How To Be Politically Incorrect and Prosper

George Gilder, together with his wife and four children, have adopted the charming town of Tyringham– a virtual art colony nestled in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts—as their home. His fame and influence have not interfered with his domestic stability. Nor have the PC police, though not without making a concerted effort, succeeded in stifling his creativity. He offers hope for all those who may be intimidated by the power of political correctness to stick to their guns and find their own way of achieving prosperity.

Gilder became a target for the politically correct brigade with his book, Sexual Suicide. It earned him the wrath of the National Organization for Women and the label, “Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year”. He won the designation, according to Time magazine with a “one-punch knockout of Norman Mailer”. He was, for secular feminists, public enemy No. 1.

What was so incendiary about Sexual Suicide? Gilder dared to affirm the complementarity of the sexes, the importance of love and marriage, and a critique of the excesses of secular feminism. He went so far as to praise the Catholic Church for insisting on the unity between sexual intimacy and gilderprocreation. In retrospect, this work, published in 1973, appears prophetic and would be even more politically incorrect today than when it first appeared. The ensuing paragraph gets to the heart of the matter: “Gay liberation, pornographic glut, and one-night trysts are all indices of sexual frustration; all usually disclose a failure to achieve profound and loving sexuality. When a society deliberately affirms these failures—contemplates legislation of homosexual marriage, celebrates the women who denounce the family, and indulges pornography as a manifestation of sexual health and a release from repression—the culture is promoting a form of erotic suicide.”

The reaction to Sexual Suicide was not merely verbal. Invitations to speak at universities were withdrawn, feminists shouted him down when he tried to speak, for example, on the Dick Cavett Show, other outraged feminists threatened to strike at several publishing houses if Gilder were taken on as an author. Gilder realized that the marketplace of free ideas was not open to anyone who questioned the assumptions of radical feminism. Most bookstores would not order or stock Sexual Suicide. Publishers boycotted his next work, Men and Marriage, though Pelican, a small press in Louisiana was willing to take a chance on it.

Undaunted, Gilder wrote Wealth and Poverty, which became a best-seller. It became the “Bible” of President Reagan’s administration’s supply-siders. Gilder became the one living author whom Reagan quoted most often in his speeches. Wealth and Poverty is a defense and celebration of capitalism. The author strongly disagrees with those who regard greed as the driving force of the economy. For Gilder, truly greedy people want to be compensated far beyond what is just.
“Greed,” he states, “leads as by an invisible hand to socialism.” By contrast, “Capitalism begins with giving. Not from greed, avarice, or even self-love can one expect the rewards of commerce, but from a spirit closely akin to altruism, a regard for the needs of other, a benevolent, outgoing, and courageous temper of mind.”

Gilder praises Papal encyclicals for their denunciation of materialism: “Thus the Pope {John Paul II} is completely consonant with capitalism when he denounces materialism. Materialism is the perennial enemy—and temptation—of capitalism.” Capitalism, he argues, needs the spiritual and religious foundations provided by churches and schools that believe in the “the paramount natural laws of giving and faith”. He has little regard for secular culture, which he finds “corrupt, degraded, and depraved”. Nor is he particularly enamored with what passes for higher education, especially in the humanities. At a great many of the elite universities, he contends, worthless courses in nihilism, relativism, feminism, and Marxism are taught.

Gilder’s more recent books deal with technology, its innovations, and its potentialities for a better world. Among his special interests are quantum mechanics, the new microcosm world, transistors, silicon chips, and the teleputer. He is a co-founder of the Discovery Institute whose home base is in Seattle, WA. The Institute affirms the representative democracy as expounded by the Founding Fathers and the belief in God-given reason, the permanency of human nature, and the social requirement to balance liberty with responsibility.

Gilder has prospered for several reasons that mainly relate to his character. We may list six: 1) do not make concessions to your enemies; 2) stick to your guns; 3) understand the primacy of spirit; 4) become knowledgeable of many things; 5) get ahead of the game; 6) be grounded in a strong family. If there are to be great accomplishments in the future, they will be made by people who did not allow themselves to be checked at the door by political correctness. Gilder’s example should serve as model for all.

In discussing the complementarity between science and religion, he finds special meaning that the quantum vision offers in the form of a “cross of light”. “Combining a particle and a wave,” he writes, it [the light] joins the definite to the infinite, a point of mass to an eternal radiance.” “What else would a Christian expect to find at the foundations of the world? He asks. “In this light, we can comprehend the paradox of the brain and the mind, the temporal and the divine, flesh and the word, freedom and fatality. By this light, we can even find the truth.” The intellectual life is a journey to ends that are yet to be discovered, let alone understood. Political correctness is an abject surrender to the status quo.

Dr. Donald DeMarco is a Senior Fellow of Human Life International. He is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario, an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College in Cromwell, CT, and a regular columnist for St. Austin Review. His latest works, How to Remain Sane in a World That is Going Mad and Poetry That Enters the Mind and Warms the Heart are available through Articles by Don: