Debate and Switch


Political correctness is evil.

No, I don't think that's too strong a sentiment. It's evil. It's the conceptual embodiment of Thought Police. It panders to special interests by distorting meaning and obfuscating language. It creeps into people's subconscious and heightens their own sensitivity, causing them to take offense not because something is truly offensive to them, but because they're afraid it might be offensive to someone else. It squashes discourse when people confuse intellectual debate with personal animosity. It is the sword of Damocles hanging over the free expression of ideas.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled weekend, already in progress.


PC isn't, for the most part, any more evil than the bible. It's the idiots that treat PC like it IS the bible and try to shove it up all of our collective asses that are evil. They distort the original beyond recognitation, taking the idea that offending people isn't really a good thing and changing it to "offend noone or you are a bad person" and then making sure that everyone conforms to their way of thinking.

There really were good reasons for a lot of the ideas behind the original PC push, but as with most things, you can take a good thing too far and turn it into a bad thing.

This reminds me of a quote by Jon Postel, a network protocol designer: "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." I imagine the second part "Be conservative what you send" was the original motivation for PC, but somewhere down the line, PC got twisted into "Be conservative in what you accept", leading to what Peter aptly described as "causing [people] to take offense not because something is truly offensive to them" -- and I would finish this sentence differently than Peter; I would finish it with "but because they have been told that they _should_ take offense." Ultimately, it might be the substitute of flexible thinking with iron-fisted "rules of etiquette" that is the downfall of PC.

Larry, thank you very much for bringing out the bible analogy. I've never heard it before and the more I think about it, the more appropriate it seems. The bible also often got twisted from "be holy and nice" to "you're not holy/nice enough therefore you must die."

BTW, I was in college and then grad school on and off from 1988 to 2000. During this time I saw a definitely surge and then decline of PC. The decline might be better called a backlash, actually. I remember hearing for the first time a professor making a joke about extreme PCness in a public lecture, and I remember I found that very refreshing.

P.S. Peter -- sorry to defuse your angry and provocative message like that. :)

Considering that we've got federal prosecutors issuing subpoenas for anti-war protester records, I'd say the question of whether people feel compelled to say 'African-American' instead of 'Black' is pretty far down the free-speech concerns this country is facing.

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