Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ft. Hood, PC, and lemming our republic off the cliff

The Ft. Hood terrorism is a lesson on the dangers of political correctness.

From Practical Economics,

Of all the economic delusions maybe the most dangerous is political correctness (PC). The idea that what sounds politically and socially palatable must be the best solution to a problem is thinly veiled intellectual thought. In other words, political correctness is a position based solely on what sounds good and feels right. Political correctness spreads because of the “parroting effect” where, for lack of analysis and cognitive exercise, people just repeat what they hear as truth. This is not to say that all PC thought is wrong as it applies to social, political and economic decision making, only that blind political correctness can lead to detrimental and, as history has shown, dangerous policy.

Conventional morality, secular humanism, moral relativity, or moral equivalencies are all similar principles that guide modern political correctness. These visions ignore basic principles of scarcity and cost leading to policies that are more concerned with doing what feels right than what is correct based on sound economic principles. Friedrich Hayek explained the problem of moral busybodies who base their actions on feelings when he said, “It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil.”

The PC crowd sees the world and its workings from the realm of what they believe to be common sense and conventional wisdom. As such, their analysis of problems and possible solutions only look to what can be seen in the here and now. Unfortunately, what sounds right or correct is often, as we have seen, the exact wrong thing to do in terms of economics. Because feelings and an emotional divining rod is substituted for empirical evidence and analysis, most people are easily swayed by inaccurate economic arguments. When sound bites generate a disingenuous picture that is easy for the public to digest, the roots of the PC problem take hold.

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