My Conversation with Claire Lehmann of Quillette

Here is the transcript and audio, definitely recommended.  Here is part of the summary:

She and Tyler explore her ideas about the stifling effect of political correctness and more, including why its dominant form may come from the political right, how higher education got screwed up, strands of thought favored by the Internet and Youtube, overrated and underrated Australian cities, Aussie blokes, and more.

Here is an excerpt:

COWEN: When did political correctness become a major issue, or become a major issue again? And why do you think it happened exactly then?

LEHMANN: That’s a good question, and I don’t know if I have the answer. I know that there were lots of debates around political correctness in the early ’90s, for example.

COWEN: Yes, and it seems to fade away and then come back.

LEHMANN: Yeah. That’s when Camille Paglia was talking about PC, and Robert Hughes had a book, The Culture of Complaint.

I’ve noticed in my own life that I started noticing political correctness around 2007. At the time, I thought it had something to do with the business model of Internet publishing.

That was when Gawker and the blog Jezebel was really popular. It was established in 2007, and then it got very popular over the next couple of years. I thought that there were a lot of clickbait kind of articles promoting these really simplistic black-and-white narratives of oppression.

Unless one had reasonable critical thinking skills, I could see how young people could be influenced by that kind of content coming out. I think there’s something to do with the Internet and the way the media has had to adapt to this new business model where you have to drive . . . You have to get lots of views, lots of hits, millions more than you would with the newspapers.

I think it’s something to do with that, but that’s probably just one variable in many other factors.

COWEN: What do you think of the hypothesis that political correctness is a kind of virus that’s hijacked the left? It’s figured out some kind of weak entry point, and it’s come in and taken over parts of it, and it will bring down many victims with it, but actually, it’s crippling the left.

LEHMANN: Yep, yeah.

COWEN: True or false?

LEHMANN: Probably true.

COWEN: If one objects to that argument, we should in a sense encourage more of it, at least if we’re being pure utilitarians, or not?


COWEN: Probably in the media? In general, intellectual life, but if you take, say, the United States as a whole, do you think it’s left-wing or right-wing political correctness that’s stronger and more destructive?

LEHMANN: Yeah, it’s probably right-wing political correctness.

A question from me:

COWEN: I’ve been speaking about the right in aggregate terms, but if you think of the effect of the Internet, which strands of the right do you think are favored, and which do you think are falling away because of Internet discourse? Because it shouldn’t favor it all equally, correct?

We also cover Australia vs. New Zealand, the masculine ethos of Australia and its origins, why PC is different in Australia, the movie Lantana (which we both strongly recommend), and yes Australian fashion.


Does this Sheila discuss how an Aussie PM Julia Banks is quitting over female bullying?

MP, not PM.

What is "Right-Wing Political Correctness"? I tried to search for it, but I only got results from liberal left wing media.

There are certainly fixed beliefs on both the left and right. What is "correctness," the inability to consider exceptions or dissent within the ranks?

How easy is it for the right to talk about environmental harms? Or is it easier to to stick with the politically correct "regulation is bad" and so derive environmental safety backwards from that?

That's not political correctness. It's not considered forbidden to even discuss regulations. There might be a belief that regulations are too many and too cumbersome, but the right, in general, believes you need some form of regulations. And the right certainly doesn't try to shut down public speakers opining on regulatory topics.

You now, to this day you can get an MR thread rolling on how DDT or asbestos are really good for you ..

For the simple reason that it's easier to deny harms than consider those regulations as necessary.

"you can get an MR thread rolling on how DDT or asbestos are really good for you .."

Frankly you sound delusional. If it's that common, I'm sure you can show plenty of examples?

That's not political correctness, either.

Really easy? Just because climate change née global warming is bullshit doesn't mean there aren't millions of people in right-affiliated sectors of society with a stake in and/or concern for conservation of the natural environment and avoiding contamination of air/water/etc by real pollutants.

You're grasping for a tu quoque and coming up empty-handed.

Ah, but what if climate changes is real?

Policy preferences aren’t the same as political correctness.

You would need to find examples of unrelated private sector workers being fired for donating to Greenpeace. Or expressing support for the Sierra Club.

Or professors being mobbed by students and physically assaulted for showing an Al Gore movie.

Political correctness is at its core about what can be discussed. There are a lot of ways conversation can be shut down, starting with simply not considering possibilities and extending all the way out to physical assaults.

My original claim was that the right doesn't like to talk about environmental risks.

That's self-evident. What do commentators do here when Tyler mentions belief in climate change?

Not liking to talk about something is not political correctness. It's political correctness when you fire, scream at or assault someone else for talking about something you don't like.

Wait, I thought it included not offering someone a job too. Or tenure. Or advancement.

At least I seem to recall that is the complaint on the part of those conservatives who were not offered a job, tenure, or advancement based on the beliefs of that conservative.

I think that's just old fashioned bigotry.

I guess forgetting to make that statement explicitly precise was my mistake. Here is the corrected version - 'Wait, I thought it included not offering someone a job based on their beliefs too. Or tenure based on their beliefs. Or advancement based on their beliefs.'

Of course, some people will argue that such behavior is bigotry when it involves Christians, but then, they also tend to be the sort of people that claim it is bigotry when young earth creationism (in whatever guise) is not taught in taxpayer funded public schools.

Way to move the goal post. This is what you said: " conservatives who were not offered a job, tenure, or advancement based on the beliefs of that conservative."

Which is clearly bigotry.

Then you follow up with some indecipherable mealy mouthed reframing.

