PC abuse

Political correctness is deeply invested in affirming all possible positive stereotypes about whatever group happens to be classified as the victim of straight white male culture (and that would be usually Jewish or Christian straight white male culture). To that end, it shies away from any unpleasant realities that might interfere with these positive stereotypes. This way, its practitioners avoid the risk of victimizing any group that has in same way (or so the PC practitioners think), real or symbolic, now or in the past, suffered because of its victim status.

Sadly, it looks today as if PC sensibilities aimed at protecting British gays left open to injury the most vulnerable members of any population: children. This isn’t my conclusion, incidentally. It’s the conclusion of a formal government report about a child welfare services council in the North of England:

A council’s political correctness allowed a pair of homosexual foster parents to sexually abuse children in their care, a report has concluded.

Managers and social workers were reluctant to investigate Craig Faunch and Ian Wathey for fear of being accused of prejudice.

Instead, they were viewed as “trophy carers” who, by virtue of their sexuality, had a “badge” which made their actions less questionable.

A mother of eight-year-old twins raised concerns about them with social services after finding a photograph of one of the boys using the lavatory.

But the authorities took no action, accepting that the two men had been “naive and silly”.

In reality, they had been using the boys for sexual gratification within months of being approved as carers by the Labour-run Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.

Faunch, 42, and Wathey, 33, were jailed last year for a string of offences against four boys, aged between eight and 14, at their home in Pontefract, West Yorks.

The victims were among 18 children placed with the pair, Yorkshire’s first homosexual foster parents, between August 2003 and January 2005.

An independent inquiry concluded that the children were let down by “failures in performance” of individuals and the systems operated by the council. However, it did not name the staff involved.

The panel, led by Brian Parrott, the former head of Surrey social services, found: “The fear of being discriminatory led them to fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive.

“These anxieties about discrimination have deep roots, we argue – in social work training, professional identity and organisational cultures, and the remedies for these go beyond the remit of any single council or inquiry report.”

(Read the rest of the story here.)

Importantly, the British report is not about whether or not gay care givers are more or less likely to molest children under their care. Instead, it focuses, laser-like, on the fact that a government organization was so frightened of investigating the reality behind a specific PC stereotype that it rendered itself incapable of carrying out its mandate (which, in this case, was to protect children).

Stereotypes can be a useful means of understanding the world around us. Some are flattering (Asians and Jews are studious), some neutral (fair skinned people always sunburn), and some are mean and vicious (you can fill in your own blank here). And without exception, every single stereotype is wrong in some cases; many stereotypes are wrong in most cases; and a few stereotypes are wrong in every case. In other words, any stereotype is functional only when it serves as the beginning of thought, not the end of rational thought. To accept a stereotype without analysis is the equivalent of no thought at all. And when a government agency takes a stereotype and elevates it to the highest principle in its operating arsenal, leaving employees incapable of using observation and analysis, you can only end with disaster.

UPDATEMichelle Malkin has reported this story as well.  Incidentally, she has little to say, believing the story speaks for itself, as it does.  Her readers are more vocal, with 96 comments and counting.

7 Responses

  1. Fear is a useful weapon and it will always be a useful weapon until the end of humanity.

  2. Malkin’s readers certainly are more vocal. Sometimes incredibly so… It’s always better to see the honest opinions of people, in any case.

    The PC angle on this story is very troubling. A picture of a fostered boy urinating? And the caseworkers considered these two guys to be “silly and naive”? If that picture was not a clear warning bell – hell, not just a warning bell, but sirens flashing, klaxons roaring – I don’t know what would be.

    This should puncture, at least in England, the particular PC balloon that led to this horrifying series of crimes against children. Then again, I am often surprised.

  3. The government and its employees consider anyone else not part of them, expendable. Thus while the risk of using other people’s money for adoption and what not was justified, it became unjustified when additional action would have risked the careers of government employees. They don’t really care for anyone that is not of the government, you see. They simply do what they are told, just following orders.

    Fear is what keeps them in line but it is lack of a conscience that allows it to be so over and over again. Perhaps the Romans tolerated Nero and his ilk because of fear. Eventually though, fear will turn into amorality. After all, it is far easier to do nothing when you believe that it is not your place to than it is to recognize that you did nothing to fight evil.

