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The (Semi-) Myth Of Political Correctness

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Yumyumsuppertime
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The (Semi-) Myth Of Political Correctness

Postby Yumyumsuppertime » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:23 pm

I was having a discussion on Facebook regarding concepts of free speech with various friends, and one posted this video from Dr. Ben Carson, Republican poster boy and future hope of the right. In this video, Dr. Carson makes the argument that political correctness is the death knell of open and honest discussion in modern discourse, insofar as whenever someone makes a point that could be considered controversial to anyone, one response is generally "I'm offended", which means that said offense effectively neutralizes one's ability to continue communicating said point.

But...why?

What he's saying is that people are afraid to speak their minds for fear of offending someone. Well, so what? So he offends someone. Then that person has the right to state that they're offended. At that point, it doesn't stop. He has the right to respond to that person if he wishes to do so, and to perhaps educate him or her regarding his point. He has the right to ignore that person. He has the right to stop, think about what he's said, change his mind, and agree, or at least modify his position. What Dr. Carson is really saying here seems to be "You shouldn't be offended by what I've said". Well, who is he to say what we should or shouldn't be offended by? How is it that he lacks such courage in his convictions that offense caused to another is cause for him to stop speaking? And why should anyone take his reluctance to speak further in the face of offense as cause to stop showing offense? "I'm offended by your offense" is just nonsense. The man needs to put on his big boy pants, speak his mind regardless, and stop blaming "PC" when people express dissent from his viewpoints.

Seriously, what most people call "PC" seems to me to actually be the way that free speech is supposed to work.

Now, I'm not saying that municipalities and institutions such as universities haven't occasionally gone overboard in terms of "creating a safe space" or "promoting diversity" at the expense of free expression (thus the "semi" modifier in the title), but this hardly seems to be evidence of a significant trend in society, especially since such crackdowns have generally been successfully challenged in court.

Of course, in the interests of free speech, I welcome dissenting viewpoints....

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Postby Frisivisia » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:26 pm

Yeah, political correctness is for black pussy liberal faggots, and don't you get offended.
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Postby Cannot think of a name » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:32 pm

That's what always bugged be about the 'thick skin/get over it' line of thought. It seems hollow coming from someone who can't seem to weather someone challenging them.
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Postby Quintium » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:37 pm

Personally, I think political correctness is very much a thing and it's a bloody shame for any society that wants to call itself free. When a fundamentalist killed a film maker here, politicians actually discussed reviving our blasphemy laws to please those fundamentalists. Whenever there's a terrorist attack, public television but also newspapers and private television channels try to pussyfoot around the reasons cited by the terrorists themselves and try to concoct some stupid story about poverty or oppression instead. Schools here teach us that our history is something to be ashamed of, and that it has created for us some sort of ethereal debt to the rest of the world.

My signature has a very sensible point on political correctness. The subjects for political correctness may have changed since the early 1940s, but the ways in which it is generally carried out have not. It's not so much overt government censorship - which is a shame, because then people couldn't deny it - but rather a sickening, deceptive form of self-censorship by those genuinely afraid of offending someone or something they're afraid to offend.
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Postby The UK in Exile » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:39 pm

Quintium wrote:My signature has a very sensible point on political correctness.


It does indeed. From now on, I'm not going to mention trousers in the presence of a lady.
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Postby Frisivisia » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:40 pm

Quintium wrote:Personally, I think political correctness is very much a thing and it's a bloody shame for any society that wants to call itself free. When a fundamentalist killed a film maker here, politicians actually discussed reviving our blasphemy laws to please those fundamentalists. Whenever there's a terrorist attack, public television but also newspapers and private television channels try to pussyfoot around the reasons cited by the terrorists themselves and try to concoct some stupid story about poverty or oppression instead. Schools here teach us that our history is something to be ashamed of, and that it has created for us some sort of ethereal debt to the rest of the world.