"Of course, some people will argue" And once again you bleating on with some passive aggressive bullshit. If 'you' think something is true have the gumption to state your beliefs. If not then stop making these kind of low quality posts. Are you that big a wimp that you can't actually state your own opinions anonymously on a forum?

That is political correctness to an extreme, but in its core meaning it is what is correct and what is taboo withing a group.

Another example. In 1998 it was accepted within the right that presidential infidelity was a moral disqualification for the office. In those days, there was a strong group resistance to the idea that it just didn't matter to performance. In 2018 the right wing positions have flipped. It's accepted that it doesn't matter, and not-PC to talk about the problems it might raise.

How did that switch come about? How is it not an example of PC in both cases?

Bear/Nathan, whatever,

You’re derailing the thread. Again.

PC has a definition. If you want to argue about which side is the worse partisan, start your own blog.

PC has a definition. Trying to redefine it to mean all forms of disagreement is just nonsense.

From the transcript above:

On political correctness
LEHMANN: I agree with civility. If people define political correctness as being civil and being polite, then I’m on that side. I’m on the side of not being aggressively provocative and overly polemical with one’s perceived political opponents. But I don’t really think that’s what political correctness is. I think political correctness is the restraint on inquiry.

I have been using it in exactly that way.

No. You’re obviously not using it that way.

When JWatts demands that the Sierra Club be deplatformed, donors fired, speakers assaulted, then I will agree with you.

A willingness to engage in discourse is pretty much the exact opposite.

PC was always supposed to be much, much, bigger than that. It was supposed to be about all restraints on conversation, including things like frowns and side-eye.

Anything that made you uncomfortable stating a position which was not "politically correct" was the original problem definition.

If someone can't engage in conversation because others involved make them "uncomfortable" they need professional help.


It's not about politeness, it's about power. Who is in a position to demand that you change the way you speak about them, and who is not? What ideas must not be spoken because they're so offensive, and who gets to decide?

“The right” having different policy preferences has nothing to do with political correctness.

You’re trolling.

The infantile rage over NFL players refusing to salute a flag is political correctness.

See the difference?

It’s the element of religiosity and the whole dichotomy of sacred and profane.

Blank slatism is a sacred value/tenet of progressives, hence the violent reaction and shutdown of critical thought when confronted. It’s a visceral reaction of pushing something ‘sacred’ into the realm of profane - in this case rational discourse questioning its premise.

Right wing - patriotism, abortion, the constitution, founding ethos, ‘freedom’ variously defined

Left wing - blank slatism, feminism, multiculturalism, equality of outcomes (Rawls), environmentalism, empathy (healthcare, etc)

You aren't understanding my point. There is partisanship, yes. But it is when the partisanship becomes a restraint on inquiry that it becomes formally PC.

Can't you see the symmetry? Left-PC wants to limit gender research, and right-PC wants to limit climate research.

You can't just arbitrarily say climate is not PC and gender is.

Climate change is not a sacred value for the right. They’re not shutting down inquiry at all.

Government funded research is a policy preference paid for via government funds.

The left isn’t complaining about government funding for gender research. It’s not a policy issue. They’re trying to prevent discourse at all in the public sphere and impose personal costs to private parties for inquiry.

Obviously you understand this.

That's too full of obvious cheats.

And as I say, I see a symmetry. The left and the right has real science that they don't want to talk about.

So your expanded definition of PC is:

Anyone who disagrees with your priorities in government research spending, people who frown at you, give you ‘side-eye’ or ‘make you uncomfortable.’

You’re an imbicile.

You notice that I don't have to get angry or call anyone names.

My example speaks for itself. The right doesn't want to talk climate, because for them it is not PC, and they shut that down all kinds of ways, from spending priorities, to muzzling scientists, right down to forums like these.

A real centrist could see that ;-)

If spending priorities are PC then anything the government does is PC.

Find me the research scientists who have been “muzzled.”

You’ve attempted to derail the entire thread, as you always do, into something unrelated.

Props to you for mixing it up for once, usually you derail Econ paper threads by ranting incoherently about Trump.

Now you’re trolling a thread about PC by ranting about global warming.

"You're grasping for a tu quoque and coming up empty-handed."

That's truly sad. He's trying to commit various logical fallacies and still failing.

To me the PC is only ever in one direction, although both sides of the aisle may employ it.

For instance the libertarian/business Forbes magazine-reading wing of the GOP cleverly used the left's most sacred PC cow to subvert the environmental movement. Namely, that people are all that matters, and so there must be more of them; and insofar as the environment is discussed, it must be strictly in connection with effects on "poor people." And if there is a question, for instance in my state, between preventing urban sprawl, and limitless immigration - immigration wins, because people!

This is how you go from the 1970s, when surveys routinely revealed Americans' preference for a stable population - to the subject being actually taboo.

This is how, for a very recent instance (last month), the Trust for Public Land shuts down its preservation efforts and announces it will now be in the business of making maps showing where people live. Or something. It was too banal to remember.

Part of a trend where national conservation groups (fraudulently?) ignore their own missions to pivot from conservation, which represents the past, to a money hole called "urban initiatives."

Environmentalism was on a collision course with globalism and Open Borders, which is why the focus shifted from actual flora and fauna conservation to "climate change." The Sierra Club got a $100 million bribe not to talk about immigration.

In the 90s the spiritual and actual father of conservation here in ***** was at a sort of council-of-enviro-groups meeting out in California, convened by a foundation, I believe, that was prepared to fund the effort to get the long-sought bill to end clearcutting on federal land passed, if only everyone in the room could agree on the details and get behind it. Lots of Sierra Clubbers there, obviously. The meeting became bogged down in a discussion of "representation." He was very old and rather hard of hearing at that point (or was he?). He stood and said, "So, the concern is there are not enough teenaged girls here?"

