In 2022, where do you stand with regard to political correctness? Has it gone far enough? Is it a sacred cow? Does anyone have the right — or courage — to counter it in public? What place is there for an imperfect opinion?
This 2018 Munk Debate makes for good viewing of a lively debate featuring Stephen Fry & Dr Jordan Peterson (con) versus Michael Eric Dyson and Michelle Goldberg (pro) on the resolution: "What you call political correctness, I call progress…"
What’s your take? I would love to have a conversation in the open on this!
I don’t see political correctness as the problem. It’s more a result of the underlying issue which I see as intolerance of others, driven by a belief that one’s individual view of the world is morally superior and infallible. A proposition that is wrong on every level.
Can of worms, Minter. :)
Certainly in the UK, my experience of the term 'political correctness', and more recent terms such as 'cancel culture', is that it most often ends up being the basis for a strawman argument by people who don't like that they can no longer behave unpleasantly towards others without consequence. The terms tend to be used to whip up a storm by particular parts of the political spectrum for political reasons, regardless of whether there's anything of substance at the root.
There's a frustrating, deliberate and dangerous conflation of two things: on the one hand you have freedom of speech, which is a complex thing, and worth fighting for, and also something which is fragile and awkward and can only really exist in a push-pull relationship with society itself. On the other hand you have being an arsehole. The deliberate merging and obfuscation of those two things is where you run into trouble and discussion breaks down. That's the strawman.
To take the most common example, someone being unpleasant and being uninvited from an event isn't 'cancel culture' or 'political correctness gone mad'. It's not censorship, either (although social media platforms have muddied the waters here due to their immense scale). But the argument is over-simplified and reduced down to these handy catchphrases, which certain tabloids can fling around without ever having to define or evidence them.
In short: I'm deeply suspicious of anyone who uses the term 'political correctness' or 'cancel culture', because they're used as emotional weapons rather than as useful descriptors. Their very invocation suggests an agenda is at play. (present company excluded... :P )
The problem is political correctness instead of being a force for good, which is what its most ardent supporters claim, has become nothing short of a gag order. Speak freely to simply have a discussion and risk it all - your reputation, place in society, even your livelihood. So most people now speak freely only within trusted groups. Because the liberal notion of free inquiry, open discussion and honest, agenda-free intellectual pursuit of ideas is lost in the new regime of political correctness and its uglier cousin wokeness. I can't think of more illiberal notions and the idea that conservatives today are the gatekeepers of freedom of speech leaves me...well...speechless!
I am up for taking the risk of sharing my views on how we can help political correctness become the transformation and progress it could be in the future… tolerance, openness, the ability to listen/hear and the willingness to be open to being wrong and to change are key parts of this.. let’s do it soon..? J
I believe it’s important to be mindful of the different groups and classifications so that not to offend, however, I don’t agree with the extremes and force of political correctness. I believe it brings more chaos. If one does not agree with, for example, the movement BLM and that rather feel all lives matter, the individuals should not be “canceled” nor considered a racist. For me that is extreme and if that is considered political correctness, I would love to see another solution/approach to solve world issues.
can we add something to Mr Alexis de Tocqueville's thinking 175 years ago
full article in PDF if you are not a subscriber but there is no file attach function here
Il a été un des premiers, en étudiant les mœurs américaines, à comprendre que l’individualisme anomique de nos sociétés démocratiques les conduirait à de nouvelles formes de tyrannie: un conformisme intolérant, encore plus féroce car inculte, sans nuance, agissant au nom même de la tolérance. Le visage pur et glacial du «camp du Bien».
«Dans les sociétés démocratiques, écrit-il dans un texte qui résonne si fortement aujourd’hui, la tyrannie de l’opinion ne frappe pas le corps (comme l’absolutisme), elle va droit à l’âme. Elle dit: vous êtes libre de ne point penser ainsi que moi ; votre vie, vos biens, tout vous reste ; mais de ce jour, vous êtes un étranger parmi nous. […] Vous resterez parmi les hommes mais vous perdrez vos droits à l’humanité. Quand vous vous approcherez de vos semblables, ils vous fuiront comme un être impur ; et ceux qui croient à votre innocence, ceux-là mêmes vous abandonneront car on les fuirait à leur tour. Allez en paix, je vous laisse la vie, mais je vous la laisse pire que la mort.»
I avoid political correctness and speak freely. See Wikipedia: In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase politically correct was used to describe strict adherence to a range of ideological orthodoxies within politics. In 1934, The New York Times reported that Nazi Germany was granting reporting permits "only to pure 'Aryans' whose opinions are politically correct".