Political correctness

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I'm absolutely a feminist. The reason other feminists don't like me is that I criticize the movement, explaining that it needs a correction. Feminism has betrayed women, alienated men and women, replaced dialogue with political correctness. ~ Camille Paglia
Ranting about "political correctness" is best read as: "I can't really deal with the merits of your interpretation, so I'll deride it largely because it doesn't reinforce my own preferences and prejudices." ~ Brooks D. Simpson
[P]olitical correctness thrives on people's permitting themselves to be intimidated by the people who are the enforcers of these norms and orthodoxies. ~ Robert P. George

Political correctness (often abbreviated "PC") is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, ethnic, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and doing so to an excessive extent.


  • ‘Politically Correct’ was originally a phrase on the Leninist left to denote someone who steadfastly toed the party line. Then it evolved into ‘PC’, an ironic phrase among wised up leftists to denote someone whose line-toeing fervour was too much to bear. Only in connection with the PC debate itself did the phrase get picked up by people who had no fidelity to radicalism at all, but who relished the nasty syllables for their twist of irony.
    • Paul Berman, "Introduction", in Debating PC: The Debate over Political Correctness on College Campuses (New York 1992), p. 5.
  • Over the past few decades, we let ourselves be seduced by ideologies that sought not the truth, but absolute power. Ideology has settled in the domains of culture, education and communications, dominating the media, universities and schools. Ideology has invaded our homes and tried to dismantle what is the celula mater of any healthy society: the family. It has also tried to destroy the innocence of our children in an attempt to corrupt even their most basic and elementary identity: the biological one. “Political correctness” came to dominate the public debate, expelling rationality and replacing it with manipulation, recurring clichés and slogans. Ideology has invaded the human soul itself to reap it apart from God and from the dignity He has bestowed upon us. And with these methods, ideology has always left a trail of death, ignorance, and misery wherever it went. I am a living proof of this. I was cowardly knife-stabbed by a leftist militant and only survived by a miracle. Once again I thank God for my life. The United Nations can help us fight the materialistic and ideological environment that undermines some basic principles of human dignity. This Organization was created to promote peace between sovereign nations, as well as social progress with freedom, in accordance with the preamble of the UN Charter.
    • Jair Bolsonaro, Speech at the 74th UN General Assembly. Statement by Mr. Jair Messias Bolsonaro, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil. United Nations PaperSmart (24 September 2019).
  • The appeal of political correctness is that it attempts to change men’s souls by altering how they speak. If one sufficiently reforms language, certain thoughts become unthinkable, and the world moves in the approved direction.
  • Now rebadged as being ‘woke’, political correctness represents an existential threat to Western societies including concepts like rationality and reason, religious freedom and freedom of expression. We have entered an Orwellian world like 1984 where Big Brother and the Party control how citizens think and where anyone who questions the thought police is victimised, punished and silenced.
    • Kevin Donnelly, The Dictionary of Woke: How Orwellian Language Control and Group Think are Destroying Western Societies (2022)
  • I am politically incorrect, that's true. Political correctness to me is just intellectual terrorism. I find that really scary, and I won't be intimidated into changing my mind. Everyone isn't going to love you all the time.
    • Mel Gibson, as quoted in interview with Roald Rynning in Film Review (January 1997), p. 37
  • Political correctness is the natural continuum from the party line. What we are seeing once again is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. It is a heritage of communism, but they don't seem to see this.
  • Does political correctness have a good side? Yes, it does, for it makes us re-examine attitudes, and that is always useful. The trouble is that, as with all popular movements, the lunatic fringe so quickly ceases to be a fringe; the tail begins to wag the dog. For every woman or man who is quietly and sensibly using the idea to look carefully at our assumptions, there are twenty rabble-rousers whose real motive is a desire for power over others. The fact that they see themselves as antiracists or feminists or whatever does not make them any less rabble-rousers.
  • Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
