American free-speech is under assault from both left and right. The left seeks to stifle free speech in the name of diversity with political correctness. The right moves to crush freedom of expression in the name of patriotism with patriotic correctness.
Political correctness is the effort to suppress any viewpoint counter to modern leftist dogma to protect the chimera of “diversity.” National or patriotic correctness is the effort to silence any opinion offensive to modern conservative dogma in the name of patriotism.
The latest and most childish example of correctness is the National Football League’s (NFL) requirement that all players must stand for The Star Spangled Banner. American Conservative writer Rod Dreher (who is no fan of political correctness) accurately described that nonsense as “Stand for the anthem, Negro” and “Conservative Free Speech Hypocrisy.”
The Danger to Free Speech from Patriotic Correctness
Political correctness and patriotic correctness threaten freedom because they are rooted in an authoritarian ideology that denies individuality, independent thought, and free will.
Both forms of correctness demand total obedience to authority and absolute conformity to groupthink. Acceptance of certain norms is viewed as sacrosanct and any deviance or dissent from those norms is viewed as heresy.
Both political and patriotic correctness (PC) are rooted in the denial of scientific and historical fact. Political correctness is based on a fantasy ideology that blames the world’s problems on white European males and demonizes scientific progress and reason. Patriotic correctness is rooted in a fairy tale view of American history that denies the existence of racism and much of our history.
Worst of all both ideologies promote a shallow tribalism in which loyalty to the group is the only value. Ethics, science, reason, and empirical thought are meaningless the only value is loyalty to the group. Loyalty to the group is demonstrated by swallowing its myths as truth not by any concrete action.
The ultimate test of loyalty for the PC intellectual is believing a person is a bigot for reading Shakespeare. The ultimate loyalty test for the patriotically correct reactionary is believing that a person is a traitor for not standing for the national anthem.
On some level, such correctness is a shamanistic religion that demands its followers to perform certain acts in order to get a heavenly reward. This justifies the practitioners’ efforts to force others to comply; those people are being coerced for their own good. The banned NFL player and the censured college professor are being “helped” by being forced to perform the holy ritual.
Like the Prosperity Gospel, the politically correct and patriotically correct dogmas offer reward without work or sacrifice. Simply believe the right things and act the right way and you will achieve wealth and success. No work is necessary.
Just as the prosperity gospel reduces Christianity to wish for success, political correctness transforms leftist struggle into revolution by magic words and patriotic correctness offers patriotism without pain. Like the hucksters who offer painless prosperity and wealth without work, PC and patriotic correctness promise political reform and revolution without pain or struggle.
Like the Prosperity Gospel, patriotic and political correctness are dogmas of instant gratification that offer a fantasy world with no pain, no problems, and no struggle.
Organized Hypocrisy for Corrupt Elitists
This enables the practitioners of those ideologies to deny many of our world and country’s problems. Such dogmas appeal to the wealthy and comfortable because they allow them to ignore any painful reality that might cause them to question their lifestyles or beliefs.
Patriotic correctness allows the NFL owners; and the overpaid players of all races, to ignore racism and income inequality. Political correctness allows journalists and tenured college professors to ignore poverty, income inequality, wage stagnation, and the economic and political effects of racism.
Worst of all both dogmas create scapegoats whose punishment is supposed to solve society’s problems. If those scapegoats are the people who dare to publicize the evils that expose patriotic and political correctness as shallow fantasies, so much the better.
The politically correct crusaders are conspicuously absent when corrupt officials suppress African American votes and noticeably silent about poverty among nonwhite Americans. Patriotically correct ideologues rarely discuss or even acknowledge the national shames of racism and poverty.
Pretending to be Socially Responsible
The NFL owners can pretend they are being socially responsible by forcing players to stand for the anthem. The campus intellectuals can pretend they are being socially responsible by punishing students or faculty members for politically incorrect speech. In both systems, an arrogant minority gets to appease its consciences and silence its critics, without threatening its bank accounts.
The best way to fight political correctness and patriotic correctness is to simply ignore those beliefs. The ideologies they are based on are meaningless and the enforcers are paper tigers with no moral or physical authority. Those who follow such ideologies will be exposed as hypocrites and ultimately be destroyed by their beliefs.
A likely scenario is that the patriotically correct will end up destroying each other with meaningless name calling and hysterical witch hunting; much as the politically correct left is doing to itself on the campuses. The NFL owners that voted for the standing requirement will probably find themselves being ostracized and demonized for lack of patriotic correctness in the near future.
The mob President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) and his ilk have stirred up is just as likely to turn on the NFL owners and destroy them as it is to fill the stands at the games. Once the owners are tarred and feathered; the patriotically correct lynch mob will consume Trump and the band of pseudointellectuals, grade F celebrities, and political has-beens that surrounds him.
The threat to freedom the ideologies represents is in the mind. As long as people think for themselves, neither political correctness nor patriotic correctness will be anything but a bad joke. Ultimately those who practice such ideologies will be destroyed by them.