Political Correctness and the Argument from Intimidation

Political correctness (PC) refers to the use of language, measures, and policies that will not offend or put any group of people at a disadvantage. It states that certain ideas, behavior, and expressions should be forbidden by law and those who commit them should be punished.

The political correctness movement aims equality for everybody. However, movements have been done to fight the inefficiencies of the so-called PC campaign. One such advocate of the fight against PC is Thomas Woods, Jr., a senior fellow at Mises Institute.

Thomas Woods has written twelve books one of which is entitled “Bernie Sanders Is Wrong.” He further explained the book in his lecture at the Mises Institute. In his talk, he stated various statistics regarding the inequality of various groups of people.

At the lecture, Woods quoted the author and fellow Mises Institute’s member, DiLorenzo that “there is an expressed and oftentimes implicit oppression… against all groups other than white men throughout society.” With this quote, there is an “expectation that in the absence of this oppression we would have equality of economic outcomes.”

Because of this perceived oppression, state policies have been proposed to correct the imbalances. Advocates of Political Correctness engenders the idea that we “need” government intervention (e.g. state policies) to minimize the differences between and among groups of people.

However, Woods is against D’ Lorenzo’s statement and states that “The presumption that we would have equal outcomes for all groups is based on… an approach to society that is so simplistic as to be juvenile.” According to him, the various racial and ethnic groups differ in various benign ways. They differ in age, educational levels, culture, and values, among others. These differences are so “extraordinary” that it would be “astonishing if there were equal outcomes among groups.”

For example, Wood cited that only 10% of Japanese-American women are married by the age of 18. On the other hand, 50% of Mexican-American women have gotten into marriage at the said age. This difference has a lot of implications for both groups especially when it comes to educational and/or job opportunities. When women marry and undergo childbirth, it is customary for them to reside at home to raise a family. This is just “one cultural difference between two groups,” that will account for many of their disparities.

On another note, “The Chinese minority in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand have never operated under an equal playing field and yet most of those nations’ total investments and key industries are held by these Chinese minority. The Chinese minority has had twice the average income of the Malay majority despite the fact that they have been officially discriminated against.”

“The Italians in Argentina have outperformed native Argentines despite discrimination. The same could be said for Jews, Armenians, East Indians, and more.” Thus, according to Woods, there are various types of disparities. In addition, there are “disparities that are the opposite of what you would expect if the narrative of political correctness were true that discrimination and oppression must have these sorts of outcomes.”

Woods explained that there are a variety of outcomes because humans are widely variable. In addition, there are a lot of factors and circumstances that come into play for a particular result to come up. He added that “the world is not a comic book in which there is one factor at work and in which everything would be equal if we could just get this one factor just right.”

Woods also explained the gender wage gap in his talk at Mises Institute. He is opposed to the statement that women earn only 77% of what men earn. According to him, this statistic did not take other factors into account. Some factors not accounted for are the type of jobs men and women partake in and the number of hours they spend in their jobs.

Statistics show that 12% of women work 35 to 39 hours a week. On the other hand, only 5% of men work for the same number of hours. Twenty-six percent (26%) of men work for more than 41 hours a week while only 14% of women work for the same number of hours. When the number of hours is factored in, the 23% pay gap between the two genders drops to 12%. With a single adjustment, the gap between the two decreases drastically. Woods stated that the movement regarding gender wage gap “don’t care about the facts.” They care only about the “power” and not “the statistics.”

Another reason for the gender wage gap is the effect of marriage on both genders. Women usually raise their babies at home for a certain number of years and this “automatically rules out certain high-paying occupations.” Their knowledge usually becomes outdated once they return to the workforce.

In addition, some types of jobs are favorable to certain types of genders. For example, pre-school education and secretarial jobs are usually favorable to women. They usually have more agreeable work hours that allows them to raise their family on the side. These differences are “entirely benign” but they make up for the so-called gender wage gap espoused by various movements.

Thus, if we would sum up Woods discussion, discrimination and inequality are not due to a movement against various groups. Perceived discrimination and inequality are results of a variety of factors. These factors might lead a particular group of people to come up with particular decisions and actions that might lead to particular outcomes.

Benign attitudes, characteristics, actions, and cultures, are what make various groups different from each other and thus leading them to various circumstances. Thus, it is “morally wrong” to ridicule people for who they are and what they do.

Thomas Woods wraps up the entire talk with the importance of the truth. He says that “if people are exposed to and have a chance to hear an alternative—they hear the standard world view and a different one—they will be less likely to be swept away by political correctness. They won’t buy into it. They’ll have the analytical tools and the knowledge to know where it goes wrong.”

This article is a summary of Political Correctness And Argument Intimiation (mises.org)

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