  4. This has something to do with identity in a sense, since an individual’s actions are often drastically affected by the identity he or she associates with the group they are with. Therefore private corporations specializing in child care may take a certain pride in good care or customer satisfaction, and that is what actually motivates people to do good jobs when their self-interests are threatened.

    Two primary types of reactions a person could do when their self-interests are threatened. They could try to throw everything and everybody else off the island in the hopes that what remains is “Good” or they can work together for a greater result by pooling resources and goals.

    Now which type of reaction results is determined by what motivates that individual person. If the individual person has an affinity for the identity of primary child care giver, then this has chance of motivating that person to correct mistakes on their own initiative. Or start correcting the problem by utilizing the resources of a group.

    The government, however, sees itself as the rulers of the common masses. Even more so in Britain than Washington DC. Therefore each minor cog in the government machine thinks of itself as elevated and therefore associates their identity with the identity of the government as being primary ruler. And rulers do what they think benefits them. This identity matrix separates the common government employee from the private company employee often, though not every time.

    David Weber often writes about tradition and the actions of historical family members in his novels concerning a government ruled by aristocratic leaders. Meaning kings, emperors, etc. He constructed it so that it is very similar to a military family’s history and tradition of service. Thus the identity matrix of a person brought up in that family would be one in which they are required to safeguard the people and so forth. The minor cog in the government machine, however, believes itself superior to all the other cogs in all the other machines, in their view. Therefore it would be abhorent to ask such a god-cog to sacrifice of themself so that powerless children might benefit. They were never taught such, for that was never the way of government tradition or the way to power in government factional fights.

    They sit around doing nothing because if the government had any tradition, it would be just that: sitting around and doing nothing when problems arise.

    Often people get this idea that corporations are materialistic in that the only motivating factor is profit while government overseers the “greater good” of many people. That’s not really true. In fact, the government prides itself on focusing in on the profit of votes far more than corporations focus on profits. For corporations may take a loss in profits for long term gain or to invest profits in research, but a government will never ever willingly take a short term loss for long term gain. Oh they recognize that such exists, Bush Senior after all said that if he hadn’t lost the election then Bill Clinton would be President on 9/11. But they don’t willingly take a loss for such nebulous hopes. The government does not invest in the future, for power exists in the present, not in the future. Therefore government is even more materialistic than corporations. Some of this relationship may change from country to country, but the core should remain the same.

    Please read this as Exhibit A.

    In a sense 11 September was the ultimate mugging, a murderous assertion of a new reality, or rather a reality that already existed but which we preferred not to see. Over the years I had absorbed a notion of liberalism that was passive, defeatist, guilt-ridden. Feelings of guilt governed my world view: post-colonial guilt, white guilt, middle-class guilt, British guilt. But if I was guilty, 9/11 shattered my innocence. More than anything it challenged us all to wake up and open our eyes to what was real. It took me far too long to meet that challenge. For while I realised almost straight away that 9/11 would change the world, it would be several years before I accepted that it had also changed me. I had been wrong. This was my story, after all.

    One warm-scented summer’s evening in 2005 I pulled up outside a Thai restaurant to collect some takeaway food for my family. It was that relaxed time of the day, after work, the sky still light, that promising hour when the night ahead seems to hold unlimited potential. To drink in these soft London evenings from a pavement café or bar is one of the more civilised pleasures of city life. That’s precisely what a number of people were doing in Maida Vale, a smart neighbourhood in north-west London, 10 minutes’ drive from my house. All that spoilt the scene was the sound of loud female voices piercing the calm some way up the street. It took a few minutes to pick up and pay for the food and when I came out I heard the noise again, this time interrupted by screams.

