One of the biggest mistakes the left makes, in my opinion, is letting the right define terms like "political correctness."

 Yes, political correctness is one of our biggest problems.
 No, it isn't about using words like "n***ger," putting down someone's race, ethnicity, sex or religion. Just like Nazis calling Jews "vermin," that kind of usage is about personal responsibility: something the right claims to want from everyone. "Wants" from everyone but themselves, apparently. Instead of "political correctness" it's about how we should treat each other, how we shouldn't vilify vast groups, like Muslims, and demonize all of them in politically conveniently abusive ways. In the mildest cases it's all about common decency, and not bringing conversations down to nothing more than back and forth, personal, insults. In the worst cases it's called attempting to encourage others to commit murder on a massive scale.
 Problem is Trump, and much of the right, don't want an end to political correctness. They want to have exclusive rights to political correctness.
 We are responsible for what we say to each other. Generally what we say can't be banned, or made illegal to say, but that freedom doesn't mean you are immune to criticism for saying it. That would be you are demanding political correctness from those who might criticize you.
 And, yes, there are limits to what you can say. I can't tell you to murder someone during a bank heist and only you get prosecuted for that murder.
 To go further into political correctness... as kids many folks knew about the playground bully who, when brought to account for his actions, blames someone else, makes wild accusations. It's called trying to punish those one victimizes because, otherwise, their very existence makes it obvious how badly they're being treated, or to distract someone who catches the bully bullying.
 Which, of course, brings us back to he who kept claiming political correctness was the biggest problem America has faced, but demands it from others when it serves his purpose. Everyone must agree any news that doesn't please him must be serves him "fake news." He, and his appointees, have the "right" to only take questions from those who please him.
 Some of these are classic neo-con tactics used since at least GWB's presidential days. And Trump serves these goals well through distract, distract and, um, "distract."
 Telling someone they were wrong to brag about grabbing women isn't an example of political correctness; it's pointing out the obvious: bragging about assault is wrong.
 Telling people it's wrong, it's racist, to compare blacks to monkeys as the right did so often during the last president's term isn't "political correctness," anymore than telling people it's wrong to compare Jews to vermin.
 Telling someone who has claimed he's getting all kinds of evidence the president was born in Kenya, isn't a citizen, that what they're doing is wrong isn't "political correctness." Until proven otherwise it's exposing slander and an outright lie.
 Telling people all Muslims (or immigrants) are dangerous, possible terrorists, likely to behead anyone, fly planes into buildings, has nothing to do with political correctness, no more than objecting to those who liken all Christians to witch burners, Jimmy Jones or he who would walk into Unitarian, or black, churches and murder parishioners.
 True political, religious, correctness is demanding others not challenge such things.
 Purging DOJ, justices or possibly the CBO because you're not happy with the fact they hold you to account is certainly demanding political correctness. The heads of the CBO and the DOJ have already been purged to assure these positions are filled by highly partisan, Trump friendly, appointees. But I suspect bigger purges may be on the way, if necessary to assure the president and his team never be held account for anything. Talk about "political correctness."
 One big mistake the left has made for many years is thinking hating the phrase might make it go away. If anything it assures it will be used even more. Another big mistake they have made is not understanding that meaning is quite malleable. Anyone who has sat through college classes attempting to interpret poetry or prose comes to understand one can find many meanings to words, to phrases. This is something the wordsters on the right understand, like Frank Luntz. Indeed this is something the religious right understands all too well, especially those who enforce dogma, ritual. You see this in the demand that the only correct way to view the founding of America is through the views, the beliefs, of extreme fundamentalists.
 Quick question, when Jesus said, "Do this in memory of me," how many think he meant repeat these same words, do this exactly as he did it? Or, perhaps, whenever we gather to do good works, to serve the poor, to "commune," to remember him, to strive to be better, more Jesus-like, if you wish?
 Personally I think it more likely the latter. But politically, socially and religiously it's often so much easier to train followers to be sheeple. Just like it's easy to get true believers to accept that you're being spied on by a microwave because it distracts from what you have done, what you are doing. I'm waiting for some convoluted reasoning as to how Obama might have "MacGyver-ed" that. I suspect it's already out there.
 The extreme right has gotten really good at that: absurd claims and lies meant to distract. They put to shame their 60s, Firing Line, William F. Buckley roots.
 There's nothing wrong with the phrase "political correctness." Indeed, how it has been so narrowly defined by the right is the ultimate demand for... you already know what I'm about to type, right? "...political correctness."

