“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too.
Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it.
Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”
“The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity.”
Well. I thought it was time to pull out my thoughts on political correctness. Let me begin with the poster child of political correctness – Merry Christmas. Well. I am not really sure when Merry Christmas got hijacked by Happy Holidays, but I wish I had been there to repulse the hijackers. Look. I am clearly sensitive to responses to Merry Christmas and am more than happy to pull my Happy Holidays greeting out of my seasonal greeting joy bag when appropriate but, in general, most people recognize that I like Christmas in spirit, not spiritually, and I am simply wishing everyone a little bit of the magic we call Christmas during this time of the year. But, frankly, political correctness has made it significantly harder to authentically spread joy by demanding people to actually think about what they will say (I imagine this could be good – be thoughtful before you speak – or it could be bad – takes the spontaneous out of the joy wish). In the end. Where political correctness got us during the holidays is either spew soft joyful platitudes or defiantly stabbing people with a Merry Christmas.
That is where political correctness has taken us. To be clear. I think everyone believes the idea of political correctness has gone too far.
That said. My thoughts today are about that political correctness has beget an even more heinous idea – ‘anti-political correctness’. It has become the flag bearer for anything that anyone wants to say which can span from tactless ignorance to blind ignorance to, at its best, true common sense clarity <called “talking simply” by many people>.
The trouble we are running into is all three of those are amalgamating into one big blob of things being said.
Basically, anti-political correctness is becoming the go-to answer for anything people may object to. What I mean by that is you can now say the stupidest thing known to mankind, someone can point out that it is stupid <even in a tactful way>, and the answer is almost always “I am tired of political correctness standing in the way of truth.”
Basically, we are now facing the backlash to an overextended political correctness from people sick of being told that they have to admit things that they don’t really believe <or think>.
Individuals are realizing they are individuals and that they don’t have to play by the same rules as a large corporation or the ‘pretentious few who try and speak for the many.’ Speaking out has become independent of anything other than “I”, i.e., what is in MY mind, and feel like they will say whatever the fuck they feel like saying. In other words, many people are standing up and saying “I am society so why can’t I speak for society” <as if that was as easy as I just typed>.
Well. Let state the obvious point. Among the many cases in “the problems in the world today”, political correctness isn’t standing in the way of truth; stupidity <or irresponsible thinking & speaking> is. But, and this is a big ‘But’, overreaching political correctness does create a problem and it HAS created a problem in some people’s minds and it is now being released <and some of our leaders are taking advantage of it>.
Look. I am absolutely with many people who suggest political correctness has become a bigger problem than the problem it was intended to try and address. However … maybe … just maybe … instead of ignoring the original good intent of political correctness <encourage tact and sensitivity to others’ feelings around issues of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical abilities/disabilities … among other things> maybe we go back to its original intent and just keep the ground rules a little simpler and stop its invasion into the minutiae of Life and what we say.
We need to keep the ground rules simple because this effort to not offend has spiraled into a type of verbal censorship, certainly has generated conflict and sometimes seems to infringe upon some fundamental freedoms.
We need to take a close look at this <without completely rejecting it> because what constitutes offensive or unacceptable speech has bled into the minutiae in everyday Life approaching simple everyday actions bludgeoning Life into a … well … wussified world.
We need to “fix” political correctness because we do need some harsh truths. We need some ‘edges’ in the world view. We need to discuss them, express them and debate them. We need a little, well, enlightened conflict.
All that said that doesn’t mean that under the guise of some sense of individual sincerity <“I truly feel this way”> that good taste and respectful of what others think & feel has to be sacrificed <this is the balancing act> – everyone should show respect for your audience and any audience you are speaking about.
Words carry some responsibility beyond “what I feel.”
Yet. Political correctness has become a nomenclature for “not being able to speak what you feel” so words start getting thrown around without any thought beyond … ‘this is what I feel.’ Well. Sometimes what we feel is not what we know <knowledge is different than feeling> and what we feel may seem like truth, to us, but it is tainted by everything we do not know <therefore is nothing more than an opinion> and, frankly, sometimes what we feel should be kept to ourselves.
Let’s be clear. We got to this point because many of us were afraid to speak something for fear it offends someone rather than for fear it may actually be stupid, ignorance or just wrong <I say this because this creates misguided thoughts in one’s head on how to correct the situation>. Therefore, by overcoming our fear of offensiveness we simply roar our way into stupidity, ignorance or wrongness under the guise of simple speak or simply speaking our mind.
This also translates into the belief that all of a sudden those who decide to eschew being politically correct have decided they are smart or smarter than everyone else or , at minimum, as smart as everyone else. So smart that they can say whatever they believe and simply point to ‘I refuse to be politically correct’ when challenged over any stupidity they may be spewing.
Commenter: JoeAmerica • 4 hours ago
Get off my back libtard, you can’t control my speech.
