Our changing vocabulary

The term "open-minded" formerly described a person who kept his mind open to all the possibilities, until evidence led him to a certain conclusion. For instance, on the pivotal question of race and intelligence, a truly open-minded person should be willing to consider the possibility that blacks are on average smarter than whites, that the races are exactly equal in that regard, and that whites are on average smarter than blacks. He would then examine the evidence and decide for himself.

Today, of course, the definition of "open-minded" is exactly the opposite: an "open-minded" person keeps his mind closed to all possibilities except the politically correct one, i.e., that the races are exactly even on that score.

The term is used to describe the leftist view on other issues as well. If you are truly open-minded on the subject of gay marriage, you would think about it, consider whether it's good for society and also whether it's fair, then make a decision. (I have, and support it.) But if you're "open-minded," then you're reflexively for it, period, no thinking allowed.

The definition of "racism" has changed as well. I remember looking the term up around twenty years ago and finding that it meant someone who discriminated against individuals on the basis of their race.

But if you look it up online, you'll see that it now has a different definition.

At Dictionary.reference.com:

"A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others"

Hmm. Where does that leave me? I do think that genetic differences between the various races have a lot to do with their varying levels of intellectual achievement. (Oh no -- I might be a racist!) But I've never felt that any race has the right to rule others. (Phew!)

At Merriam-Webster.com:

"A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"

I wish they'd been more specific: superior at what? If you're aware that certain races have more Nobel Prizes in the hard sciences, does that make you a racist? How about if you're aware of average IQ scores? Or if you think that one race is superior at, say, sprinting? 

The only conclusion I can come to is that anybody who has ever examined any measure of achievement empirically and noticed any racial correlations is a racist.

Therefore, if you ever read about or notice any such correlations, you must forget about them immediately. You must wipe your mind clean. Otherwise, you are a racist.

You could try to be like the average liberal and just pretend you haven't noticed anything. ("I don't know nuthin'!") But even if you did that, wouldn't you still be tortured by the realization that deep down inside, you truly are a racist?

We have met the enemy; he is us.