Being Politically Correct means always having to say you’re sorry.
The politically correct!
Oh, let me hold my fury! Let me find some objective approach to verbalize my view of these folks and the trouble they cause. I may take some liberties here in this section of print to be a bit more pejorative and present my thoughts with not-always-useful language, but for hyperbole’s sake and my own selfish disdain of the self-righteous in this world, I may be drawn to forgo balance and enjoy some richer language regarding these politically correct folks, who in the end, deserve respect, just as anyone does.
“There but for fortune go you or I.”
If I were born at another end of the block or associated with different friends, perhaps I would have taken another view of life, and I hate to say it, a politically correct view! From that frame of mind, I would hope others would still love and care for me and work to broaden my perspectives and improve my behavior toward others and ultimately toward myself.
But for now I may have some pompous fun describing the self-serving and destructive ways of my politically correct friends.
Political correctness affords no quarter to honesty. It makes liars out of people. It is akin to living in the USSR during the iron-curtain era, in Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s reign, or in the United States during the McCarthy days of the 1950s. You can only say what is acceptable, or you will be killed, maimed, disowned, or disparaged.
You certainly cannot be honest.
Political correctness dismantles two-way communication, much like ideologues or theocracies do: you must think as I think and behave as I do, or you will be in grave jeopardy of losing your family, your career, and perhaps, your life.
Political correctness is a demagogue’s righteous indignation at its height of destructive power, based on the ridicule of others and on misinformation, manipulating the ignorant into a fevered pitch that is unfair and destructive to all that would otherwise be honest and good.
Politically correct people disable kindness. They wear their sentimental attitude heavily on their shoulders, ever looking to be kind, but they are anything but.
When I was a manager, I sometimes said in meetings that I did not want political correctness in my meetings; rather, I wanted honesty. It is critical to know how and why people think the way they do. To be a leader, to be a manager, or just to have a semblance of integrity, you cannot allow yourself the selfish luxury of being offended. It was my job to be an objective observer, rather than a victim of someone’s words. Physical behavior is something else altogether, and when behavior directly imparts harm to someone else is where I draw the line between expression and actions. Thinking and expression is fundamental, essential. and incumbent to establish growth, to improve everyone. Words represent; they do not behave.
Responsibility for behavior is, first and foremost, owned by the receiver of information, not the giver. What I mean by that is, I am not responsible for how someone reacts to me, my words or behavior, if it is directed toward who I am.
If I were to hug and kiss someone in a room full of people and someone else is indirectly offended by that action as inappropriate behavior, that is the other person’s (the observer’s) responsibility to manage. I am not responsible for how other people react to me; they are. On the other hand, if I physically hit someone in the mouth, then I have directly impacted him or her with behavior and I am responsible, regardless of the actions that may have provoked the event.
Working in the corporate world for nearly thirty years, I had to periodically attend courses on ethics and sexual harassment. In one of these sexual harassment courses, the instructor used the nearly exact example above about hugging someone in a room as being inappropriate behavior because it might offend someone else. I disagreed with the instructor’s argument since I do not believe I am responsible for how others respond. Other people in the course also argued that their culture instilled in them, as a courtesy, to hug and kiss people. But the instructor argued that the corporation could potentially be sued and that we were to cease and desist from any such behaviors. Hogwash! That was the corporate line to protect themselves. Other corporations, such as Southwest Airlines, which stands out in my mind, broke this politically correct stance and trained and trusted their employees to be smart and sensible, versus the virtual drones we were expected to be.
By the way, only a very small group of people bought into this model of conduct and people still embraced people in my former company, but the rhetoric, in many ways unintentionally, undermined the company’s level of trust in its employees, which in turn diminished the employees’ respect toward the business. With such rhetoric in place, this could then adversely impact the innocent, under the guise of being politically correct and proper.
