Saturday, December 20, 2008

How's Your P.I.Q.?

P.I.Q. = Politically Incorrect Quotient.

The following ten questions can be used to gauge ones degree of susceptibility to political correctness and its obverse, political incorrectness. They do not exhaust all questions that could be asked on this subject, only some of the more important ones. These are all simply Yes or No questions.

1. Internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War 2

a) Was the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War 2 by the Roosevelt Administration a shameful chapter in American history which we have moved beyond and should never come close to repeating?

b) Or was the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War Two by the Roosevelt Administration a necessary and rational measure to protect America from a people whose culture was unusually prone to a trans-American solidarity to an ideology whose goal was military conquest of America, and as such unusually prone to subterfuge toward that end?

2. Cultures

a) Are all cultures the same?

b) Are some cultures worse than others ethically and by extension sociopolitically?

3. The West

Is the West superior to the non-West?

4. Western Colonialism

Was the epoch of Western Colonialism (approximately 400 years from the 16th to the middle of the 20th century) on balance beneficent for the world and for the West?

5. The Middle Ages

Was the medieval West (aka Christendom) on balance a vibrant, dynamic and progressive era conducive socially, culturally, politically, legally, technologically, scientifically and philosophically to the later progress of the West?

6. Christianity

Has Christianity been, on balance, beneficent for the West?

7. Political Correctness (PC)

Does PC exist as a sociopolitical problem causing various forms of long-term damage to people and society?

8. Blacks

Do too many black people manifest certain features of sociopathy sufficiently distinct in both kind and degree from societies of white people to warrant concern for social order?

9. Islam

Is Islam itself a systemic organic singular ideology that is uniquely evil, unjust and dangerous to the world and, as such, must be stopped?

10. Muslims

Are all Muslims to be considered as agents of Islam as defined by #9 ?

“Incorrectly Correct Answers:


a) No.

b) Yes.


a) No.

b) Yes.

3. Yes.

4. Yes.

5. Yes.

6. Yes.

7. Yes.

8. Yes.

9. Yes.

10. Yes.


Robert86 said...

Well I know what is politically "correct" and "incorrect". In fact it seems to change with the times. Yet I don't get what the point of this exercise was about. Are you meaning to say that whatever is politically incorrect in these cases is the correct answer?

For example, the first question about the internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII. It is obvious that agreeing with this in the present is politically incorrect as it goes against what mainstream media says. So .... what? Does this mean we should gauge ethical decisions by going in the opposite direction of what is politically correct? I am afraid I might have missed the point.

Erich said...


Well, your questions stir up some of the underlying complexity that my little exercise here may have over-simplified.

First of all, my point was not that what is deemed PC is always and automatically to be countered by an opposite position. It's more of a phenomenon of averages and tendency. Perhaps it would be safe to say that more than half of PC positions should be reversed.

Another complication is that even some PC positions that are harmful and should be reversed, have symbiotic dependency upon good thoughts and feelings -- which is one major reason why PC MC has been able to become dominant and mainstream. Since the West is largely democratic, something that is mostly bad or evil could not become dominant and mainstream throughout the West: it has to be intimately convolved with good ideas as well. Sorting out the good from the bad, of course, becomes complex and to some extent subject to subjectivity and relativism. At any rate, the massively irrational stance the West is currently taking with regard to Muslims should be a giant red flag indicating a wrongheadedness with perilous consequences, one that forces us to re-examine our PC givens and, in the light of an educated knowledge about Islam, reveals fault lines that somewhat more clearly show the right from the wrong.

There are certain important PC positions out there that are indicative of a mindset that has in turn contributed to our irrationality when facing the problem of Islam. Currently, the prevailing paradigm holds as self-evident an axiom establishing that, because Muslims are an ethnic non-Western culture, then everything good one finds in the Islamic orbit must pertain to Islam, but anything significantly bad one finds in the Islamic orbit suddenly becomes "un-Islamic" and only "cultural" or "political", but magically unrelated to Islam itself. This is largely because, as an ethnic non-Western culture, Islam is privileged by PC MC and treated with kid gloves. And ever since 911, Muslims have become the Poster Children of the privileged ethnic peoples of the world -- and this trend is only increasing.

In this sense, the Japanese internment issue is a good barometer of where a person stands on their awareness of the dangers of Islam. People who tend to think that Japanese internment was a "shameful chapter" of our past and should never be repeated and that we should thus be especially vigilant for any trends that seem to be going down the "slippery slope" toward it -- are also people who become Islam defenders and apologists whenever Islam is criticized. There are a few anti-Islam people who do not exemplify this rule, however: they also think Japanese internment was a "shameful chapter". To me this shows just how widespread has been the influence of PC, that it even insinuates some of its tentacles into the hearts and minds of people otherwise able to break free of it.

Robert86 said...