When a politician is rejected by its own party because one learns he or she had an extramarital affair, is it absurd to call it "right-wing political correctness"? Of course, currently in the US, it is practiced by both left and right, and Trump seems immune to that, but it seems to me that this is political correctness, and that historically at least it is more associated with the right.

Also when Milo Yiannopoulos is rejected by his friends of the right and fired of Breitbart for a two-year old and quite funny joke on pedophiles in the Catholic Church, isn't it an instance of right-wing PC?

I've heard there are people gravely offended by people protesting police brutality by kneeling during national anthem. They want those people to be fired. It's amazing that you know nothing about it.

I agree with this being the best example of right-wing political correctness. However, I think the cogent point is that they weren't fired and no one was assaulted. Compare an contrast with James Damore being promptly fired or a protestor carrrying an American flag being assaulted and concussed.

I do agree members of the right would be willing to implement political correctness if they could agree on what it should be and they had the power or brutality to implement it.

Lacking those, this mostly seems to be a Left-wing issue in America.

James Damore was speaking out against a program implemented by his company that directely affected him in a negative way. He voiced his opinion privately and internally until he was outed and fired. Also his feedback was in response to a request from his company to provide feedback.

By contrast kneeling is public and unsolicited. It has nothing in particular to do with the NFL, football, or the working conditions of the players. The cause itself is vague and it’s chief spokesperson has incited violence. The NFL seemed supportive of its players kneeling until it cut into revenue.

I’m not sure what exactely you consider censorship. That some portion of the football watching public no longer found watching football enjoyable when they were getting told by the stars they are supposed to idolize that they are a bunch of black baby killing crackers? Are they under some obligation to tune in every Sunday? Is it censorship if they turn off the channel?

The stupidity of the outcome is irrelevant to whether it fits the definition. As is the difference in violence or consequences for breaking the taboo.

It’s still political correctness. It’s still toxic.

And it’s still a method of short circuiting rational thought processes.

We mock the left for this. We should mock the right as well.

We should mock the right for not spending its time and money paying inflated salaries to violence inciting thugs to throw a ball around as they damage their brains?

What makes them "thugs"?

Thuggish behavior. If you’ve followed the NFL even a little you are familiar with the high degree of criminality of its players.

No we should mock the right for getting its panties in a twist because of some peaceful protesting. For bawling about the sacred flag and anthem, just as the left bawls about the sacred goddesses of womanhood and deities of non-white perfection.

It's politically incorrect on the right to say things like:

"Support the troops? Fuck the troops, they get what they deserve for joining a professional military and fighting in conflicts of dubious morality."

"The police are not held accountable for their actions in regards to shooting unarmed minorities. Fuck the police."

"there is a general timidity when it comes to expressing one’s honest views about things": indeed. That's why many Ozzies, Kiwis, and Brits take American ranting about free speech with a pinch of salt. To Yanks "free speech" seems to mean only that government shouldn't limit their speech. Which is a fine thing, to be sure, but only goes so far.

"LEHMANN: Yeah, it’s probably right-wing political correctness."

I looked for the rational for this answer and she didn't give one. Indeed, she seemed to respond with a plea to ignorance.

"LEHMANN: Yeah, but what I know and what I come up against in my life is left-wing political correctness because I live in an urban center, and I mix with people who are doing their PhDs. I have friends who are academics, and I’m interested in open inquiry."

"COWEN: Can you imagine a Quillette of the future that has more articles criticizing right-wing political correctness, albeit outside of academia, than left-wing political correctness?

LEHMANN: Probably not.


LEHMANN: Because our audience is the highly educated urban audience, and our audience is not mainland America, where people go to church. That’s really not who I know, the people that I know, and it’s not who we’re aiming for."

Tyler generally gives softball interviews, but it would have been nice if he'd have questioned that plea to ignorance further.

Trump has changed everything, so since 2016 the answer would be different. The left has changed since then as well, not in fundamentals but in vigor and absolutism.

What characterized right wing discussions was limiting the scope of ideas and language to a very narrow correct conservatism and proper way of talking about or even advancing ideas. What do Conservatives Think. The best illustration is the reaction of Conservatives to Trump who didn't respect those polite limits. It was both fear and loathing; fear of the inevitable storm of controversy, but loathing that he upset a nice tidy world view and say of doing things. The disliked the people who were attracted to him.

Every ideological bent has the desire to control and form discussion. And if they hold positions of power they will use it to do that. The Left pushed Freedom of Speech! while they were storming the ramparts, now that they own the castle they are decrying how destabilizing it is, using almost word for word the institutional right's arguments from a couple generations back.

Self-refuting, to coin a phrase. Also, a real howler.

"COWEN: What do you think of the hypothesis that political correctness is a kind of virus that’s hijacked the left? It’s figured out some kind of weak entry point, and it’s come in and taken over parts of it, and it will bring down many victims with it, but actually, it’s crippling the left."

I think this is about right. No one on the left can deny or hit the brakes on the continuing purity spiral that is consuming the left. This will kill the modern left as we know it for the simple reason that it really isnt any fun to be a liberal anymore. At least back in the '90s the liberals were the ones getting laid and taking fun drugs, nowadays being a liberal only gets you a bit of victim-hood and self righteousness, and that only if you are in a special victim group. The rest of the left gets self flagellation and #meToo'd.

I wish I had your confidence.

