Tuesday April 4, 2023
Political correctness in Western societies fosters polarization and a toxic culture of ignorance. Although people are rightly outraged by the cancellation of prominent figures, the most glaring consequence of political correctness is the proliferation of ignorance. When speakers are cancelled for contradicting sacrosanct opinions, this leads to an environment where people never arrive at the truth because ideas are not disputed in the public domain.
This devolution of Western culture stymies free speech and intellectual progression. While some view cancel culture as primarily an assault on freedom, its effects are infinitely more pernicious. Societies evolve by exchanging inferior ideas for superior ones, and cancel culture is disrupting the mechanism filtering out bad ideas. Due to cancel culture, people hold steadfast to false doctrines; the belief that the gender pay gap is a result of discrimination is a classic example that continues to circulate despite evidence showing that gaps are an outcome of working hours and occupational segregation.
The effect of endorsing inaccurate assumptions is that such beliefs will be employed to justify misguided policies. If people think that women on average earn less than men because of discrimination, they will lobby for policies to rectify the problem, and such policies could be expensive to implement. Entertaining ignorant beliefs will also make it difficult to improve social mobility and narrow the highly touted black-white achievement gap.
Current narratives state that blacks are underperforming in education because of racism, and some propose abolishing standardized tests as a tool to help black students. However, research shows that black students are likely to do well when teachers impose rigorous standards rather than when standards are diluted. Case after case reveals that when scrutinized, politically correct views fail to pass the accuracy test. Nonetheless, wrongheaded ideas are propagated as gospel to the detriment of intellectual progress.