political correctness Whatever the origins and alternative historical usages of ‘political correctness’ (PCness) and ‘politically correct’ (PC), only the popular modern sense is discussed here. The intended phenomena are well known to be especially prevalent in Europe and North America. As such, the expression ‘PC’ has come to serve a useful role in identifying a significant strand of so-called *left-wing views. But those who are called ‘PC’ tend to view the very name as an undeserved pejorative for what they see as merely the prevention of *offensive *language and unfair behavior. Consequently, we have a kind of *ideology that denies its own ideological status and any ascribed name (by contrast with, say, *conservatism, advocates of which do embrace the name but also usually deny being any kind of ideology).
PCness is ostensibly about enlightened, egalitarian politeness and *fair treatment with particular, but not exclusive, reference to *race and ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation and *disability. And thus it is a subset of *egalitarianism, which would be bad enough. But PCness is in practice more often about *bigoted, anti-dominant-culture *authoritarianism, *privilege and *persecution. In more detail, the propounded views include several, mistaken, egalitarian *dogmata: *equality is some kind of substantive, rather than formal or procedural, *social ideal; we are all more or less *naturally equal in our *persons and abilities; all *opinions, *values, and ‘lifestyles’ are equally ‘valid’ (unless anti-PC); and *discrimination between persons (on anti-PC grounds) is irrational and immoral and ought to be against the *law. (Of course, these views are severally not restricted to PCness and predate PCness itself.) However, behind the propounded views we often have the practice of, in effect, *hypocritically granting *privileges (e.g., *rights to be employed where one chooses, *tax-*extorted handouts, *state *propaganda and *censorship) to all groups except, and thereby at the expense of, those from the dominant culture (who are some combination of being white, male, high-income, heterosexual, *married, able-bodied, middle-aged, Christian, Westerners; though PC types are themselves often many of these). And this also entails *persecuting people (ultimately by fines and prison) for being *‘racists’, *‘sexists’, etc., if they try to escape the *coerced integration and privileges of PCness.
Those people who pour most scorn on the expression ‘political correctness’ are invariably among the most extreme advocates of the position; they prefer to think of themselves as *liberals or progressives. Yet so pervasive is the PC *meme that even many *libertarians make concessions to it while at the same time failing to see, or even vehemently denying, that they are thereby being in any way PC. It is an irony that it is not acceptable to admit to being PC. For the PC themselves have always used intended pejoratives—such as ‘racism’, ‘sexism’ and ‘discrimination’—to trump any disagreement. And now ‘PC’ has similarly been used against them as well. So they have merely been hoist by their own petard. That said, in recent times a few of the worst offenders have adopted the line that they are PC and proud of it.
See also *disabilities; *empowerment; *free speech; *freedom of association; *hate crime; *homosexuality; *marriage; *multiculturalism; *politically-correct rights; *politically-correct speak; *politically-correct studies; *politically-correct taboo; *politically-correct think; *politically-incorrect thoughtcrime.A Dictionary of Libertarianism