September 22, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
Op-ed by Padraig Joseph McGrath – “The Irish Crimean”
It’s 40 years too late to complain about political correctness.
Some time during the 1970’s, a seismic shift occurred in western culture – reticence came to be seen as a social virtue.
Suddenly, it was regarded as “bad manners” to call other people out on their idiocy. So suddenly, when you met an annoying drunk or an uneducated buffoon, it was regarded as impolite clean him out. Western civilization had forgotten something very important – namely, that there are situations in which the appropriate reaction is to be rude.
This is just one somewhat mundane manifestation of the cultural complex which Nietzsche referred to as “European passive nihilism.”
I grew up in a country, the Republic of Ireland, where there were no standards because there was never any criticism. Criticism was taboo. Retaliation was even more taboo. Euphemism was obligatory. So in the end, it didn’t matter if you were feckless or drunk or socially incompetent, or if you were professionally incompetent, or if you skimmed money. It didn’t matter whether or not you reneged on your agreements. It didn’t matter whether you argued like an adult of like a child. In the end, none of those things mattered, because nobody had a reputation to lose.
All of those basic qualitative distinctions were taboo – they were regarded as impolite. That country which I grew up in, the Republic of Ireland, is both socially and economically destroyed now, just as it deserves to be. Recovery is inconceivable in my lifetime.
I’ve seen the same socially corrosive reticence elsewhere. I lived in post-communist central Europe for the best part of a decade. Trying to get a frank opinion out of a Czech is like trying to get blood out of a rock. And this socially corrosive reticence has the same social consequences in CR that it does in Ireland – everybody cheats on their exams, everybody cheats on their spouses, everybody skims money at work, everybody relies on their friends for protection when they get caught, everybody expects impunity.
There are simply no standards – no standards of social or professional competence, no standards of financial probity, no standards of legality, no standards of argumentation. Because everybody is reticent, nobody ever bothers distinguishing between those who adhere to basic standards and those who do not. Just as in Ireland, nobody has a reputation to lose.
This reticence has a history and a specific zone of origin – it is a product of the American rural mid-west and the American west coast. It’s a WASP thing. It’s a product of mild-mannered Norman Rockwell-Land. You will find this socially corrosive reticence in every country in the world where the Americans have succeeded in exporting their culture.
Last Summer, I bumped into a Ukrainian girl who had grown up in Simferopol and lived there until 2014. She was an NGO-drone. Utterly indoctrinated. So I bumped into her in a restaurant;
“Oh Irina, long time no see. What are you doing these days?”
“I’m in university.”
“When did you start?”
“A year ago.”
“What are you studying?”
“Which courses do you like the best?” I asked, “Ancient? Late antiquity? Medieval? Modern? Ukrainian history? European History? Mesopotamia?”
“Oh, we’re just studying general history,” she said.
This is what a history degree a la Bologna Process looks like.
“What do you mean general history?”, I asked, “There’s no such thing as general history. History is always about a specific place at a specific time.”
She repeated her answer – “Oh, we’re just studying general history,”
I thought that maybe she simply had not understood my question. Where and when?
“But there’s no such thing as general history, Irina,” I said, “History is always about a specific place at a specific time. Otherwise, there would be nothing to say.”
And that’s when an uncomfortable smile appeared on her face. I knew what the smile meant. The smile meant “You don’t understand the rules. You’re supposed to give me a pass. You’re not allowed to call me out on being an airhead. You’re supposed to be RETICENT.”
Yes, this reticence is prevalent in every country in the world where the Americans have succeeded in exporting their culture. It produces self-destructive black holes like Ukraine and, for that matter, like Ireland.
And then, 40 years later, everybody suddenly starts complaining about something called “political correctness,” this detrimental social cancer which is destroying all of western civilization’s most fundamental standards.
Hey, you and everybody else spent 40 years being reticent
– every time you encountered an annoying drunk, every time you encountered a wannabe-conman, every time you encountered a pseudo-educated bimbo. So should you really be surprised that eventually the lunatics took over the asylum?
Should you really be surprised that your whole culture eventually got hijacked by freaks, degenerates and idiots?
It’s YOUR FAULT. What did you expect? You forfeited your right to complain 40 years ago, man. You’re 40 years too late.
One of the very many reasons why living in Russia is so refreshing is that Russians do not regard reticence as a social virtue. They regard it as a telltale-sign of untrustworthiness. Retaliation is not a taboo here, so the lunatics don’t take over the asylum.
Padraig McGrath was born in the Republic of Ireland in 1973. He has lived in Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic, and has published journalism and commentary on social and philosophical issues for a number of media for 15 years. He moved to Simferopol, Crimea in December 2013, 3 months before Crimea’s re-unification with Russia, and still lives there.