Let’s face the truth. All of us practice political correctness to some degree. For example, we generally are smart enough to “not tick off the doc” (paraphrasing Tom Knapp’s recent comment). We don’t tell the M.D. that the chiropractors and holistic medicine people have it right and the MDs are a bunch of egotistical money-hogs. Even if we think they are. And I am constantly amazed at the number of people who call us “native Americans” instead of by our tribal affiliation and ancestry (or just by our NAMES). Even though they know better.
But political correctness is one of the banes of modern life – especially here in the Fifty States. We’ve put up with an ever more virulent strain of it for decades. And it is not just the “progressives” (regressives) and liberals and social justice warriors that demand it, promote it, and try to enforce it in various ways. Political Libertarians have increasingly been infected by it.
And not just from fear of punishment.
The root of political correctness is a simple human concept: don’t irritate (tick off) someone needlessly. Respect (within reason) people’s biases, feelings, sensitivities, and quirks. Treat people kindly. Even, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
But it has gotten steadily more and more extreme, especially since the 1970s. And in our opinion, more ridiculous. Custom and traditions have changed (as they always do) and certain words and phrasing are considered offensive that were not, decades ago. But the idea has morphed, so that certain concepts are no longer socially acceptable to discuss. More and more enforcement – if possible always using the ready tools of oppressive government and money – is happening.
Simon Black recently wrote about a school in Oregon, once named for the racist populist “progressive” Woodrow Wilson but now named for a POC that is a virtual unknown. It needs a new mascot: the Trojan Warrior one is too militaristic, too dead white male, too un-PC. So, someone suggested an evergreen – suitable for Oregon, no? Found on their license plates, even. But according to one SJW on the school board, the evergreen (pine, spruce, redwood, whatever) is racist because it is a tree! And trees were used to hang people – POC. No, no, no – no Evergreen tree mascot.
Political correctness may have its roots (or claim to have its roots) in the idea of being nice to other people, but its use today produces just the opposite effect. It is a hammer to punish those in disagreement with the social media mob, the influencers, and those behind them. It has changed into “cancel culture” in which a single comment, sometimes made decades ago, is used to attack and destroy the reputations, careers, living, and sometimes lives, of those who are targeted.
But the effects of political correctness and cancel culture today go far beyond just destroying individuals who say or believe something the mob thinks is wrong. It warps the thinking of others, as well. It makes even adults – even very smart, very talented, mature adults – fearful and often unwilling to reason and respond rationally. And it damages children – perverting their education and denying them access to alternate viewpoints and fostering bias and prejudice.
Today, we see the results of 20+ years of extreme political correctness in schools from pre-kindergarten through primary and secondary school and into colleges and universities: a generation of social-justice warriors who hubris knows no bounds, and who are willing to destroy everyone’s liberty for the sake of their comfort level and their own egotistical desires.
How do we fight it?
First, by refusing to be politically correct. I don’t mean being rude, I don’t mean being combative or aggressive. Just NOT tempering our language just to bow to someone’s political biases. Speaking the truth in love and kindness.
Second, by challenging (politely) people (especially friends and family) who fall into politically-correct habits of speech. Sometimes and some places that can be easy: it may also be a challenge. Do it with kindness and politeness, but with firm assurance. “Why do you use that term? Why do you tap dance around those ideas? Have you considered that the people that you are talking about do not like that expression or phrasing, even if the media and the education establishment use it and tell you to? Do you realize you are hiding the truth of the matter by doing this?
Third, by confronting those who attack others (and even yourself) for being “politically incorrect.” Why are you denying me my rights? Why are you denying the truth? Truth is sometimes uncomfortable, but why do you respond by attacking me for saying it? Why do you use these politically-correct phrases and ideas?
As I wrote – often not very easy. But necessary, to turn back the tide of extremism that is destroying society.