    I drove to the corner of the street, where a gang of about 10 teenage girls was involved in some sort of scuffle outside an off-licence. A single girl was being kicked and punched and having her hair pulled by the rest. I wound down my side window and barked: ‘Hey, stop that!’ At the sound of my voice the gang eased off and looked up momentarily, then, having satisfied themselves that I was of no concern, set about their quarry once again. Now I could see that blood was pouring from the victim’s face on to her white, school-uniform-like shirt. I jumped out of the car, uncertain of what I was going to do, and headed straight for the gang, shouting as loudly and authoritatively as my strangled vocal cords could manage. Whatever strange sound was emitted seemed to do the trick. This time they let her go and, with theatrical reluctance, stepped back. The ringleader proudly inspected her work and received high-fives from her companions. A large thick flap of skin hung from the cheek of the beaten girl, like a sole that had come loose from a shoe. I asked her if she was OK and told her I was phoning an ambulance. She was about 16 or 17 and she was shaking in shock. She had been stabbed in the face with a broken bottle.

    Her attackers casually sauntered off, chatting and laughing, as if they had come out of a lively film at the cinema. If they felt in any danger they did not show it. I called the police and gave a description of the gang and clear directions on where it was heading. As I tried to comfort the girl, she was surrounded by several helpers. These people were spectators a few seconds before but now that the attackers had gone they snapped into loud Samaritan mode, shouting at each other and me to stand back as they led the girl into the off-licence. Where had these caring voices been before when the teenager was undergoing a lifetime’s disfigurement? The attack had lasted for five minutes, they had plenty of time to intervene. I looked around. There were perhaps 10 adults standing by, men and women, mostly in their thirties, and further along, easily within plain view and earshot, were at least 20 more. Anger began to rise in me. I noticed one stationary onlooker with a smile on his face, a sort of amused smirk. He was standing no more than five yards away, a well-built, reasonably fit-looking man in his mid-thirties. His clothes – faded jeans and T-shirt – and general demeanour – unshaven, unruly hair – suggested that he did not earn his living as a stockbroker or corporate lawyer. He looked like he worked in the arts or some creative field, though of course looks can be misleading. In any event, he conformed to nonconformist style and I wouldn’t have fallen over in surprise if I learned that his sympathies were anti-authority, pro-underdog, leftish, liberal.

    ‘What’s so funny?’ I asked him. ‘She’s a young girl. How could you stand by and watch that happen to her?’

    ‘Don’t have a go at me, you pompous prick,’ he replied, full of belated aggression. ‘Why should I get involved? It had nothing to do with me.’

    On reflection I probably did seem like a pompous prick, possibly because I was acting like a pompous prick. There I was, the have-a-go hero, admonishing harmless strangers for their inaction. I must have come across like Rod Taylor in The Time Machine, chastising the Eloi for responding to the Morlocks’ pillaging with pacifist detachment. I’m sure self-righteous indignation animated my every gesture. For I was saying in so many words: ‘Why couldn’t you be more butch and fearless, like me?’ No wonder I was put in my place. And yet I meant it. I was appalled not so much because adults had failed to do what they should do but because a shared understanding of what to do in such circumstances does not exist. A society that places great emphasis on respecting others has next to nothing to say about protecting others.

    A few weeks before that incident, my stepdaughter was set upon in a busy high street by a gang of teenagers in an unprovoked attack. Scores of adults looked on and not one of them did or said anything to help. When she described how grown-up faces turned away from her as kicks and punches flew, I could only conclude that everyone was waiting. They were waiting for society to change, for it to become less unfair, with more equitable wealth distribution, so that street violence would miraculously disappear. They were waiting for schools to improve, and more youth centres to be built, and better housing. Or they were waiting for the police, the police who ought to be everywhere at all times but who should also maintain a low profile. Or perhaps they were just waiting for somebody else, anybody but themselves.

    These people did nothing because they were just following orders. They were not given orders to intervene and therefore they didn’t. In essence, this is a result of a society being militarized. Conditioned to observe atrocities and to do nothing about it, unless ordered to do so by force or fear from the hierarchy.

    When the Left here in the US talks about the United States military committing atrocities and breaking human rights, they are talking about themselves instead of the US military. The US military has transcended beyond “just following orders” to personal initiative of the warrior school of philosophy rather than a simple citizen-draft soldier philosophy of arms.

    Britain is feeling the bite of militarization without ethics, morality, or the tradition of honor amongst warriors. It is what happens when you don’t engage in war. War engages in you and your fellows.

