Political Correctness

Are Political Correctness Police Really Outraged, or Are They Signaling Their Social Standing?

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Credit: Jon Sullivan/wikimedia

Over at the Institute of Economic Affairs Senior Research Fellow Kristian Niemietz wrote an interesting blog post on the economics of political correctness that is well worth checking out.

Niemietz explains how those obsessed with political correctness use moral superiority as a "positional good," which is a "good that people acquire to signalise where they stand in a social hierarchy." In the post Niemietz uses expensive wine and a degree from a reputable university as examples of positional goods: the motivation for purchasing them may not be the taste of the wine or what is learned in pursuit of a degree but rather the fact that having expensive wine and a degree from a good university signal your social standing:

I may buy an exquisite variety of wine because I genuinely enjoy the taste, or acquire a degree from a reputable university because I genuinely appreciate what that university has to offer. But my motivation could also be to set myself apart from others, to present myself as more sophisticated or smarter.

Niemietz goes on:

…if you see me moaning that the winemakers/the university have 'sold out', if you see me whinging about those ignoramuses who do not deserve the product because they (unlike me, of course) do not really appreciate it, you can safely conclude that for me, this good is a positional good. (Or was, before everybody else discovered it.) We can all become more sophisticated wine consumers, and we can all become better educated. But we can never all be above the national average, or in the top group, in terms of wine-connoisseurship, education, income, or anything else. We can all improve in absolute terms, but we cannot all simultaneously improve in relative terms.

What has this got to do with political correctness? Niemietz argues that those who enjoy acting like members of a political correctness enforcement brigade behave like people who couldn't tell the difference between vinegar and a glass of $400 wine but buy the $400 bottle in order to signal how sophisticated they are. And, like the owners of $400 bottles of wine who panic when others people start buying the same bottle, those obsessed with political correctness panic when more people start agreeing with them:

PC-brigadiers behave exactly like owners of a positional good who panic because wider availability of that good threatens their social status. The PC brigade has been highly successful in creating new social taboos, but their success is their very problem. Moral superiority is a prime example of a positional good, because we cannot all be morally superior to each other. Once you have successfully exorcised a word or an opinion, how do you differentiate yourself from others now? You need new things to be outraged about, new ways of asserting your imagined moral superiority.

You can do that by insisting that the no real progress has been made, that your issue is as real as ever, and just manifests itself in more subtle ways. Many people may imitate your rhetoric, but they do not really mean it, they are faking it, they are poseurs (here's a nice example). You can also hugely inflate the definition of an existing offense (plenty of nice examples here.) Or you can move on to discover new things to label 'offensive', new victim groups, new patterns of dominance and oppression.

So, next time you see people declaring their outrage at whatever the next political correctness fad is, consider if they really are upset, or whether they are feigning outrage to signal their social standing.

Disclaimer: I used to work at the IEA.

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  1. Least Shocking Post of the Day.

    1. I’m with DwT on this.

    2. It certainly does seem to confirm what we’ve been seeing recently, including the hypocrisy of indignation over a police raid in Peoria in retaliation for deadpan Twitter satire, when similarly deadpan “Gmail confessions” concerning an academic controversy have been criminalized in New York without any sign of protest whatsoever from the politically correct farce of a “First Amendment” establishment. See the case documentation at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. Remember when Reason had Postrel, before it sold out?

    1. Drink! Preferably fine wine!

      1. Waiter, bring me the 30 year old Dow’s Tawny Port, STAT!

    2. Ha! Reason has always been about phony libertarianism. Want the real deal? You gotta go to Lew Rockwell.

      1. There’s only one real libertarian here. Hint, he scored higher than Ron Paul on the libertarian purity test.

        1. We’ve had more than one of those.

          1. All but one were fakes.

            1. That’s what all the others said, too.

              Are we going to have to do one of those ‘test the clones out by asking intimate questions that only the real one would know’ things?

      2. Ha! Reason has always been about phony libertarianism. Want the real deal? You gotta go to Lew Rockwell.

        Lew Rockwell is where you go when you want a dose of full-on ancap. Reason is where you go when you’re content with mostly statist-lite, with the exception of Two Chili.

        1. Reason is where the sane people go. LR is where you go if want to hear about how Lizard Jews were behind 9/11.

  3. I used to work at the IEA.

    So, are you upset, or feigning outrage to signal your social standing? 😉

    1. I see what you did there.

  4. Yes. White racism in this country is the province of the deepest swamps on the internet. Most real racism that there is is between various minority groups.

