Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Political Correctness Is Destroying the American Dream

People are defined by their deeds, not their words. And yet, our words both reflect and reinforce cultural norms. In other words, how we communicate has the power to change human behavior on an enormous scale.

Consider the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. They are just words. But those words played an enormous role in the creation of a great nation. They defined the behavior of a culture that changed the world.

Words incite action. When words and the ideals they represent gain traction, they can change the trajectory of an entire society for better or worse. There is no more visible sign of where we’re heading than the growing pervasiveness of political correctness.

On the surface, the idea of filtering our communication so as not to exclude or offend anyone seems fairly benign, almost Pollyannaish. Maybe that explains how it has so insidiously crept into every aspect of our culture, but its effect has been anything but benign.

Political correctness has had a powerful influence on how we interact with each other, teach our kids, and manage our companies. It’s an existential threat to the meritocracy and personal accountability at the heart of free market capitalism. It’s toxic to the performance and competitiveness of our people, our companies and our economy.

You see, human behavior is all about incentives. All things being equal, people will do what’s in their own best interest.

If people believe that rewards are based solely on their own merits – that the sky’s the limit and how far they go in life rests solely on their shoulders – that’s an incentive to be self-reliant and reach for the stars. And they will generally reach the highest levels of achievement their capabilities and circumstances permit.

There’s proof of that. Those are, in fact, the principles that built America. Everyone gets life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The rest is up to the individual. That simple mechanism is responsible for creating the entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders of the free world. That’s what created the American Dream.

But if you remove the incentive, all that changes.

If people believe it makes no difference how they perform – that everyone’s the same, competition is bad, everyone’s a winner, and exceptional qualities will not be rewarded or even recognized – they’re left with nothing to strive for. Stripped of the will to achieve, they’ll settle into a life of dependency and mediocrity.

Again, it’s all about incentives. All things being equal, people will do what they’re incentivized to do.

So we can all agree that political correctness levels the playing field, removes incentives to excel, and diminishes meritocracy and personal accountability. Well, that has a ripple effect on team performance and effectiveness. We have a term for the resultant state of organizational malaise and mediocrity. It’s called bureaucracy.

While the word conjures up images of mindless drones shuffling around like real-life zombies under the sickly hued fluorescent lights of the local planning department, state Department of Motor Vehicles, or U.S. Postal Service, bureaucracy can creep into any business or company.

It’s simple, really. Just add political correctness to any organization and watch the bureaucratic behavior take over. Think about it.

Bureaucrats do only what they’re programmed to do because there’s no incentive to do more. And since there are no incentives to excel, they’ll do as little as they have to do to skate by. They follow rigid process because that’s how things are done. They’re the keepers of the status quo that stifles innovation and creativity.

You can trace all sorts of chronic business ills to bureaucratic behavior.

Besides reduced company performance and effectiveness, it leads to ever-increasing organizational bloat and complexity. Bureaucratic leaders are always looking for clever ways to increase their budget, grow their organization, and expand their power base.

It leads to dysfunctional behavior that resists change, improvement, initiative, transparency, and anything resembling personal responsibility. It leads to a whole slew of corporate maladies including cronyism, nepotism and the Peter Principle – the promotion of incompetent people.

Bureaucratic managers won’t give employees genuine feedback for fear of being sued or accused of harassment, discrimination, being a bully, or creating a hostile work environment. And they certainly can’t publicly praise anyone – that might make others feel inadequate. The result is a culture wrought with fear and loathing.

There’s a famous quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” It’s often attributed to Edmund Burke, but many great thinkers, from Plato and Tolstoy to John Stuart Mill and Albert Einstein have made similar observations.

What I find particularly disturbing about the political correctness epidemic is the way so many CEOs and business leaders who are paid the big bucks to act on behalf of their companies are instead behaving like scared little bureaucrats and allowing the spread of this scourge on their watch.

I expect that sort of behavior from politicians and administrators, not from corporate executives and business leaders. After all, if they don’t have the courage to do what’s right, stand up for the meritocracy that made our nation great and carry the torch for the American Dream, who will?



States Suffer from ObamaCare Regulations

ObamaCare was supposed to reduce the cost of insurance, hence the Affordable Care Act. But is this really what it did? States with less regulations before the law was enacted had more affordable health care costs. Take, for example, North Carolina and Nevada. They saw individual premiums for people in their twenties rise over 150 percent after the law was enacted.

In North Carolina, a twenty-seven year old man, let's call him Peter, would have paid $80 per month on average for his health insurance. After ObamaCare, Peter is paying $217 per month for that same health care coverage. That is an increase of $137 per month, or $1,644 per year. Poor Peter :(.

Peter has a similar situation in other states that had less regulations before ObamaCare was enacted. In Nevada, for example, Peter would have paid $71 per month for his health insurance, but is now paying $276 per month, or $3,312 per year.

The average income in Nevada is $37,361, and people in their twenties almost always make less than the average income. For someone like Peter making around $30,000 per year, having health insurance costs that are more than 10% of that income is totally unaffordable. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, that person would have been paying just $852 per year in health insurance premiums -- less than $1,000, and less than 3% of their total income.

