Today, however, the big threat to our discourse is right-wing political correctness, which — unlike the liberal version — has lots of power and money behind it. And the goal is very much the kind of thing Orwell tried to convey with his notion of Newspeak: to make it impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order.Benen notes how right wingers in North Carolina and Virginia are using right wing political correctness in the service of climate change denial:
Actually, this reminds me of an essay I read a long time ago about Soviet science fiction. The author — if anyone remembers where this came from — noted that most science fiction is about one of two thoughts: “if only”, or “if this goes on”. Both were subversive, from the Soviet point of view: the first implied that things could be better, the second that there was something wrong with the way things are. So stories had to be written about “if only this goes on”, extolling the wonders of being wonderful Soviets.
And now that’s happening in America.
So, "sea level rise" might give people the impression that climate change is dangerous -- in other words, it might convey accurate information -- which necessarily makes the phrase inconvenient to those who deny climate change.
We all remember the "Bush aide" who mocked "the reality based community." It seems that in order to hold right wing beliefs, in your day to day existence, you have to actively and pretty much constantly deny a lot of reality based empirical evidence right before your own eyes. So it's not really surprising then that so many people who cling to reactionary right wing worldviews are adept at doing the same at abstract and theoretical levels as well. Evolution via natural selection is obviously false and the different creation stories from the bible are simultaneously obviously and literally true. Climate change is obviously a vast left wing conspiracy. Even if you "take Obama at his word" that he might have been born in Hawaii, he's obviously not as American as right wing white christians.
An illustrative example occurred over the weekend at Redstate. A poster claimed that "people don't care" about privacy online:
You want more proof that every single private industry privacy debate in DC is completely wrong headed? MSIE 10′s do not track default is unpopular. People don’t care. They value cheap/free stuff and convenience over privacy protection.A commenter noted that the linked article at Übergizmo does not make any claims about user preference but instead is about how various advertisers don't like Do Not Track and are not feeling particularly compelled to cooperate:
Do Not Track UnpopularThe poster than asks why in the world that should matter:
edintexas Sunday, June 10th at 7:40AM EDT (link)
Unless the linked article has changed since you included the link, or I missed an unstated/should be understood meaning, the article states that “Do Not Track” is unpopular with advertisers. It says nothing more about users of IE 10 than that future versions may put the burden on the users to turn it on. It also states that companies may claim to observe the standard while ignoring the flag and tracking users anyway.
I agree that people are both ignorant of privacy issues, and don’t really care about privacy. But I don’t see the linked article as being about people giving up privacy for “cheap/free stuff”.
I didn't say the link said that.The objecting commenter then wisely forgoes an attempt to explain the significance of the poster's error more plainly:
Neil Stevens (Diary) Sunday, June 10th at 3:56PM EDT (link)
So...As if to confirm the commenter's decision not to waste his time spelling it out, the poster retorts with what he no doubt thinks is a slam dunk:
edintexas Monday, June 11th at 10:28AM EDT (link)
I thought of explaining why a contained link should support the content and conclusion of the paragraph, but I can see I’d be wasting my time.
I'm working at a higher level than thatThis is nothing unusual of course, but it does nicely illustrate the capacity to deny reality on several levels. First, he denies that Americans actually do value privacy online. Secondly, and more immediately, he denies his own intentionality in providing the link in the first place. The self abnegation on display here is actually somewhat astounding.
Neil Stevens (Diary) Monday, June 11th at 1:52PM EDT (link)
If you’re looking for someone who blindly regurgitates mainstream press reporting, you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Why did he include the link? Did he think no one would follow it or read it and engage in the slightest amount of critical thinking? Did he somehow misread or misunderstand the article he linked to? Or did he, as he would have us believe in his last response to his critic, include the link merely because it had something to do with the internet and privacy, regardless of its relevance to supporting his claim that "people don't care about privacy"?
It doesn't really matter. He simply rejects the premise that online writers are obligated to include links to supporting evidence if they want to have any credibility. And he does so without embarrassment or any sense that he should at least engage in an argument for the rejection of the need for supporting evidence.
In this way, this little episode of reality denial captures the right wing rejection of evidence and reality. I'm more and more convinced that this is part of a larger right wing project to attack and eventually destroy support for evidence based argumentation and acceptance of a common reality.
If people are wrapped up in sky wizard creation stories, conspiracy theories about "enviro-nazis," and History Channel exposés of ancient aliens and bigfoots running loose, then it really will become "impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order."