If the sum total of the left was “i want to fucks and get high and not get judged” then I’m not surprised it’s lost out to another faith.

Definitely not the sum total, but in any political movement a lot of strength is derived from the not very committed rank and file. The left used to be the cool kids and, therefore, attractive to the young, mostly apolitical set. The modern left is usually described, by its own adherents no less, as 'exhausting'

The right was never fun but it's still going strong.

This x1000...."purity spiral" (aka dogma) is absolutely the perfect way to describe it. They have become the very "church ladies" of the 1980s that they hated. I have no sympathy.

Nor do I, and i take an unhealthy amount of please in watching them eat their own.

Hoooaaahhh! :)

You have this all wrong. I'm a left coast liberal tech millionaire and not into any victimhood or sex,drugs,rock'n'roll. I just want to legalize pot, reduce poverty, keep the environment clean, fix climate change, fix schools, and fix healthcare healthcare healthcare (Obamacare a good start but needs more fixing).

"LEHMANN: Yeah, it’s probably right-wing political correctness."

She complains about political correctness, then immediately bows to it.

Ironically, political incorrectness has become the political correctness of the right (i.e., one on the right has to be politically incorrect or be subject to criticism/rejection by her tribe).

I think it's cruder than that. The big political correctness in the room is that anything Trump does is fine.

And opposing Trump while still being right-wing, like McCain did, is terrible.

Every single criticism of McCain from the right in these pages was right-wing political correctness.

Did individuals who supported John McCain get fired from their unrelated corporate jobs?

That is a logical error. As if there was only one kind of PC and only one kind of uncivil response.

The thing we should be looking at here is the degree to which thought-groups enforce norms and restrict inquiry.

GOP Congressman says it's time to 'purge' FBI of anti-Trump elements

Is that political correctness or political manoeuvring? Obama over his 8 years placed people who supported him in positions of power. That is a different phenomena. The utopia of an apolitical bureaucracy doesn't exist, in spite of legislation and attempted reforms.

Political Correctness is when ideas are beyond the pale and social enforcement mechanisms are brought to bear.

This is a whole other level. Sure, every administration replaces top administrators. But never in my lifetime has there been a *presumption* that the rank and file may only have *one opinion*.

Special pleading.

I have no idea what that means, but political tests for rank and file government workers would be a very terrible and un-American thing.

Sigh, it means your argument is an example of Special pleading. When your base argument was refuted, you transparently attempted to claim it was a special case,

"This is a whole other level. "

You know if you bothered to learn what logical fallacies are, you might not commit so many of them.

None of those arguments was refuted, I just rolled in further examples.

No, your argument was refuted. You just never admit when you are wrong, and attempt to move the goal posts when you are cornered.

So what is your claim here, that political parties never regard it as "politically correct" to support their serving presidents?

It was not PC for democrats to support Clinton as he lied under oath?

No. McCain really was an intellectual lightweight coasting on an uncritical national media and chummy Establishment politics. And nobody would fire you for saying it. He was widely regarded as an asshole, which is why he mostly orbited with broadcast journalists and the similarly awkward Lieberman and Miss Lindsey.

McCain with brain cancer eating away half his brain is still smarter than Trump.

"Every single criticism of McCain from the right in these pages was right-wing political correctness."


April 3, 2018 at 2:07 am

Yeah. If the campaign hadn't focused on the housing crisis, it would have focused on something else, and who knows what would have happened?

McCain was a weak candidate who was thoroughly schooled by Obama in the debates, and who picked Sarah Palin as his running mate (among other problems). Also, he was running in a poor environment for Republicans."

Yep, clearly that's right-wing political correctness.

Actually that is a good example. In 2007 "McCain is a weak candidate" would have been shouted down by right-partisans. It would have been a *very* contrary right-wing position. It only becomes PC later, when it becomes protective to other beliefs.

"In 2007 "McCain is a weak candidate" would have been shouted down by right-partisans."

Totally fucking false. I heard this more than you could imagine back in 07. The right never much cared for McCain and felt that the press anointed him the Republican nominee so that Obama could beat him.

Are you aware of what you did there? The *far* right didn't like McCain (or Romney for that matter) but they didn't control what was PC for the right at that time.

The big change between then and now, and what moved right-PC is that the far right pushed out those moderates. It made them all not-PC. The whole "RINO" cycles were part of that process.

That's not political correctness, either.

I think you are wrong, PC is anything that shuts down inquiry, which excludes things not fitting within political confines.

Not wanting to know about an environmental risk is an example of that. It doesn't fit the right agenda. It doesn't support deregulation. So it is not politically correct.

Suddenly being to criticize losing candidates (left or right) is also a splendid example. A party can't complain when it needs a person. It doesn't fit. It doesn't support political power. So it is not politically correct.

Guess what .. someday criticisms of Trump will become right-PC. As in "he was a weak president." Because in the future it will support a new agenda to say that. It will be part of a clean-slate promise for a new and different right-wing future.

I have my own definitions of words that aren't commonly accepted but I act like they are. Get me know, guys?

You should have looked it up.

"conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated"

"The big change between then and now, and what moved right-PC is that the far right pushed out those moderates. It made them all not-PC. The whole "RINO" cycles were part of that process"

None of this makes any sense. Gluing the word 'far' onto the phrase 'the right' doesnt magically make it real. No one changed anything in this regard, lots of people on the right hated McCain, and Romney for that matter because they were viewed as establishment insiders. Lots of people on the right hate Trump now for all sorts of reasons, thats still all fine in right wing discussions.

Work with me here.

When did you first hear "establishment insiders" as a real (bad) thing within the right wing?

