Science fiction often uses time as a plot device. We live in linear time, one thing happens after another, one thing comes before another, sometimes causing what follows. My recent movie critique on Arrival, somewhat explores that issue. What if time were not linear? What if cause and effect were out the window, and we lived, continually traveling through time, perhaps randomly, perhaps at will? While it’s easy to imagine some of the consequences of such an existence, it’s impossible to imagine them all. We can know with certainty only life would be very different, perhaps unimaginable.
We can also know with certainty time matters. It is the way we measure our lives, our efforts, our personal commitments, our loves, our losses, our growth and development and our accomplishments, all too soon brought to an end in this linear, fallen existence. We know, through the good graces of Einstein, time is relative, and we can peer into the past simply by gazing at a starry hight sky.
On a less cosmological scale, time defines our days, and our use of it reflects our values. A substantial part of American culture, indeed western culture, is respect for the lives and efforts of others. Therefore we set, and usually agree upon, times. We agree to meet at 2 PM, and understand that failing to be on time is not deferential to our employers or those to whom we owe other duties, and is disrespectful to our friends and peers. When we are not prompt, we are wasting the time of others who are compelled to meaninglessly and unproductively expend their all too brief allotment time in this life.
Now, The College Fix explains that time is also subject to the dictates of political correctness, at least in the academy:
If you want to schedule a meeting at Clemson University that starts on time … well, that’s not going to happen.
The university warns faculty not to enforce start times for gatherings in an online training featuring “fictional characters,” made public by Campus Reform:
On another slide, a character named Alejandro schedules a 9:00 a.m. meeting between two groups of foreign professors and students. The first group arrived fifteen minutes early, while the second arrived ten minutes late [and wanted to ‘socialize’ first]. According to the answers, it is wrong for Alejandro to ‘politely ask the second group to apologize,’ or explain that ‘in our country, 9:00 a.m. means 9:00 a.m.
Apart from polite adherence to mutually agreed use of time, the politically correct nature of Clemson’s “training” is clear. Americans have no right to demand people foreign to our culture assimilate, or even politely, if temporarily, adapt to American cultural norms. All cultures are equally valid, except American culture is always less valid than any other, and particularly in America, Americans must adapt to the whims of foreigners. This is why American women visiting Muslim nations must, at the least, cover their hair. That, and if they don’t, they will very likely be beaten, jailed, perhaps murdered.
It disrespects other people’s cultures to ask them to follow American conventions of appointments starting when they are literally scheduled to start, the slide continues:
Alejandro should recognize and acknowledge cultural differences with ease and respect. Cultures view many things, including death, prosperity and even colors, quite differently. Time may be considered precise or fluid depending on the culture. For Alejandro to bring three cultures together he must start from a place of respect, understanding that his cultural perspective regarding time is neither more nor less valid than any other.
In my final police assignment, I worked in an area with a large American Indian population. Often, we would be subjected to in service training from various cultural experts who would patiently explain the concept of “Indian time.” In short, Indian time meant a nearly complete lack of adherence to the conventions of time and the successful culture, which made it possible for people to work together and to prosper. If a meeting time of 8 AM was agreed upon, one would be remiss, insufficiently respectful of cultural differences, if one didn’t ignore, perhaps even praise, the fact that an Indian participant didn’t show until 9 AM—the following day. It was generally interesting to note that some Indian participants in the prevailing American culture were far more likely to ignore precision in time if the time occurred in the morning than in the afternoon or evening.
For people that told time by the 24-hour clock, accepting that kind of lack of deference and respect for the lives and necessities of others was unacceptable. Oh, we gave lip service to inclusivity and cultural understanding, and then did what our jobs, and simple decency, required: we arrived on time. That’s rather an important concept for people responding to life-threatening emergencies on a regular basis.
“What’s that? You called 911 at 2030 and reported someone was breaking into your home? The police didn’t arrive until 2316, and in the meantime, you were robbed and raped-repeatedly? Hey, that’s just police culture. You’re not recognizing and acknowledging cultural differences with ease and respect.”
Sorry Clemson. This is America. Americans use time with precision. Eight o’clock means eight o’clock, not 8:15 or 9:35. American visitors to foreign nations quickly discover the inhabitants of those nations expect them to conform to their way of doing things. They care little—if at all—that Americans might wish to do things differently. In fact, the inhabitants of many nations are absolutely determined that nothing American—with the exceptions of clothing, shoes, consumer electronics, movies, music, motor vehicles, computers, etc.—be recognized and acknowledged.
Too many Americans—and obviously the nabobs of Clemson—lack the will to recognize and acknowledge American culture, and the immense benefits it has provided not only to Americans, but to the world. The consequences of slovenly ignorance of the conventions of time are obvious. The benefits of adherence to the conventions of time are equally obvious: the building and maintenance of the most prosperous, accepting, free and generous nation ever.
One can choose any perspective on time they please, but no choice is consequence-free. Cultures without respect for the time of others tend to be non-productive and in many respects, parasitical. Not only do they fail to care about their own sloth, they inevitably come to expect that others, others that do respect the time of all, will support them.
Failing to respect the time of others is not a noble expression of a unique and far-more-valuable-than-American culture. It is rude and counter-productive. Failing to demand respect for the time of others is not recognition and acknowledgement of cultural difference; it’s cultural suicide.
More and more, that–utter disdain for the conventions of American culture–seems to be the primary curriculum of our colleges and universities. Fascinating, is it not, that leftist thugs are always able to be on time whenever they’re protesting free speech, occupying campus building, committing arson, destroying property, or appearing before TV cameras? For such people, time is eternally relative. Those unfortunate students that buy into this deconstructionist way of non-thinking will discover, one day, they’ve learned nothing useful in supporting themselves in the future.
Ben Franklin was right. Time waits for no man, and those that try to ignore it find, to their eventually horror, it slips away even faster.