You’re Not Allowed To Disagree

I first heard of Political Correctness sometime in the early 1980s. There was a list of politically-correct beliefs – things like women’s rights, gay rights, etc. – in the article about it that I was reading. And they were all things that I already believed in. “How wonderful,” I thought. “I am already Politically Correct, without knowing anything at all about it!”

More recently, I’ve begun to think that it’s not so much the formal content of politically-correct beliefs (I don’t want women made into second class citizens, nor desire to see the return of gay-bashing) that is troublesome about Political Correctness, but the fact that once these beliefs are adopted, nobody is allowed to ever change their mind. Political Correctness is a straitjacket, a prison. And there’s only one right way to think, and you’re not allowed to deviate from it.

Back in the 1980s, the list of Politically Correct beliefs I was reading didn’t include antismoking, or global warming, or even European union. But if they didn’t then, they do now. And if you’re Politically Correct today, your belief system will include these three. And if it doesn’t, then you’ll soon get to hear about it.

Like, for example, Lennart Bengtsson.

Described as “a kindly, mild-mannered Swedish grandfather,” Professor Bengtsson has had a long and distinguished international career in meteorology and climate research. He was head of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg from 1991 to 2000. In 2000 he became a professor at the University of Reading. Since 2008, he has been Director of the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland. He has won numerous awards, is a member of many learned societies, and has over 200 publications to his name.

Two weeks ago, he agreed to join the Academic Advisory Council of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, GWPF, one of the world’s leading climate-sceptical organizations. He gave his reasons:

In an interview with Speigel Online, Bengtsson spoke of the need for climate-model predictions to be validated against observations. “Since the end of the 20th century, the warming of the Earth has been much weaker than what climate models show,” he said.

Hadn’t the IPCC covered this in its recent report? “Yes,” Bengtsson replied,

the scientific report does this but, at least in my view, not critically enough. It does not bring up the large difference between observational results and model simulations. I have full respect for the scientific work behind the IPCC reports but I do not appreciate the need for consensus. It is important, and I will say essential, that society and the political community is also made aware of areas where consensus does not exist.

And then a couple of days ago, he resigned from GWPF. In his resignation letter, he wrote:

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc.

I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.

Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

Bengtsson had stepped out of line. He had started to question the global warming orthodoxy. And it could not be tolerated.

We’re seeing exactly the same thing with  UKIP right now. All three mainstream UK political parties are politically-correctly aligned. They’re all pro-European. They’re all signed up for global warming. And they’re all antismoking. And UKIP is none of these. And so the knives are out for UKIP, as I was writing yesterday. And a new line of attack emerged today:

The UK Independence Party could lose the European Parliament elections because of a case of mistaken identity on the ballot paper, Nigel Farage has said.

The Ukip leader criticised the Electoral Commission, the elections watchdog, for allowing a similar sounding party on the ballot paper in Thursday’s poll.

The party – “An Independence from Europe” – was “masquerading” as Ukip in a bid to confuse voters and was already taking some of their postal votes.

The debate is over. And you’re not allowed to disagree. If you do, you’ll be shouted down. Or have your career destroyed. Or both.

And if you’re Politically Correct today, it’s probably because you’re frightened of what might happen to you, should you have the temerity to disagree. For Political Correctness is the politics of fear.

More on Bengtsson here, here, and here.

About Frank Davis

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30 Responses to You’re Not Allowed To Disagree

  1. magnetic01 says:

    Queensland smoking ban to extend to school gates and within 5m of hospitals

    QUEENSLANDERS will be banned from smoking at the school gates or within 5m of a hospital under tough new anti-smoking reforms to be announced today by the State Government.
    And in further toughening of the state’s smoking laws, health experts are pushing for the Government to go further by banning smoking in locations like footpaths, bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals and shopping malls.

    And the basis for the bans is the fraudulent claim:
    Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told The Courier-Mail the reforms were important as there was no safe level of smoking for smokers or those around them.

    It’s the Cancer Council behind the bans and where the intent is social engineering (eugenics) – coercion to quit (Godber Blueprint).