A long time ago. maybe not that exact phrase, but at least since Bush the elder.

Perhaps, but I don't think it was a common thing, because these articles:

Well, i dont know what to tell you. I was active in right politics at that time and remember the prevalent attitude quite clearly, but you have an article that confirms your prior held belief, so believe what you want, but you are not going to convince me that what i know for a fact is false because some blowhard on the internet says so.

(Not to mention the swings in right-wing politically correct takes on Sarah Palin.)


Why is Sarah, for all her early work on right wing populism, in the wilderness today?

If she is still right-PC, where is her place in the administration?

As far as i can tell, because she retreated from public view. Probably as a reaction to the utterly disgusting way in which she was treated by the media.

Well, her family might have something to do with it. You can read the police report concerning a 2014 birthday party here -

And the less said about her son Track beating up her husband Todd, the better, right?

That retreating from public view is probably not just because of the media, but more than a bit related to her family life.

A family life that does not appear to actually exemplify conservative principles, even in the age of Trump.

Yes, this is even further evidence that Anonymous original assertion is wrong.

You don't comprehend the definition, JW.

"conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated"

The *rights* political sensibilities around Palin have changed. Especially if you take prior's links without complaint.

You're desperate if you at the point where your trying to establish some equivalence between silencing speech and not having a former has been politician in the current administration.

By your definition Obama was engaging in PC behavior because he didn't give Al Gore a spot in his cabinet. That's just absurd.

No, you clearly don’t understand the definition.

Political opinion is not political correctness.


Interesting conversation.
Lehmann said with respect to Australian attitudes: "We have a strong history of egalitarianism in our culture, and there are lots of left-wing people in Australia who are not politically correct in our characters in films and TV shows. If you think of someone like Crocodile Dundee, he’s not politically correct, but he’s not right-wing. He’s just an Aussie bloke who goes out into the bush and fights with crocodiles."

But Crocodile Dundee was from 1986, just before political correctness began in the late 80s and became more widespread in the 90s.

"LEHMANN: Because our audience is the highly educated urban audience, and our audience is not mainland America, where people go to church."

Highly educated is correlated with high income. This statement makes Quillette look like an aspirational brand. The frustrated men quoting it are the aspirational audience.

Lol, this part of the interview definitely strikes me as a cultural difference:

"If you think of someone like Crocodile Dundee, he’s not politically correct, but he’s not right-wing. He’s just an Aussie bloke who goes out into the bush and fights with crocodiles."

Crocodile Dundee is most definitely a right-winger from an American point of view. He eschewed authority figures. He favored the rural outback over urban environments. He openly carried a knife. He knocked out a mugger running away with a heavy can. I think from an American Left wing point of view, he was a vigilante who committed violent assaulted on a person who wasn't endangering anybody.

It also underscores the distinct character of Anglo-Celt conservatism. It's fundamentally libertarian, and most Continental conservatives find it alien and repugnant.

This is why I point out to enraged, hysterical Leftists that fascism can't happen in America given Anglo-Celt dominance. We just don't have that sort of view of the State.

Is anybody actually good at fascism? It fell apart pretty quickly when the Italians tried it. Maybe the Japanese? The Germans seem permanently enamored of their State uber alles but it's beginning to lose legitimacy among the Germans and the non-Germans alike.

I find it fascinating that you consider "eschewed authority figures" to have been right-wing behavior.

I characterized that badly. Specifically he was shown as cooperating with NYC cops in the movie in a friendly manner, but acting independently. IE, his vigilantism with respect to the Australian poachers and the NYC mugger. It was classic frontier justice of the type common in a John Wayne movie.

Tyler you should really refocus on quality over quantity of these interviews.

Political correctness is primarily a right-wing phenomenon. When I was younger, I held paleoconservative views that included opposing the Iraq War and believing that the main reason for racial disparities in the US was genetic. Even though I was in a left-of-center area, I always felt far more uncomfortable expressing opposition to the Iraq War than expressing my views about race and genetics. I have never been told by a liberal that I should not have the right to speak freely about race or that I should leave the country because of my political views, but conservatives make arguments like love-it-or-leave-it (ironic given their support of immigration restrictions) or “free speech is subordinate to national security” all the time. I believe most Americans have a far stronger stigma against unpatriotic people or atheists than they do against racists (for example, polls show much more public support for banning flag burning than banning racist hate speech), and those of us concerned about free speech should be more worried about the right-wing version of political correctness.

The Iraq war is a perfect example of right-wing political correct thought and action in defense of political correctness.

From instigation to execution to aftermath, just an ideal example of it. Note the lack of engagement with your comment, it's perfect.


There are more than a few comments about patriotism, respect for national symbols, NFL nonsense etc being examples of right wing political correctness. Everyone is in agreement.

People who post walls of text don’t get many comments.

Then you probably won't be interested in reading further - 'For anyone who has ever been a reader, there’s much to sympathize with in Maryanne Wolf’s Reader, Come Home. The UCLA neuroscientist, a great lover of literature, tries to read Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game, an old favorite, only to realize that she finds him boring and too complex. She wonders why he ever won a Nobel. And Wolf, who previously wrote Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, is horrified that this is what has happened to her ability to concentrate.'

Even Cormac Mcarthy hits the enter button on his typewriter.

+1. Most of my left wing friends don't care what I talk about. Right wingers, especially evangelicals and neocons, get all uptight and defensive when I stray away from their "safe spaces." I've literally been demonized for saying the ten commandments don't belong on a courthouse.

