Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Political Correctness I

I first heard the term "politically correct" in 1985 in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a conversation with Auntie Carl, an old-school activist from San Francisco.  Carl used the term ironically, almost derisively.  I knew exactly what it meant the instant I heard it.  I knew it to be an attempt by leftist revolutionaries to present a united front.  The price was conformity to that thought.  If we are to be united, dissent cannot be tolerated-it broadcasts as weakness.

Marginalized groups who wished to show strength through unity, used PC as a tool.  Nowadays its meaning has subtly changed and implies conformity and the imposition of taboo for political purposes.  It divides rather than unifies.  I'm struck by this quote from Peter Hitchens in The Spectator:

    SILLY people, the sort who take nothing seriously except themselves, think that political correctness is a joke. In fact it is about as funny as an abattoir. Those of us who have faced it head on - publishers refusing a book on unashamedly political grounds, microphones switched off in midspeech to please a baying mob, that sort of thing - know better. Political correctness, more accurately termed 'modern liberal orthodoxy', is the fulfilment of George Orwell's most accurate and least noted prophecy, in the Newspeak chapter of Nineteen Eighty-Four, that the best way to stamp out thought is to make it impossible to say or write certain things. Then it becomes impossible to think them and conformity is guaranteed for ever and ever.

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