Political correctness is simple idea everyone should be treated with equal dignity & respect. It’s not cause of terrorism. It’s antidote.
Warm, fuzzy, vague and meaningless. As a wag replied, “Pretty sure you mean “The Golden Rule”. Political Correctness is a form of language-control.” Of course, language control doesn’t sound nearly as warm and fuzzy, so it was left off the bumper stickers. But Cathy goes on to provide examples of how the scolds of political correctness work in real life, how it eats its own and treats no one with dignity and respect who doesn’t adhere to the orthodoxy.
So far, nothing you don’t already know.
A couple of years ago, about six years into the Obama administration, there was serious talk of criminal law reform. Tepid reform, for sure, but reform. And it died a silent, brutal death with nothing accomplished. The reform grew out of the realization of and concerns over the confluence of cop killings and prison nation, two blights on our nation that gave rise to widespread recognition that something was very wrong.
What’s the connection? The same confluence of circumstances empowered the social justice movement, but rather than focus on the issues at hand, at creating actual change that would save lives, they went down the political correctness path. This created two problems that impacted serious efforts for reform.
The first impact was that focus shifted from cops killing black guys to names on college buildings that hurt people’s feelings. Microaggressions became a thing. Speech became violence. And the battle for the support of mainstream America was lost. While most people could agree that cops killing innocent people, children, was a problem that demanded change, they weren’t all that moved by the horrifying and exhausting problem of a guy running a dormitory being called “headmaster.”
It was politically incorrect. It sucked the life out of reform. When this became the focus of concern, the reform movement momentum was lost.
The second impact was that serious reform demanded real answers, and real answers demanded an honest understanding and assessment of what happened on the mean streets and how reform could be accomplished in such a way as to eradicate needless harm without creating needless risk. For this to happen, serious people needed to have some serious, and painful, discussions.
This meant that real life had to be on the table. But political correctness precluded any ideas that were inconsistent with unicorns prancing on rainbows. There could be no talk of what gave rise to crime and who was at fault. Political correctness precluded any consideration of marginalized groups being marginalized for a reason. The mantra that whites are just as likely to do drugs, sell drugs, as blacks became a truism to the politically correct, which meant that no reform could accommodate what police claimed was happening on the mean streets.
This isn’t to say it’s untrue that blacks were profiled, targeted, by cops, but that it couldn’t be addressed. This meant that the people who sought reform were thwarted by the absolute refusal to deal with those who opposed it. Despite the feelings of the deeply passionate, there were serious questions about the roles race and poverty played in the root causes of crime, recidivism, and even fear by cops. This isn’t to say that the politically correct view was wrong, but stomping one’s feet and refusing to discuss these problems made it impossible to convince those in power to change things.
But isn’t “dignity and respect” worth silencing the efforts to create actual change, real reform, when it means dealing with the unpleasant issues of crime and punishment? Well, you can no longer find a headmaster at an Ivy League college, but cops are still killing black guys in the streets and prisons are still full of them. That may be a trade-off you can live with, but it’s not doing much to help those in prison for life plus cancer.