Political Correctness and Modern Society
We all know Political Correctness, we've heard the term and we even know more or less the limits of Political Correctness. While most people have heard of Political Correctness, most will tell you it's stupid, or at least it can be. But modern society has a more complex relationship with this idea then most people think.
Political Correctness is the idea that there are some things you just shouldn't say, not just words but even entire topics you shouldn't talk about. But this gets people confused because before Political Correctness there were also words and topics you weren't supposed to talk about. Whats particularly confusing is that things that you once weren't supposed to talk about are now freely spoken about and things that were once freely spoken about are now regarded as Political Incorrect and are things that shouldn't be mentioned. Lots of people don't like it but they have adjusted to it, even if it's just to get by.
Most people are happy to talk about the idea of free speech, the reality is that nearly everyone has words and topics they regard as taboo. Things that they just don't want to hear or be a part of. Things that make them uncomfortable and thats normal, every person has their limits. In the past forbidden words or topics were normally regarded as having "a time and a place", they were said, they could be said in the right place or to the right people. But Political Correctness is different, the purpose is not to restrict speech but to control how people speak, think and how they interact with other people. It is not about being polite or modest or discrete, it is how about making sure that certain topics are only spoken of in the correct manner.
It's quite an achievement to have done this, I remember growing up during the Cold War and people saying "it's a free country I can say anything I please" and it was true and they did. In the 70's and 80's Political Correctness gained ground, it was influential in the Universities and in Government, but outside of those places it was ridiculed and ignored for the most part. Ironically the end of the Cold War saw the rise of Political Correctness because the rationale of living in a free country didn't need to be proved any longer. And it had served it's apprenticeship within the Universities and the Government. It was through the Government that it really took hold because the Government controls most education, either directly or indirectly and it could use the teachers to pass it on to their students. Their students who had never known a world in which Political Correctness hadn't existed.
But it also had a second string in it's bow, as society became rougher in speech because of social changes from the 1960's, many people wanted things to be nicer. For words to be nicer and for some type of restraint to be imposed on those who couldn't or wouldn't restrain themselves. Political Correctness came to the rescue, here was a way to reimpose some order on speech, to make it kinder and gentler. A way to smooth out the rough edges.
To those who support Political Correctness for ideological reasons it never seems to be enough, they find it very hard to understand why people think it is restrictive. They often hear things that are Political Incorrect and they wish that it worked better. They don't think people are restricted in speech, they think people are a bit too free in their speech. They hear racist, sexist, homophobic comments regularly, so they argue how can people feel restricted? But the reason they hear these comments so regularly is not because they are said regularly but because they are sensitive to such comments. They don't let the comment go by, they put it into their mental notebook and keep score. When you do that the score can get quite high.
The problem with Political Correctness isn't that it restricts people, it's that often the words or topics that are not allowed to be discussed are wrong. Factually wrong. The assumption made for most of the forbidden things within Political Correctness is that equality is the highest order. Racism is wrong because it assumes that different races are not equal. Sexism is wrong because it implies that men and women are not equal and so on and so forth. But if everyone is equal, then that means that everyone is the same and that there is nothing unique about them. You cannot be exactly the same and unique, but that is the claim. For a good portion of the population this claim is absurd. You will hear people say that some part of Political Correctness has gone too far, but in fact it hasn't gone to far, it's working exactly as it's supposed to. It's designed to stop people speaking, thinking and to restrict how people interact.
For Political Correctness to end we need to decide what words and topics are not allowed in polite society. And then to allow those words and topics to be spoken at an appropiate "time and place". When politeness, modesty and discretion were given short shift, that allowed the way for Political Correctness to fill there place. We don't need Political Correctness, we need politeness, modesty and discretion to make a comeback. This is both a legal problem and a societal issue as both need to be fixed.
Upon Hope Blog - A Traditional Conservative Future
Another Article You Might Enjoy?
Marriage: Love or Stability