My signature has a very sensible point on political correctness. The subjects for political correctness may have changed since the early 1940s, but the ways in which it is generally carried out have not. It's not so much overt government censorship - which is a shame, because then people couldn't deny it - but rather a sickening, deceptive form of self-censorship by those genuinely afraid of offending someone or something they're afraid to offend.

Trying not to offend people is so Orwellian. I bet you didn't even cherry pick that quote.
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Postby Shaggai » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:42 pm

Quintium wrote:Personally, I think political correctness is very much a thing and it's a bloody shame for any society that wants to call itself free. When a fundamentalist killed a film maker here, politicians actually discussed reviving our blasphemy laws to please those fundamentalists. Whenever there's a terrorist attack, public television but also newspapers and private television channels try to pussyfoot around the reasons cited by the terrorists themselves and try to concoct some stupid story about poverty or oppression instead. Schools here teach us that our history is something to be ashamed of, and that it has created for us some sort of ethereal debt to the rest of the world.

My signature has a very sensible point on political correctness. The subjects for political correctness may have changed since the early 1940s, but the ways in which it is generally carried out have not. It's not so much overt government censorship - which is a shame, because then people couldn't deny it - but rather a sickening, deceptive form of self-censorship by those genuinely afraid of offending someone or something they're afraid to offend.

So... basically, you want people saying the things you agree with? Doesn't sound any better than what you claim political correctness to be.
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Quintium
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Postby Quintium » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:43 pm

Frisivisia wrote:Trying not to offend people is so Orwellian. I bet you didn't even cherry pick that quote.


It's from the introduction to Animal Farm, a book that wasn't published until after the war because it might offend Stalin. In that introduction, he discussed a situation really rather similar to the one we have today - some things are either not discussed or only discussed in favour of one position. In the precise context of that introduction, in British intellectual circles of the early 1940s, you could praise the Soviet Union but not criticise it, as Orwell often wanted to. If you did, your works were refused publication and you were looked at as if you were a leper.
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Postby Quintium » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:44 pm

Shaggai wrote:So... basically, you want people saying the things you agree with? Doesn't sound any better than what you claim political correctness to be.


Where did you get that idea? I'm saying people are absolutely free to offend me - and I think they should be - but on some subjects, I am not allowed to offend them or I'll be the subject of social ostracism and one-way ridicule.
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Postby Frisivisia » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:44 pm

Quintium wrote:
Frisivisia wrote:Trying not to offend people is so Orwellian. I bet you didn't even cherry pick that quote.


It's from the introduction to Animal Farm, a book that wasn't published until after the war because it might offend Stalin. In that introduction, he discussed a situation really rather similar to the one we have today - some things are either not discussed or only discussed in favour of one position. In the precise context of that introduction, in British intellectual circles of the early 1940s, you could praise the Soviet Union but not criticise it, as Orwell often wanted to. If you did, your works were refused publication and you were looked at as if you were a leper.

And that's the same as not using slurs and general dickishness. Good to know.
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Postby Yumyumsuppertime » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:46 pm

Quintium wrote:Personally, I think political correctness is very much a thing and it's a bloody shame for any society that wants to call itself free. When a fundamentalist killed a film maker here, politicians actually discussed reviving our blasphemy laws to please those fundamentalists.


Were the laws revived? Was there a serious push to do this, or was it a few people on the fringe pushing for it?

Whenever there's a terrorist attack, public television but also newspapers and private television channels try to pussyfoot around the reasons cited by the terrorists themselves and try to concoct some stupid story about poverty or oppression instead.


Religious fanaticism of the sort that leads to terrorism does not exist within a vacuum. Poverty and oppression can lead to violent reactions against one's perceived oppressors, and fundamentalist interpretations of religion can provide a moral justification for these reactions.

Schools here teach us that our history is something to be ashamed of, and that it has created for us some sort of ethereal debt to the rest of the world.


What, exactly, is being said? I hear people say this about our own textbooks in America, but I haven't seen the evidence. Instead, any comment that slavery (for instance) created social issues that have lasted to this day is treated as reinforcement of white guilt instead of a statement of simple fact.

My signature has a very sensible point on political correctness.