Meanwhile, states like New York and New Jersey, which were heavily regulated to begin with, saw decreases in health insurance premiums. These extreme differences in the price of health insurance before ObamaCare are indicative of states’ priorities. and New York and New Jersey heavily regulated health care, and their citizens paid the price for it.

In North Carolina and Nevada, citizens should not be forced to pay higher premiums just to subsidize the people in states like New York and New Jersey. States should be able to decide their own regulations, and then people can chose where they want to live.



Civil Forfeiture Violates Property Rights and Freedom

For 38 years, Carole Hinders has owned Mrs. Lady’s Mexican Food in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Mrs. Lady’s only accepts cash payments. In August 2013, the Federal government seized Carole Hinders’ entire bank account of $33,000 because she had a cash-only business. In the best of scenarios, the Federal government merely surmised Hinders was hiding illegal activity. In the worse case, it was simply a shakedown to confiscate her money, and put more money away for the Federal government.

In 2014, the Institute for Justice (IJ) began defending Carole Hinders. With the help of the IJ, Carole Hinders subjected herself to a deposition by Federal prosecutors, which was sworn testimony that could be used against her in a court of law. In time, the Federal government asked the judge to dismiss their lawsuit, and Carole Hinders had her money returned...nearly two years later!

Property rights and the Rule of Law are absolutely essential for our, personal freedoms. George Mason appreciated the importance of acquiring and possessing property when he wrote the Virginia Declaration Rights in 1776.

That all Men (People) are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Right…; among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursuing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.

Tragically, Carole Hinders is not an isolated case. Do you know about a Federal, highway, interdiction program has had 61,000 warrantless seizures amounting to $2.5 billion.

To protect people from governmental abuse, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) introduced the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act. The FAIR Act requires:

A court hearing within 14 days to establish probable cause or the property is returned to the owner.

The property seized was instrumental in the commission of a crime.

The government produces clear and compelling evidence before assets are forfeited.

Proceeds from forfeited goods goes to the General Fund instead of the Attorney General’s Asset Forfeiture Fund.

The FAIR Act will effectively halt the very, predatory abuses by the Federal government, and will restore our property rights as well as the Rule of Law. Through the FAIR Act, our personal freedom will be significantly enhanced in America, so it's important to tell your Senator and Member of Congress to support the FAIR Act.



No wonder the Left shield Muslims

Both deny the most blatant reality with the greatest of ease

On April 1, the Jerusalem Post had a glaring front page story about a borderless, undemocratic, questionably lawless entity known as ‘Palestine' becoming a member of the International Criminal Court.

The PLO was quoted as saying that "It is war crimes and war criminals that undermine peace efforts." The PLO also said that the decision to join the ICC "reflects Palestine's unwavering commitment to peace, universal values, and determination to provide protection for its people and hold those responsible for the crimes they have committed."

Most Israelis must have been scratching their heads and wondering if this was an April Fools trick being perpetrated by the paper on its readers.  Could a Palestinian Authority guilty of decades of incitement, violence, terrorism, that left thousands of Israelis dead or injured, have decided to join the world criminal court to bring charges against itself?

Maybe, in a fit of moral clarity, they had decided the only way to peace was a complete reform of their violent terroristic tendencies and had thrown themselves on the mercy of the ICC to investigate their war and human rights crimes, both against innocent Israelis and their own people?

But no. Despite the repeated rockets and mortars, over ten thousand in number, against Israeli civilian targets, despite launching terror attacks against Israeli civilians by multiple and uniquely gruesome methods and seemingly oblivious to the heinous crimes they commit they, instead, target the target of their violence, hate, and terror with their application to join this global legal chamber.

And so we turned to page two of the same edition of the Jerusalem Post to read that the Shurat HaDin NGO had filed war crimes charges against Hamas on behalf of 26 Americans for their deliberate firing of rockets at Ben Gurion Airport during the 2014 Hamas-initiated Gaza conflict.

One piece of evidence that, hopefully, will convict Hamas on these charges was the statement of their spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, who had triumphantly admitted that "the success of Hamas in closing Israeli air space is a great victory for the resistance, and is a crown of Israel's failure."

Like a sick joke, the Palestinian Authority and the PLO became members of the ICC in The Hague on April 1. But the Palestinian Authority and the PLO were found guilty on terrorism charges in a New York court on February 23 in a class action suit brought by the families of ten Americans killed by them in a series of deadly attacks that killed 33 people and wounded more than 400 others in Israel.

So much for a Palestinian "unwavering commitment to peace and universal values." As with all their commitments, it's all smoke and mirrors.  But it really is Palestinian war crimes and war criminals that undermine peace efforts, and it is time that the international community opened its eyes to this truth.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

The Left shields the Islamitwits because too many of the Left's leading lights have spent decared playing Radical Chic games with groups like Hamas, and they are scared to death that if any rational assessment of the Jihadist groups ever happens, a bunch of the Good People are likely to be slung into prison for supporting terrorism.

I suppose it could happen, though I frankly think that if we ever got real about the terrorist groups we would have more important things to concentrate on than a bunch of witless academic twits. But the Left can't afford to think that way, because they can't admit to themselves that they really don't matter all that much.