    The entire cultural obsession with white racism is nothing but an intra white racial fight. It is upper middle and upper class mostly coastal whites asserting their superiority over other whites.

    What is the white coastal elite to do? You can’t as a white person smugly assert your superiority to a minority like you could back in the day. Since they can’t do that, they get their smug on over other white people and that is often done by asserting how all white people but them are THE RACIST!!

    1. I suspect that if any American minority member of the Outrage Shock Team ever went to Eastern Europe or Africa, and saw the rampant ethnic hatred on display there, they’d stroke out.

      1. There is that. White liberals are some of the least educated, worldly and profoundly ignorant people on the planet.

    2. As a black man you are no doubt extremely qualified to make this judgment.

      1. No Tony. I am white and that makes uniquely qualified to understand and judge white culture. Calling other people you don’t like and think are inferior to you “racist” is a white thing that most black folks wouldn’t understand nor would they want to.

        1. You’re speaking for black people again.

          1. No Tony, I am speaking for nasty white people like you?

            1. White people like me have some appreciation for the privilege that comes with being white. White people like you Cliven Bundy think brown people have all the privilege because they were allowed off the plantation.

              1. White people like you Cliven Bundy think brown people have all the privilege because they were allowed off the plantation.

                Actually he said he thinks black people never were let off the plantation….only that their owners switched to being the democrat party rather then private slavers.

                FYI I don’t think you personally justify your class by being shocked…i think you act shocked to defend your TEAM by distracting attention away from TEAM blue’s failures with centralized education, welfare, Min wage laws, and drug war all of which keep blacks poor and powerless.

                1. How do the “Democrat” party own black people? By winning almost all of their votes? Black people must be easily duped.

                  1. Tony is working hard to show that the Kristian Niemietz is right.

              2. It’s hard to understand a privilege that doesn’t exist.

      2. You know, Tony, it is quite possible that sometimes it is easier to make unbiased judgements about a culture that you don’t belong to.

        1. It’s highly unlikely to make a better informed judgment.

          1. Being emotionally detached is just as important as being informed.

            1. This is important and you’re wrong. It’s next to impossible to be truly empathetic with someone of a different race, sex, sexual orientation, or what not. All you can do is give it a good shot. People who don’t think empathy is important are not likely trying very hard to understand anything; they are likely coming to the table with preconceived notions and an agenda to sustain them.

              The unstated assumption here is that heterosexual white males are naturally the most objective people.

              1. No, it’s not. I’d be interested to hear what a black person from the inner city who has never seen white, middle class, rural culture thinks about how I live and what I think and if they didn’t bring too many biases with them, I think it could be a very educational experience.

                Yes, empathy can help to understand another person’s situation better. But so can dispassionate observation. And with a highly emotional issue like race, we need a whole lot more dispassionate observations. There is certainly no shortage of emotionally based commentary on the subject.

                1. Sure, there could be valuable insights gained from a black person’s perspective on white people or vice versa. But a black person is likely to understand what it’s like to be black better than a white person.

                  1. Yet you seem to have no problem telling libertarians what they think though you clearly are not one.

                    Interesting.

              2. What Tony is attempting to do here is to make knowledge of black people circumstances unattainable and unkowable by his opponents. Only The Liberal Cleric can truly understand. He can never say *exactly* what it is that we don’t understand, which is why we get a lot of vague bullshit.

              3. The unstated assumption here is that heterosexual white males are naturally the most objective people

                I don’t think this is an ‘unstated assumption’, I think it may be a simple fact.

                It was white males(probably not all hetero) who started this ‘equality’ ball rolling.

                Hell, it might even, at this point, be American white males–most of the rest of the world is so blatantly and casually racist in so many ways.

                It’s America that castigates itself for being too racist–and the rest of the world jumps on the bandwagon. And these are the same folks who were all ready to lynch them some gypsies last year because they were convinced that they’d kidnaped a ‘white child’, the same people who ‘ethnically cleanse’ the genetically identical tribe next door.

                And you can go on and on with these examples.

                Quite honestly, I don’t think Americans have any conception of what real racism actually is.

    3. IMNSHO, the easiest way to find the racist in in the room, is to watch for the first guy to cry “racism!” In order to distract, deflect, take the attention away from his own utter ignorance, he points a finger at the first person who appears bluntly-spoken enough for the accusation to stick to.

      The worst *actual* racists I’ve ever met have been Mexicans – followed hot-on-the-heels by blacks and Middle-Easterners.
      Yes, I know a few white people who are like, “Shee-oot, Ah hayts me dem fukin neegers,” but they are few and far between – most of them either don’t give a shit one way or the other, or hate white people as much as anyone else.

