Monday, February 1, 2016

PC and Manners Lost

Like most conservatives, I despise political correctness (PC). I proudly teach at a university whose unofficial motto is Politically Incorrect since 1971. I say “like most conservatives” because PC has frequently been used to shame and silence conservative voices. However, PC has grown so out-of-control that liberals now destroy other liberals who inadvertently say the wrong thing. While that is entertaining to watch, PC is still disastrous wherever it strikes. It’s not just conservatives who despise PC anymore, it’s the in-the-middle folks and conservative liberals that now despise it, too.

PC emerged in the 80’s and reached full maturity in the 90’s, so we’ve had it for over 30 years now. It’s gotten so bad on university campuses that comedian Jerry Seinfeld stop doing the college circuit. So what is PC exactly? Essentially, it is societal censorship. As I said, PC has been used to bash conservatives into silence, but that only accounts for the most egregious elements of PC. Most PC is really not all that bad. In fact, most PC is just plain ole’ manners. In a polite society, you wouldn’t call a female television anchor a bimbo because doing so would be rude. The difference between PC and good manners is that good manners require self-censorship whereas PC is societal censorship.

In this presidential election cycle, Donald Trump has blown the lid off of PC. Many of us think that is a great thing. He speaks his mind without any filter and doesn’t care who gets offended. After a generation of PC suffocation, Trump is a breath of fresh air and the masses of conservatives, in-the-middle folks, and conservative liberals are inhaling deeply: “Politically incorrect” has recently become a popular self-description on Twitter profiles.

But there’s one ‘yuge’ problem.

Many of those now feeling liberated from PC have apparently forgotten, or never learned, good manners. Nowhere is this more obvious than with Trump supporters online. They are obnoxious, rude, intolerant, and just plain mean. Trump has suddenly given everyone permission to flush political correctness, but he hasn’t led the way with good manners. In fact, he’s done the opposite.

No one is more pleased to see PC die than I am. However, if we want to live in a polite post-PC world, we need to remember our manners. That includes me, too, BTW.


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