One reason political correctness has been an operative force in American politics is because it can be re-purposed to serve all manner of ends. The political component of the second Iraq War began as opportunistic hysterics, focusing the outrage created by 9/11 on Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but it wasn’t long before the liberal interventionist plot was grafted onto the narrative. This one-two punch had the advantage of combining two seemingly diametrically opposed appeals: one to fear and loathing, and one to altruism.
At the group level it draws together two disparate factions united in political action, with some somewhat dishonest overlap. At the individual level it appeals to two powerful disparate impulses: fear and anger on one hand and altruism on the other. The contradiction between them seems to strengthen rather than weaken the effectiveness of this alliance; they complement more than cancel each other. If one’s resolve for revenge should weaken, he can rally his spirits with the conceit he’s doing “good”.
As anti-racism shows no signs of letting up, we can expect seeing the anti-racism angle shoe-horned, in ever more absurd ways, into contentious debates. One I haven’t heard before today is this: every one of us must sacrifice the same measure of privacy so that no one is singled out for the “wrong” reasons, such as being Muslim or otherwise statistically more likely to engage in terrorism.
Perhaps to those like Sen. Rand Paul who’ve never had to fight assumptions based on one’s ethnicity or the color of one’s skin, the thought of cell phone data being pooled and analyzed is disconcerting. However, as someone who regularly puts up with extra scrutiny, whether it’s at an airport or a shopping mall, I welcome the leveling of the playing field that bulk data collection brings. I urge our government not to follow the Russian method of profiling, but, instead, to use bulk data collection to arrive at objective analyses.
Because what do the Russians know about spying?
Spying is acceptable if every single one of us is under surveillance. Everybody gets dipped in shit, so no one can complain about being dipped in shit.
Of course part of this is just Salon’s deep disdain for (or fear of) Rand Paul. The article is accompanied by not one but two photos selected, National Enquirer style, to make the man look ridiculous.