"Americans have a far stronger stigma against unpatriotic people or atheists than they do against racists (for example, polls show much more public support for banning flag burning than banning racist hate speech), and those of us concerned about free speech should be more worried about the right-wing version of political correctness."

About 60% of Americans think flag burning should be illegal and 40% think hate speech should be illegal but the stakes are far higher for the latter since flag-burning is such a marginal issue.

Flag burning is no more marginal than hate speech; many bills have been passed against it. The only reason it’s still legal is because of the Supreme Court (which I am also confident would strike down laws banning hate speech).

"But then, two members of Antifa confronted him and demanded he hand over the flag, which they characterized as a "fascist symbol." When Welch resisted, they attacked him. The concussion landed him in the hospital for two days.

One of the masked militants attacked Welch, striking him over and over again with some kind of metal rod concealed in black cloth. One blow landed on his head, which caused Welch to immediately crumple to the ground. He would eventually need four staples to close up the gaping wound."

There's no record of anybody being arrested for the assault.

Anybody who Googled "right wing political correctness" and couldn't find anything useful needs to take a Google for Dummies course. The first hit for me was this article by my Cato Institute colleague Alex Nowrasteh.

There are a large number of people in the comments section here who care nothing about accuracy, and are demonstrably frankfort bullshitters.

Right political correctness? That's typical deceit by Pilpul. Left political correctness (postmodern shaming) relies on falsehoods to mask unpleasant truths.

Conservative shaming relies on truths to prevent involuntary transfers. Conservative morality suppresses imposition of costs (meritocracy), left pretense of morality attempts to justify involuntary transfer (theft). What could be obtained by trade (usually conformity for subsidy) is sought at a discount by shaming.

In other words, it's using Pilpul to cast the equivalency of shaming as an equivalence of actions - and that's dishonest (actually, fraudulent).

Conservative reciprocity versus classical liberal equality of opportunity, vs leftist equality of outcome, versus radical leftist harm to truth, duty, reciprocity, and markets as a means of rebellion against low social, sexual, economic, and political market value.

It's just class warfare between middle class (desirable) and underclass (undesirable) genes, with the left playing top and bottom expanding low trust against the high trust but shrinking middle.

You've been reading so much horseshit on the internet that your brain is now literally garbage.

Political correctness is social engineering--reconstructing the dialectic, rhetoric, environment, etc.--to produce equality of outcomes in line with stated policy. It is idealistic in its premise that out-groups have morbid statistics because of an unfair in-group culture that needs deconstructing. As such, it is pretty inherent to the Left.

If there is a Right wing political correctness, then I would say it's along the lines of George W. Bush's "soft bigotry of low expectations." Bush idealistically thought if more blacks and latinos owned homes they'd immediately marry their girlfriends and put up white picket fences. Likewise, if we just leave the Iraqis and Afghans with a copy of the Constitution and Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, they'll be high-trust republics. Of course, no supporter of the Ancien Regime would call this neo-conservatism "Right," or even conservative. The Right, as I have noted, has split into the Clash of Civilizations and End of History camps, or Team Home and Hearth vs. Team Trotsky. With the ideological focus, I'd put the End of History camp on the Left where, like Trotsky, they belong.

That may have been what Tyler was getting at, but he didn't really ask a question, and Claire apparently followed his lead and didn't really give an answer.

With this tepid exploration, the interview seems to confirm another hypothesis of mine. Quillette and the whole hello-fellow-kids "Intellectual Dark Web" moment (and I do mean "moment," not "movement") is a last-ditch attempt to shore up the right side of the Overton frame as Trump and the Alt- or Dissident Right blast through it. The great, post-WW2 ideological conflict is over other than in archaic throwbacks like Venezuela and Nicaragua and it's now just about who gets to live where and run things.

Political correctness is just a new word to describe etiquette, the ancient structure of social norms.

What makes it seem new is that the structure is changing, making some things taboo and liberating others.

It causes pain and confusion for people who used to be safely within the boundaries, who suddenly find themselves outside and shunned.

I think there is also a tendency to try claim that the structure of social norms now insists that you agree with, or at least dont publicly dissent with, what certain people think.

I think it was Freddie DeBoer who described it as the 'we have all decided" form of argument, where you simply declare your opponents views to be beyond the pale and therefore unacceptable to even discuss.

Yes, there's a lot of people trying to shove one's political opponents out of the Overton Window involved here. Feels like there's a snappy term to be coined for this phenomenon. Right wing PC: Defenestration of Progs. Etc.

Nobody's being thrown out of windows for saying all humans are born tabula rasa or that everybody can live off everybody. They're just being laughed out of the room. Very different.

Fair enough. I just wanted to make a bad pun.

Cheers, mate. No worries.

"we have all decided" is exactly what etiquette is, and always has been.

"We have all decided" that-
You must stand for the flag;
Certain parts of the body must be covered;
This is sacred while that is profane;

"F@ck" used to be profane, something that could get you arrested, now uttered on television; "Ni@@er" used to be printed in newspapers, but is now profane and can get you fired.

"It causes pain and confusion for people who used to be safely within the boundaries, who suddenly find themselves outside and shunned."

Or when they're beaten up in front of a large crowd and the assailants walk away. You are correct that this is similar to the oppression of blacks pre-1970 in the South in general and large cities all over the country.

But as a society we were supposed to be past that behavior. Not to have merely declared a new out group that can be assaulted by men wearing hoods.

It is possible to stridently oppose and deplore such behavior and still acknowledge that 'both sides' have their version of PC. Obviously violence is taking PC way too far. That's just terrorism. Just as the Klan took their version of PC too far.

Just as the Klan took their version of PC too far.