      I’m not prejudiced – I hate everyone equally.

  5. Smart people watch The Daily Show, and I get all my news from The Daily Show! That makes me smart!

    (I have actually seen someone make that argument before)

    1. I was told I don’t get the humor.

      Yeah, that’s it.

      1. I got the humor — out of my house. As in, I don’t watch it any more.

        Smug and cluelessly liberal gets old.

  6. Speaking of status signalling, NPR is hitting the right buttons right now. A convicted Palestinian terrorist who was let out of prison and became a Hebrew teacher to Palestinian children. So we have Middle East Peace plus Teachers Teaching Tolerance (allegedly).

    1. If only he was planning his gay wedding it would be the perfect NPR story.

    2. And teaching it via hip hop. NPR runs a “young people from (insert exotic country here) learn to assert their independence and political dissent through hip hop” story about every three months like clockwork.

      1. You sound like you listen to NPR almost as much as I do.

        I’ve actually been off NPR lately. Turned it on for 30 seconds this morning and got hit with ocean acidification. Said, “Same news, different day, ” and flipped stations.

        1. I don’t actually now but used to. I turn it on once in a while and the stories are exactly the same. It never seems to change.

          1. Three ring circus of journalism:

            (in no order)

            Race/identity
            Environment
            What’s government doing to fix [____]

            1. Don’t forget the “latest independent film” and “new critically acclaimed cutting edge indie artist” side shows.

              1. Oh the sideshows are the best. Especially the oddly chosen ‘human interest’ ones.

              2. I referenced this bit in the NPR thread. I think it sums them up well.

                1. I referenced this bit in the NPR thread. I think it sums them up well.

                  That was damned funny.

        2. I listen to a lot of NPR. It’s just the easiest way to keep up with current news a bit. I can listen when I’m driving, then I can waste time here while I’m working and do better things than worry about the news when I am at home.
          It serves its purpose. But I find myself turning it off more lately too. I can handle the enviro-stuff, but anything about guns, and their recent obsession with “opioid epidemic” really annoys me.

  7. Or you can move on to discover new things to label ‘offensive’, new victim groups, new patterns of dominance and oppression.

    “I’m not allowed to watch Game of Thrones anymore because it promotes rape culture!”

    1. And murder culture, and torture culture, and incest culture, and sex work culture.

      1. And dragon culture.

        1. Court intrigue culture. Oh, and Night’s Watch culture. And by virtue of that, the celibacy culture.

    2. When I think “Rape Culture” I think of Swan Lake

      …with a lot more rape in it.

      1. All this talk of rape, and not ONE mention of a certain yeti-ish person. Things really went downhill around here after…

        1. STEVE SMITH TOO BUSY TO RAPE – CATCHING UP ON BACKLOG OF GOT EPISODES!

    3. “I’m not allowed to watch Game of Thrones anymore because it promotes rape culture!”

      On the show where only one possible rape occurred, and even that was debateable.

      Unlike the show after it, where it casually depicted multiple rapes occurring at once. Awesomely anti-PC.

      1. See, Right there you’re promoting rape culture. She didn’t enthusiastically consent therefore she was raped.

        Oh, and she was emotionally vulnerable at that time so even if she had enthusiastically consented it wouldn’t have counted.

        1. Jesus, it’s a fucking television show, and both Cersei and Jaime are bad guys, remember.

          Cersei is a horrible person, who got pseudo-raped by her slightly-less-horrible brother/lover, in a creepy scene next to their son’s corpse.

          This is an endorsement of rape how?

  8. Well, yes. Virtually everything that people do is a means of propping up either their social status or, more insidiously, their egos.

    Narcissistic assholes like Reid and Clinton aside, there are an awful lot of lefties who escape the former and fall victim to the latter, as they operate under the assumption that their good intentions and outrage at human suffering somehow give them the moral high ground. Right-wingers, too, though conventional righties seem more drawn to institutional religion as their means of seizing the moral high ground.

    1. Jung had it right, everyone needs an archetype or myth to follow. The leftist archetype is the noble tolerant intellectual fighting the racist evil system.

      The fact that they are so anti-intellectual they haven’t had a new idea in a century or more, are shocking intolerant, and pretty much own every major institution in society, is never allowed to get in the way of the myth.

      1. Oh, they’ve had a few new ideas. The latest is that non-standard sexual orientations and genders are the latest victim groups.

  9. Niemietz argues that those who enjoy acting like members of a political correctness enforcement brigade behave like people who couldn’t tell the difference between vinegar and a glass of $400 wine but buy the $400 bottle in order to signal how sophisticated they are.

