Will Modern Liberals Ever Embrace the Tragic Vision, Even to Save Themselves?
TSA Circus Reveals Dangers of Marxist Politically Correct Security Rules
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Enormous problems exist in TSA airline screening resulting from the nonsensical mixing of Political Correctness into safety procedures. Specifically, the problem is doctrines of progressive social engineering have become so powerful a centerpiece in minds of the elites that our very safety is threatened by this misbegotten ideology. Unsurprisingly, Political Correctness (PC) is not a randomly occurring phenomenon. Yet many will be shocked to discover PC is a product of social Marxism directed by expatriate German intellectuals in America after WWI.
This article shall briefly examine the history of Marxist Political Correctness as well as to the larger problem of liberal ideology and its pernicious affects upon America. More specifically the issue is leftist refusal to accept the Tragic Vision of life as presented by the classical and biblical world view which the founders of our culture originally envisioned.
I. Problems at TSA
It’s no secret that TSA, the Transportation Security Administration, has recently ramped up airline security measures for the holidays in 2010. But much confusion and outrage has followed in the wake because of how the TSA is doing this. In a nutshell, TSA is treating all fliers as if they have an equal chance of being a terrorist. In other words, an 89 year old nun and a 5 year old child could be patted down and strip searched as quickly as a twenty five-year-old male Saudi visitor. Does this strike anyone as a sane standard?
A few outrages are occurring here. Common sense informs us that a resident of the Middle East would be a higher security threat for a potential Islamic terrorist than a Caucasian American child, or an octogenarian nun. But the silliness of the TSA approach, which is being touted as casting a wide net to catch domestic terrorists, is it’s a disappointing and hare-brained policy. It is also deadly mistaken. It is beyond dispute that such a one-size-fits-all terrorist policy results not from studies of the world’s best airline security organizations, but from political considerations.
II. What is Political Correctness?
Despite the fact that most polite citizens must ponder Political Correctness daily to be sure they avoid the myriad pitfalls of not making “insensitive” remarks, a truly perceptive definition of PC is hard to come by. The Free Dictionary has this:
- Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.
- Being or perceived as being over-concerned with such change, often to the exclusion of other matters.
Political Correctness is first a movement of speech purification which is meant to remove any objectionable content that unfairly differentiates between the speaker and different subgroups. It is also supposed to change behavior by promoting these subgroups. It typically buries traditional morality along the way. The real problem with PC is that it is a theoretical standard which has real world consequences that can be quite appalling.
III. Political Correctness In Security & War
There is no lack of examples of bad, unintended consequences to the PC movement. Many claim America’s universities have been absolutely degraded by the absurd standards of PC. Another points out the harm it has done to medical services. But the worst influences may be upon US security and warfare.
Says military expert Ralph Peters in the NY Post:
Over the decades, political correctness insinuated itself into the ranks of our “Washington player” generals and admirals. And the Army published its disastrous Counterinsurgency Manual a few years back—doctrine written by military intellectuals who, instead of listening to Infantry squad leaders, made a show of consulting “peace advocates” and “humanitarian workers.”
The result was a manual based on a few heavily edited case studies “proving” that the key to success in fighting terrorists is to hand out soccer balls to worm-eaten children. The doctrine ignored the brutal lessons of 3,000 years of history—because history isn’t politically correct (it shows, relentlessly, that the only effective way to fight faith-fueled insurgents is with fire and sword).
For example, did the Fort Hood Shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, get preferential treatment because he was Muslim then end up shooting 41 American soldiers while screaming, “Allah Akbar”, ie God is Great—as an Islamic declaration of Jihad? America is so PC friendly, US service people cannot even carry their own weapons on base.
Stephanie Gutmann, the author of The Kinder, Gentler Military: How Political Correctness Affects Our Ability to Win Wars, quoted another soldier about the Fort Hood Shooting:
If soldiers on this base had been allowed to carry the weapons they use overseas, the service weapons they train with, Hasan would have been able to shoot perhaps one or two people, not 41. (As of this writing, 13 are dead, 28 wounded.)
Imagine in how many different ways the PC movement has hampered the ability of America to wage war effectively. These PC-styled Rules of Engagement have so hampered US forces in Afghanistan that the enemy often can claim strategic advantage in planning attacks despite all their weaknesses. Such doctrines as “Asymmetrical Warfare,” badly hamper a fair fight, needlessly killing Americans and other NATO participants in Afghanistan. Writes one Australian author,
Here are two examples of Rules of Engagement: If having been fired upon by a shooter who then drops his weapon to his side as soon as he comes under notice from coalition forces, he should no longer be considered an immediate threat and is not to be fired upon, even if he decamps to another location where it is likely he will take up another position to resume firing.
If troops come under fire from a dwelling place which could be considered to have women and children present they are to avoid returning fire and deploy to another safer area.
IV. History of Political Correctness
Political Correctness is a set of doctrines first articulated by the Frankfurt School, a group of Marxist professors who escaped Nazi Germany to avoid the wrath of Adolph Hitler before WWII. As Bill Lind states, “If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.”
Basically, the German Marxists of post-WWI Germany realized that Karl Marx was wrong about his ideas detailing the inevitability of socialist takeover of capitalism and the inevitable communist state. Instead, they believed if they did not turn their ideas into a stealth project to takeover health capitalist societies, then all would be lost for their cause. And when they were forced to leave Germany and resettled in America, they sensed their chance to try their theories.
