Political Correctness (PC), originally based on the good and noble idea of fairness, has grown to become a disease of the America spirit. In the name of PC we are expected to forget history, forget context, forget our heritage and view the world with myopic vision that makes everyone a "victim."
If you buy into the "everyone is a victim" PC concept you can not view anyone as an "enemy" worthy of destruction. In the long term real world, this view will be fatal.
The Clinton Administration made the '90s a holiday from world history.
It made United States defense policy the work of simply accumulating and signing treaties; idealistically buying weapons of mass destruction to disarm them, of preaching nonproliferation, of banning landmines, of everything for "World Peace," but with absolutely no effect on the real world.
America's leaders treated the first attack
In the 1990's,
But did the leaders and people of the United States awake from their infatuation with globalization as the great leveler and the abolisher of things like politics, war, and international conflict?
This kind of geo-economics was widely accepted in the early post-cold era: so many thought that the world had changed from one driven by motives based on military and political conflict to one in which the ground rules were set by markets and technology.
Has September 11th
abolished that illusion? Has it taught us in
"America's enemies are driven by ideology, they care nothing for economics, and they will use whatever military power they have as a means to achieve their ideological ends.
"This is the old history, perhaps the oldest history of all, the war of one god against another. No new history, no break in history, no redemption from history." (Dr. Charles Krauthammer, in speech noted below.)
Dr. Krauthammer is a realest. He realizes conflict is a natural part of the human existence.
Therefore, if conflict is unavoidable, a successful, survivable society must be prepared for conflict and have the political will coupled with the intelligence resources and combat power to successfully project that will on the world stage.
The great subversion of the Political Correctness is not in its tolerance of individuals, their customs and history, but in that total tolerance weakens the principled foundations of western civilization.
One can be tolerant of a messy neighbor. But that tolerance must have limits when that individual's mess begins to pollute and defile the entire neighborhood. As on the world stage, we must ensure tolerance does not become indifference, for indifference leads apathy which leads to anarchy.
Such is the decline of a neighborhood, such is the decline of a civilization.
On the Great Seal of the United States, the Eagle wears a warrior's shield for protection and carries an olive branch and a bundle of thirteen arrows. This symbolism is as important today as it was in the late 1700's when the Seal was designed:
Protected by its shield (our military services) America looks to peace (the Eagle is looking right, toward the olive branch) yet is prepared for war (arrows held at ready).
No, the American Eagle is not Politically Correct. Neither is this old Eagle and the thousands of Americans who make up the strength of this country.
The aftermath of 09/11 completely exposed the foundations of our society for the first time in two generations. What might have appeared as a society of a moral relativist, who rejects tradition, flitting instead from fad to fad, engaged in endless debate of trivial gossip instantly became a society galvanized into action against an enemy who exploited our very freedoms to destroy our freedoms.
From beneath the excesses of American culture, the self-absorbed hyperbole that seems to define America, came the real Americans, like members of the FDNY, who have selflessly rushed to take their place in supporting our country.
Yes, Political Correctness is a disease of the America spirit but the dust of the WTC has been an antidote. An event, like so many in our history, that reunited us in a deep conviction to the basic goodness of America and our willingness to discriminate between the truly good and the very evil.
As we move forward from 09/11, let us not abandon the original goals expressed in the PC ideals, just not allow the overzealousness of a few to obscure the ideas of human freedom and individual responsibility promulgated and defended by the Founding Fathers.
For all our shortcomings and problems as a nation, for 226 years the United States, while never being "Political Correct," has achieved the highest standards of human existence in history.
With appreciation of the speech by Dr. Charles Krauthammer, delivered at the annual Distinguished Rennert Lecture, June 10, 2002: on which this essay is based.