I’m glad to be back addressing the H.L. Mencken Club.
Richard Spencer has asked me to speak on the topic “Can HBD Trump PC?” So let me begin by explaining what those acronyms mean.
PC stands for “Political Correctness”. HBD is short for “Human Biodiversity”.
In an intellectually healthy world, of course, the study of “human biodiversity” wouldn’t be imperiled by the reign of Political Correctness. Instead, HBD would be recognized as a necessary complement to the study of human cultural diversity. To a student of the social world, human biodiversity and human cultural diversity ought to be complementary tools, like a straight right and a left jab are to a boxer, or like words and numbers are to a thinker.
In 21st Century America, however, noticing reality is often, by unfortunate necessity, a political act. As George Orwell pointed out, “To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle”.
Should HBD be a field of study … or a political movement … or both?
Let’s consider the term “Political Correctness” first. This is an old New Left phrase. I first recall hearing it about 30 years ago in an interview with Joe Strummer of The Clash, in which the punk rock star lamented how stultifying the demands of Political Correctness were even for a lifelong leftist like himself. (Despite Joe’s Old Left proletarian façade, Strummer’s father, a British diplomat and secret agent, had been a close friend of Kim Philby.)
We’re often told that Political Correctness is a trivial matter of using the latest name for minority groups, but I always do that. That’s less Political Correctness than politeness.
No, PC is vastly more far-reaching. It enervates American intellectual discourse on many levels.