Belmont Club

Moral integrity

Step right up folks and take your political correctness quiz. For five points: who does a progressive person cheer for in a head-on clash between the NYT company and it’s unions?

With a midnight deadline approaching, Boston Globe management tonight issued an ultimatum to its four major unions: Agree to major financial and contract concessions, including the abolition of lifetime job guarantees for some workers, or the paper’s owner, The New York Times Co., would file a plant-closing notice with the state. …

The ultimatum … was issued after Globe management summoned union leaders to the offices of the Labor Guild of the Archdiocese of Boston, where negotiations had been underway with the paper’s largest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild.

The Guild, in a statement, decried the management move: ‘‘This tactic, while expected, is representative of the bullying manner in which the Times Company has conducted itself during these negotiations. Despite the Company’s hostile tactics, we continue to negotiate in good faith and work diligently toward an acceptable outcome.’’

An official of one of the Globe unions summed up the situation bluntly: ‘‘Do or die.’’

For ten points, is the demand by protesters to fire Condoleeze Rice from Stanford for serving in the Bush administration racist? Or is it principled and progressive?

The Huffington Post notes that “About 150 protest veterans, who led the fight 40 years ago to dislodge Stanford University from the War in Vietnam, on Sunday called on Stanford to sever relations with former Provost Condoleezza Rice, arguing that she committed war crimes while on leave as Secretary of State. … As longtime campus peace activist Rachelle Marshall put it at a panel discussion on Saturday: ‘Stanford is harboring a war criminal.'”

How does one tell, in these confusing times, what is enlightened any more? The problem with political correctness is that it has no internal and logical self-consistency. You may at various times be called upon to rally for feminism and in the next hour for abortion rights; in one instant you should be prepared to chain yourself in protest against nuclear power; and in the next argue to your dying breath that Iran has the right to develop the bomb. It’s a process that Orwell called Doublethink, and it is impossible for the committed leftist to remain sane without it. He defined it as:

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.


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