Political Correctness: A Nominalist Cookbook

stonePolitical correctness is rightly considered to be a vague term. However, this by no means warrants anyone to infer that it doesn’t exist and sway our lives to an enormous extent. The very point of deeming something inexistent by pointing out that it is vaguely defined is a tell-tale sign of the real root of what we call “Political Correctness.”

Namely, the idea that morality is purely a matter of strictly systematized application of language stems from the age old principle of what philosophers call nominalism, the doctrine that assumes that cognitive process is nothing but the apprehension and conceptualization of sense data.

While this process is at work in everyday experience, nominalists omit one extremely important – in fact essential – element inherent in human knowledge, namely: that things themselves have essences or “natures” which mold our notions about them.

By denying the necessary, or indeed: any, intrinsic substantial nature to beings, nominalism empowers it’s adherents to define and redefine them at will.

408px-William_of_Ockham_-_Logica_-_1341Oh, William … why doth thou thus …

This is a true meaning of so-called “Occam’s razor”, a method named after a Medieval English Franciscan philosopher William of Occam, stating that, in paraphrase, “any multiplications of beings unnecessary to satisfactory explanation is false”.

Of course, nominalists are not prone to examine their own assumptions and they take for granted that what we see, hear, touch, smell or taste is all there is to know, not taking into account that very principles they profess cannot be based on this, because they are meant to apply to all conceivable instances.

If all knowledge is a cognition of perceivable individuals – of manifold chaos with no intrinsic unity – how can then anything be applied to all conceivable instances?

It can’t.

In the series of podcasts we hereby present, the political correctness is defined as an instance of extreme moral nominalism. Namely, there’s a one characteristic feature of nominalist minded people: while denying anything remotely spiritual in this world, they at the same time tend to deny all substance – even the matter itself, while making their own notions about reality absolute.

It’s a kind of magical thinking where words are considered to have a power over reality.

This is by no means surprising, because real knowledge is based on concepts and not on sense experience and if we cannot rely on our notions, we can really rely on nothing at all. Things we perceive are in eternal flux and if there’s no unity in them, then there’s no stability which could provide us with certain knowledge.

Like averybody else, nominalists want to have certain principles and moral rules they can rely on. But given that they deny the possibility that world itself provides us with them, they venture to make them up themselves.

And when they succeed at imagining them, they have a compulsive need to impose them upon the world and other people, because that is the only way left open for them to make sense of it.

The things have to conform to the labels nominalists paste upon their surface.

Sounds familiar?

Gender quotas, humanitarian bombing, redefining oneself’s sex, humans merging with the machines, sanctioning of all things possibly offensive, safe spaces in Universities … being called a bigot because you accidentally looked at someone sideways?

If it is, then you are on the right track because you’re not living under the rock. Political correctness is an inherently totalitarian system of moral nominalism, where words and labels are everything, because all else is deemed unreal. It is an utmost and to date the most perfect system of essentially denying the very possibility of morality.

Therefore, it is an elaborate, well thought out, system of evil.

In this three-part podcast, we’ll explore how moral nominalism functions, why is it always accompanied with the compulsive need for strict legalization of it’s principles and how it in effect  serves to destroy the language.

A nominalist cookbook

In the first part we explore why is PC so hard to define and why no knee-jerk reactions to it are really valid. While standard fare PC phenomena irritate the hell out of people, when interrogated as to why they get so irritated by, say: legal proscription of three or more different gender toilet labels, they are usually at the lack to give a satisfactory explanation of their dissent.

This is one of the main strengths of PC, namely that it’s adherents can use slurs, memes and emotionally charged rhetoric, while the only weapon at the disposal of it’s opponents is an act of analytical discernment which can be very demanding and never provides one with flashy phrases and one-sentence answers.

We propose that the reason for this is nominalist principle of reduction of reality to utterly simple, atomic, facts that can only be reflected in simple language. Thence follows the famous Occam’s razor dictum that only simple answers are the right ones.

So, for instance, there’s no use to suppose that 9/11 was an elaborate operation, perpetrated by whole network of vested interests, because the idea that it was perpetrated by few amateur pilots of Arabian descent is much simpler and therefore true.

On the other hand, this approach allows promulgators and adherents of PC enormous freedom in defining their concepts which need not relate to anything but “atomic facts” of reality. We illustrate this point by example of Richard Dawkins and his statement that “there’s nothing morally reprehensible in eating human roadkill”.

As nominalism takes into consideration only atomic facts “roadkill” and “eating”, while “human” is only a subjective qualification on the same level as “animal”, there’s no difference in cooking and eating the dead animal and dead human.

All this stems from inability of nominalists to affirm existence of anything that is not based on simplest sense perceptions. And human nature, which is the thing forcing us to essentially discern animal from human, is something you cannot perceive by senses.

The result is that political correctness becomes moral system completely detached from moral reality which seeks to make itself absolute. In order to do that PC individuals are forced to seek it’s legalization, i.e. to turn their ever expanding principles into laws.

