The concept/reality that society has become/is becoming too politically correct is a question that is prominent in today’s society. Being politically correct is the act of not causing offence to others in a society based on a certain group they consider themselves to be in (which are generally considered minorities), so how is this controversial? Political correctness, by definition, is a morally justified argument. Punish those who do not adhere to a certain set of values that society has generally come to adopt. So why has this become such a controversial topic? Joel and I believe there is substantial evidence to suggest that the downfall of political correctness is summed up in 3 main ideas. The inability for normal, comprehensive discussion between the average conservative and the average liberal, the rise of media betrayal on both sides of the aisle and the mobbing of individuals/collectives in college campuses, workplaces and in public.
Jordan B Peterson, is a clinical psychologist from Canada that became popular on YouTube where many of his talks were being published online and successively created a large fan base. He is known for his outspoken (generally controversial) views about many topics such as political correctness, transgenderism (specifically gender identity), neo-marxism, the alt-right, feminism and depression. He has a degree in Political Science and a pHd in Psychology. One of the highlights of his career was when he went viral over his controversial, but nonetheless thought-provoking, views over the Canadian Governments Bill C-16 . Bill C-16 is a bill that adds gender expression and identity as protected grounds on the Canadian Human Rights Act, introduced by Justin Trudeau’s hyperliberal Government the bill passed through the Canadian Parliament (248-40) with an 86% approval rating. Peterson made the claim that, ‘the widespread insistence that people will have to use compelled speech is purely wrong’ . Peterson uses the words ‘compelled speech’ because that’s exactly what it is. People will always have problems with compelled speech because there are many factors that stop them from using speech that is considered PC *. Whether it’s religion or, simply, opinion people shouldn’t feel compelled to use speech that goes against what they believe in. If we live in a society where someone’s belief conflicts with other people’s beliefs and it supposedly ‘incites hatred’, it shows how hypersentive we’ve really become. To clarify, we believe that the discrimination/incitement of violence of minorities is completely unjustified and frankly disgusting. However the hypersensitive reality that the American left has now become is one that has obstructed the truth in our news, workplace, politics and debates over the fear of ‘cancel culture’, loss of job, disregard/diminishment of opinion, harassment etc… A prime example is how people are scared to talk about transgenderism anywhere in the media because there is so much opportunity for people to take offence. It is a complicated issue which has room for so many varied opinions which is why so many are offended by it. I believe that I am not an unreasonable person with whom you cannot have a genuine, safe conversation with, about transgenderism. I have fairly liberal views on transgenderism but do not believe in compelled speech on a large scale. Does this mean I can’t have a reasonable discussion with someone who disagrees with me? Apparently so. Many with conflicting opinions on transgenderism are often easily generalised with terms such as ‘bigot’ , ‘homophobic/transphobic’ etc… This can be widely observed in college campuses, the media and the workplace
Liberalism on College Campuses
To expand on how Universities are becoming more (have become) liberal, a study by the University of Oxford found that, according to the study, conservatives have a ‘right to be skeptical of scientists’, suggesting that this skepticism is completely valid due to a long (and proven) history of scholar activism. Scholar activism is the corruption of scientific findings by involving politics (in this case liberalism) thus voiding the validity of your research due to bias. Another study by The Econ Journal Watch found that liberal professors and researchers in Universities/Colleges throughout the USA outnumbered conservatives nearly 12 to 1 (the numbers get more surprising depending on the department, for example, History is in a 33:1 ratio of liberal to conservative professors.