Orwell was simply stating a historical truth that applies to all ages, not just this one. For instance, "racial science", which had a heyday in the 19th and early 20th centuries, isn't really seen as an acceptable subject nowadays, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that.

The subjects for political correctness may have changed since the early 1940s, but the ways in which it is generally carried out have not. It's not so much overt government censorship - which is a shame, because then people couldn't deny it - but rather a sickening, deceptive form of self-censorship by those genuinely afraid of offending someone or something they're afraid to offend.


Or maybe some things just don't need to be said. There is no actual reason for a white person to use the word "nigger", for instance. Yes, it's considered rude to say that Hitler had the right idea about Jews. It's thought impolite to call for the open murder of gays and lesbians. And that's not a bad thing.

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Postby Quintium » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:47 pm

Frisivisia wrote:And that's the same as not using slurs and general dickishness. Good to know.


Political correctness concerns much more than not using 'slurs and general dickishness'. In fact, it's less about how you say it and more about what you say. Some positions are genuinely not accepted in the higher circles of public debate anywhere in the western world. They're not even discussed or debunked - they're not published or ignored and the people who write about them are declared insane or ostracised.
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Postby Frisivisia » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:48 pm

Quintium wrote:
Frisivisia wrote:And that's the same as not using slurs and general dickishness. Good to know.


Political correctness concerns much more than not using 'slurs and general dickishness'. In fact, it's less about how you say it and more about what you say. Some positions are genuinely not accepted in the higher circles of public debate anywhere in the western world. They're not even discussed or debunked - they're not published or ignored and the people who write about them are declared insane or ostracised.

Examples plz.
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Postby Blasveck » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:50 pm

Quintium wrote:
Frisivisia wrote:Trying not to offend people is so Orwellian. I bet you didn't even cherry pick that quote.


It's from the introduction to Animal Farm, a book that wasn't published until after the war because it might offend Stalin. In that introduction, he discussed a situation really rather similar to the one we have today - some things are either not discussed or only discussed in favour of one position. In the precise context of that introduction, in British intellectual circles of the early 1940s, you could praise the Soviet Union but not criticise it, as Orwell often wanted to. If you did, your works were refused publication and you were looked at as if you were a leper.


Blame social attitudes I guess.
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Postby Quintium » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:51 pm

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:Were the laws revived? Was there a serious push to do this, or was it a few people on the fringe pushing for it?


Ultimately, our blasphemy laws were not revived because the general public was outraged by their suggestion of appeasing terrorists after they had murdered a film maker for criticising their prophet. Still, the proposal could count on the support of the cabinet we had at the time, and it was even proposed by the Minister of Justice.

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:Religious fanaticism of the sort that leads to terrorism does not exist within a vacuum. Poverty and oppression can lead to violent reactions against one's perceived oppressors, and fundamentalist interpretations of religion can provide a moral justification for these reactions.


I'm talking, specifically, about the Woolwich attack earlier this year. Public media, at least in the first hours after the attack, left out the bit where he justified his attacks with his religion. They only repeated, time and again, the part where he talked about the situation in "his country".

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:What, exactly, is being said? I hear people say this about our own textbooks in America, but I haven't seen the evidence. Instead, any comment that slavery (for instance) created social issues that have lasted to this day is treated as reinforcement of white guilt instead of a statement of simple fact.


Well, I won't go into this, because then the discussion would be about that.
It's more than just slavery, that's all.

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:Orwell was simply stating a historical truth that applies to all ages, not just this one. For instance, "racial science", which had a heyday in the 19th and early 20th centuries, isn't really seen as an acceptable subject nowadays, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that.


Well, I wasn't saying it applied to just this age. In fact, this is an entirely different age than his.
It's still a major problem in public debate, though, that some positions are considered unacceptable.
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Postby The UK in Exile » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Quintium wrote:
Shaggai wrote:So... basically, you want people saying the things you agree with? Doesn't sound any better than what you claim political correctness to be.