So wrong you're not even wrong.

You'd probably think the "nation" in the old silent film "Birth of a Nation" was the Klan.

I'm never sure how on the mark I am until you come by and disagree. Now I know I nailed it.

Like I say, you are so wrong you are not even wrong. It would take five pages of explication just to get you to wrong. I'd mistake you for an immigrant or first-generation, you are so far off the mark on US history and politics.

Accuracy confirmed, thanks A-G.

What’s the two sentence executive summary?

There is a key moment in this interview where Claire says something that, to me, identifies the difference between 90's PC and today's PC.

The norms where expressing a racial epithet and using race to insult someone—there should be a taboo against that.

The 90's is when the people starting realizing that insulting someone by calling them gay or retarded is really offensive to gay people or the mentally handicapped. It was annoying at first, but very valid, and this lesson has been slowly absorbed over the past 20 or so years.

There was some of the modern PC in the discussion in the 90's, but it didn't have any of the discouraging effect on conversation it has today.

I do agree that the PC of the '90's was more a form of politeness and etiquette. It was a corollary of the Golden Rule. Furthermore, it was usually imposed by public shaming and ridicule.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The modern version is far nastier, and is more a form of speech control. Whereby you have formal rules that can get you expelled from a university, or informal rules that can get you fired or be shouted down or assaulted. Or subject to the Heckler's veto, etc. Or have your views censored in a biased fashion.

That's nearly entirely due to social media and the ubiquity of media in general. I think without that it'd still feel like the 90s.

As far as I know:

1) The last generation educated under pre-postmodern teachers and professors has been exiting participation (people are now in fifties to sixties or later). The generation of postmodern teachers and professors have tought this generation, at the same time parents have over protected, and immigrant labor has elminated demand for youth labor. And has communicated with smart phones rather than learned to drive, earn money, and integrate and cooperate with people holding different (more mature) views. This generation was not raised to be independent functioning adults, but pets, just as (beginning in the 1970s) relationships were not economic but 'friendships' which led to the higher divorce rates and the nearly ubiquitous 'starter marriages' that compensate (expensively) for failures to prepare children for adulthood.

2) The ("pet generation", Millennials, "I-Generation") began entering the consumer customer base, entering the academic customer base, social media customer base, and graduating into the young-underpaid-wanna-be-journalist base, each market appealed to these new consumers.

3) The same access that gives the alt-right influence on the internet gives the politically correct access on the internet. So the pet generation and the responsible remaining generations (the pet generation ends at 95 according to Haidt).

4) The social media platforms and web news and entertainment sites are primarily populated by these people young (pet generation) individuals and they are creating demand in every market including the political market.

5) The victim narrative plays well for first and second generation immigrants from underclasses, who have no chance of rotation out of the primarily genetic middle classes as did previous generations, because the post war economic advantage of labor has been neutralized by the universal adoption of literacy, education, consumer capitalism financed by fiat money and state credit capacity, and vast populations now competing with american labor.

6) These factors are all coinciding with the one-to-one replacement of whites with hispanics, and the recognition by the white working classes that without elites they will be left behind to suffer equality with the new underclasses. Hence the increasing identification of race and party.

I dunno. This is all pretty well studied material. The problem is - it's contrary to both new-left and old right narratives. The republicans assumed as good fools of the enlightenment that the top and bottom would move toward the middle. It would have happened but immigration has masked the various immigrant state economies, with those lacking immigrant cities collapsing under the weight of New Deal and Great Society (Soviet style) relocation programs. Even those immigrant cities would collapse if not for debt capacity.

Why this is difficult to understand is always beyond me.

I work with plenty of Millennials. They aren't pets. Do you realize that the original definition of Millennials was the high school class of 2000? Those "kids" are around 38 years old.

They are largely functioning adults, with jobs, houses, spouses, kids and a life on their own. They aren't pets.

Furthermore, a lot of the PC oppressive behavior is coming from people a lot older than any Millennial.

"They aren't pets." Even so, any tips on potty training?

Occupy Wall Street!

Your anecdotal experience has nothing to do with the data, sorry. Personal responsibility, life experience, life skills fell off a cliff. Millennial fist, then the cohort starting in '95. See I-Gen by Twenge.

Can I get some examples of right wing PC?

I tentatively gave some examples above. Are they real examples of right wing PC, according to you?

The NFL anthem counter protests clearly fit that description. The Starbucks boycotts.

Were you not around when Bush decided to invade Iraq?

Interesting. Would people be upset in a white actor was playing a black person or vice versa in a movie?

We all saw how Hamilton was universally denounced

The term "n-word" and how much it is used and that I myself fear the alternative does amaze me, but maybe it shows how great us USAers are.

Jonathan Haidt has identified about seven victims’ groups who are entitled to feel offended and slighted over sort of microaggressions: women, blacks, Muslims, I think indigenous or native peoples, LGBT, and perhaps immigrants would be another one.

Any ideas on who are the microagressors?

It's a mystery, a complete mystery.


Please merchant, tell me what to think.

Why don't some of the right wingers here post ideas about what some possible right-wing PC might be?

What would you advise the left to be wary of, regarding the right?

Let’s say you are a college grad working at some megacorp doing boring office job X. What could you say at the lunch table or at the water cooler that is offensive to right wingers that would get you fired?

"We need a union!"

The idea that the US should be judged by the same moral standards applied to other countries for similar actions. The claim that US personnel have committed actual war crimes for which we would support sending people from other countries to prison. The claim that US soldiers often mistreat people in countries they're occupying.

