The immediate reaction of the mainstream media on learning of the activities of Nidal Malik Hasan was to say that he was crazy. And no doubt that was true. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV), could probably place Major Hasan comfortably in several categories.
Of course, the same could be said of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Usama bin Laden and various other mass murderers of recent history. Nevertheless, the attempt was to explain away Hasan’s actions as pathological and thus avoid dealing with, or even – to the degree possible – mentioning the ideology to which his neuroses adhere (hint: it begins with an “I”).
This strategy is a form of what is popularly known as political correctness, which I submit is also a pathology and a quite virulent one – in this case, arguably the cause of death of the thirteen men and women murdered at Fort Hood.
As a reminder, political correctness is derived from the more intellectually respectable doctrine of cultural relativism (it’s sort of CR’s public “happy face”). In essence, cultural relativism holds that an individual’s beliefs and activities should only be understood in terms of his or her own culture. It’s the ultimate version of “who are we to the judge?” If Ayatollah Khomeini wishes to oppress all the women and homosexuals in Iran, it’s their way. If Mao seeks to knock off seventy million of his countrymen, so be it. Let the Chinese decide. We shouldn’t impose our values.
On our increasingly tiny globe, this theory – when spelled out – is nothing short of preposterous. It fairly invites a return to the mass murdering ideologies of the Twentieth Century – Nazism, communism, etc – and opens the door wide for Islamism.
Even so, its “happy face” partner political correctness continues to permeate our culture and our media. And, alas, as we are now painfully aware, it has infected our military – badly. How else to explain that Nidal Hassan was passed through the Army system for years despite making numerous public pronouncements that sounded as if they were ripped from the pages of an al Qaeda training manual?
This sad infection of our military is the most disturbing and self-destructive achievement of political correctness yet. Still, cable television spends hours trying to probe the “motivations” of Hasan, as if a Muslim bumper sticker torn from his car could explain his actions or even (oh, hope) exonerate him. That way we would not have to deal with the ideology behind him and, more importantly, not have to confront our own pathology.
But that pathology of political correctness has now been laid bare before us. More than the two handguns, it was the murder weapon in that room at Fort Hood. Those thirteen innocent people are indeed PC deaths because it was PC that allowed Hasan to be there. The question is, as it is with all emotionally loaded learning, what will we do with this new information?
To begin with, we must explore what attracted us to political correctness in the first place. Several explanations suggest themselves: political expediency, increased power in certain quarters, the desire to be left alone, the desire to be loved, even psychosexual masochism. There are more, I am sure. But they must be ventilated. Nothing can bring back the thirteen who were killed. But the most fitting memorial to them would be that their murders would signal the death knell of political correctness.