    So…poseurs?

    1. I’d take the $400 and buy 10 really good bottles of $40 port – and then extend two middle fingers at the snobs….or would it be better to slam one bottle, then break the empty over one of their heads?

      /middle class yobo

      1. I’d probably go for 5 bottles of $80 scotch myself. Once you get beyond somewhere around that point (and I think it applies with most other wine and aged spirits too) price doesn’t correlate with quality so much as rarity.
        I’ve had some stupidly expensive whiskeys and I wouldn’t say that they are much better than what you can get for $50-80, but they are certainly distinctive. This is why you need to have some rich friends.

      2. I’d rather buy a bottle of Capt. Morgan, a six-pack of Dr. Pepper – and spend the rest on pot.

        I like the middle fingers idea though – sounds like a fun whiling away of an afternoon.

    2. Yes. Anyone who actually knows shit about wine knows that price doesn’t always correspond to quality and even when it does quality doesn’t always correspond to your pallet.

      The really interesting thing about wine is that a great wine can be virtually anywhere by accident. The most famous and expensive bottle of win in the world famous 1947 Cheval Blanc was by the product of what should have been completely disastrous set of circumstances where the summer was so hot they had to cool the wine barrels down with ice to get it to ferment. For whatever reason what should have produced swill produced treasure.

      The thing the big, expensive wineries have is consistency. You buy an expensive bottle of wine from a big winery and you know it is at least going to be good and not swill. The small wineries are more hit and miss. Yet, sometimes the stars align and that $10 bottle of Virginia Merlot is amazing.

      1. “The most famous and expensive bottle of win”

        A delicious and somehow appropriate typo!

        P.S. No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!

        1. That movie is really disturbing but funny none the less. The scene where he drinks the wine out of the spittoon is hysterical.

          1. It’s funnier when you lived in the area and know all the places they show in the film.

            The restaurant (Hitching Post II) they go to and meet Maya is next to an ostrich farm.

            The “Frass Canyon” winery is Fess Parker Winery. It’s not bad.

            1. I have always wanted to drive up highway 1 from LA to San Fransisco. If and when I ever do, I totally want to go to the Hitching Post

              1. And drop me a line! I’ll go with you.

              2. The Hitching Post II is in Buellton, off US-101. CA-1 runs through Lompoc (Ocean/H).

                When you get to Lompoc on CA-1, take a right at Ocean/US-101 onto CA-246. Hitching Post is in Buellton, past US-101, past Split Pea Anderson’s (go there!), past the car dealerships near the end of town on the right.

                Then you can go a bit further and visit the ostrich farm. 😀

                1. The original Hitching Post in Casmalia is better, though – if it’s still there.

      2. So I am totally, totally awful at distinguishing between $100/bottle and $10/bottle wine. Maybe once did I try a mind-numbingly expensive wine (Opus One I think) and think “damn that is good”. Now I tend to get off more on finding cheap wine that is awesome – but in my experience the awesomeness can be as much because of reflected glory from the food / environment as from the grape juice.

        On the other hand, I have mad skillz in detecting the difference between expensive and cheap gin. Or rye. Etc.

        1. So I am totally, totally awful at distinguishing between $100/bottle and $10/bottle wine.

          Pretty much everyone is. There have been any number of pranks pulled on “wine experts” where they were given what they were told was expensive wine but was actually something out of a box bought at a Seven Eleven for six bucks and they nearly always fall for it.

          1. If I were taking this test, I’d guess that the more unusual/weird wine is the expensive one.

        2. What I’ve heard is that pretty much any wine made today is so vastly superior to wines from 100 years ago that only an expert can tell the difference any more anyway.

          We’ve got so much more technology for regulating temperature and humitity, and irrigation and fertilization and pest control.
          Everything that goes into the process is infinitely superior to what they have to work with in the past.

          1. What I’ve heard is that pretty much any wine made today is so vastly superior to wines from 100 years ago

            Falernian wine is the best wine ever made and they stopped making it like 2000 years ago.

      3. You buy an expensive bottle of wine from a big winery and you know it is at least going to be good and not swill.

        I wish this was true. See, e.g., Burgundy.

        The Hitching Post, besides making really tasty grilled tri-tip, has great wines of their own too. Hartley-Ostini, IIRC.

  10. Well, when I was at MIT we spent many a cold evening over a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem expressing our deep concern over the use of words like “niggardly” and “whopping”, which obviously sound like slurs and can cause intensely hurt feelings even though they are thoroughly innocuous. I would trace this as the beginnings of the trigger warning concept, were I more of a self-congratulatory type.