    The move comes after a campaign by the Cancer Council Queensland to create smoke-free spaces across the state. The council has written to all Queensland MPs saying that more smokers would quit if bans were widened.
    The council also called on the Government to set a target of reducing the smoking rate to 5 per cent by 2025. Around 15 per cent of adult Queenslanders smoke daily at present.

    And then more inflammatory trash:
    “Almost one Queenslander will die every day from inhaling tobacco smoke, without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life,’’ council chief executive Jeff Dunn said.

    And the eugenics root and deranged fantasies thereof are further touted:

    “We already have among the toughest anti-smoking laws in the country and they will continue to be toughened over time to save people and to reduce the burden on public health and make sure people live longer, healthier lives.”

    • Marie says:

      I think their IQ would rise at lot, if they were taking up smoking.

      • Harleyrider1978 says:

        “Almost one Queenslander will die every day from inhaling tobacco smoke, without ever having smoked a cigarette in their life,’’ council chief executive Jeff Dunn said.

        So a wiff of smoke kills one person a day……………………if that doesn’t send a message of pure and utter INSANITY to the people nothing will!

  2. kin_free says:

    I attempted to post a comment on the D Mail article covering Professor Bengtsson’s resignation, but as usual with the DM, it was censored out;

    McCarthyism is becoming ever more apparent in today’s political, scientific and medical arena, but so too is Lysenkoism. Nazi style propaganda promotes both while demonising / de-normalising opponents / realists. Increasingly, mafia style tactics are used to enforce them – what is going on here?

    This is not new or limited to global warming, these practices have been utilised very effectively and for much longer against tobacco. Anti smoker science has been produced to order for years but no one wants to (dare not?) question the fact that as smoking reduces, ‘smoke related’ illness gets more prevalent! Prof J Enstrom wouldn’t allow his extensive research (shows passive smoking is virtually harmless) to be buried. Today he is fighting McCarthyism to save his livelihood and reputation.

    The anti-smoker agenda demonises big tobacco but it protects such as Big Oil, while climate change demonises it yet devout AGW supporters invariably also support tobacco and alcohol prohibition etc. Is it all just Anti-capitalist ideology?

  3. Marie says:

    “And if you’re Politically Correct today, it’s probably because you’re frightened of what might happen to you, should you have the temerity to disagree. For Political Correctness is the politics of fear.”
    … and it is fundamentalism.

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    From the great American journalist, Dan Jenkins :

    “Folks, I take a backseat to no one__I mean, nobody__in my contempt for political correctness. It’s censorship. It’s an assault on humor. It’s an assault on free speech. If carried to an extreme, it’s a plot to destroy America.”

  5. Lepercolonist says:

    Bengtsson : “It does not bring up the large difference between observational results and model simulations.”
    Deny reality and accept our incorrect model. Sounds very similar to anti-smokers. Forget your own observations, your common sense, forget reality.

    • Edgar says:

      “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.” — Richard Feynman

  6. Barry Homan says:

    Political correctness is a disease. Almost no-one can escape from it. Really, it is like a disease, it has somehow invaded people’s minds from the outside, like a flu-bug. It’s not a physical infection, it’s an attack on people’s basic time-honoured attitudes, but like a virus attack, you can’t just shake it off – you can only spread it around.

    How to stop it? God knows.

  7. Jay says:

    I’ve often found that the very people who express shock at a politically incorrect view have no real respect for others despite political correctness supposedly embodying respect.

    I think I was politically correct at the age of five when I decided that circuses were cruel and vowed never to go to another one (and I haven’t). Nowadays I quite enjoy being politically incorrect just to see drone reaction.

  8. prog says:

    PC was the brainchild of the Frankfurt School, designed to wreak havoc among traditional western societies. It’s going swimmingly well, isn’t it?

    Churchmouse Campanologist’s blog is well worth a visit.

  9. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Ive just witnessed the most stupidest woman on the EARTH!

    My wife decides to defrost the deep freeze with an ICE PICK and a Hammer across the racks that have Freon tubes running thru them!

    I swear I don’t know how she lived this long with such stupidity. Now Ive got to buy a new deep freeze!