If I were to be responsible for how people reacted to me, then I could not ever tell them what television shows, movies, or books I have seen or read, because they might think them politically incorrect or just wrong. These politically correct people would then be enabled to claim they were victims based on anything they disagreed with that, in some manner, offended or frightened them. This is, of course, the cultural phase we are currently in, which started around the 1970s, but really found its footing in the 1990s and has progressively created a whole new culture of victims.
I was born in 1950, a time when personal responsibility, rather than victimhood or the blame game, more consistently molded the culture and the character of individuals, a time when teachers were always supported by parents. Some of you will remember of what and when I speak. Believe me, these teachers did not always merit the blind trust of our parents, but it was far better than what has replaced it today, with parents blaming anyone and everyone but their children and themselves for their children’s behavior. Lucrative litigation, by the way, is partly to blame, as it always is easier if you blame someone else, especially those with big pockets, like municipalities. As a result, we now have a very blame-focused society that benefits materially by playing the victim, but sacrifices integrity and self-responsibility in the process. We are raising an entire generation in this mode of consciousness that finds fault with nearly everything and believes in entitlement, which is quite the opposite of previous generations, which put greater reliance on hard work, standards, and personal responsibility.
My youthful years, in which I grew up, were a time when drama was only drama, not the overplayed melodrama that our highly competitive media and our politically correct citizens would rally us to believe today. It was our youth, using both our heads and our hearts, that brought my friends and me the wisdom to deal with the aberrant, rather than sheltered and coddled us from humanity or thought us immediate victims of another’s contrary behavior. That was just life. We were expected to manage ourselves and be guided by the uncelebrated diversity in those days of measured judgments, common sense, and fundamental personal responsibility. Hence, we matured with the sense that humanity is both good and bad by nature. This paradox taught us to understand the good and bad in all people through the collective wisdom of balance, perspective, and understanding, that “there but for fortune, go you or I.”
That culture has profoundly changed, or so it seems to me. As I reflect and look back, I am thankful for the values from my youth, my family, and my friends.
Speaking of teachers from my youth reminds me of a news story I saw about a decade ago, in which a seventeen-year-old girl had a sexual relationship, in fact, a love affair, with a twenty-four-year-old teacher. The mother of the girl was standing over her seated daughter at a televised news conference. The television newsperson asked if she loved the teacher, and she said yes, she did. Immediately, you could see the mother’s face tighten up, tacitly implying that was not what her daughter should be saying. The daughter very timidly followed up with the thought that, “Well, what he did was wrong”—further implying that she was a victim now. The mother took over the interview after that, chastising the school and the teacher.
I tell this story, because what happened between those two lovers was not abnormal behavior when you view it generically. It was a human romance story between relatively similarly aged people. In fact, in some portions of the twentieth century and beyond, this would have been thought a delightful development in many circles. However, given our cultural times, it was frowned upon, with high shame for the teacher and automatic victim status for the student. As I remember, the student was eighteen by the time of the civil case and the news interview. And it was clear the mother portrayed her daughter as a victim, who shared no responsibility.
Had this instance happened when I was going to school, my mother and father would have, by default, put 50 percent of the blame on the student, if there should be blame, and 50 percent on the teacher. But this mother did not allow the daughter to take any responsibility. She was adamant that her daughter was the victim of a heinous act of being in a relationship with a teacher. The daughter seemed to be buying into this position, further eroding the character of this young girl. I would put greater shame on the mother and any other parent who gives impunity to themselves and their children in similar situations.
If these two young people did something destructive and wrong, I would have said shame on both of them. The girl at age seventeen was no child, even considering that the teacher was in a position of authority. If people will remember back a few years, it was not uncommon for people to get married at twelve and thirteen in this country, and culturally throughout history, any time after puberty was thought to be the marrying age in many cultures. Even if it is wiser to not get married so young, is it actually immoral, as one might infer from the attitudes in our culture today?
