Political correctness is a scourge. It is a cultural scourge with political underpinnings rather than a political scourge with cultural underpinnings.
As a cultural infestation political correctness tells you what you can and cannot think, what you can and cannot say, what you can and cannot do with your time and your life. If you break the rules of political correctness you will be severely punished. Your reputation and your livelihood will immediately be threatened, if not taken from you.
As I have often noted, political correctness is an extended guilt trip. It criminalizes behavior, makes the least slight or offense into a major crime. Should you, poor unfortunate that you are, commit such an offense, a microaggression, you must do extended penance, beat yourself up, flagellate yourself and show severe contrition in all your public self-presentations. Forgiveness, when it is given at all, is often bestowed begrudgingly. In truth, once you make an offensive remark about a victim group you will be condemned to eternal damnation. The thought police never turn the other cheek.
Political correctness is hardly limited to the ivy tower and wanna-be intellectuals. When your child goes to school he is taught incorrect grammar and is penalized if he uses correct grammar. He is indoctrinated in the dogmas of climate change and feminism. He is taught that there is no difference between the sexes and that if he thinks that there is he will be punished by losing points off of his GPA. He is not allowed, in many places, to sing God Bless America or to recite the pledge of allegiance because the ACLU will sue if he does. If he disagrees with feminism he is a misogynist. If he has doubts about same-sex marriage he is a homophobe. If he thinks that most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims he is an Islamophobe. If he thinks that boys should not be showering in the girls locker room he is a transphobe.
If he grows up and goes to work in a company, he will be forced to undergo sensitivity training and will be taught what he can and cannot say to various people in the company, lest the company get sued and his career go up in smoke. And, he had best not express support for the family business that is being forced to pay a mammoth fine because they did not want to bake a cake.
If it looks to him and to the rest of the world that President Obama has failed monumentally at his job, he will be send to a counselor for re-education and sensitivity training, the better to rid his mind of unconscious racism. Because, after all, the only reason he thinks that Obama has failed is that he is a racist.
Given the influence of political correctness on our culture, how can we tear it up by the roots and stamp it out? When China faced this problem in its Cultural Revolution, its leaders put an end to the horror by arresting the Gang of Four, the organizing genies of the movement. Over and done with. But, even if we could call back Deng Xiaoping and ask him what we should do, it is highly unlikely that his way of dealing with political correctness would meet with American public approval.
It is amusing, however, to think that Hillary Clinton is the reincarnation of Mme Mao. I will just mention that Mao himself was a serial abuser of young women and that his wife would naturally have enabled this. Take a look at Harrison Salisbury’s book: The New Emperors.
For better or for worse, the man who is leading the fight against political correctness today is none other than Donald Trump. So say Karen Tumulty and Jenna Johnson in the Washingon Post this morning. Better yet, they write, Trump seems to be winning the war. He seems for now to be emerging victorious against every effort to force him to conform to the dictates of the PC thought police. In part, Trump appeals to disaffected Republicans because he spits on weak-kneed Republican congressional leadership, but he also seems to be garnering support by being among the very few who are willing to stand up to political correctness.
Tumulty and Johnson begin by profiling a Trump supporter, a woman who worked in a liberal arts college:
Cathy Cuthbertson once worked at what might be thought of as a command post of political correctness — the campus of a prestigious liberal arts college in Ohio.
“You know, I couldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas.’ And when we wrote things, we couldn’t even say ‘he’ or ‘she,’ because we had transgender. People of color. I mean, we had to watch every word that came out of our mouth, because we were afraid of offending someone, but nobody’s afraid of offending me,” the former administrator said.
But we’re tired of just standing back and letting everyone else dictate what we’re supposed to think and do.
Political correctness may be afoot across the land. Its enforcers are certainly looking at you. And yet, if the polls are correct, it is wildly unpopular. Through it a minority is imposing its views on the majority of the electorate by forcing people to behave in a certain way.
The polls tell the story:
In an October poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University, 68 percent agreed with the proposition that “a big problem this country has is being politically correct.”
It was a sentiment felt strongly across the political spectrum, by 62 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. Among whites, 72 percent said they felt that way, but so did 61 percent of nonwhites.
“People feel tremendous cultural condescension directed at them,” and that their values are being “smirked at, laughed at” by the political and media elite, said GOP strategist Steve Schmidt.
While Trump the culture warrior seems, Tumulty and Johnson say, to be winning the war against political correctness, the public does not seem to like him personally:
When the Fairleigh Dickinson pollsters added his name to the same question — prefacing it with “Donald Trump said recently . . . ” — the numbers dropped sharply. Only 53 percent said they agree that political correctness is a major problem.
Trump has attacked political correctness by offering up a strong dose of political incorrectness. He can afford to take the hit. Obviously, if he were not a candidate for the presidency, his act would not be having the impact that it has.
Yet, if Trump becomes the Republican candidate and loses to Hillary, as seems likely, his act will have been more show than substance, a prelude to the rule of Mme Mao.