Political correctness offends the United States

Illya says he feels that political correctness is authoritarian


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Illya was born in post-Soviet Ukraine. After his parents separated, his mother went to the USA with him. She worked a lot and earned little money, and the family slowly worked their way up the social ladder, says Illya. His last name was still Ivashchenko at the time, which made some classmates suspicious. When he was ten, his mother remarried - his name has been Vogel ever since. He started competitive swimming in high school, exercising every day. He then briefly went to the military, did a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in philosophy. To this day, says Illya, he sees himself as an immigrant.

Joshua was born in the United States. When he was five, his father was offered a professorship in Taiwan. The parents moved to Taiwan. Joshua attended an international school and spoke better English than Chinese. He returned to the United States at the age of 17. He studied biology in Houston, Texas, decided against a doctorate and started programming as a career changer. He got a job in San Francisco four years ago. He, too, says Joshua, still feels like an immigrant.

Both want to start talking about racism. And about the term white privilegedesigned to describe the privileges of white people in society. Does the phenomenon even exist? Illya wants to know.

Absolutely, replies Joshua. Whites and Asians are on average significantly richer than Latinas and black Americans. This also has an impact on the crime rate, which also shows a disadvantage. In addition, minorities in the USA are much more affected by Covid-19. The expression white privilege but find he too martial. What should a very poor white person think of hearing that they are privileged?

At this point, Illya is just listening. He says he's pleased that Joshua recognizes how authoritarian some liberals are. He also doesn't think discriminatory language is okay, but you can't forbid people to use it - he sees that as authoritarian.

Joshua: What if politically correct language protects you from getting hurt? Do you then also perceive this as authoritarian?

Illya: Absolutely.

Joshua: When someone grimaces and pretends to be Chinese, I think to myself: Wait a minute, this hurts, why are you doing this? Politically correct language is meant to show others that words can be hurtful.

Illya: It's okay that they exist. It is your right to tell me that my words hurt. But it is also my right to say what I want. If I want to insult someone, for whatever reason, then I want to be allowed to do so.

Sooner or later, almost all debates in the US revolve around freedom. Illya says that even people like Hitler should have the right to defame Jews. Joshua, on the other hand, argues that the world would have been spared a lot of evil if Hitler had been banned from speaking early enough. You can tell the different priorities: Joshua speaks more often of the individual and their feelings, Illya of ideas, of the fundamentals, what the USA as a nation is based on in his eyes.

When it comes to freedom, during the corona pandemic you can quickly come to the subject of mask requirements. Joshua is in favor of it being strictly enforced. He knows some who have died of Covid-19. He thinks the disease is dangerous. Taiwan, for example, has contained the pandemic well. Although the country has more experience from previous pandemics, he believes that Covid could have been fought better in the United States. What does Illya think about that?

Illya: You say it: Taiwan was prepared. The US would have been hit hard either way.

Joshua: I do not think so. Trump himself dissolved the pandemic control department before the corona crisis.

Illya: That wouldn't have changed much either.

Joshua: Do you think people would have wore masks if Trump had told them?

Illya: No way! There are so many people in America who lose their nerve with a touch of authoritarianism. The average Chinese or Taiwanese is more likely to be okay with this.

Joshua: I think: if there had been the obligation, the US would not have been hit so hard by the pandemic.

Illya: If there was an obligation to wear a mask, fewer people would of course have died. But Covid is not as bad as we think. Only around six percent of all deaths actually died of the lung disease, most of them were very old and in poor health.