On political correctness and how it hinders real debate

Posted by: ST on April 24, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Andrew Klaven writes a spot-on nail-meets-hammer piece about how the left and their embracing of political correctness – and shaming others into complying – has hindered open and honest discussions needed to be had in this country over issues of race,religion, etc. A sampling:

Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It’s not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are.

This is leftism’s great strength: it’s all white lies. That’s its only advantage, as far as I can tell. None of its programs actually works, after all. From statism and income redistribution to liberalized criminal laws and multiculturalism, from its assault on religion to its redefinition of family, leftist policies have made the common life worse wherever they’re installed. But because it depends on—indeed is defined by—describing the human condition inaccurately, leftism is nothing if not polite. With its tortuous attempts to rename unpleasant facts out of existence—he’s not crippled, dear, he’s handicapped; it’s not a slum, it’s an inner city; it’s not surrender, it’s redeployment—leftism has outlived its own failure by hiding itself within the most labyrinthine construct of social delicacy since Victoria was queen.

Indeed. La Shawn Barber blogged today about Klaven’s piece and brought up a point I’d never considered:

I’m struck by the gradual, 40-year shift from rebelling against “Victorian” middle class morality in the 1960s, where people encouraged others to speak their minds and stand up to authority, to the present descent into unpalatable PC conformity, where speech codes are alive and thriving in government agencies, businesses, and on college campuses across the country. An innocuous but stupid comment can cost someone his job and reputation. What happened? Here’s my theory:

As this country has become more racially and culturally diverse, telling the truth about racial and cultural differences has become off-limits. At the same time, liberals want to apply separate standards to these diverse groups based on those differences. For example, you can’t talk about personal responsibility in the context of underachievement among black students, or you’re a racist. Yet, so-called affirmative action — a government-mandated racial classification system — exists to compensate for those differences (and not to combat racism, as some people believe). But to be PC is to pretend racial disparities like underachievement or high crime rates are caused by white racism instead of by individuals and something lacking within the subculture itself, and to say otherwise is taboo.

Additionally, we’re encouraged to “celebrate diversity” and embrace differences, but only the good stuff. We can’t talk about or even acknowledge the bad without being called nasty names. “Honest” dialogues aren’t really honest all. They’re one-sided victimhood rallies.

Isn’t that the truth? It’s a reversal for the left, who once fashioned themselves as the party for ‘speaking up and speaking out’ during the various 60s ‘revolutions’ and who are now the party that discourages people from speaking their minds if what they’re wanting to say in any way might ‘offend’ a ‘minority group.’ Not only that, but the left doesn’t mind the singling out of a ‘minority group’ if the singling out involves saying something positive about that group. Like, for example, if I were to say, “Man, these Mexican people sure know how to cook!” that would be considered ‘acceptable’ to the pc left. But if I were to say, “The sides of the road here have become garbage dumps thanks to trash either blowing or being thrown out of landscaping and construction vehicles that are filled with illegal immigrants who don’t care” then I’d be accused of being ‘intolerant,’ ‘racist,’ and ‘broad-brushing.’

All of this goes to show that with the left, it’s all about making people feel good about themselves rather than encouraging healthy debate that might actually help those people in the long haul. Political correctness is also a way the left turns ‘minority groups’ into automatic victims, which means anything negative said about such groups makes people feel like ‘the little guy’ is getting picked on, and Americans love rooting for the underdog. The left uses this and capitalizes on it for one reason and one reason only:

Votes.

As long as there are ‘victims’ to be represented, the left will be there. Not to help or ‘protect’ from those evil conservatives, of course, but instead to cruelly exploit – for political gain.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

4 Responses to “On political correctness and how it hinders real debate”

Comments

  1. stackja says:

    George Orwell again?
    The left has always been there. The League of Nations gave us World War 2. The United Nations gave us the Serbian, African, Middle East wars.

  2. david foster says:

    Both the Klavan piece and the response by La Shawn are thoughtful pieces of work. I believe that much of the trend toward PC-ness is due to the fact that there are now large numbers of Americans who spend their entire professional lives working with *words*, to the extent that the distinction between speech and action has become lost to them.

    If you’re a farmer, a machinist, or an engineer, the difference between speech and action is pretty clear–much less so if you’re a lawyer, a journalist, or a professor (in a field outside the hard sciences).

  3. Drewsmom says:

    I, for one, am sick to death of all the PC crap, I’m blunt and to the point and frankly, don’t give a flying fig who I may offend. If more people were less afraid of speaking their minds this world would be a better place.
    But thats just my opinion.