I know of a woman who had just turned fourteen when she married a twenty-one-year-old man, and by age eighteen she had four children. Today, just imagine what the politically correct would have thought of this woman’s husband. The standards for morality, when it comes to relationships and sex, have certainly been arbitrary. They change depending on when and where you live and who is setting the social standards. Historians will tell you that Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been thought to have married Joseph, a thirty-three-year-old man, at twelve or thirteen years of age, which was the norm in those days, and she also had several children at a young age, the first of course with the claim of a virgin birth. Yet our glorious, politically correct, who find trouble when there often is none, may have had Joseph up on pedophile or child-molestation charges if given the opportunity in today’s world.
The point of these stories is not to make light of using your head when engaging in sexual behavior or when engaging in relationships that deserve additional review, but that personal responsibility and equity have all but been abandoned when we measure how to assign objective responsibility in these cases. This is in part to credence given to these new modern-day fundamentalists called the politically correct.
Our whole civil justice system needs better guidelines or better juries and judges, because the victim syndrome of the last couple of decades has eroded much of our common sense when deciding cases for the plaintiffs. In life, whether you decide to smoke cigarettes, drive a car, have surgery, or engage in sexual relationships, you own some share of responsibility and cannot blame everyone else for failures within your chosen engagements in life, unless malice or clear and absolute gross negligence can be proven.
That is rarely the way the current system always works in reality. It should, but it does not.
When I went to school in my primary and secondary years, self-responsibility was, in my view, more fundamental, versus the victimhood that has replaced it today. In contrast, today if a teacher in some circles even touches a student, the teacher can be accused of misconduct and essentially held guilty until proven innocent. The student is almost always treated as the victim; in fact, the teachers are held up to ridicule and are impugned when they often have done nothing wrong except care enough to try to manage a given situation that required an adult’s physical or verbal intervention.
When I was a young student, I believe the majority of my friends, in most cases but not all, were in general more mature in some respects, because we understood and dealt with issues that today might make a young person think he or she were somehow a victim of inadvertent and innocuous actions, and consequently fail to show any sensitivity, understanding, or responsibility in a given situation. If young people have a sound family (mother and/or father, guardian(s), etc.) that supports personal responsibility, they will be responsible, but without that strong family support, they will often take the line of least resistance. Today that line is to become a victim and leverage your youth and presumed vulnerable status in society. That is a sad reality, and the real victims are all of us in the end. Personal responsibility is important. However, personal responsibility is removed from the politically correct paradigm. Victimhood is understood as the norm, not the exception.
That appears to be changing. Our society is beginning to question the motives and merits of these politically correct criers. There is an emerging recognition of the apparent over-reactive hype that is often orchestrated by so-called victims today. It literally pays to be a victim; it pays to stay sick or you will lose your government benefits, and so forth. This cycle of victim status is becoming as indigenous to our culture as individuality and hard work once were. I hope change in our society is coming soon, because this superficial victim status most importantly debases and diminishes true heinous acts upon real victims.
The politically correct are our neo-fascists, neo-fundamentalists, and neo-ideologues disguised as utopian saints. They are insidious and lost as to how to manage themselves, let alone others. Be wary of the politically correct. As George Bernard Shaw might have put it, “They can turn truth inside-out like a glove” at the drop of a hat, and they will, if victimhood can be attained.
Honesty is a better policy.
Please do not mistake sensitivity in language for the politically correct. Sensitivity is a quality in individuals that has great value, but to stifle or sacrifice honesty for sensitivity is a critical mistake, and one that must be managed with wisdom and good sense. There are clearly vulgate, informal, and formal modalities of language. There are appropriate forums in which to engage each of them, but the politically correct have taken this concept of properly socialized behavior to excessive abstracts, which has transformed the values of self-responsibility and common sense into far less-valued commodities of behavior. Self-responsibility, self-reliance, and common sense are essential for character and appropriate action. Unfortunately our current cultural tide of an either-or-black-and-white belief system, born of the politically correct, has taken away the mix of grays that both sides of an issue have in common. It has taken away the middle ground by which personal responsibility, common sense, pragmatism, and mutual understanding operate.
