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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 121 of Joseph Epstein’s February 5th, 2019, National Review essay, “Political Correctness Knows No Statute of Limitations,” as this essay is reprinted (under the title “The Menace of Political Correctness”) in the 2020 collection, titled Gallimaufry, of some of Epstein’s essays and reviews:

Something not merely humorless but mentally dull there is about the mindset of political correctness. Subtlety under political correctness is out. So, too, complexity of character. To be politically correct one must also firmly believe that people do not change: If they were the least racist, sexist, homophobic forty years ago, they must still be so now. The mental map of the politically correct consists of a minuscule pale, with much of what is genuinely interesting or amusing in life beyond that pale. For the politically correct, what someone says, as distinguished from what he does, is crucial. This precludes of course the many men and women who have harsh, even objectionable opinions but lead generous, entirely honorable lives. H. L. Mencken was such a man. In many of his essays Mencken refered to African Americans as “blackamoors,” yet in his professional life he praised and promoted black writers whenever he came upon them. Much more common are people with perfect sets of opinions – race, check; the environment, check; LGBT, check; . . . – and whose actions are selfish, insensitive, even cruel.

DBx: To be clear, the ways that we talk – what Deirdre McCloskey calls our “habits of the lip” – do indeed matter. Greatly. But actions also matter. Also greatly.