Development on the widening gap between the Left and the Right
As described by many, the gap between the left and the right has never been further apart. There seems to be no issues nowadays in which both sides can agree on a solution. Politics and hyper-opinionated, illogical arguments seem to go hand-in-hand and affect millions of relationships daily. It slowly seems to creep into every aspect of life, forcing many into
Discussion / Development
In order to think we must risk being offensive. If we present any ideas to the public, no matter the subject of the ideas, there will be an individual/collective that is offended by it. To go to the extremes (but of which most people agree on), the holocaust. Most will agree that this was a horrific event which came to be because of extremist parties forcing themselves into power. However, present this view to enough people and inevitably someone will disagree, and likely, be offended. Because apparently in this day and age, disagreement incites offence. An example where disagreement often supposedly incites offence (due to postmodern leftism) is the current american political spectrum. Admittedly this happens on both sides of the aisle. Radical leftists are taking to the streets to force their illogical agendas and beliefs and believe that conservatism is facism meanwhile their whole ‘protest’ is based on the grounds of using violence/disruption to push a message. On the other hand, many on the right are harassing liberals, both verbally and physically in order to diminish their views. Since there is a rise of young leftism in the US (and the UK) older conservatives are quick to disregard anything that they stand for on the grounds that they are uneducated, without experience and supposedly a part of a Marxist movement (as claimed by many of those on the right).
However, there is an underlying problem that comes out of this discussion. The consistent bias throughout the US media that separates the divide between the left and the right further every day. Here in the UK, most would agree that most serious broadcasting services are fairly unbiased. Actually, there are many Media Discrimination and Bias laws in place in the UK. For example, the most watched news program in the UK, the BBC, has a royal charter stating that its reporters must be unbiased and that any complaints of bias must be dealt with immediately and concisely. This is important because the media affects millions of perspectives daily. Perspectives that can be easily altered by stimuli. I believe the US media’s baises is the predominant force in widening the gap between the left and the right and thus causing a pandemic of regression in the quality of political discussions/debates.
Change in terminology when differentiating between genders may have accentuated inequality in our society. For example, many female performers prefer to introduce their profession as being an “actor.” More and more female actors are “corrected” by people saying “I think you mean ‘actress’”. Some say that, in many ways, the term ‘actress’ is outdated, and now it was more politically correct to say “female actor,” “male actor.” Many believe that the latter is more professional. Many female actors believe that using the same word to describe all performers, both male and female, improves equality; the word “actress” appears to sound less professional and serious, according to some. The neofeminist view that there needs to be more differentiation but, more equality, is a radicalisation that has blurred what real, logical, feminism really is. Feminism is the belief in equality of opportunity for those of the female gender, a rationalisation that should be accepted by all. I was a strong supporter of original feminism, going to the extent of calling myself a feminist. Surely those who are arguing for equality can settle with actor in this case? Actor was a broad term to describe someone who performs in the entertainment and arts industry. Only recently it has been assigned a gender (by the same people who oppose using it as a broad term), yet neo-feminists have pretended as if this was always been there for the pure purpose of male authoritarianism. Should we assign all jobs to be gender specific? Not all actors are male, just like how not all accountants are male, how not all lawyers are male, how not all builders are male, how not all soldiers are male. And although we do recognise that these jobs were done predominantly by males, these career names were never gender specific. So why do neofeminists believe that suddenly, these terms have been in place only to diminish other genders throughout history, and thus keep a patriarchal system throughout every section of life?
Furthermore there is the indoctrination of liberalism on college campuses. Surely this is the largest, and most dangerous, example of political correctness in modern society. How can one argue that universities are creating a variety of individual thinkers when liberal professors outnumber conservative professors 11 to 1? And this number is only an average across all departments. A study done by The Econ Journal Watch, showed that for every 33 liberal professors who taught history, there is 1 conservative history professor. How can this not be a staggering example of the indoctrination of Liberalism in college campuses. I’m not saying that every one of these professors are heavily biased and indoctrinate their students to the point of radicalisation. It would be radical to think so. But how can anyone say that students are open to a wide variety of opinions when most students will never come in contact with a conservative history professor in their time at college; or any conservative professor for that matter.
