Tuesday, 10 April 2012

WEIRDs are the root of political correctness

A group of American cultural psychologists has identified an elite in the western world which is responsible for setting the norms and values through western societies as reflected in the media, the government and the public institutions. They used the acronym WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic. This subculture has been emerging from elite higher education institutions and schools in North America, UK, Europe and Australasia since the end of World War II.

There are five dimensions to a culture:
  1. Concern for suffering
  2. Desire for justice
  3. Loyalty to the group
  4. Deference to authority
  5. Recognition of the Sacred
WEIRDs are only concerned with the first two, especially when it is foreigners and others outside one’s own in-group who suffer hardship or injustice. It is this ironic narrowness of perception through excessive cosmopolitanism which gives rise to the divorcement of policy from reality and the multiplication of widely derided laws, rules and regulations (see this dictionary of politically incorrect terms) which try to achieve the world commanded by Christ without recognising His divine nature. It is therefore important not to recognise gender, race or national differences in language in case this leads to 'unfair' (who decides what is unfair?) discrimination of some kind. We have to pretend that everyone is equal in body and mind when we know we are not equal. It is in spirit that we are equal but since most WEIRDs don’t recognise the divinity of Christ’s commands and the presence of the Holy Spirit in all people on Earth they have to lay down contrived expressions to guard against wrong  behaviour and distort reality. (Unbelievers must decide what is wrong by arbitrary standards, which may or may not coincide with the those coming from God.)

David Goodhart (Prospect, April 2012) asks whether the WEIRDs are now floundering in the face of their failure to recognise loyalty to one’s in-group, the need for authority in maintaining order and the reality of the Divine. He argues that the secular left will disappear unless it rectifies this situation and he puts his hope in a new book by Jonathan Haidt: The Righteous Mind.

This book, it appears, uses evolutionary concepts, the only ones understood and accepted by most WEIRDs, to justify the reality of the dimensions 3,4 and 5.

A brave try. But it is flawed if recognition of the sacred is attempted by humanists, since by its very definition humanism denies the sacred. All values originate from man, not from our Creator, and so are entirely without authority, as one might expect from a worldview in which all meaning and purpose is purely an accidental by-product of biological evolution in a universe stripped of purpose and meaning. You can’t have ‘sacredness’ without God. You can only have a self-appointed demagogue propagating the values of a human being appointed as a surrogate god, as in Hitler’s Germany or Maoist China or Stalin’s Russia. Not a welcome development for any society. In my own country Richard Dawkins has already written a new set of the Ten Commandments and hopefully that is as far as it will go judging from the backlash against aggressive atheism in the UK.

 I am not saying that all political correctness is misguided. Some offensive expressions should indeed be removed from our vocabulary to encourage positive, kinder thinking but terms have been introduced rapidly without public consultation or consent as a result of the failure to believe in God as the source of moral righteousness.


See also Distorting reality
reach me at cosmik.jo@gmail.com