    1. *kowtows deeply to hamilton*

      Oh damn, I am now guilty of Cultural Appropriation! OFF WITH MY HEAD!

    2. really? because when I was at Podunk Technical Junior College for Ex-Cons, we used to sniff glue and swill Milwaukee’s Worst and talk about *the same shit*

      1. Was that Podunk U or The Podunk Technical College? Just want to get the level of social order correct.

      2. (this is a similar form of moral-narcissism where one points out that one “is poorer and hasn’t had the benefits of person Y” but is *just as good as ‘yall fancypants’)

    3. But you’re the guys with male and female plugs, aren’t you, sexists?

    4. Nice.

      The French city, of course.

    5. Pfft. Like MIT students can afford d’Yquem. Make it Bennington, and I’d believe you.

  11. “those obsessed with political correctness use moral superiority as a “positional good,” which is a “good that people acquire to signalise where they stand in a social hierarchy.”

    that sure is a lot of fancy words to say what I’ve called it for nearly 20 years = ‘Moral Narcissism’

    And, really = “Signalise”? I graduated college so I wouldn’t have to hear people abuse language like that. for shame.

    1. correction = ” I graduated college so I wouldn’t have to hear people abuse language like that ANYMORE”

      1. Quoth the GILMORE, “Nevermore”.

    2. Moral Narcissism is exactly what it is. It is I think largely the result of the death of religion among the intellectual classes in this country. Religion used to keep these people at least somewhat in check by constantly telling them they were all equal sinners in the eyes of God and nothing they did on this earth would ever compare to the majesty of God.

      Take that away and these people quickly started to believe their own bullshit.

      1. Exactly. Earlier moral preening was based in American Puritanism, but today the same emotional impulses fuel PC moral narcissism.

        1. The irony is that they’re eating their own young. Without god providing some kind of final moral arbitration, moral preening has no effect because it has no common ground.

          That’s why they’re getting louder and louder…it’s because they’re frustrated that nobody’s listening to them.

          1. That’s part of it. I think another part involves internal inconsistencies in the worldview that make it self-contradictory and unsustainable.

      2. God is dead.

        The elitists are thoroughly Nietzschean whether they know it or not. That’s how I know Freeney is wrong when he claims political correctness is about signaling. That’s nonsense, it’s about Will to Power.

        1. It’s both.

      3. Christianity might have said that but people have never lived there lives as if that were true.

        Don’t pine for the good old days. They weren’t for most people.

      4. Religion used to keep these people at least somewhat in check by constantly telling them they were all equal sinners in the eyes of God and nothing they did on this earth would ever compare to the majesty of God.

        That didn’t keep them in check. They loved to tell the common folk to keep their heads down on that basis. Original Sin was the old version of White Priviledge.

    3. And, really = “Signalise”? I graduated college so I wouldn’t have to hear people abuse language like that. for shame.

      And economists constantly just use “signal” as a verb anyway so I’m baffled by that bit of weird- and hideousness.

      1. as long as I don’t have to hear someone describe an event as “concerning” I’ll be okay. That and the use of apostrophes to make something plural.

      2. I think “signalize” means “to mark with signals”.

        I hear it used especially in references to intersections? an intersection with traffic lights is a “signalized intersection”.

  12. Huh. Turns out “signalise” is a word. I suppose its use positions the writer above me.

    1. but was that his intent in using the word?

    2. There’s plenty of “real words” that have no right ever being used because there are so many other *far simpler and more elegant ways of saying the same thing*

      See my above point about how dude could have just called it, “Moral Narcissism” and saved himself a few horribly-overwrought and academically-assfucked sentences.

    3. Significantly.

  13. they really are upset, or whether they are feigning outrage to signal their social standing

    Mostly the latter, and then something else.

    Just like this thing with the NBA owner, for example.

    You can be almost 100% assured that the ones who stand up and scream about their shocked outrage the most, are the ones who need most deeply to prove that THEY are NOT a racist, because they are, indeed, exactly that, and are terrified of anyone finding it out.

    1. Some of them sure. Not all of them I don’t think. A lot of them are just deeply insecure in general and see asserting how tolerant they are as a way of feeling superior.

      1. Sure. But it’s amazing how often some one is caught doing something where they were leading some kind of crusade against that very thing.

        I remember reading a story, it’s been years ago, about how a lot of the women in the temperance movement were stoned out of their gourd most of the time on Bitters, and other home remedies infused with alcohol, opium, heroin, etc.

