Political Correctness

No Political Correctness sign

I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.
P. D. James

Is Political Correctness as rampant where you live as it is here in Godzone/Aotearoa?  We are constantly worried here in case we step on somebody’s toes or offend somebody in some way, and often it causes us to do nothing.  Note – the use of the word “us” here is a generic term for both our politicians and the general hoi polloi.

To my mind PC as used by our politicians, the media and those who deem themselves to be in charge of our actions (and maybe even our thoughts),  is tyranny.  And the rationale of this tyranny?  It appears to be to prevent people being offended by what is said or done; to prevent compel each of us to avoid using words that may upset others, including  women, fat people, small or tall people,homosexuals, etc etc.

Well I would not knowingly offend any of these people but feel that this has gone too far.  Political Correctness is in my view,  a sophisticated form of censorship that affects all of us and creeps unasked into our lives.  The values and rules of my parents’ generation appear to be thrown out with the bath water and what is moving in to take their place?  Political Correctness.

I decided to investigate the origins or this phenomenon and see if I could find out the reason for its introduction into our lives.  I found an explanation on this site.  Here I read that “It  was developed at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany, which was founded in 1923 and came to be known as the “Frankfurt School.” It was a group of thinkers who pulled together to find a solution to the biggest problem facing the implementers of communism in Russia.

The problem?  Why wasn’t communism spreading?  Their answer?  Because Western Civilization was in its way.”  It went on to say

“What was the problem with Western Civilization? Its belief in the individual, that an individual could develop valid ideas. At the root of communism was the theory that all valid ideas come from the effect of the social group of the masses. The individual is nothing.”

And so Political Correctness was introduced to undermine Western Civilisations’  foundations by incessantly and insidiously attacking the rights of the individuals.   Well, that explains it then.

And today after receiving this email from a friend, I decided to air my concernsobjections about and to this trend.  See what you think?

“There’s an annual contest at the University of Arkansas calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year’s term was: “Political Correctness.” The winning student wrote:

“Political correctness is a doctrine — fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rapidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media — which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end.”

 Well that says it all for me anyway.  What do you think?

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
Thomas Jefferson

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30 responses to “Political Correctness

  1. Wow Judith you could not have said it any better! I have facebooked it..and do not see a Press this button but will repost. In the information about censureship this week this is timely.

  2. Funny definition. I agree that PC is out of control. Perhaps our skin has grown too thin and we need t thicken it up!

    • I would never attempt to denigrate others in word or deed, but I do think that PC has gone too far when somebody thinks they have the right to dictate to us. What happened to the freedom of the individual?

  3. I am still convinced that political correctness was meant to mean Good Manners and Sensitivity to Others. It is a way to avoid making offending statements regarding an individual’s beliefs, gender, color, race, creed, sexual orientation or even political persuasion. People nowadays tend to exaggerate the original intent, so even good manners nowadays are stretched to the limits of believability.

    • Reading the blog that I mention above it does seems that PC was a definite attempt to undermine our western civilisations. While I agree that we should all be aware how easy it is to denigrate others and to actively work against doing so, in my opinion, PC has gone too far in the other direction.

  4. Yes, it is rampant here in the U.S. There are new guidelines for everything, including writing, speaking, etc., as you well know. It’s one thing to not want to offend someone, but extremism ensues.

    • Unfortunately, when somebody decides to interfere by way of lawmaking or setting guidelines extremism does ensue. Look at the plight of women in Afghanistan, and those women in Egypt recently compelled to undergo virginity checks after being arrested.

  5. I wrote three papers on political correctness in college. I couldn’t agree more with your stance. It attacks the very core of individualism and promotes the convenience of the world changing for one collective or even one individual rather than people bucking up and learning to deal with a difference of opinions- or simply, life. We are not meant to be the same or think the same. How boring would that be? No. Let change come about by free thinking. Not by trying to censor us until we are no longer people, but robots. 1984 anyone? Ok, I’ll stop now. 🙂

    • Katrina thanks for the comment. I wish I had read your papers. Political correctness to me smacks of communism and state controlled thinking, and we know how that ended – in disaster for all but the privileged few.

  6. Well said Judith. While I do think some PC terms are an improvement I think that the overall concept is limiting and does not work they way some people think.

  7. Political correctness has invaded every crevice of discourse in America. It is a whole new category of insanity. I must acknowledge that it opened my eyes to how my speech might be insensitive or offensive and it has helped me be more respectful. Outwardly anyway. The real irony and hypocrisy of it all is that white males remain the object of contemptuous criticism and ridicule that is entirely acceptable for the PC police. I react just as contemptuously. The blood of the royal house of the founders of Imperial Rome flows through my veins and who do these people think they are in the first place? PC protects them from smelling their own rot.

    • Carl, it seems that the white male is the object of criticism everywhere. It appears that our ‘indigenous’ people (here note that the Maoris killed off the original settlers the Moriories) are protected and can say derogatory things about the Pakeha (the rest of us) but we are forbidden to do the same to them. PC gone mad?

  8. You are not alone in your country’s desire for political correctness and its tendency to c=get out of control. I live in south Texas and it is the same here. We have a larger Hispanic population than Anglo or Black population and the government is overly sensitive to this fact. Some of the things that come out of the schools are ridiculous. You aren’t alone.

  9. Excellent post Judith….and one of my favorite Jeffersonian quotes. Thank you.

    • That quote is so very true. And in a political sense we get the leaders we choose – if enough people don’t vote then we are left with the choice of a few. Thanks. 🙂

  10. Wow! You never cease to educate me. I’m going to copy that definition and post it on my office wall. I want to be reminded daily. Thank you, Judith.

  11. Bravo!! This will be shared, Judith! THANK YOU!

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  14. As Ray Bradury says, “There’s more than one way to burn a book.”. I think of that statement when I think of political correctness. We are so afraid of offending someone, of stepping on someone’s toes, that we water everything down to vanilla pudding. A person is crucified if he or she dares to say something negative against an individual or group, even if it’s true. We are constantly walking on eggshells, weighing everything we say. How did we let things get this way?

    • We have seen people power in operation in some other parts of the world. Maybe its time for us to take back our power and start ignoring the PC nonsense and so bring about some changes. Your Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech – let’s invoke it.
      Looks like I am on another rant. 🙂

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