In a recent interview with Business Insider, a minor league “celebrity” troll and former manager for Milo Yiannopoulos named Baked Alaska, declared that the nightmarish trauma that drove him from his normal life and into the arms of the loose collection of racists, nationalists, anti-feminists and bedwetters collectively known as the AltRight, was being called out for an instance of cultural appropriation. In that moment, the scales fell from his eyes, and he was able to finally understand that political correctness was the greatest evil and injustice that has ever plagued mankind. He had no choice but to embrace the candidacy of anti-political correctness crusader, Donald Trump. Trump spoke openly about the horror that straight, white males had to face when they could no longer tell an off-color joke that had previously gotten them laughs or when they were asked to show a little more sensitivity to people of races they had been able to guiltlessly enslave and exploit in the past.
When you talk to a lot of people on the right, you will hear this “political correctness is evil” or “political correctness is what’s wrong with this country” refrain repeated over and over. Political correctness at universities, those hotbeds of socialist indoctrination. Political correctness by the #fakenews mainstream media, as they try to brainwash Americans into being kinder to each other. They will say it again and again and again.
You’ll hear it from our president and from Fox News and InfoWars and Breitbart and any number of mouth-breathing, troglodyte talk radio jerk-offs. To hear them tell it, there is nothing worse that can happen to a person than to be on the wrong end of some political correctness.
In a world with rape and murder and slavery and human trafficking and systematic, centuries long oppression of everyone but the most privileged straight, white, male fraternity, they’d have you believe that political correctness is the evil to end all evils. The open-minded, free-thinkers of the AltRight have even coined a new name for those whom they deem excessively PC: “virtue signalers”. If there is anything more cynical than this sneering, derisive put down, I challenge you to tell me what it is. What is basically being said when someone is called a “virtue signaler” is that caring about the rights of others is merely a show for them, publically displayed so that other members of their lefty tribe will like them. Nobody, this logic goes, could possibly truly be interested in anything but naked, self-interest, so concern for anyone other than themselves can only be a put on to win approval. No honest person could ever long for anything but personal gratification.
This, of course, says a lot more about the person leveling the charge than it does about the one it’s directed at.
It’s instructive to me to remember that these Nazis and racists who make up what is known as the AltRight are primarily from the generation of those raised by helicopter parents. These are the kids who were told that there are no losers, only winners; whose parents waited expectantly on every golden word that dripped from their mouths; who were never punished and were told that whatever they did was wonderful; whose teachers were held to task instead of them whenever they brought home bad grades. These are the kids who were always given a trophy for participation, whether their team came in first or last.
It should really be a surprise to no one that when these kids entered the real, adult world and finally faced their first instance of adversity, they cracked.
Never having known any kind of hardship; never having been said no to, this extremely minor adversity felt like oppression to them. They’d been told of a time when straight, white men had a cakewalk through life, with nothing but prosperity and privilege and, goddamnit, they wanted theirs. And anyone who wanted to talk about the rights or equality of African-Americans or Muslims or migrant workers or the LGBTQ community or women was just being a politically correct oppressor.
I thought of this a lot watching the disgraceful display in Charlottesville recently. I thought of it even more in the aftermath, when these tiki-torch carrying Nazis and white supremacists started whining and burbling and crying that they were now having to face repercussions from having marched alongside the KKK and the American Nazi Party, shouting rage at anyone who wasn’t as lily-white as they were.
Did they seriously believe that they could terrorize people, to beat them and rum them over with cars and not have to suffer any consequences for their actions?
Did they think someone, at the end of their rally, was going to hand them a trophy and say, “Thanks for participating in the American experiment”?
Possibly the most humorous example of this phenomenon is Chris Cantwell, the young fascist who got his fifteen minutes of fame as the unlikely star of an HBO documentary about Charlottesville. Baring his slightly doughy chest and inviting his interviewer back to his hotel room to show off his collection of firearms, Cantwell proudly declared that he would kill every one of the counter protestors if he had to and that he was working out to become more capable of violence. A day later, though, a YouTube video he had inextricably made the night of the march displayed him weeping and whimpering at the prospect of facing legal action for the despicable choices he had made. Understandably, he instantly became a national laughing stock. Did he really think attacking and threatening to kill fellow Americans in the name of white supremacy was going to get him a “good boy” and a pat on the back?
I wonder how these hardened tough guys of the AltRight are going to handle what’s to come. The losing and consequences that these misguided children are going to face in the future are going to make enduring political correctness seem like exactly what it is, the most insignificant and minor of inconveniences. They might want to think twice about shuffling out of their mother’s basements to drag their Neanderthal understanding of human interaction into a public setting.
It’s one thing to troll on the internet, insulting and doxing and threatening anyone who has the gall to disagree with them.
It’s quite another to put their loser asses on the line in the real world, where the rest of us can fight back.