I think that people originally objected to Political Correctness because they felt that language was being used to create a consensus where no consensus in fact existed.
"We used to say unmarried mother" they said. "But you say that one person can just as well raise a child as two; and that one person might just as well be a man as a woman; and that its perfectly normal for two people to live together and raise a child without actually being married. So you think that we should stop saying unmarried mother and start saying lone parent instead. We aren't sure that what you say is true; and we are quite sure that not everybody agrees that what you say is true. You are trying to change the language to make it look as if you've won an argument that we haven't had yet."
Or "We think that it's perfectly fair to give a job to the person who is best suited to do that job; and we think that there are some jobs -- ones involving lifting heavy things, for example -- that men do better than women. So it's down to you to prove that a woman can work in the fire brigade just as well as man can. If she can, then by all means call her a firewoman. But we don't think its fair to change the word from fireman to firefighter and pretend that you've already proved it."
And yes, the response to that is obvious enough: "Well, if it comes to that, why should you be able to insist on us saying fireman, which makes it look as if you have already won the argument."
I think that the term Political Correctness was then extended to apply to any legislation, rule, or other action which appeared to assume a false consensus. No-one really cares if the baker sells gingerbread men or gingerbread women. I've seen them selling gingerbread teddies and gingerbread bunnies. And gingerbread aliens. But when I see a sign saying "Gingerbread People" I may, without absurdity, think "Behind this sign lurks an assumption that men and women are exactly the same; and that everyone agrees with this. I am not sure I agree than men and women are the same; and I am quite sure that not everybody thinks they are. Hence, these are Politically-Correctness-Gone-Mad biscuits."
It is, I suppose, a small jump from "false consensus" to "invisible mind control lasers being used by Jewish Communists from their secret base in Frankfurt to undermine Western civilisation." It isn't clear if the Nasty Mail, the Nasty Express and the Nasty Telegraph believe in the Communist Conspiracy Theory. Some of their rentaquotes clearly do.
We are all Liberals here. We all agree that people should be free to hold different opinions -- even opinions that we think are blatantly silly and wrong. We find it very distasteful that country folk get their jollies from watching foxes being killed by foxhounds; but we also think it is quite unfair that country people should be stopped from playing a game they've been playing for years just because we happen to find it distasteful. It would be odd for us to believe that hard drugs should legalized (carefully, over a period of years, with many safeguards) and not to have some sympathy with tobacco users who think that their recreational chemicals are being incrementally criminalized. But we think that there have to be laws of some kind: either fox hunting is legal, or it isn't; either you can smoke in public places, or you can't. And there isn't always going to be a consensus. If you can smoke in pubs, that annoys the non-smokers. If you can't smoke in pubs, that annoys the smokers. Sensible laws are sometimes made in the face of public opinion. The one that said that there should be hundred pennies in the pound, rather than two hundred and forty is one example; the one that said that men shouldn't be sent to prison for fancying other men is another. There are almost bound to be some laws that we agree with and some laws that we'd quite like to change. But the last thing we, as liberals, would ever do, is suggest that our opinions are Common Sense. There's no such thing as Common Sense. Only good and less good arguments and messy compromises.
The idea of Common Sense is, in fact, a form of thought control. A form of social engineering. A way of saying that there is a correct way of looking at things and everything else is incorrect. Social dementia. One true way-ism. Everything which the people who believe in the Protocols of the Secret Elders of Frankfurt accuse of Political Correctness of being.
Everyone, I guess, thinks that their political beliefs are the neutral ones, and that anyone who disagrees is foolishly introducing politics into areas which should be apolitical.
Everyone knows that classical music is just music, the best notes in the best order, and that jazz is simply a cacophonous sound made by people who aren't good enough musicians to play properly. (And don't even mention rock 'n roll.)
People, like me, who use received pronunciation are simply reading the words that are actually written on the page. Cockneys and Geordies lazily and careless miss out letters and pronounce the vowels wrongly. And if they are so lazy that they can't read an "h" sound which is clearly there on the page, then they'll probably be too lazy to do the job properly, so best only employ people who sound posh, eh?
Mrs Thatcher herself claimed that the May Day bank holiday was too political, and suggested it be replaced with something less political, such as, er, Winston Churchill's birthday.
And Bill Land says, quite explicitly, that Socialism and Marxism are political ideologies, but Conservatism is not.
And that's what this is all about, isn't it? My beliefs are obviously true. Your beliefs are obviously false. You can't really believe what you say you believe: you must be pretending to believe it for some reason. Because you want to bring down Western Civilisation. Because Satan secretly controls the Media. Because you have a little Midchlorian living in your head. Because the Liberals dominate the Mainstream Media. Because you're a man, and think mainly with your penis. Because you're a lady, and your little head gets over heated at particular times of the month. I don't need to listen to your ideas to see that they are wrong, any more than I need to listen to jazz to see that it is just noise.
Best just stand over here and call each other nasty names.
I beseech you in the bowels of Christ: think it possible that you might be mistaken.
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