  5. Y,
    I greatly appreciate this post. I’d like to comment on this:
    “These people did nothing because they were just following orders. They were not given orders to intervene and therefore they didn’t. In essence, this is a result of a society being militarized.”

    What you’ve described is a serious problem. I wonder, though, if the essense of the problem is “militarization”? I don’t feel militarized at all, yet I feel the constant cultural pressure that I should do nothing, and simply let the authorities take care of this issue. This is a recent phenomenon in our culture, and I hate its development. I’d call it authoritarian, not militaristic.

    We are all being trained culturally to become sheep in an authoritarian culture. It’s the antithesis of an individualist culture, where the importance is stressed of individual responsibility, individual freedom, and individual action. Individualism is being stamped out of us.

    I’m starting to believe that any individual action that doesn’t strictly toe the line of social norms has become a case of guilty until proven innocent. That any time we DON’T passively wait for the government to save us, we come under suspicion.

    Two clerks recently cornered a thief, struck him when he tried to escape them, and held him until the police arrived. They were fired. While I don’t advocate doing what they did, because of its danger, the fact that they did it makes them heroic. It’s horrifying to me that in our culture, it’s become sensible to fire them.

    If someone is kicking down your door, and you shoot through the door at them, you’re in serious trouble. If you wait until they break the door down and charge in at you before you fire, less trouble. If you wait until they fire at you, even less so. But why should you have to wait at all?

  6. It is much more apparent in Britain than in America, Mike. I dont’ mean militarization as in Spartan warrior ethos or 2nd Amendment, but rather militarization in that you have a strict hierarchy and need to know that you must follow or be punished if you do not.

    The military hierarchy also closely resembles, but is not the same as, the government bureacracy. You your bosses, your policies, and stuff you have to do. This is true for all human societies, but militarization takes it to the extreme.

    Therefore you can see the results of such in Britain and London and Paris. It is similar to the military problem where you have good soldiers or lazy soldiers, but a feckless chain of command in that the officers dont’ know what the hell they are doing. Therefore the officers give conflicting orders, which only distracts and confuses the soldier. The soldiers then look towards local sources of authority, such as NCOs, to tell them what to do. Eventually if the officers succede in undermining their own authority, they might have a mutiny on their hands. Similar to how people riot in Paris, trying to kick out the government. A less hierarchical society such as the United States, functions better precisely because it does not depend upon orders from above to tell each individual what they should be doing. Personal initative is used. Something the iraqis are learning, to their benefit.

    I’d call it authoritarian, not militaristic.

    I don’t use authoritarian because military models of chain of command are far easier to use to synthesize comparisons and what not. In authoritarian societies, you have to define who has authority and how that authority translates into oppression/power/etc. For Saddam, it was the power of the tribes and criminal organizations, ala mafia style control, in which the “Don” takes a cut of the profits and provides overall protection and unity to those under his umbrella. Anyone steps out, gets hammered, like the Kurds and Shia in the post Gulf War 1 revolt.

    Thus authoritarian style is modifiable. The hierarchies are not required to be the same from one authoritarian system to another, because the players always change even if they look alike. MIlitary chain of command is not modifiable, really. Because it is a specific and applicable example of such, molded over thousands of years of warfare. Officers, NCOs, etc. It is easier for me to use such because it applies to all attempts to control human behavior, and military history has a long list of previous experiences with such.

    Another benefit is that thinking in terms of military chain of command allows the description of both authority and lack of authority on the events in question. Authoritarian systems generally only teaches that the more oppression one exercises, the more authority one needs to maintain control.

    But why should you have to wait at all?

    Because it is not the criminals waging war on society, although they do fight the rules of a peaceful society. Rather such things as you describe, chiefly occur because the leaders of the nation itself has decided to use their authority to corrupt the system or the people. Criminals by themselves cannot destroy a strong and united society. That society must first be divided from within, to make it weak enough for villains and vandals to do their work. It is a kind of civil war. In which battles are fought in the battlespace of people’s minds rather than on a piece of physical territory.

  7. When does PC-ness become total insanity?

    Why, when it takes place in England, of course. The latest horror story from the land of tolerance for the intolerant, if you’ve got the stomach for it (H/T: Michelle Malkin):

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