Law of the land

In the second part we analyze the need for legalization of political correctness on example of Model European Statute for Promotion of Tolerance, a draft law on which we already wrote at length on 21st Century Wire. We explore how implementation of political correctness is in fact a top-down directed process of reconfiguring the way people speak and think.

The death of language

Finally, we propose a hypothesis that political correctness is a method of manufacturing both moral and political consent through “creative destruction” of language. We illustrate the point by analysis of German sustainable development policies, exemplified in document named Dialogue Zukunft, which contains a so called Verbarium, the list of the words which document’s authors want to see decommissioned by the year 2050.

As this document caused quite a stir in Germany, because in the wake of the so-called (i)migrant crisis someone noticed that Verbarium, among other things, deletes any notion of country of origin to be used in the language of future, we discuss the PC aspects of weaponized demographic shifts and media usage of emotionally laden symbols to provoke desired reactions.

 Branko Malić

(If for some reason the Mixcloud presents you with problems, the podcasts are available on Kali Tribune’s Youtube channel. Podcasts can be downloaded via this link )

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2 Responses

  1. Atlanta Bill says:

    The branding of so-called “political correctness” as a species of Nominalism ignores the fact that Nominalism, as practiced in the Scholastic Era of Late Medieval Europe, was characterized by its denial of the Platonic universals, preserved in the opposite position termed ‘Realism’ and which according to Aristotle underlay the reality of things in nature rather than the “accidental” characteristics that could be validated by experience– what we know today as the empirical aspects of a thing, a fact, a phenomenon, a process, etc. Thus, to attack political correctness by associating it with Nominalism takes the side of Platonism and Idealism. Aiming at verbal correctness as a way of avoiding any particular politically distorted reflection of reality puts speech altogether outside the Nominalist-Realist framework of Idealism and Impressionism (which says things are what they appear to be).

    Such attempts at correctness are endeavors to reflect material reality and as such are better subsumed under Materialism. To take an extreme example, the use of the racist N-word for a certain ethnic group (Materialism accepts, by the way, that there is no scientific basis for separate “races”) is Nominalist because it denies the Realism of the more universal characteristics of the members of the group when taken as a whole. The terms ‘Negro’ and ‘Black’ avoid the prejudices inherent in the epithet, but they are still products of a misguided Realism– the color term mischaracterizes all the members of the group as possessing a “universal” characteristic that does not exist in nature. Strictly speaking, not all the members of the group are black because many are better described as brown, and some are albino. On the other hand, the terms ‘African American’ and, better, ‘African Descendant’, are more flawlessly reflective of the underlying anthropological reality. If all the members of the group were slovenly and otherwise of poor character, then the N-word would be the one we should use, but that is far from the case. To use that term generally in referring to its members would be to use an epithet; or, if we like, would be “politically incorrect”.

    • Malić says:

      “The branding of so-called “political correctness” as a species of Nominalism ignores the fact that Nominalism, as practiced in the Scholastic Era of Late Medieval Europe, was characterized by its denial of the Platonic universals, preserved in the opposite position termed ‘Realism’ and which according to Aristotle underlay the reality of things in nature rather than the “accidental” characteristics that could be validated by experience– what we know today as the empirical aspects of a thing, a fact, a phenomenon, a process, etc.Thus, to attack political correctness by associating it with Nominalism takes the side of Platonism and Idealism.

      And what’s wrong with taking the side of Platonism? Btw. neither Platon nor scholastics are idealists – that’s a Modern invention – as well as Aristotle is neither realist nor opposite of Platon. There are no sides – they come with “-isms”.

      “Aiming at verbal correctness as a way of avoiding any particular politically distorted reflection of reality puts speech altogether outside the Nominalist-Realist framework of Idealism and Impressionism (which says things are what they appear to be).”

      I think that it would not be too insulting to note that this sentence doesn’t make much sense. If you want my advice, try to avoid -isms in philosophy. That way you will avoid confusion in your mind and expression.

      “Such attempts at correctness are endeavors to reflect material reality and as such are better subsumed under Materialism.”

      One could argue that. Yet materialism has to transcend it’s limitations in order to satisfy the needs of morality, aesthetics and, frankly, common sense. And that’s where nominalism comes in. In denying the reality of inherent purpose(s) in beings, it imposes it upon them and does it in such a way that it attempts to absolutely petrify in language what it dissolved in reality.You see, it’s because you cannot reflect matter. It’s pure nothing. And for this reason, philosophy taking this stance ends up in being the endless argument about words. The unity expressed in concept is a reflection of higher unity that cannot be exhausted in concept itself. Every average Joe and Jane knows this without ever hearing about Platon and Aristotle, because living is impossible on assumption that everything can be summed up in a system of notions aiming to absolutely reflect the reality. The need for this system stems from assumption that nothing is real or, which is to say the same thing, that everything is material. But the system itself can be defined as nominalist because it aims to transcend the materialism and ends up being sub-materialism.

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