It seems like leftist say this stuff all the time and I don’t see them becoming unemployable because of it.

Would this be political correctness or business interests.

"Any chance I can get some paid leave when my wife has our baby?"

You wouldn’t get fired and you know it.

Indeed, our company, a medium sized engineering firm just implemented paid pregnancy leave, for just that situation. I don't think msgkings has been in the labor market for a few years.

Some examples of Right wing PC:

The Ownership Society (George W Bush)
Creative destruction in the Middle East (Michael Ledeen)
The Constitution as a talismanic ward, a/k/a conservative prayer shawl

But like I said upstream, I'm not sure any of this really qualifies as Right wing. PC is basically inherent to the Left as opposed to the Right, which tends to stress perennial human nature.

Come on there’s plenty:

Patriotism, and a militarized version of it

Concentric circles of loyalty - nuclear family, extended family, state, nation

Reproduction/sexual ethics - marriage, abortion, homosexuality, LGBT alphabet soup stuff

Bill of Rights

Founding mythology and ethos, hence the rage spectacle anytime someone brings up native Americans or slavery

Granted it’s a fusion of Scotch-Irish “leave me the f alone” morals and southern planter morals. But it’s there.

It's not "political correctness." You're rendering the phrase meaningless. See my comment upstream.

Probably something like the idea that flag burning should be criminalized (which didn't used to be "right-wing PC" back in the 1980s, just general social attitudes that were particularly pronounced among Republicans) or that disrespecting the military ought to result in you being banned from polite company.

These attitudes do still exist in some parts of the country, but their force is quite weak and realistically right-wing PC has been dead since the end of the 1960s, despite an attempted but never really accepted revival by some elements of the Right, particularly the Religious Right (remember boycotting Pepsi because Madonna, who had made a commercial with Pepsi, disrespected Christianity in a music video?), during the 1980s. The 1950s was definitely a time of real right-wing PC, when permissive attitudes towards sexuality, irreligiousness, or left-wing economic sympathies could get you fired, exiled by the neighbors, or even investigated as a potential Communist.

"When did political correctness become a major issue?"

IIRC Spring of '97 would be a good candidate.

It was well before that. George H Bush brought it up during his Presidency.

PC started in the late 80s but became a bigger issue in the early 90s as school speech codes came under fire.

Yawn, one more convo with Tyler in which the host and guest conclude that the people out in the hinterland are stupid and inferior and slap each other on the back. These predictable routines are growing tiresome.

I didn't hear that. What are you referring to?

Right wing PC does exist, and it really came out during the Iraq war. An example of right wing PC is restrictions on saying "unpatriotic" things in a time of war, especially questioning the justness of Amercan military action, but also even in some cases criticizing strategy. I.e. "defeatism".

Another example is Christian conservatives getting their panties in a twist over people saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". How dare you wish someone "Happy Holidays"? You must hate Christians!

There are lot of other examples. The deeper you go into right-wing echo chambers, the more likely you are to encounter examples of things you just can't say. It's not really any different from the left. Progressives are horrified if you come out in favor of GMOs. Conservatives are horrified if you come out in favor of Black Lives Matter. they've both got their own bizarre narratives with their own largely fabricated information networks supporting their narratives. trying to deconstruct an alt-right guy's belief that BLM is a racist movement against white people is like trying to deconstruct a Chavez-supporting Marxists belief that the collapse of the Bolivarian Revolution isn't because of an evil a CIA plot.

PC as a phenomenon exists everywhere, but there are differences in how important/powerful it is. It sure seems like a lot of the left right now is tying itself in knots thanks to various forms of political correctness, whereas the right is tying itself in knots in other ways.

I remember precisely when I first saw the term "politically correct." I had just arrived in Berkeley, CA in 1987 for grad school. I walked past the Berkeley Food Co-op, which had a banner that read, "Politically Correct Food." The idea that the Internet has anything to do with the genesis of the term or the movement it represents is appallingly, willfully ignorant. It was a term created and defined by the left and meant to describe their own political priorities. The only thing the right had to do with it was to turn it into a pejorative.

“I’d rather the norms against racists, in a sense, be too tough and maybe catch some cases that don’t deserve to be caught because that’s the only choice we have. In the past, injustices have been so great.”

That's a great question! A) do we act like Eisenhower and let PC/McCarthyism burn because the results will probably be net positive? and B) are we open to this discussion or do we fall back to polemic positions?

The transcript has a discussion of transgender groups being upset that Scarlett Johansson being picked to play a transgender role in a film.

Something not discussed is that leading actors/actresses do far more than just play the part in the film. They are also expected to promote it. They show up at conventions, evening talk shows, and various other promotional events.

Even if a transgender actor (?) was available to play the part, casting ScarJo instead boosts the production's value because she is good at promotion. The ability to convincingly act isn't nearly as important as is the ability to effectively promote the film.

2007? Really?

Read the details of Sheldon Hackney's term as President of the University of Pennsylvania... in the 1980s. I was there. If you think PC started in 2007, you're more than 20 years off. Search for "behema Penn" for an example.

And Dr. Hackney was very much on the Left.

History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.

PC is really easy to pinpoint using Google ngram. It's the Clarence Thomas hearings. That's when PC took off. PC and Clarence Thomas take off at exactly the same time. It's also the time that GHW Bush gave a speech on PC.

I heard the excelent conversation and the impression I got is that this lady is an hostage to the audience she captured.

And she's not alone: Jordan Peterson (a moron) and Nassim Taleb (a genius) are other examples of this happening.

Anyone have a source link to the Jonathan Haidt "7 protected groups" thing she mentions?

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