  10. Sunex Amures says:

    My partner and I are ordinary folk and have a wide range of friends from all sorts of backgrounds. We were recently noting how some of our friends seem to assume we are as PC as they are and are happy to espouse the usual portfolio of left-liberal viewpoint as theirs. This has arisen I suppose because while they feel comfortable expressing their views, we don’t, as we have no wish to spoil long-term friendships. Every now and then another of our friends will voice their support to something we don’t agree with while going on to trash those who oppose it. We have become very cautious when in company and watch what we say. We feel as if we are living in ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ as more and more of our friends are added to the list of those who we find can’t be trusted. I expect to see pods in our cellar one day. To have this corrosive PC phenomena in public life is bad enough but when it creeps into one’s private sphere it’s sinister to say the least.

    • Barry Homan says:

      IT IS like Invasion of the Body Snatchers!

    • nisakiman says:

      Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recollect from a previous post of yours that you are in a gay relationship. And gay people are assumed to be right-on, PC, lefty liberals. Probably because the stonewallers like Tatchell and his ilk shout long and loud about various PC issues pertaining to the gay sector (for want of a better phrase), and it has entered public perception that gay = PC. Which is probably why you are assumed to be ‘on message’. In fact, your friends may even be wearing the cloak of PC-ness for what they believe is your benefit! :)

      However, the vast majority of gay guys I’ve known over the past few decades have been fairly conservative (small ‘c’), and quite definitely non-PC. Including the outrageously camp guys I’ve known / worked with.

      It’s a difficult one when people you know subscribe the the PC orthodoxy. Nobody really wants to tell their friends that they’re gullible fools.

      I actually don’t care if I offend any more, I must say, and I tend to heap scorn on PC attitudes, whoever I’m talking with. If they don’t like it, well….

    • margo says:

      Why don’t you just express your own views, as freely as they express theirs? Some of your friends may go away and you’ll find you only have like-minded ones left. You’ll feel much more comfortable with them. That’s what I do (it’s probably why I haven’t got many friends!)

    • jaxthefirst says:

      Sunex, When confronted with PC friends whom I don’t want to fall out with, I find that a very effective way of bringing them nose to nose with reality is to ask them questions. Not in a confrontational, “Hah! I bet you hadn’t thought of that!” sort of way, but just interested sort of questioning – the kind you’d embark on if they were telling you about a really unusual and fascinating job they have, and you wanted to know everything about it and why they like it. A sort of “philosophical” what-if kind of questioning, if you like.

      Just the fact of being asked questions which, in truth, they can’t answer without having to admit to themselves that the opinions they hold aren’t actually their own will often be enough for them to change their minds, although it won’t happen overnight, and don’t be surprised if you don’t get given any credit for helping to bring about the change – that’s not how people work. People need time to change, and drones need more time than most. Be gentle with them; even insinuate that, by and large, you share their viewpoint (which you may even do, to an extent) – that makes your questions less threatening. It’s difficult for a drone to change their mind, because in order to do so they have to admit that their opinions were “fed” to them in the first place, and that’s never a nice feeling. So keep the conversation non-challenging. “Interested to learn,” should be the approach you take; don’t worry about the drone-feed rubbish they spout, let it wash over you. It won’t contaminate you, but just the process of trying to give good reasons for holding opinions for which there are no good reasons will sow the seeds of doubt in their minds, no matter how confident they may sound.

      Oh, and leave your questions with them to “sit on” for a while. That’s very important. Once you’ve put out a few questions and had a few moderately wobbly answers come back your way, or if your friends start to show traces of defensiveness (which is a good sign, because it indicates that subconsciously they know they’re talking rot), that’s the time to lightheartedly change the subject, get up and fetch pudding, or get some more wine, or go to the loo, or whatever. Leave the conversation somewhat “unfinished” before defensiveness gets in the way of the “realisation” process. That way, there’s a great chance that they’ll “finish” it in the right way later, when they are at home and away from you and have had a little time for the correct (but uncomfortable) answers to all your gently probing questions to bubble softly to the surface of their consciousness.