I can see your point in this exercise, although I think more should have been said for rookies to 'The Hesperado' like me who are not familiar with your point of view. I was surprised with one or two of the answers to what signified a "politically correct" answer. Then again ever since I learned about the concept of "political correctness", I was appalled by it. The idea something is "correct" based on the states or the majorities beliefs without backing it up with reason is an absurd but easy thing to become enamored with.

Anyway, I am little disturbed by the Japanese internment issue. Being pro-Individualist, I usually see the internment of citizens of Japanese decent throughout North America to have been appalling. While I can easily see the logic behind it, I think you would agree that one's ethnicity does not preclude their ideological bent. While I believe some racial profiling may be a necessary evil, the internment plan made the rights of citizens void and null in a 'democratic' society, based on their ethnicity. What is worse than the internment, was that any goods and property confiscated from these innocent civilians during the war was not fully compensated by the government. Not to mention the fact that many Japanese American and Canadians had to start from scratch. The whole process seemed ethically dubious and akin to swatting a fly with a bazooka.

I am no apologist for Islam and frankly am anti-religious overall. I believe in secular values and democratic ideals. I realize that to protect our freedom means treading a fine line between freedom and stability, equality and individuality. Yet the internment of people based on ethnicity and not ideology or their individual deeds seems the opposite to the idea of 'common law'. That's not political correctness, that's basic logic. I stand against Islam's teachings and Sharia law. Yet I also don't agree with the internment in WWII. Guess I am a first.

Erich said...


You're right that a new reader to my blog may have missed a lot of other stuff I have written that amplifies what I say in any given recent essay, and I don't expect that visitors will necessarily go reading most of the 222 essays in my archives to get up to speed (though it would be nice).

"Yet the internment of people based on ethnicity and not ideology or their individual deeds seems the opposite to the idea of 'common law'. "

The point is not to target people primarily for their ethnicity. If, however, a particular ideology happens to be followed mostly by people who fit an ethnic appearance, then if the danger from that ideology becomes sufficiently great, our actions to protect ourselves will unavoidably take on the appearance of targeting an ethnicity. The logic (and the illogic) cuts both ways. While it is illogical to target people only for the ethnicity, it is also illogical -- and reckless -- for a society to put up roadblocks to any measures of self-defense which will have the effect of appearing to target people for their ethnicity. Perhaps our greatest liberal President of the 20th century, FDR, did not intern all those Japanese-Americans primarily because of their ethnicity -- but he did it for two logical reasons:

1) because it just so happened that the dangerous ideology emanating from Japan which had declared war on us, attacked us, and intended to conquer us, had a membership nearly 100% Japanese; and

2) there was no reliable way to tell the difference between harmless Japanese-Americans and dangerous ones.

The same logical calculus pertains today with regard to Muslims.

And the same ethnic factor pertains also, in that the vast majority of Muslims are non-white non-Westerners. It is more complex with Muslims, since they partake of a number of different non-white ethnicities; but the basic premise is the same. And the vast majority of the "wanted" posters put out by intelligence agencies throughout Europe, England, the US, Canada, etc. show individuals who have obvious ethnic features that can, and must, be used for our self-defense through profiling -- unless we want to be reckless about the safety of ourselves, our families, our loved ones, our neighbors.

One of my previous essays that goes into this issue (and contains links to all my other essays that also deal with this):

Racial Islamic Profiling: A Photo Gallery

"Islam's teachings and Sharia law. Yet I also don't agree with the internment in WWII. Guess I am a first."

No, actually, as I said earlier, I have noticed some people who are anti-Islam are also squeamish about the Japanese internment issue. It was reading one of them on the site "Jihad Watch" who inspired this essay in the first place.

Robert86 said...


I see your point as quite valid and an unfortunate truth. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that perhaps you're right when it came to the internment issue. While I am not sure how many Japanese-Americans where also Shintoists, before the post- WWII decades, there was still a strong personality cult surrounding the Japanese Emperor, who was seen as a god in human form. Obviously that draws a parallel between old Japanese nationalism and Jihadism as religious in nature and hard to seperate between one Japanese/Arab and another. Still it makes my conscience quite uneasy. Then again, war is a similar idea to internment that is often overlooked in our society as necessary (which it sometimes is), despite being even more ethically dubious then temporary internment.

This doesn't mean I am fully comfortable with internment. Racial profiling is one thing, but mass internment is another. It seems you are proposing the USA and other nations take a page out of history, and intern all Muslims living in our borders. My only problem with this is that it would create legal repercussions allowing the government to intern any group it considers a threat. Not to mention the fact that law abiding Muslims and those who are of Arab or African decent could feel threatened, increasing popular discontent and even martyring the criminals meant to be caught. Also of course there are Jihadist groups and cells around the world, from Africa to Southeast Asia and Oceania. That's a lot more people to intern then the Japanese in WWII.

No matter what course of action is taken on the greater problem of Jihad, tough decisions are going to have to be made. I am skeptical whether we can truly find a way to combat Islamic terrorism and yet stay true to Democratic, Humanist principles.