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2017
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved


Roland de Brabant's picture
Roland de Brabant 35 weeks 1 day ago

While I tend to agree with most of what you wrote, Ken, you were discussing orthodoxy, not "political correctness".

In the late sixties and early seventies when the anti-war movement was in full bloom there were a lot of hangers-on attracted by the sex and drugs and rock and roll. While these folks seldom put out the efforts or took the risks of those active in the labor, civil rights or anti-war movements, they tended to justify their presence by reciting a litany of liberal sounding ideas, often beginning with the phrase "in a better world...". Soon, as the anti-war movement dissolved, these folks stayed on and moved into leadership positions of "movements" primarily interested in raising funds to pay themselves. Then they started contesting with each other over the degree to which they were "politically correct"; take antibiotics and lose all points for being a vegetarian. Human rights for robots and Martians. "In a better world being important would not be important."

But what did it matter? Labor rights, civil rights and women's rights seemed secure and the war was over. Or so it seemed.

About twenty-five years ago I met with some folks who wanted to preserve public school funding. I suggested we ask Dick Gregory, a school funding crusader, for his help. Most of the folks there excoriated me for that suggestion; did I not know the Gregory had said some unsupportive things about "gays"? In the end school funding was cut.

So a lot of people on what had been the left manifested a lot of guilt. They claimed that "hip-hop" is comparable to Mozart, that some people are born "transgender", that one should support PantSuitonFire merely because she has indoor plumbing, et c.

While America has a long tradition of punishing non-conformity, it also has a long tradition of valuing plain speaking. And so, a lot of people are fed up with political rectitude. Clinton demonstrated this by making it a main point of her campaign to point out how politically incorrect Trump is. Heck, everyone already knew that Trump is the poster boy for political incorrectness, and very few cared about that. This one mistake, among many others, might have cost her the election.

Every time one tries to make a big deal about "politically correct" non-issues one is defeating any movement they claim to support.


Legend 35 weeks 1 day ago

Hillary said Deplorables and it cost her the election. Trump said whatever he wanted to and won. PC?

Roland de Brabant's picture
Roland de Brabant 35 weeks 1 day ago
Quote Legend:

Hillary said Deplorables and it cost her the election. Trump said whatever he wanted to and won. PC?

A total rejection of PC, actually.


ken carman's picture
ken carman 34 weeks 2 days ago

You may be right, though sometimes I find the distinction between orthodoxy and PC rather fine, if any.

Interesting, great, assessment.

ken carman's picture
ken carman 34 weeks 10 hours ago

Actually I think the "deplorable" comment may have had far less negative effect than you do. In fact there are many of us who agree. The media, of course, rarely completed the statement where she said half deplorable and the rest concerned about their country. It was actually quite respectful. I do disagree with the stat, which was probably arbitrary. (How does one take that stat, one must ask?) Maybe 30% deplorable? Just a guess.

I wouldn't doubt if the statement got her more votes than it lost. We all know Klansman Duke, Nazis and others who DEFINE "deplorable" supported him. It took nerve to say what many of us were thinking.

Yes, Trump said whatever he wanted, and these deplorables loved it. Other Trump voters were going to vote Trump for many reasons, one of them a well funded 30 plus year jihad against the Clintons, doing everything possible, tell any lie, so as to inspire hate.

BTW, I'm certainly not claiming either of them didn't help that along in some ways. I voted Bernie in the TN primary for many reasons, including the amount immense negatives she had: whether worthy of them, or not. As I said in the 90s about the Monica gunk, "REALLY? You KNOW you're being hunted and you do THIS???"

But Trump? I disliked him long before he ran for anything.

I firmly believe the main reason she lost was election fraud tactics, covered in my next edition.

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