        1. Who knew those Temperance Girls were such a good time?

          1. I remember another time, one of my friends got a DUI and got sentenced to counseling.

            One day, we were hanging out, and were watching the local news. There was a traffic accident and a bunch of fatalities. The driver was drunk and crossed the center line. When they mentioned the name of the drunk driver, my friend said ‘OMG, that’s my drug and alcohol counseler!’.

            1. I dated a woman for a while when I was single. Her mother had been married either five or six times. She had a very successful marriage counseling practice.

              1. I dated a woman for a while when I was single

                That is normally the best time to date. Well done.

                /snark

                1. It is possible to date while married. It is just not a good idea to advertise it.

                2. And Ivan. Maybe some of us have jealous and suspicious wives such that the “when I was single” qualifier is just second nature.

                  1. Maybe some of us have jealous and suspicious wives such that the “when I was single” qualifier is just second nature

                    I am sure many people do. I have been married forever so I found humor in the way you stated it. I am glad I don’t have to worry about the dating thing, sounds horrible.

                    1. It was Ivan. It was.

        2. What they were using was medicinal, what they were fighting against was recreational. See the difference?

    2. OR afraid that their organization will get tainted by association and boycotted.

  14. Sam Adams used to be a great beer but the stuff they sell now is garbage.
    Like that?

    1. LOL. I never liked Boston Lager, but the seasonal beers they make are all quite good in my opinion.

      1. If you’re in the mood for a craft beer, their craft packs are ok. I’ve had better.

        1. Saranac is better, for instance, IMO.

      2. Their Cherry Wheat was one of my absolute favorites in my early 20s.

    2. And then you’re playing poker at the Venetian, and Sam Adams is the best beer they offer.

  15. This goes for a lot more than just PC. Name the social issue and you see this over and over.

    The syllogism from some member of the Perennially Indignant usually goes something like this:
    Premise 1: I care about the poor and disadvantaged
    Premise 2: Policy X will help the poor and disadvantaged
    Conclusion: Therefore I support Policy X.

    This is a perfectly reasonable argument if the premises are true. So I try to expose their 2nd premise as being faulty and may get all wonkish and say “well what about unintended consequences A, B & C that may make the poor worse off if Policy X is implemented?”

    They have no interest in such discussions and it usually exposes just how little they know about the details of Policy X they support. They ALWAYS deflect when they are exposed as having no clue and make it about you disagreeing with premise 1.

    “You’re heartless, I’M THE ONE WHO CARES”. Thus the argument is won in their minds as all they really give a shit about is feeling morally superior.

    1. And, of course, you don’t have to engage the other side because they’re all either idiots or liars, because a good, honest intelligent person would automatically be on the progressive side.

      They think the other side is like Smaug – don’t listen to them, they are dragons whose hypnotic lies will catch you off guard and enfeeble you. Just ignore them!

    2. Or they think you are a simister evil person who has concocted some lies about policy X because you hate the poor.

      This is the more typical response, in my experience.

  16. “Disclaimer: I used to work at the IEA.”

    At least learn to *spell* IKEA, you peasant.

  17. “…those obsessed with political correctness use moral superiority as a “positional good,” which is a “good that people acquire to signalise where they stand in a social hierarchy.”

    Which I find extremely tiresome. I have zero respect for such people. Where you stand in the social hierarchy, how much money you have, how smart you are, how educated you are, how tall you are, how good looking you are, none of these things are the measure of a man.

    Is your word any good? Are you honorable? Integrity matters.

  18. This is true but it’s not quite as empty a pastime as jockeying for status using wealth.

    The term “politically correct” has an interesting history but is now used mostly pejoratively by conservatives who don’t want to bother being decent human beings. Because whatever the role of social standing, the whole idea is to gain a greater empathy for human beings who are different from you and to interact socially in an inoffensive way.

    This is kind of prior to manners. This is basic decency. You call people what they want to be called, and you don’t argue about it. So it’s not a bad thing that liberals happen to be signaling an increased sophistication, because it’s good to become more sophisticated in this manner. What’s obnoxious is people stubbornly refusing to do so, and if they suffer in social standing, that’s as it should be.

    1. So what you’re saying is, Tony, is that people who are Poor or Ignorant are this way because of a failure of Will?

      That your moral inferiors believe different things than you, because of a lack of *effort* to be Right?

      Come! See the ‘egalitarian’ explain his moral superiority! Only $1 per person!

      1. The topic is political correctness, which is about the use of language when referring to historically disadvantaged groups. There should be no real controversy because it’s about basic respect.

