Seven years ago, I had something to say about the need for political correctness. Christmas season, negative “news” fanning fake flames, mind-boggling intellectual numbness (or dearth)…at the time, I had hopes that the populace would eventually come to their senses. A couple of days ago, The Guardian ran an article, “Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy“, which gave me pause to reflect on one of its theses. Could it really be one of the contributing causes to the rise of the most offensive on every level x-elects we’ve ever had?
I don’t know. There are many pundits, scholars, analysts trying to figure out how a country could be so dumb. No, not England… Brexit is so passé. That decision has been surpassed.
And so has something the Daily Mirror questioned in 2004. Big time. The under-card (under by 2.5 million… only 62,686,000 people as of this writing, who by Mirror standards made that 59,054,087 geniuses) won again. (“Again” goes back to 2000…2004 was particularly surprising to the world given the mess leading up to it…)
Somewhere in the not too distant past (a calculated act if you follow the article), “political correctness” became a slur. “Politically correct”, a pejorative. Graphics like these proliferated:
Such overreactions are baffling to anyone possessing any humanity, any compassion for others. And there are far more vile graphics and interjections than those three. The article explores possibilities of how the pseudo-movement gained traction. Mull it for yourself. The conclusion [spoiler alert] is disturbingly spot on, and my confirmation bias agrees:
The opponents of political correctness always said they were crusaders against authoritarianism. In fact, anti-PC has paved the way for the populist authoritarianism now spreading everywhere. Trump is anti-political correctness gone mad.
As for the rest of the article? I don’t agree with all of it, but the author made some good points.
Maybe it is time to retire that mantra. When words cease to convey the meaning and intent, find other words.
On the receiving side, when ideas or words offend, go read a book and learn something. The ideas may still offend, but at least you’ll be more intelligent on the subject. One can hope.
At the end of my original blog post, I proposed:
So, instead off getting all righteous and indignant about how the holiday is being hijacked by so called “liberals”, how about thinking of someone other than yourself for a change? Take a moment to consider others. “Happy Holidays” is generic, inoffensive and even if someone is not celebrating any holiday, chances are he/she will have the holiday off and it differs none from wishing them a good weekend.
Expanding that beyond the mythical “war on Christmas”, swinging the microscope to the detestable election rhetoric spewed by the -elect and his followers, I am even more resolved that politeness and consideration and compassion for others is more necessary, and tragically less attainable – I’m not being dramatic, rather, pragmatic – than ever before.
Maybe…instead off getting all righteous and indignant about “political correctness” and using “liberal” as a curse word, try thinking about someone other than yourself for a change. Take a moment to consider others. There is no need to be offensive. Take hatred elsewhere. Try being a human for a change.
And try to stop being offended by words. I know I have some work to do myself – even though I am (surprise!) more than many think, “conservative” makes my skin crawl. But I will still respect others.