Where did you get that idea? I'm saying people are absolutely free to offend me - and I think they should be - but on some subjects, I am not allowed to offend them or I'll be the subject of social ostracism and one-way ridicule.


ridicule is a natural response to ridiculous ideas.
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"My actions are as noble as my thoughts, That never relish’d of a base descent.I came unto your court for honour’s cause, And not to be a rebel to her state; And he that otherwise accounts of me, This sword shall prove he’s honour’s enemy."

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Postby Quintium » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Frisivisia wrote:Examples plz.


Here's one. Displaying the original flag of the Netherlands, which was used during the Eighty Years' War. It's considered offensive now, in part because it's "an allusion to a time when we were not very friendly" and in part - though that's more of a justification than a genuine reason, I feel - because some nazi thugs used it in the past. Now, you're not really supposed to display it anywhere, and when you do you're met with disapproval.
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Postby Yumyumsuppertime » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Quintium wrote:
Yumyumsuppertime wrote:Were the laws revived? Was there a serious push to do this, or was it a few people on the fringe pushing for it?


Ultimately, our blasphemy laws were not revived because the general public was outraged by their suggestion of appeasing terrorists after they had murdered a film maker for criticising their prophet. Still, the proposal could count on the support of the cabinet we had at the time, and it was even proposed by the Minister of Justice.

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:Religious fanaticism of the sort that leads to terrorism does not exist within a vacuum. Poverty and oppression can lead to violent reactions against one's perceived oppressors, and fundamentalist interpretations of religion can provide a moral justification for these reactions.


I'm talking, specifically, about the Woolwich attack earlier this year. Public media, at least in the first hours after the attack, left out the bit where he justified his attacks with his religion. They only repeated, time and again, the part where he talked about the situation in "his country".

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:What, exactly, is being said? I hear people say this about our own textbooks in America, but I haven't seen the evidence. Instead, any comment that slavery (for instance) created social issues that have lasted to this day is treated as reinforcement of white guilt instead of a statement of simple fact.


Well, I won't go into this, because then the discussion would be about that.
It's more than just slavery, that's all.

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:Orwell was simply stating a historical truth that applies to all ages, not just this one. For instance, "racial science", which had a heyday in the 19th and early 20th centuries, isn't really seen as an acceptable subject nowadays, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that.


Well, I wasn't saying it applied to just this age. In fact, this is an entirely different age than his.
It's still a major problem in public debate, though, that some positions are considered unacceptable.


So you're essentially saying that you don't like the concept of social mores when it comes to communication of ideas.

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Postby Solaray » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:54 pm

Political correctness is alright until you start getting sued for saying "Merry Christmas". (Or similar instances)
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Postby Blasveck » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:55 pm

Quintium wrote:
Frisivisia wrote:Examples plz.


Here's one. Displaying the original flag of the Netherlands, which was used during the Eighty Years' War. It's considered offensive now, in part because it's "an allusion to a time when we were not very friendly" and in part - though that's more of a justification than a genuine reason, I feel - because some nazi thugs used it in the past. Now, you're not really supposed to display it anywhere, and when you do you're met with disapproval.


Ok? And...what then?


You expect people to not find offense when somebody says or does something that, well, offends them?
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Postby Yumyumsuppertime » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:55 pm

Solaray wrote:Political correctness is alright until you start getting sued for saying "Merry Christmas". (Or similar instances)


Who gets sued for saying "Merry Christmas"?

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Postby Forster Keys » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:56 pm

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism.
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Postby Quintium » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:57 pm

Yumyumsuppertime wrote:So you're essentially saying that you don't like the concept of social mores when it comes to communication of ideas.


I don't like the idea of using social pressure to prevent certain ideas from being heard or to ridicule the people who bring up those ideas. That's why I don't use the word "EBUL" on this forum - it's a sign of utter disrespect. You're all free to use it against me - and you have, time and again - but it's a way of ridiculing rather than rebutting a point of view.
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Postby Yumyumsuppertime » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:57 pm

Forster Keys wrote:Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism.


Exactly my point.

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