The label, to be sure, can obscure as well as illuminate.
It has been deployed to protect patent incivility and to assail simple decency.
That a work of literature has endured in the canon (itself now an offensive term) for more than a century might suggest there is something to it that is not wholly evident if it is held up merely to the standards of the moment. In “Earth’s Holocaust,” after tobacco is tossed into the flames, an “old gentleman”—again, “old”—laments: “Well, they’ve put my pipe out . They will first fling us in, and finally themselves.’” They will.
The politically correct today will be intolerable tomorrow. Greg Weiner is a contributing editor of Law & Liberty.
The moral authority is never Burke’s “This faith in the now arises from a boundless confidence in contemporaneous reason that in turn implies a conception of man as the measure.
Thesis Statement On Political Correctness
It is not possible, or perhaps it is not necessary, to believe in reason’s limitations when man is not accountable to anything that transcends himself.” Money, deeds to property, books of philosophy—everything burns.But the revelers, we learn, have neglected to torch the one thing that will regenerate all the rest: “the human heart itself.” A “dark-visaged” and red-eyed stranger who appears at the story’s end laughs: “And, unless they hit upon some method of purifying that foul cavern, forth from it will reissue all the shapes of wrong and misery—the same old shapes or worse ones—which they have taken such a vast deal of trouble to consume to ashes.”The bonfire is an important dimension of what travels under the label “political correctness”: the war on permanence.Consistent with this, on a sample of largely politically moderate Americans taken during the General Election in the Fall of 2016, we show that temporarily priming PC norms significantly increased support for Donald Trump (but not Hillary Clinton).We further show that chronic emotional reactance towards restrictive communication norms positively predicted support for Trump (but not Clinton), and that this effect remains significant even when controlling for political ideology.The notion of permanence, and its transcendent nature, imply limits to human reason that the cult of progress cannot accept, for permanence declares there are some things reason cannot change or fully comprehend.Progress, by contrast, rejects the past by necessity.Terminology that was commonplace in what Hawthorne called “yesterday’s newspapers” is consequently offensive today. Barack Obama could not win the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 because the health-care reform he signed in 2010—then considered revolutionary—left too much room for the private insurers that the champions of Medicare for All deplore today.Among elements of the right, the issue is less progress than the present: Fealty to the sitting president can upend long-standing norms because the standard is not tradition but rather today.In total, this work provides evidence that norms that are designed to increase the overall amount of positive communication can actually backfire by increasing support for a politician who uses extremely negative language that explicitly violates the norm.olitical correctness started out as a minor project of the international firm known as the Good Intentions Paving Company.