Dr. Schoenewolf speaks out: Political correctness gone amok

Responding to controversy surrounding his writings on political correctness, Gerald Schoenewolf was interviewed by an anonymous writer for an article on the NARTH website. In an article titled: Political Correctness Gone Amok: The Latest Controversy, Schoenewolf criticizes the recent report by Brentin Mock of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He blames Mock for twisting his words regarding slavery. Schoenewolf says: “No person is better off enslaved, obviously,” Schoenewolf told NARTH. “What I tried to say, before my words were twisted by that reporter, is that despite the clear and obvious evil of that practice, we tend to forget that many of the enslaved people had been first been sold into bondage by their fellow countrymen; so coming to America did bring about some eventual good. No social issue has all the ‘good guys’ lined up on one side and ‘bad guys’ on the other.”

Let’s compare this idea with what he said in his initial article: With all due respect, there is another way, or other ways, to look at the race issue in America. It could be pointed out, for example, that Africa at the time of slavery was still primarily a jungle, as yet uncivilized or industrialized. Life there was savage, as savage as the jungle for most people, and that it was the Africans themselves who first enslaved their own people. They sold their own people to other countries, and those brought to Europe, South America, America, and other countries, were in many ways better off than they had been in Africa.

I will leave it to the reader to judge whether Dr. Schoenewolf’s words were twisted. I am glad he is now saying that the good done was “eventual” but that is not what it seems to me that he said in the original article. While we are on that point, I do not see why one would imply that a moral evil is of necessity associated with an eventual benefit. This assumes that the only way the current good (African-Americans are here and not in famine and war-torn Africa) could have happened is via the moral evil (slavery). On the other hand, we could look at it this way: Current economic benefits, freedoms and safeties have occured despite slavery, not because of it. Slavery was not a necessary precursor to the current situation; Africans could have come here under some other more positive circumstances if the moral evil of slavery did not exist.

Schoenewolf did not address one of his central tenets (civil rights movements are derived from Marxism) in this new defense. To wit, here is a passage from the original article:

Subsequent to Marx, various human rights groups began using his ideology to rationalize their movements, primarily in America. First came the Civil Rights Movement, which began in the 1850s and was one of the causes of the Civil War. In this case, European-Americans (Caucasians) became the oppressors and African-Americans became the oppressed; European-Americans were demonized, and African-Americans were idealized; European-Americans who had practiced slavery or segregation were viewed as all-bad and African-Americans were seen as all-good.

African-Americans were urged by various leaders to unify and rebel against European-Americans and to demand special privileges as compensation for their suffering at the hands of the latter. Civil rights leaders, like Marx and Engels before them, believed that their way, and only their way, was the valid way to look at the issue. In the 1950s, the Civil Rights Movement went into high gear, and the leaders of the movement, just like Marx and Engels, began to punish anybody who was in any way critical of the movement or had any other point of view with respect to solving racial discrimination by labeling them “racists” and “bigots” and attempting to isolate and ostracize them.

I consulted GCC Professor of History, Gillis Harp regarding the paragraph above and he had this to say:

“Hardly any Abolitionists ever read Marx or were particularly influenced by him. You (Throckmorton) are quite correct about the evangelical roots of the Abolitionist movement. The Quakers were among the first to oppose slavery in writing. The British leader, William Wilberforce — a Tory evangelical! — was about as far from a Marxist as one could get. Arthur & Lewis Tappan are good examples of American evangelicals who were Abolitionist leaders.”

Bottom line message I get from this new article: If you express disagreement with Dr. Schoenewolf, you must be a “so-called liberal” who is intent on stiffling dialogue. It is rare that I or anyone here in the Grove would be called a liberal. We’re as much liberals as Wilberforce was a Marxist.

The article concludes with Dr. Nicolosi saying: “The bottom line,” said NARTH President Joseph Nicolosi, “is that NARTH’s mission has nothing to do with any social issue others than same-sex attraction. Our mission is to defend our clients’ rights to assert their own values and say, ‘Gay is not who I really am.'”

This sentiment would represent a shift in NARTH practice which many would welcome. If this was true, then there would have been no controversy in the first place.

UPDATE: 1/17/07 – The Southern Poverty Law Center included the article by Brentin Mock in their print and online magazine, The Intelligence Report under the title, One More Enemy. I noticed that bloggers, including The Daily Kos are picking it up again.