Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What is Political Correctness?

by Glenn Littrell
I remember reading a US News&World Report article in the early 80’s about the growing trend of the use of the phrase “Political Correctness”. Back then it was being presented as a generational response to, or alternative to, that which was referred to as “Conventional Wisdom”. In other words the turbulent and youth movements dominated 60’s & 70’s was forcing a redefining of what was considered appropriate. The conservative status quo was being challenged by progressive re-thinking on such issues as civil rights, fairness, equality, justice, etc.
rally2restore (30)What it really came down to was re-establishing what was considered appropriate behavior, attitudes, and traditions towards other people. In other words how we treat each others, ie. manners. Who or why anyone chose the phrase ‘political correctness’ to characterize this movement is unexplained. The phrase has been around since the 1800’s and has been used in several contexts. So its meaning has varied with the times that it was being used in.
It’s adoption in the late 70’s and early 80’s was probably associated to the fact that the youth movements of the time were either apolitical or rooted in a progressive type of politics. In spite of the existence of the ‘Young Republicans’ the dominate direction of the college student and the young veterans returning from Vietnam was away from conservatism. As the forward thinking youth challenged the comfortable (but grossly prejudicial) familiarity of the ‘status quo’, by nature the conflict was easily characterized as a confrontation of progressive thought versus conservative thought.
It is most unfortunate that the phrase chosen to identify this struggle as ‘political’ instead of a ‘generational’ conflict over how we treat each other. It was in truth a conflict between the status quo of prejudice, discrimination, repressive sexual taboos and the more humane move away from those oppressive practices. It wasn’t about politics, it was about manners, behavior, traditions. If it was truly a political argument then shouldn’t we have debates over ‘liberal correctness’ and ‘conservative correctness’?
‘Political Correctness’ or ‘Political Incorrectness’? chickens
Of course we have debates between liberal thought and conservative thought, but I can’t remember the last time a prominent democrat or liberal used the phrase, “it is politically correct to…”, except in a sarcastic manner. Nor have I heard a prominent Republican use it except in a pejorative attack on someone else's opinion. Everyday people use the terms ‘politically correct/incorrect’ as a pejorative ad hominid attack on anyone attempting take a stance contrary to theirs, instead of debating a difference of opinion in a civil manner. The term has come to mean “shut up, your not capable of an opinion or a personal thought”. It serves the purpose of stopping debate and denigrating an opinion as bias, by labeling it bias.
Liberal correctness and conservative correctness does exist, especially in regards to what is appropriate speech and even thought. For examples just tune in to MSNBC and FOXNews to see examples of both.
…but an overwhelming amount of the use of the the phrase ‘politically correct/incorrect’ is not related to politics! I’ve heard it used in regards to:
  • division sports
  • school curriculum
  • dress
  • healthy school lunches
  • religious believes
  • whether the toilet paper goes under or over
  • toilet seat up or down, etc.,
…practically every form of discussion that involves individual choice, instead of an interesting discussion on a difference of opinion, gets redefined as a debate that turns into an intolerant argument when such pejorative labels as ‘politically correct/incorrect’, ‘Kool-Aid drinkers’, and ‘liberal/conservative idiots’ start getting thrown around. All these labels are ‘dog whistles’ that signify one side of the discussion is invalid or wrong by nature. Not by reasoning.
  • A suggestion on how to conduct a discussion on a political issue:rally2restore (27)When it is an issue that can be defined as ‘political’, lets try talking about it in a manner where we keep political labels and other political issues out of the discussion. Labeling your opponent as liberal or conservative pushes you away from a discussion, not towards it. It assumes your opponent has not come to their position through reasonable thought, but only by a blind allegiance to a party.
What’s the point of discussion then? If that is your assessment of the person then why continue. If that assumption is wrong your never going to convince them their wrong on one thing by arguing their wrong on everything. rally2restore (29)
  • Let’s consider ‘manners’: Most of the arguments that draw the ‘political correctness/incorrectness’ label, in spite of not being political by nature, are really discussions about a difference of opinion on fairness and manners, or personal choice or opinion:
Instead of trying to turn every disagreement into a political debate lets try two things:
  1. Refrain from using the terms political correctness or political incorrectness, and substitute the more specific ‘liberal correctness’ or ‘conservative correctness’.   OR
  2. If you can’t make the above substitution then it probably is not political in nature. At that point substitute either the phrase ‘good manners’ or ‘bad manners’ for the PC/PIC idiomanother-rally-sign-9834-1288578399-98
On many issues that arise over and over again the phrase PC/PIC serves to only galvanize the divide and stunt discussion. That is the only purpose that PC/PIC has served over the last 20 years.
  • The name of the Washington Football team is politically incorrect.
  • Telling dirty jokes is politically incorrect.
  • Calling President Obama a Muslim is politically incorrect.
  • Bullying is politically incorrect.
Now substitute the more accurate ‘bad manners’:
  • The name of the Washington Football team is bad manners.
  • Telling dirty jokes is bad manners.
  • Calling President Obama a Muslim is bad manners.
  • Bullying is bad manners.

Actually makes the statements more accurate, the discussion less inflammatory, and dealing with the related issues may be easier.

“I was reading a book (about interjections, oddly enough) yesterday which included the phrase “In these days of political correctness…” talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the color of their skin. And I thought, “That’s not actually anything to do with ‘political correctness’. That’s just treating other people with respect.”Which made me oddly happy. I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase “politically correct” wherever we could with “treating other people with respect”, and it made me smile. You should try it. It’s peculiarly enlightening.I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking “Oh my god, that’s treating other people with respect gone mad!”           Neil Gaima

Now, of course, there will always be people who want to offend, want to hold on to their right to be crude and rude, and belligerent for the sake of their individuality. Unfortunately, this narrow-mindedness is not a positive form of individuality. It is a lazy, self-indulgent form of ignorance and narcissism.

by GlennDL

*pictures are from the“Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear”
Washington D.C., October 30, 2010

see also: The Changing Face Of Political Correctness

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