It becomes words of stark harshness because there is no version of modesty, respect or dignity in the harsh backlash to political correctness. And why should there be any concern for those things when you are simply stating common sense? <that is the logic>. And you get the added bonus of sticking it up the pretentiousness of, well, everyone who has even a tinge of respect for decorum or what someone may truly be offended by.
“Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred.”
We now have organized hatred, anger and frustration. And these organizations <and some leaders words feeding on those organizations> use words that can shame, ridicule, and humiliate … delivered not with the intent to deliver the shame or ridicule, but to show “my point of view & thoughts should be heard!”
Anti-political correctness has simply tapped into a pent up sense of relief that people can debate and talk in simple terms. Corporate speak and political language and marketing bullshit sayings and even tmotivational speak is dying.
No. It is being killed.
To be clear. All this ‘non political correctness bullshit is not just ‘simple talk’ <therefore the path to solving this issue isn’t simplicity or ‘dumbed down’> it is simply monologue stripped of political correctness.
It is addition by subtraction.
Do I like it? Of course not.
Do I understand it? Yes, I surely do.
Someone can get a grip on this without having to be plain-spoken <which implies ‘dumbing down’>, it can be managed intellectually and smartly because, frankly, the people who are most frustrated with political correctness ain’t dumb.
“Democracy was supposed to champion freedom of speech, and yet the simple rules of table decorum could clamp down on the rights their forefathers had fought and died for.”
Here is why they aren’t dumb.
This is what they see. They see that we are in a bad place with political correctness because if we have to constantly censor any conversation pertaining to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or physical ability/disability, then it seems like we will simply bury the issues and perpetuate that what exists in the minds of people without taking the opportunity to confront them. This means in the effort to protect everyone’s feelings we have essentially lost, or willingly sacrificed, the edges and imposed the wretched middle on everyone.
This wretched vacuous middle hinders progress with regard to understanding different perspectives, viewpoints, feelings, and doesn’t really permit the discussion of real life experiences in the harsh light of reality but instead in muted thoughts of what should be discussed.
Anyway. Here is my real fear about this whole political correctness shitstorm.
Inclusiveness versus exclusiveness.
While I could argue that it was pious arrogant intellectuals who created the overblown political correct environment we are chafing against, it is the everyday mostly white middle aged people who are now clearly anti-political correct.
The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder how white male became an accusation rather than a description. You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children.
On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view. You can see the effects of their despair in the new statistics describing horrifying rates of suicide and substance-abuse fatality among this same group, in middle age.
Regardless what you read about the anti-political correctness crowd <mostly embodied it seems by those who follow Trump around these days> they are not stupid, dumb nor ignorant. Some may have less education than the population median, but since when has education always been a reflection of true smarts <never>.
Yes. It is a mainly white population that is making up the anti-political correctness crowd, but we shouldn’t ignore what they are saying or feeling because of their skin color. Why? Because they have a point.
They are angry & frustrated with how political correctness has infringed upon their lives.
Now … when people get angry or frustrated they say things that they regret <or more likely they just don’t get articulated in the best possible way>.
I think this is pretty much a Life truth.
A lot of today’s frustration with what seems to be overreaching political correctness is being captured in a loud voice fighting back without any debate wordsmithing training other than what you may get sitting at the bar with a group of your friends yelling at each other.
That said. I think it is the responsibility of those in leadership positions to recognize the frustration with political correctness and permit frustrations and anger to be heard and respectfully listened to — the frustrated masses deserve that.
What they do not deserve is to have their anger flame fanned and encouraged. People deserve to be heard and offered solutions not someone simply agreeing with them and offering platitudes.
I think the leaders who will end up being the most successful in this ugly stage of political correctness will be the one who leads us to the proper respectful place – where we respect the fact that not all people believe in the same things, that all people have the right to believe in different things and say different things, that simply having a different point of view doesn’t mean you are an outcast, ignorant or stupid just that you view things differently and, finally, that there is balance.
It will be within balance that we will finally encounter inclusiveness and not divisiveness.
Let’s handle this discourse with some respect & dignity. Everyone deserves that. I don’t need a leader talking down to me and, frankly, I don’t need some leader suggesting my frustrations are the source of the problems of the world or my country.
Political correctness hasn’t created shit for problems other than it makes discussing things more difficult. Simply pointing that out isn’t a leader’s job. A leader offers solutions in a respectful way. They offer solutions to a group of people no matter what point of view they have. They speak TO the people without demeaning the larger view of ‘what we should be’ as people.
In the end. Political correctness has created some problems, but it is not a problem (despite what some politicians suggest). It hasn’t directly created what some idiots call “the cancel culture”, but, indirectly, anti-political correctness yahoos are actually canceling out voices. The intent behind political correctness actually does have good merit – forcing society to face some harsh truths. What I would now suggest is we talk about some of those harsh truths rather than cancel them out.
** note: This does not mean everyone can say whatever they want wherever they want. Lies or, worse, heinous activity, shut not be permitted a platform. Eliminating their platforms is not political correctness nor is it censor, it is consequences for bad behavior.
This is not censorship. This is consequences.
updated from December 2015