February 13, 2014

Political correctness is the worst kind of censorship, Ctd

Jenni Russell (@jennirsl) looked at Amu Chua's new book, 'The Triple Package', in The Sunday Times here. She explained how Amy Chua has received abuse for speaking out and mentioning topics that are normally left untouched, shielded by the politically correct orthodoxy. Jenni Russell said:
"Amy Chua (@AmyChua) ignited an international firestorm among the chattering classes with her bestselling book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Her new book [The Triple Package]... is already being denounced across the Atlantic because it challenges another liberal tenet: that exploring the cultural differences between groups amounts to racism."

Jenni continued:
"In a lengthy, vitriolic piece in Time, the writer Suketu Mehta argues that praising the cultural characteristics of any particular group implies that others are inferior, and that Chua and Rubenfeld are thus among “the new racialists”. “The language of racism in America has changed, although the plot remains the same. It’s not about skin colour any more, it’s about cultural traits. And it comes cloaked in a whole lot of social science babble.” The Nation was equally condemnatory. Its subheadline wondered whether the authors were racists or just internet trolls. Salon said the book outlined “a despicable theory of racial superiority”." 
And here's the important bit:
"But in their rage and anxiety over the issue, these critics are denying the importance of analysing how societies work, and casually misrepresenting what Chua and Rubenfeld actually say." 

When I speak out against loyalists I rebuked and rebuffed as standard as a snob. This carries no weight. As Robert Green Ingersoll said during his 1880 lecture on Thomas Paine:
"Whoever attacks a superstition will find that superstition defended by all the meanness of ingenuity. Whoever attacks a superstition will find that there is still one weapon left in the arsenal of Jehovah—slander."
For we know now, as Ed West said, that identity is the new sacred. And some more from Jenni Russell:
"The Triple Package sets out to ask a serious question: why do some groups in America radically outperform others? The authors look beyond the categories of class and race to identify the groups whose income, academic accomplishment, corporate leadership and professional success outstrip the norm. “The reality, uncomfortable as it may be to talk about, is that some religious, ethnic and national-origin groups are starkly more successful than others. Without looking squarely at such groups, it’s impossible to understand economic mobility in America and what the levers of success in this country really are.”" 
Chua and Rubenfeld insist that the answer has nothing to do with innate or genetic differences between groups. They are not uncovering in-built superiorities, but identifying belief systems that encourage individuals to achieve. They argue that America’s disparate and super-achieving subcultures share three critical characteristics — the “Triple Package” (TP). They grow up believing privately that their group is superior, whether for religious, racial, historical, geographical or class reasons. All feel insecure about whether the society around them will recognise or reward that superiority, which makes them desperate to prove their worth. And, importantly, each preaches impulse control to its members, particularly children. Sacrifices of time, happiness and money must be made today in order that parents may be proud and that individuals may have better lives tomorrow. 
This combination leads to disproportionate levels of worldly success, the authors say, because these are no longer values publicly lauded in America. Schools teach that no group is superior, while self-esteem and living in the present are supposed to be the key to the good life. But while America preaches the advantages of being laid-back, society’s rewards go to those who reject those ideas. It is the disciplined and the driven who end up with wealth, prestige and power."
"Chua and Rubenfeld are articulating this theory not because they are revelling in their own superiority, but because they would like anyone to be able to follow the Triple Package. It is in part a self-help formula they’re expounding."
Jenni Russell in full here. Vivia Chen looked positively upon Amy Chua's book and struck out at the cultural tick that self-censors those who talk about the cultural differences between different groups, I wrote on that here. Previous post in the series here and here. My post on civil intolerance here. Post on journalistic self-censorship and prior restraint here. My blog post for Loyalists Against Democracy on self-censorship and the silenced majority, here.

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