35 Years of Cushioned Self-deception
35 Years of Cushioned Self-deception
By John Mallon
Originally published in 2005 on Catholic Online
Liberalism, or what is has become, is quickly becoming an anachronism. Whatever moral high ground it attempts to claim is belied by the intellectual and moral impoverishment of "political correctness." This impoverishment is becoming more and more evident to anyone who has not yet lost the capacity to think. It is not that political correctness has run amok—it has always been amok. Political correctness is liberalism run amok, intolerance in the name of tolerance. Liberals in the 60s loved to warn about the prophecies of George Orwell and Aldus Huxley but are now the very folks making them come true. They did not learn the lessons of Animal Farm.
Getting old also comes as a shock to the baby-boomers, especially the radical don't-trust-anyone-over-30 crowd, who are stunned when their children's youthful rebellion takes the form of political conservatism and religious orthodoxy. It is a shock that their children are not grateful for the chaos bequeathed to them.
Yes, the baby boomers were indeed the younger generation to end all younger generations, and pretty much reached that goal by institutionalizing legal abortion and widespread contraceptive use.
Now we have the Huxleyian spectre of human cloning. Is it any wonder that some of the young run around in "Gothic" garb, as science approaches the fulfillment of the Frankenstein legend of La Belle Epoch of a century ago?
Liberalism run amok—political correctness—fulfills another literary prophecy. It was Flannery O'Connor who said "When you govern by tenderness, tenderness leads to the gas chamber." Were she speaking today, Miss O'Connor would probably have used the word "compassion" in place of "tenderness," because governing by "compassion" has certainly led to the abortion chamber. That abortion is an evil, or at the very least, not a good, is written on the human heart. But today, as in other times, the voice of the human heart—the voice of conscience—is profoundly muffled and "political correctness" has emerged in its place as a ersatz morality to drown out the muffled but nonetheless restless voice of conscience.
Whether the pillow used to smother the voice of conscience and obscure what human beings do to one another is called "compassion," or "the good of the Fatherland" or "racial superiority" it is flexible according to the times. The uneasy conscience perhaps explains why the politically correct liberal is obsessed with accusing innocent people of racism should they hold different political views. It is all too human to accuse another of what we refuse to acknowledge in ourselves, that we, too, can deny another's humanity, rationalize, and kill.
Disregarding history, liberals of today take credit for all advances in civil rights over the last 50 years, but obsess on this because there is little else they can take credit for that doesn't require one to become a relativist. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that there is a connection between the irrational need to accuse others and the smothered voice of one's own heart.
When a modern person views photos of the Nazi death camps or the lynchings of American slavery, they rightly cry, "How could they do it?" "What were they thinking?" For the prolifer the answer is simple, albeit profoundly politically incorrect. Namely, it is the same blindness to the humanity of another, and the rationalization that allows many today to be unmoved by photos of aborted babies and lets them coldly dismiss such evidence as propaganda, and continue to support the horror. Slaveholders and perpetrators of the Nazi terror were well able to view themselves as decent, even moral folks. But history, thankfully, views them differently.
Whether the suffocating pillow rationalization is called "a woman's right to choose," or "the good of the Fatherland," or "ethnic cleansing" it remains the next step in the continuum of genocide that rears its ghoulish head every few decades in a new disguise until everyone seems to wake up at once to the horror and condemn it.
A tipping point is reached and a culture-wide awakening takes place, scales fall from the culture's eyes to the horror it has countenanced, and cries of "Never again!" ring out, until the next genocide comes along.
The devil knows his business. A sterile looking clinic seems a far cry from the filth of the death camp, but the activity is the same. The innocent are killed and the lovelessness is called by a noble sounding name. Evil is good. Good is evil.
It is easier to look back at the atrocities of the past through the lens of today's sensibilities and wonder "How could they do it?" and refuse to recognize our present day blindness that allows the killing to occur in a different guise due to high-sounding excuses.
I predict that around the year 2050, the common sensibility will be to look back at the abortion years in anguish and say, "How could they have done it?" "They had photographic proof! How could they have been so blind as to allow that to be done to another human being?"
© John Mallon 2005, 2013, 2020
It is not that political correctness has run amok—it has always been amok.