  • It really worries me that 84% of this audience agrees with that statement, because the kind of people that say "political correctness gone mad" are usually using that phrase as a kind of cover action to attack minorities or people that they disagree with. I'm of an age that I can see what a difference political correctness has made. When I was four years old, my grandfather drove me around Birmingham, where the Tories had just fought an election campaign saying, "if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour," and he drove me around saying, "this is where all the niggers and the coons and the jungle bunnies live." And I remember being at school in the early 80s and my teacher, when he read the register, instead of saying the name of the one Asian boy in the class, he would say, "is the black spot in," right? And all these things have gradually been eroded by political correctness, which seems to me to be about an institutionalised politeness at its worst. And if there is some fallout from this, which means that someone in an office might get in trouble one day for saying something that someone was a bit unsure about because they couldn't decide whether it was sexist or homophobic or racist, it's a small price to pay for the massive benefits and improvements in the quality of life for millions of people that political correctness has made. It's a complete lie that allows the right, which basically controls media now, and national politics, to make people on the left who are concerned about the way people are represented look like killjoys. And I'm sick, I'm really sick — 84% of you in this room that have agreed with this phrase, you're like those people who turn around and go, "you know who the most oppressed minorities in Britain are? White, middle-class men." You're a bunch of idiots.
  • The modern academics find it politically incorrect to criticize the devastation under Islamic rule, even though post-colonial scholars have amply exposed the ruin created by the British.
    • Rajiv Malhotra, Indra's Net (2014)
  • A term originally created by leftists in humorous self-mockery, "PC" is now used to evoke Stalinist demands for conformity. Thus PC-baiting has become a post-Cold War substitute for anti-communism, and a dangerously reactionary political expression.
    • Elizabeth Martinez De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century (2017)
  • But is it really necessary, in 1947, to teach children to use expressions like "native" and "Chinaman"?
The last-named word has been regarded as offensive by the Chinese for at least a dozen years. As for “native,” it was being officially discountenanced even in India as long as twenty years ago.
It is no use answering that it is childish for an Indian or an African to feel insulted when he is called a “native.” We all have these feelings in one form or another. If a Chinese wants to be called a Chinese and not a Chinaman, if a Scotsman objects to be called a Scotchman, or if a Negro demands his capital N, it is only the most ordinary politeness to do what is asked of one.
  • ... these politically correct language initiatives are misguided and harmful. They create highly entitled professional “victims” who expect to be free from any offense, and they engender a stifling atmosphere where all individuals walk on eggshells lest they might commit a linguistic capital crime.
  • Political correctness is like the sting of the spider wasp. Recall that the afflicted spider is dragged to the wasp's burrow in a zombie-like state and is subsequently eaten in vivo by the wasp's offspring. Political correctness achieves the same macabre objective — it allows nefarious ideas to slowly consume us while we sit quietly in a zombie-like state, too afraid to speak out.
    • Gad Saad, The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense (2020)
  • The anti-political correctness types are really just trying to enforce their own standards of acceptable discourse and are furious at their inability to do so
  • Immoral (definition): Obsolete expression meaning "politically incorrect".
  • If I could believe that this was said sincerely, I could put up with anything.
  • We have now reached the point where every goon with a grievance, every bitter bigot, merely has to place the prefix, 'I know this is not politically correct, but...' in front of the usual string of insults in order to be not just safe from criticism, but actually a card, a lad, even a hero. Conversely, to talk about poverty and inequality, to draw attention to the reality that discrimination and injustice are still facts of life, is to commit the sin of political correctness. Anti-PC has become the latest cover for creeps. It is a godsend for every curmudgeon and crank, from fascists to the merely smug.
  • These "disguises" make us look like those politically-correct, multi-ethnic gangs that only rob people in bad TV shows.
  • We no longer talk about ‘political correctness’, but instead refer to its even more terrible child, the church of ‘woke’, which is the same thing, but more intense, intolerant and dogmatic. As with fashion, all ideologies will tend to the extreme. ‘Woke’ is turbocharged ‘PC’ for the social-media age, in which there is ever-more pressure to conform to ultra-liberal dogma, invariably in the name of ‘not giving offence’.
  • "We believe that political correctness stifles debate and will not facilitate a frank and mature discussion or solutions to get to the root of why the above pattern is emerging in these crimes and how to help find a solution to the problem."We will not be able to do that if we mask the identity of those involved based on misguided views of 'protecting a vulnerable community' of the perpetrators and not looking at the vulnerable community of victims."
    • About alleged political correctness related to the child grooming scandal in the U.K. Joint statement that was released by the Network of Sikh Organisations UK, The Hindu Forum of Britain, and The Sikh Media Monitoring Group UK. As reported in BBC
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