Culture War and “Political Correctness”

Very often, I’ve found, what is often excused and justified as the “war on political correctness” is not what it paints itself to be, for what has also fallen under the rubric of “political correctness” includes civility, politeness, responsibility, and what we might call “common decency”.

In reaction to “political correctness”, its opponents paint themselves as, contrariwise, “plainspeaking” or “telling it like it is”, which are merely self-rationalisation and excuse-making for incivility, irresponsibility, or even the outright feral and barbaric. “Plain-speaking” or “telling it like it is” becomes a mere euphemism for the abandonment of any and all civility, obligation, self-discipline, and sense of responsibility, and therewith the jettisoning of all norms of civilised conduct in exchange for an orgy of sheer libertinage in speech and conduct.

Nihilism by another name, it is also probably a result of the post-modern “loss of self” and sense of identity, and in some sense is only the inverted mirror image of that which it pretends to despise as an intransigent “political correctness” as mandating an excessive degree of self-constraint and self-inhibition. The politically correct are over-civilised, while the “plain-spoken” are under-civilised.

 

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2 responses to “Culture War and “Political Correctness””

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Oddly enough, after I posted this an article appeared on CBC on Canadian attitudes toward “political correctness” (or attitudes towards those outraged by political correctness — can’t really determine much from the article)

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2908808/most-canadians-say-political-correctness-has-gone-too-far-poll/

    Here, political correctness and “polite” are actually made explicitly equivalent, which is quite stupid because that’s not at all what “political correctness” means (although that’s what it is also coming to mean by the impolite and uncivil).

    What these two attitudes betray is very probably the disintegration of the Ratio in loss of the measured, the moderate, the proportionate, and in that sense may be very symptomatic of that disintegration/reorganisation of the modern consciousness structure, as described by Gebser. I have a tendency to believe that this is the case. Both are symptoms of the “modern malaise” (Charles Taylor).

    But, for God’s sake, let’s stop treating “political correctness” as if it were the same as civility, because civility is the measured, the moderate, and the proportionate.

  2. abdulmonem says :

    When truth is sacrificed in the name of political correctness or civility the setting of disintegration which Gebser complained about as the main factor in the human descent will run amok, leading to inevitable destruction. It seems nothing can save us but the force that has created us and knows the insinuation of the human self, to which he is nearer than its jugular vein

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