The ability to reason and understand the myriad circumstances involved when making decisions is what makes us humans and not automatons. Each situation has its own set of circumstances and deserves review, sometimes mitigation and understanding, and sometimes the full weight of difficult consequences. To be human requires judgment; if it required less, we would be mere drones and robots, responding at an amoebic level to stimuli. We are not amoeba; we are evolved self-aware beings, which have a higher standard and responsibility beyond taking the simple solution and meting out laws and behavior requirements that do not also consider context.
I want to also mention how oppressive political correctness can be in group settings. For instance, in many academia circles, which can be either liberal or conservative, this stranglehold from group political correctness is the greatest of oppressions. It is based in psychological terms on groupthink.
Groupthink is very simply explained as when you are in a group environment where the majority thinks one way, if you do not agree with the groupthink, you are a vile pariah. Integrity is not respected in such environments, and worse, not allowed within groupthink organizations, save by way of pseudo-acceptance rhetoric. There is an uneasy emotionalism or outright indignation within such groups. These groups carry a very emotional edge that limits the value and execution of logical or open communication. In such groups, diversity of thought is intellectual suicide for those without a strong constitution or a wish to be possibly ostracized or demoted in their careers. You must think as the others do within the group, or you are simply a swine or worse.
You find these behaviors often in youthful groups, such as on college campuses or other almost cultish organizations that have a holier-than-though, rather immature, and sometimes bombastic nature. As these groups mature, they do begin to lessen their emotionalism, replacing it with understanding or respect for the other side of an issue, however appalling, as the picture of life eventually broadens for them. But as young neophytes, by way of a new job, a new subject study course, or some change in their life, which uncovers the richness of having an identity through thinking for themselves, they can awaken intellectual passions to the point of zealot-like behaviors, giving their cause an imbalance that is rebuffed for its angered/passionate indignant edge, not always for its merits. In other words, indignation and callow quests for believing in what is right often rally these individuals to causes to the point where rationality and understanding are lost.
Conversely, maturity understands and demonstrates respect even for those so-called scoundrels in life, since you or I could be your very opponents simply by an unchosen different upbringing.
It is so very important to learn as soon as possible in this life that wise people clearly state the truth, but with a glint in their eye and compassion in their heart for the other person’s position, for the other person is sometimes only a duped pawn opposing them. This is the bedrock of maturity and respect, which are essential components of decent enlightened sentient beings, such as Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, and the Gandhi’s and Albert Schweitzer’s of this world.
In other words, think before you speak, and then continue to think again and again and always admit mistakes as you continue to mature. Let your mission be humility and caring for all. In contrast, avoid being an indignant politically correct person. Political correctness more often than not only illustrates an undisciplined, unruly child, shaking his or her rattler for identity and attention, and ultimately underpins the behavior for which wars are fought. Make no mistake: we all at some point contribute to warring behavior, but we should fight the hardest of battles within ourselves not to do so.
Political correctness is a judgment-based system outside of context. It is ideologically self-righteous and one of the human race’s great disgraces. The mischief these people have invoked on society through their pseudo-art of black-and-white intellectual judgment and discourse bankrupts reason while rewarding demagoguery.
It is rhetoric all wrapped up in catch-22, lily-white language that sounds good, but is anything but. It lacks understanding, balance of thought, and critical reason, extrapolating with demagoguery when any chance may arise. Political correctness also repels any honest discourse with individuals with the wrath of a psychological indignation fit for the great religious inquisitions of the Middle Ages. The politically correct do not respect opponents; they crucify them.
Political correctness is the insidious tool of either selfish scoundrels or unfortunate, poorly reasoned thinkers.
In either case, political correctness is shameful stuff.