Benevolent Inquisitors?

My hero, George Carlin*
“Politically correct: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated.” Merriam Webster

Now, who could oppose that? Moi! Tooth and nail! Hammer and fist! Feather and pillow! But why? What could have made me so depraved? I
’ll tell you.

To begin with, freedom of speech is guaranteed by the U.S. Bill of Rights. To whit: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” After 200-plus years, PC has discovered that the founding fathers couldn’t tell their asses from a hole in the ground, making it necessary for us to do precisely what they forbade.

PCers seek to accomplish legally what terrorists attempt to do with bullets, that is to silence anyone who disagrees with them, although PC is more dangerous because when the law opposes freedom, dissidents are without appeal. It
’s also true that the methods of terrorists are counter-productive, except among true-believers and PCers anyway. When cartoonists and filmmakers are murdered, PC maintains that they brought it upon themselves.

Until PC can make its values into law (as, they’re fond of saying,
has already been done in the rest of the civilized world), they’re stuck with extralegal intimidation to whip people into line. Peggy’s former employer (Peace Health, no less) not only fired people for non-PC remarks, it encouraged employees to rat on one another for saying the wrong thing in private conversation, both at and away from work.

PC would seem to offer something to everyone since all of us are treated badly by someone for some reason. The young are considered naive by the old, and the old are patronized as doddery by the young. City people regard country people as hicks, and country people joke about city people being squirrelly. Depending upon the person I’m with, I’m considered inferior for reasons of age, accent, gender, atheism, race, rurality, nationality, slowness to speak, and various unpopular values. PC promises a world in which I would never again be consigned to a box of inferiority, but since they themselves
consign me to one, I have no confidence in their honesty or their benevolence. 

My opinion of the politically correct is no better than theirs of me. I consider them humorless, shallow, and no more kind and inclusive than the Gestapo. People who live by a narrow set of rules and seek to use intimidation to force those rules upon others can only bring misery into the world. It’s not the apathetic who terrorize people; it’s the idealists.

Force cannot create virtue. Repress sexuality and you get perversion; demand honesty, and the result is evasiveness; force niceness, and you encourage bitterness combined with cunning.

Since college students are its major proponents, PC is likely to become increasingly dominant. Chris Rock expressed his reason for no longer performing at colleges this way: “…they’re way too conservative.... Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody. Kids raised on a culture of “We’re not going to keep score in the game because we don’t want anybody to lose.” Or just ignoring race to a fault. You can’t say “the black kid over there.” No, it’s “the guy with the red shoes.” Now, students are recording lectures so that they can pick them apart for signs of microaggression.

I have long voted Democratic because Republicans only seem interested in the freedom of corporations and evangelicals, but now that most Democrats support laws against
hate speech, I’m left without a viable option.

By presenting its values as kind and inclusive and everyone elses as fearful and hateful, PC allows no middle ground and no room for open examination or well-intentioned disagreement (even the term politically-correct sets it against being politically-wrong).

Another hero, George Orwell
It dismisses and marginalizes by mislabeling. If you oppose illegal immigration, you’re a racist. If you oppose gay marriage for any reason, you’re a homophobe. If you oppose abortion, you’re either a paternalistic male or a female victim of male paternalism. If you refer to yourself as your pet’s owner, you’re a speciest. And god forbid that you call anyone a mailman or a waitress, because PC isn’t a matter of the heart but of the vocabulary, no matter that its vocabulary is narrow, euphemistic, patronizing, ever-changing, glaringly inaccurate, and dismissive of diversity. For instance, the term Negro was changed to black; black became African-American; and now African-American is giving way to person of color; all while the word white lingers on. Could it not be that this inability to get it right where Negro Americans are concerned arises from a discomfort with blackness, and could it not be that the whole PC phenomenon comes from a wish to deny one’s bigotry?

PC is another name for liberal-speak and while much of the country remains conservative, liberal-speak has become compulsory in the winning of elections and in the keeping of home and job. Conservative leaders might vehemently oppose many liberal positions, but they don’t dare refute liberal vocabulary.

PC substitutes name-calling for argument. PCers don
’t refer to those who disagree with them as mansplainers or whitesplainers in order to encourage intelligent discussion but to make it impossible. Accusations of fear and hatred against those who don’t use PC terminology accomplishes the same thing. If I say that Islam is a violent religion, I must surely be an Islamophobe (PC regards religion as benevolent without regard to its violence and bigotry). If I call someone an actress, I must surely be a misogynist, or if I refer to someone from China as an Oriental, I’m obviously a sinophobe and therefore an embarrassment to my friends and an object of derision to PCers.

PC not only penalizes people for holding the wrong values but for asking the wrong questions. Are there intellectual differences between women and men, and are black people better dancers? God forbid that one should wonder.

If you want to see what PC would look like if taken to its logical conclusion, read the following description by
self-described human rights activist and writer Tanya Cohen:
If people like Cohen succeed, the only people who will be fair game for criticism will be those who oppose PC. As she puts it, “Hate speech (i.e. political incorrectness) doesn
t just lead to violence, hate speech is violence.” Perhaps, you’ll be pleased to learn that, by her definition, you’re reading a blog that’s filled to the gills with hate speech and that it’s owner is proud of it.

*Carlin photo by GreyGeezer. There was a day when people like Carlin, Orwell, Thoreau, and Abbey were heroes to the young. Now that they’re pariahs, I fear for our future because if the young despise liberty, the camps will surely follow.