        My point is that even though there is an element of the social standing competition this article talks about, it’s a sort of positive arms race. If we’ve all agreed upon the “PC” way of talking about one thing and thus must move on to the next, all that’s happening is an increase of respect across the board.

        1. So when I say, “I think unisex bathrooms are fucking stupid”, I’m perpetuating social injustice by being Cisnormative, Tony?

          Is my calling stupid shit, ‘Stupid Shit’ = Wrong?

          1. Keep up the good fight. Progressive people need rational opponents on these matters to keep them in check. Maybe one day you’ll win one of these battles.

        2. Nonsense, Tony.

          Because language is malleable and the connotations of words change to acquire new meanings imbued with objective reflections of people’s beliefs.

          For instance, 100 years ago the word “cripple” was the NICE way of referring to people who were “lame”.
          Then after “crippled”, it was “disabled”, then “differently abled”. Same with idiot, then retarded, then mentally disabled (or whatever word they use now).

          Because no matter how many times you change the words, you’re never going to fucking convince people that having no legs is just as good as having legs, Tony. You’re never going to make people with above average IQs think it’s just as nice to be a drooling retard.

          You can keep coming up with new PC terms forever, and you will never change the fact that people with legs PREFER HAVING LEGS.

          1. I forgot “handicapped”. “Handicapped” came in between “crippled” and “disabled”.

            1. And now it’s “Handi-capable!”

              Anything to make a term softer and less descriptive of the reality of a thing.

              As in, “Shell Shock” becoming “Battle Fatigue” becoming “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
              Like hell – dude has had to dodge too many shells, and he’s in shock.

    2. Actually, jockeying for status using wealth is FAR preferable.

      You gain wealth by providing a service that makes other people happier than they otherwise would have been. You gain pc status by lying and concealing your real nature. Take, you, for example. I’ve read enough from you to know that you’re one of the most vile and vindictive souls I’ve run across, but even you can come to a message board and pretend you care about black people. As they say, though, talk is cheap. Investment and entrepreneurial risk? Not so much.

      1. You gain wealth by providing a service that makes other people happier than they otherwise would have been.

        Citation needed.

        You gain pc status by lying and concealing your real nature. Take, you, for example.

        There’s always this assumption among conservatives that it’s better to be openly bigoted than pretend to be more respectful than you are in your heart. This is dumb. I freely admit that I have had racist, sexist, and other bigoted thoughts. But liberals are conscious of this and try to improve. Conservatives simply live in denial about whether there is any problem to bother with.

        1. As you are not a conservative, how dare you comment on a culture you aren’t part of?

          1. You have a point. But conservative and liberal are different political approaches to the world; they aren’t innate identities. The whole debate is about the correct political approach.

        2. There was a study done recently where they put a racially mixed set of children in a classroom to see how they would respond in that environment. The kids got along great…until they introduced racial elements into the course curriculum. Then the kids started developing all sorts of racial resentments.

          You’re wrong and the conservatives are right. Talking about racism all the time makes people more racist.

          1. That would be relevant to the real world if we were all children who have not inherited a bunch of racial assumptions and realities yet. The children who developed the resentments more resemble adults in the real world. You can say it’s the fault of liberals for talking about race or you can say it’s the fault of people who systematically oppressed minorities for centuries, but regardless we do live in a world with such resentments.

            1. As a gay white man, Tony, your opinion on matters of Race – by the law of Political Correctism – is utterly meaningless and without merit, and any attempt to utter an opinion on such any point in the future you will be reminded of this ad nauseum in order that this point be reinforced and that no one ever consider any element of your statements at all relevant because we insist by the law of Political Correctness that nothing matters once your POV has been deemed Invalidated.

              which is exactly how Liberals use political correctness = as a means of suppressing speech they don’t like:

              http://dailycaller.com/2014/03…..ucsb-prof/

              “the authors of the Bill of Rights “got it right when designing the First Amendment” but he can’t help observing that these authors were “all white men of privilege, some even slave owners.”

              Young also implies that people who protest abortion in free-speech zones have an “agenda” “wrapped in intolerance and extremism.”

              When “respect” means suppressing things you don’t like, its not exactly a *virtue*, Tony

              1. Indeed, Tony’s audacity in seeking to express an opinion about a victim-role that he doesn’t inhabit is no doubt a form of micro-aggression, and should be preceded by a trigger warning.

              2. Nobody is suppressing anything you whiny little vagina. Except for free speech zones. Those are idiotic.

                1. Ooooo! Tony SEXISM! How dare you use the word “vagina” as a pejorative.

                  Let’s not digress into a three hour argument about whether you are sexist or not.

