How Political Correctness Can Cloud Judgement

Canada needs to cut their foreign aid spending.

Political correctness has a variety of definitions, but most people would agree that it is some attempt to curb certain discussions in the supposed name of virtue. According to the premise, some things are simply not worth discussing because of the harm (imagined or not) the topic can cause. This idea runs contrary to free speech as taboos limit what we may converse about. Of course, some things are truly heinous and deserving of the highest condemnation, but this line has been blurred.

I’d like to put forward a type of experiment. The goal is to reveal how mechanisms like political correctness bias us to certain notions even before they are explained.

Take the first sentence in this article and recall your feelings toward it as you glanced over the idea.

Did you feel like this was inherently a bad suggestion? Did it feel like this was something only a terrible, selfish person would suggest?

I would wager some significant subset of the population would share those sentiments.

This is in part due to political correctness and how we have been conditioned to regard certain ideas as off limits. Foreign aid seems to imply something positive. To take that away would be bad. This simple equation flashes through our psyche and produces a sense of disgust. This all happens before we even hear the full argument. The suggestion isn’t being approached from a stance of neutrality or openness to reason.

That is not conductive to healthy debate. To be bogged down and emotionally hijacked from the get-go is counterproductive. This is especially true when the premise has sound explanations but we feel hesitant about it prematurely.

Let us suppose that Canada sends foreign aid to China for example. It may not be a tremendous amount, but still, some handful of millions. China is the second largest economy in the world. Simultaneously, a country that is ripe with human rights violations and our money may in fact further fuel that. Would cutting foreign aid in this regard be a bad idea? This is not a country that needs aid of any sort from Canada. I assume most logical people would support a cut. Despite this, many would have been too distracted by the allure of political correctness to even get this far into the discussion.

As a side note, evidence does point towards the above being a reality (articlechart)

I find this lack of intellectual integrity to be appalling. This was but a minor example as well. The depths of this phenomenon are seemingly continuing to extend.

We need to orient ourselves towards the truth. We forsake this at our own peril. To not be able to freely debate contentious topics leaves us at their mercy. To be defenceless in the realm of ideas is a terrible position. We must battle bad ideas and allow the best to surface. Without this arrangement, we are frozen with our current set of presuppositions. From here, it is a slippery slope into a world of dogmas and ideologues.

The key is empowering people to utilize reason. Instead of relying on a generic playbook that doesn’t account for nuance, we need to hone our skills to operate at the correct frequencies. Taking arguments at face value unless proven that we are dealing with a bad actor. To immediately start from the bottom produces a difficulty in moving up. To begin at the top and adjusting from here is much more efficient. If we don’t become more concerned with the truth and reality, we will inevitably make ourselves easier to fool in a world of haze.

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