Political Correctness: another personal failing made virtuous

In my silence over the past week, I’ve made use of the internal monologue. I am in a state of transition, with many elements of my personal and professional self brought to the table for evaluation.

In my heart of hearts, I will admit to you, this is what I want most. I care first and foremost about our future. Whether it is the wonder I feel as I watch my children grow or the joy I find when I hear other children laugh, the future belongs to them and I believe I can offer something of value to the relevant discourse. Whatever that actual topic is, I’m yet to define.

The realist in me reminds me not to hold my breath however and enjoy what placing I have with NewAnthro. So, as the initial paragraph stated, I’ve been thinking whilst unable to write.

My attempt at taking a break was entirely without my enthusiasm. If anything, I’ve wanted to write more. However, it was at odds with my current situation and, as you and I are now aware, a futile act against my better judgement and will. I tried political correctness as a compromise, but like the new clothes belonging to the emperor, I felt uncomfortable and all who know me saw right through it.

One of the results of this has been my reflection upon political correctness itself. I won’t bore you with much additional detail but to say that I have heard a lot of it recently and come to the conclusion that the term “political correctness” is nothing more than a politically correct term for lying. In short, someone will ask, how best can I explain something to be bullshit, without saying so? Or, how can I say this is a great thing without sounding bias?

How to say without saying. Whether by choice or under coersion, political correctness is about avoiding direct accountability for ones beliefs and/or statements.

Political correctness has taken centre stage in most discussions, from human rights to environmental governance, replacing philosophy and empirical evidence with a muse. It nullifies the true message of the speaker and makes a mockery of any potential critical review. We talk of free speech, but while we are free to be politically correct in our speech, our speech is never free when politically correct. Our value in the discussion is well and truly lost.

By being politically correct, we trade honesty, disclosure and integrity for wordcraft.

How best could I frame the disgusting environment, terrible species lost and the level of pollution that we are handing to our children other than to say that it is inexcusable and repugnant, with a straight face?

We simply cannot if we wish to remain honest. Likewise when we talk about the level of human suffering, not only globally, but locally, with even the wealthiest of us wrapped up warmly in our nests while someone sleeps in rags under some overhanging infrastructure a short drive away.

While life choices remain unsustainable, allowing valuable resources to degrade, erode and disappear, we have failed. While we continue to turn a blind eye to human suffering, we have failed. We could be politically correct and say, well, look, the situation is complex and we are endeavouring to formulate a meaningful and ongoing dialogue on the subject… or we can be honest and say, this is not good enough and if we care about our children and our community, we better clean up our act and do so fast.

Otherwise we risk being a generation able to whitewash over some of the worst acts upon ourselves and those who follow. Political correctness is true doublespeak. Honesty is always the best policy.


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