      Don’t expect instant results. Anyone who is susceptible to drone-feed won’t be the kind of person who suddenly gets an imaginary light-bulb coming on over their heads and says: “Wow! You’re right! I’ve never thought of it that way!” Part of being a drone involves having an artificially high opinion of your own mental capacity. PC propagandists, after all, never actually say “You must think like this,” do they? Certainly not – they know their targets and they know that the desired opinions can only infiltrate if those targets can be duped into thinking that they’ve come up with their opinions all by themselves. So, they put out “facts” and “studies” and “research” which lead people into the “right” views without them realising it. Ergo, all you have to do is “lead” them out of those views in the same way – hoist by their own petard, as it were – by getting them to realise the weakness of their case through all those oh-so-friendly, and oh-so-interested questions that they can’t meaningfully answer.

      And you won’t lose any friends by it, either.

  11. nisakiman says:

    Another one for the graveyard, Frank.

    Gap year tragedy as teenager dies after falling from a train in Thailand while trying to have a sneaky cigarette

    • beobrigitte says:

      I take it that the smoking ban in Thailand also applies to the red light district? Also, just curious, is the smoking ban policed in Thailand? What does the Thai police do when they find an under age prostitute with a cigarette in her hand?

  12. garyk30 says:

    Welllll, McCarthy was correct about the extent of Communist/Russian spies in the US Govt.

    His methods may have been harsh; but, he was right.

  13. beobrigitte says:

    More recently, I’ve begun to think that it’s not so much the formal content of politically-correct beliefs (I don’t want women made into second class citizens, nor desire to see the return of gay-bashing) that is troublesome about Political Correctness, but the fact that once these beliefs are adopted, nobody is allowed to ever change their mind.

    I think ‘political correctness’ changes it’s mind from time to time when a little pressure is applied. It used to be politically correct thinking that women are second class citizen – actually, women still receive a lower pension in comparison to their male colleagues – it used to be politically correct thinking that it’s ok to bash gays – some people still treat gay people with contempt – , it used to be politically correct to offer your guests an ashtray, it used to be politically correct to object to a government sanctioned invasion of PRIVATE PROPERTY and so on.

    Political correctness perhaps is an upside-down pyramid; at some point it topples over and the whole system is mixed up.

    Bengtsson had stepped out of line. He had started to question the global warming orthodoxy. And it could not be tolerated.

    He did point out the obvious:
    It does not bring up the large difference between observational results and model simulations.
    This does remind me of tobacco control “studies” – we smokers have smoked and sat in smoky rooms for many years; yet according to tobacco control even walking past a smoker endangers your life.

    Actually, it is a good thing when political correctness is so correct that it becomes ridiculous.

  14. waltc says:


    Brigitte: I don’t think those negative attitudes were “politically correct” in either the general or the literal (Maoist) sense. They were, however, widespread and socially acceptable, along, btw, with racism and anti-semitism. However, it was still possible to publicly express opposition without getting stoned or sent into coventry.

    Gary: i should introduce you to some in family who defend McCarthy along the same lines you do, a subject we no longer discuss at family dinners when knives are on the table. Yes, there were communists in government and certainly guys like Hiss had a real and bad influence on American policy, but so did the far right whose rigidity, especially in the far east, left us with no influence and threw some of those countries into the sphere of the Soviet Union. But McCarthy was also a witch-hunter who accused people of treason on the basis of nothing more than their having subscribed to (Dasheill Hammett’s) PM or having sent relief money to Spain or on guilt by association or worse, on the basis of nothing whatsoever. And it led to a massive nationwide hysteria where postmen as well as screenwriters were fired and actors were blackballed and the idiocy of Loyalty Oaths were widely imposed. I commend to you the chapter on McCarthy in Wm Manchester’s “The Glory And The Dream” which reproduces transcripts and summaries of the hearings McCarthy held. His methods were shameful; his successes were few.

    Sunex Living in NYC I’m faced with that all the time. I hate shutting up, it’s against my principles, but when they’re old and good friends–and ones you know you won’t convince– staying silent, changing the subject, or suddenly deciding you have to go the john becomes the wiser thing to do.

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