Everyone, on both sides of the aisle, can accept that our colleges/universities are becoming more and more liberal to the day. College Campuses are quick to completely disregard conervative/opposing views as shown when famous conservatives visit college campuses. A recognised example of this is Ben Shapiro’s talks where he has received a lot of criticism at almost every place of higher education he has visited. Many universities have offered him to come and speak but then declined their invitation after a backlash from the students. A surprisingly large proportion of these students have gone to the extent of death-threats, attempted assault and calling him a ‘neonazi’, even though Ben Shapiro is a proud Jew. Shapiro talks more about the indoctrination of the youth in his book, ‘Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth’ . To clarify, I don’t believe people’s views shouldn’t be challenged; they should. Without the challenge of peoples opinions we would get nowhere as a society. But as Shapiro has stated (and demonstrated) many times, he is very open to the idea of a discussion with someone who disagrees with him. In his Q&As he has been challenged many times. This is what we need more of. Two people having a rational discussion of difference in belief. Not just the complete disregard of opinion and harassment of people who have different opinions to you. Furthermore, anyone at these talks who describe themselves as conservative is prone to the usual childish, generalised insults typically: fascist, racist, bigot, homophobes. However, on the other side of the aisle, there is the prominent presence of far right views both online and offline that hurl insults back but because neither side takes the time to evaluate and discuss arguments and viewpoints, neither side can ever learn from themselves or each other.
Both sides of the political spectrum suffer from stereotyping the other, for example it is very easy for someone on the left to criticise someone on the right for making slightly racist, homophobic or antisementic comments and just as easy for someone on the right to criticise someone on the left for being offended by a simple comment. Either way it causes both sides to easily form negative stereotypes of each other in order to increase their feeling of moral and intellectual superiority, despite the principle of political correctness being inherently beneficial to society. It is not political correctness which has damaged society, but rather society which has ruined political correctness.
Political correctness was intended to tread the fine line between opposing hate speech and still allowing for free speech to be practiced in a public space. It could have succeeded if it weren’t for
The 1st Amendment is a right that every American citizen has. It allows people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, political stance, and class to say whatever they want. Their speech is protected by the court of law. This means that you can say whatever you want but it also means that anyone can say whatever they want about what you said. Political Correctness was intended to be a gateway for minorities who are easily discriminated against to be free without being shunned for something they have no control over.
Political correctness targets to abolish hate speech and a recent survey done by the Cato Institute shows that 79% of Americans have the belief that hate speech is morally unacceptable, however, only 40% of Americans believe that the government should prevent hate speech with legislation.
After many hours of work, research and discussion. Joel and I have come to the conclusion that Political Correctness is not itself a poor manifestation of irrational leftism but instead an attempt from the left (with good principles) to create a society that is more accepting and appreciative of minorities. Where both sides of the political spectrum have gone wrong however is the fact that the majority of both the left and the right fail to have normal, comprehensive discussions of how to fix political correctness (and many other issues) and what political correctness actually aims to do. In general it all boils down to a lack of evaluation and discussion. Those on the right will suggest that political correctness degrades everyone’s right to practice free speech. This allows fewer ideas to be heard so therefore we will struggle to progress as a society. Those on the left will suggest that political correctness prevents easily targeted minorities from being insulted and offended which allows for a more open minded society so more ideas from everyone can be heard so therefore we can progress as a society. The real issue is that neither side is willing to have a genuine discussion and debate without it turning into two people with different opinions yelling at and insulting each other without rational thought.
So no, we have not become too politically correct because by the definition of Political Correctness, we have regressed in terms of becoming more politically correct. I would go as far to state that we have become less politically correct (in general, as a society) than we used to be as we’ve normalised mobbing ideology against those with different political opinions. We have instead created an environment in which the left can call the right: bigot, racist, homophobes and the right can call the left: too ‘soft’, easily offended and radical Marxists. The aims of both sides of the aisle are essentially justified, the right want to protect their rights of free speech and the left want to create a more accepting society in which the fine line between free speech and hate speech is clearly identified. Both uphold a sufficient level of decency and principlism however what both have got wrong is the misinterpretation of each other’s ideals. Ultimately, what is wrong with political correctness is the society it manifested itself in.