need to become familiar with the political dictionary, to aspire to be definitively correct in what we say. Thank you for your time.