August 8, 2010

MAN UP:

The new political correctness (The Economist, Aug 6th 2010)

We don't deserve not to be offended just because we got hurt. And just because we lost something doesn't mean we get everything we want, or even deserve everything we want. Religious freedom is an American value. The freedom to offend is too.

This is something Republicans used to believe in. George Bush senior criticised "a movement [that would] declare certain topics 'off-limits', certain expressions 'off-limits', even certain gestures 'off-limits'." The entire argument against political correctness held that women and minorities didn't have the right not to be offended. But now that its own constituents feel offended, the right is suddenly arguing in favour of sensitivity. Again, people who lost relatives on September 11th feel a personal loss, and society generally agrees on how to protect someone who's lost a loved one. But what about the rest of us? Do all Americans need sensitivity training, on how to deal with other Americans who might feel particularly hurt by September 11th? Should universities come up with a code of how to avoid saying or doing the wrong thing around September 11th? Now that the Republicans have come to embrace this form of political correctness, maybe both parties can have a sensitivity summit, where they can agree on what's off-limits in America. Maybe they can draw up a curriculum.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at August 8, 2010 7:30 AM
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