          2. Talking about racism all the time makes people more racist.

            These have actually been studies that prove this.

            Emphasising “diversity” causes people to band into identity groups. Emphasizing similarities causes people to coalesce into a whole.

          3. Talking about racism all the time makes people more racist.

            These have actually been studies that prove this.

            Emphasising “diversity” causes people to band into identity groups. Emphasizing similarities causes people to coalesce into a whole.

        3. This is dumb. I freely admit that I have had racist, sexist, and other bigoted thoughts. But liberals are conscious of this and try to improve.

          Oh Lord, forgive me for I have sinned!

          Except that you don’t try to improve. You pretend to be better and call that lack of self-awareness superiority.

    3. used mostly pejoratively by conservatives who don’t want to bother being decent human beings

      The only reason one could object to moral posturing is because one doesn’t want to “bother” being decent humans?

      Seriously?

      Couldn’t it be because all the moral posturing distracts people from honest discussion of real issues?

      Maybe the problem is that conservatives are actually *serious* about solving problems, and they don’t want to waste time with bullshit about what words you use to call people. While liberals just want to look pretty for thee camera.

      1. And what are these serious conservative ideas about solving problems of social inequalities?

        1. Really? in a blog post? Go back to tossing about buzz words like “income inequality.”

        2. There’s a long list. I mean, they are always talking about family breakdown. But I’m only going to argue libertarian ones, like, how about we treat people as individuals, and think of ourselves as individuals, instead of swearing alliegance to race or sex or ethnicity based identity groups.

          My point is that getting caught up in linguistics is just semantics. You start trying to have a serious discussion about an issue ,and you fail to use the latest politically correct word for (say) disabled people, and you end up having a totally unproductive semantic argument in which the liberal paint you as a bigot for using the word “disabled”. And it’s all just about them feeling morally superior, and not about the ISSUES. It’s complete bullshit, and I think you know it, too Tony.

          1. So learn the correct words. They’re all in the language you’ve been speaking since infancy.

            But the cool thing about this subject is you cannot help but illustrate the point. It’s not disabled people who have to live their entire lives being subject to hurtful language who have the problems (plural)–it’s you who have to learn a new word. Here, have a lollipop.

            1. I’ve been called a racist by people like you for using the phrase “Calling a spade a spade”.

              Excuse me for not having grown up in a racially tinged environment where the word “spade” was frequently used as pejorative term for blacks. I guess it’s my fault for NOT being raised by racists.

              And I’m not really going to waste mental energy trying to figure out what the latest new term that you people have invented because you think that making people use different words is going to change how people think.

              1. Incidentally, I’ve spoken with Native Americans who are totally happy to be referred to as Indians, because, in alternative versions of the story (1) the word resembles the latin “In deo” which means “body of God”, or (2) they think it’s hilarious that the White people were so dumb they thought they were in India.

      2. And, of course, Tony’s assumption here is that political correctness actually makes people decent human beings. Sometimes yes, but even a brief journey through Social Justice blogs should tell you: not necessarily.

  19. I see she used “signalise”. At least she didn’t use “utilize”.

    1. Is there ever a time when “utilize” is more appropriate than “use”? I can’t think of any.

      1. When you are trying to make stupid people think you are Smart.

      2. Yes, when you are using the item in an unintended fashion. Otherwise, you are using utilization as a positional good.

        I assume that “signalise” is some social science abomination.

    2. Also =

      Its a dude, dude.

  20. Progressive Theocrats compete amongst themselves the same way all religious fundamentalists to – I am holier than thou.

    We’ve been treated to multiple rounds of bat shit crazy outrage lately.

    Remember when the worst thing in the world was discrimination against people for politically supporting a movement for global totalitarianism that killed maybe 100 million, and terrorized 100s of millions more?

    Such intolerance!

    Now when a rich old guy makes racist comments in private against the men his paid for squeeze muffin is boffing and parading on national television, at an event *he’s hosting*, he’s worse than Hitler and banned for life.

  21. I am so above all of this.

  22. And only they can perceive the wrong. YOUR perception is flawed.

  23. OK, I get the point of the article, and it seems to be a legitimate one. But, really, “signalize”? Come on. Not only is that not a word, but it’s a wholly unnecessary neologism. “Signal” is already a verb; there’s no need to “double-plus-verb” it. Anyone who writes with such nonsensical pseudo-jargon loses a great deal of credibility with me (especially when the guy is supposedly an economist and not some airhead sociologist).

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