Too much of our public discourse is hijacked by thought policing, or “political correctness” (PC).
PC is the narrative of the daily media and chattering classes. It parrots a “progressive” orthodoxy on issues involving especially race, gender, sexual affinity, or environmentalism. It talks endlessly about “diversity” and “tolerance” but in fact enforces mass conformity through suppression of dissenting opinions and the elimination of reasonable discussion. It is also very intolerant of any diversity of views. PC proponents are linguistic tyrants who cause ordinary people to lie silently instead of saying what they really think. People’s PC conformity eliminates their ability to describe reality in its complexity and variety. Remember Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Emperor’s New Clothes?
Thomas Sowell, American thinker, has called out the hypocrisy of this nonsense in his comment “The next time some academics tell you how important ‘diversity’ is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”
Political correctness infests the minds and hearts of people in academia, the political class, public institutions, and much of the media, especially the public media (ABC and SBS).
Free speech is the most fundamental and vital of all our democratic freedoms. PC is its mortal enemy. It is a cancer that corrodes and destroys the living content of civil society by pushing for ever expanding state control. This control extends not only over social, private and cultural debate and improvement, but over people’s lives.
Many people are afraid of expressing views that diverge from the PC-approved narratives on most topics. PC merchants are assiduous at quashing ideas that compete with the PC message by shout-downs or smears. Typical slogans thrown at someone expressing a non-PC view are that he or she is a racist, sexist, homophobe, religious bigot, xenophobe, ethnic nationalist or Western supremacist.
Multiculturalism is an ideology dependent on PC support for its existence. Oppose multiculturalism or any minority cultural practices which are widely regarded as repugnant, or even illegal in this country, and someone will call you a racist. Why? Because it’s PC to believe the relativist claptrap that all cultures are equal and deserve equal rights and that we are forced to blind ourselves to the tyrannical, violent and criminal behaviour in some foreign cultures.
We all perpetuate political correctness when we succumb to the fear of contradicting the perpetrators of PC narratives because reason is the first casualty in this political war.
When a free society falls under the sway of manipulated “public opinion”, many people stop behaving as free thinkers. They become less focused on truth and more concerned with their social survival. Human beings tend to comply very quickly when threatened with vilification labels of “racist”, “bigot” or “hater” and the risk of workplace sanctions, social stigma and shunning by others. Fear is the undercurrent driving this business.
Political correctness has cultivated an illusion of support for laws that undermine fundamental institutions of society, including marriage and family, calling anyone who defends traditional (ie very longstanding social) values as a homophobe or religious bigot. More generally, those who object to the bulldozer impact of PC narratives are often attacked by arguments propelled by an affected moral outrage which demands total capitulation.
Political correctness is certainly vulnerable to well thought out counter-arguments, personal moral courage and reasoned discussion outside of the group-conformist and confrontational situations. If it weren’t, the PC machine wouldn’t be so intent on suppressing competing views and ideas.