In 1923 in Germany, a think-tank is established that takes on the role of translating Marxism from economic into cultural terms, that creates Political Correctness as we know it today, and essentially it has created the basis for it by the end of the 1930s….But the people behind it decided at the beginning that it was not to their advantage to be openly identified as Marxist. The last thing Political Correctness wants is for people to figure out it’s a form of Marxism. So instead they decide to name it the Institute for Social Research.
These ideas were worked out in Germany, but since all the professors behind the project were Jews, they had to flee. So they came to New York. Lind goes on,
In 1933 the Nazis came to power in Germany, and not surprisingly they shut down the Institute for Social Research. And its members fled to New York City, and the Institute was reestablished there in 1933 with help from Columbia University. And the members of the Institute, gradually through the 1930s, though many of them remained writing in German, shift their focus from Critical Theory about German society, destructive criticism about every aspect of that society, to Critical Theory directed toward American society.
A Way Out of Madness: Embracing the Tragic Vision
Is there a way out of the crazy maze created when Cultural Marxism meets radical Islam in the liberal mind? Actually, yes.
The West arose as a result of Christianity being slowly introduced into the small kingdoms of Europe of the first millennium. As time passed, and more chieftains were converted, and churches and monasteries and schools grew, Europe began developing it’s distinctive set of doctrines and practices—so different from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. But the classical world was also needed.
The Renaissance developed in Italy when the classic masters were rediscovered and studied again. From this was developed a love of the great Roman and Greek writers. After this, then the Reformation was ushered in on the wings of revitalized study of Greek. The Enlightenment then takes both of these elements, the classical pagans and biblical writers and adds philosophy. Until fairly recently, no man was considered educated unless they had studied both the classical world and the biblical writers. And it is here we are exposed to the Tragic Vision.
In the ancient world was a great deal of disease, suffering, and a lack of control of these. Lifespans were short, and even idealized “lucky” men and women suffered much more than anyone alive today can now imagine. The Tragic Vision of the classical writers was borne of this. Their literature was a reminder of life’s suffering and a way to see this within the context of a virtuous existence which included doing one’s duties and the perils when this did not occur. Add onto this the view of the gods who themselves also suffered outrageous twists of fate when they did wrong. But gods visited punishment upon those who forgot their limited role as mortals. For example, in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, when the King is debased physically and turned into a cripple, we see how the fates can humble even the greatest figures and rob them of everything precious.
The biblical writers were likewise highly aware of the brevity of life, how unfair things are for many of the best followers of Yahweh, and that most persons must await their proper rewards in the hereafter. The biblical view is undoubtedly more complex than the classical view of tragedy, but both accept that life is not fair and unexpected tragedy inevitable. There is a tragic law which controls the historical process, the law that ordains that human greatness utterly fall. That is the subject of Greek tragedy and the message of the biblical Prophet to the nations of the world. They are all subject to the law of tragic self destruction. One writer states on how the Bible agrees with the classical tragic vision,
They both (classical and biblical writers) resist the unrealistic assumption that goodness always triumphs, or that it at least will triumph with the aid of more extensive education and a higher standard of living. Both are constrained by the facts of experience to acknowledge that life may confront a person not with a choice between good and evil but with a choice between the lesser of two evils; that to try to put a lofty principle into practice may result in more harm than good; and that in order to preserve one’s own integrity one may have to forfeit one’s life. Hence believers in the “tragic vision,” together with adherents of the Christian faith, have made common cause against the sentimental illusions of a more credulous age. The former complain with Sophocles:
“Strange, that impious men, sprung from wicked parents, should prosper, while good men of generous breed should be unfortunate! It is not right that heaven should deal so with men.”
The latter exclaim with the prophet:
“Spoiling and violence are before me, and there are those that raise up strife and contention; therefore the law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth. For the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth” (Habakkuk 1:3 4).
D. Modern: Burke’s Tragic Vision
Thomas Sowell wrote a book called The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy. In this book he takes the liberal view, which he calls the Vision of the Anointed and opposes it to the contrary view expressed by Burke. This is the Tragic Vision which replaces liberal wishful thinking with a real understanding of life.
Sowell claims says the Left’s fixation with extremes in public policy expresses itself in certain ways:
- Assertions that a great disaster to society is about to occur.
- Calls for massive government intervention to avert the impending catastrophe.
- Disdainful dismissal of contrary arguments as uninformed, irresponsible, or motivated by “unworthy purposes.”
- The policies of the anointed are implemented and are themselves disastrous.
- The anointed steadfastly refuse to acknowledge mountains of evidence that their policies have failed while accusing their critics of dark motives.
Instead of liberalism and its horrible flaws, like Political Correctness, Sowell extolls the Burkean view of limited government founded upon the notion that not every human problem is amenable to address. He writes,
In the tragic vision, individual sufferings and social evils are inherent in the innate deficiencies of all human beings, whether these deficiencies are in knowledge, wisdom, morality, or courage. Moreover, the available resources are always inadequate to fulfill all the desires of all the people. Thus there are no “solutions” in the tragic vision, but only trade-offs that still leave many unfulfilled and much unhappiness in the world.
America is in grave danger of continued terrorist attack. Meanwhile, Political Correctness is Marxist idiocy which imperils America more everyday. Instead of hand-wringing over whether it’s fair to “punish” people who—through no fault of their own—were born in Arabia, let’s get serious about defending ourselves. The only way we can properly protect ourselves is by narrowing the scope of our defenses so that precious resources are not wasted. For only if we use the best strategies and weaponry, without apology, can we hope to defeat evil but highly intelligent and crafty Muslim extremists.