Point Deer Make Horse.
Lately there has been some hand wringing about how freedom of speech in Academia has just been killed.
Academics have been terrified, servile, docile, and submissive since the middle of the nineteenth century.
The purpose of political correctness is to humiliate and degrade by demanding that people accept an obvious lie, thus demonstrating who has the power and who shall submit.
Every so often a new act of submission is demanded to show submission to new masters, and all of academia absolutely without a single exception turns on a dime and endorses the new obvious lie, just as it endorsed all of the old obvious lies, for nearly two hundred years.
This is nothing new. What is new is that the lies are coming faster and faster, indicating greater and greater instability within the ruling elite – but they have been coming every faster for nearly two hundred years. This is a sign of decline, but decline has been happening for quite a while, ever faster.
Hence the Chinese saying: Point Deer Make Horse:
In other words, absurd ideas are made up on purpose to humiliate people and check who is really loyal to which power holders.
Here is Spandrel telling the story:
Well the emperor died out of the capital, so nobody knew. The only ones who knew were his prime minister, Li Si, and his close minister Zhao Gao, who may or may not have been a eunuch. Well apparently Zhao Gao didn’t like the crown prince Fusu very much. He had reason to think that Fusu hated him, and would execute him as soon as he became emperor himself. So Zhao Gao gets Li Si and says “hey, dude’s dead, we’re the only ones who know. Fusu doesn’t like you either, so why don’t we get this kid Huhai and name him successor?”
Li Si took some convincing, as did Huhai himself. But eventually they got on the plan, and sent a forged imperial edict ordering Fusu to kill himself. Which strangely he did, even after opposition by his entourage. With crown prince Fusu out of the way, the three got back to the capital, and set up Huhai as Second Emperor of Qin.
Soon later Zhao Gao found some excuse and executed Li Si and all his family, and took his prime ministership. He obviously knew too much. Then he proceeded to execute all those little Schelling Points that were the emperor’s brothers and sisters, so there was no contest about who had the right title to the crown. Still after Huhai was secure in his thrown, he was starting to be a little uncooperative with Zhao Gao. The Chen Sheng rebellion had started, and the empire was having trouble suppressing it. The Emperor blamed Zhao Gao for the mess and he had a point. But Zhao Gao didn’t like that. He started to think that maybe they should have a change of emperor, but he couldn’t be sure he could pull it off.
So Zhao Gao brings a deer into the palace. Grabs it from the horns, calls the emperor to come out, and says “look your majesty, a brought you a fine horse”. The Emperor, not amused, says “Surely you are mistaken, calling a deer a horse. Right?”. Then the emperor looks around at all the ministers. Some didn’t say a word, just sweating nervously. Some others loudly proclaimed what a fine horse this was. Great horse. Look at this tail! These fine legs. Great horse, naturally prime minister Zhao Gao has the best of tastes.
A small bunch did protest that this was a deer, not a horse. Those were soon after summarily executed. And the Second Emperor himself was murdered some time later.
It is a compliance test. Will you be party to a blatant lie? If you will be party to one blatant lie, then you be party to each of the other lies.
So we get a ruling elite that lies without hesitation. But in fact it is not in the interest of people, society, or the state, to have a ruling elite that lies without hesitation. It makes elite cohesion difficult, which increases the likelihood that the elite wind up murdering each other in large numbers, usually murdering a lot of innocent bystanders in the process to provide cover.
PC is pretty much the opposite of the old honor codes. Instead of an honor code, we have a dishonor code. Instead of compliance testing potential elite members for courage, honor, and dignity, we compliance test them for cowardice, lying, and groveling.