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To think "politically correct" is one of the most over-used and misused terms around?

(392 Posts)
Nennypops Mon 24-Mar-14 18:08:09

I keep seeing the term 'politically correct' being used all over the place as a catch-all terms of abuse by people who clearly have no idea what the term means but want to convey that whatever it is that they disapprove is in some way unnecessary, wet, lentil-knitting, left-wing, or even positively harmful.

For the sake of convenience, I'll adopt the definition of political correctness given in Wikipedia - "a term that refers to language, ideas, or policies that address perceived or actual discrimination against or alienation of politically, socially or economically disadvantaged groups. The term usually implies that these social considerations are excessive or of a purely "political" nature. These groups most prominently include those defined by gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability."

I accept that it can be valid to criticise over-sensitive concerns about discrimination, but I've seen the term used in defence when someone is called out for blatant racism/sexism/homophobia etc and richly deserves it. It usually signals to me, frankly, that the person in question is even more of an a***hole than their original conduct suggested - they are trying to suggest that they are in some way justified and that complaining is ludicrously over-sensitive.

If I see the term incorrectly used in support of what otherwise might be a valid argument, it instantly annoys me and changes the way I view the person using the term. It tends to be used in relation to things which seem to me to be self-evidently beneficial - e.g. breastfeeding, the right to a fair trial, the right of children not to be left with abusive parents, etc. It is also quite often used for things that have no conceivable element of political correctness at all; I once saw it used in relation to the suggestion that it would be an idea to take an umbrella out when it's raining.

Seems to me that it's time to make the term completely redundant. If you find yourself about to use the term "politically correct" just stop, and find some other way of expressing your views.

SirChenjin Mon 24-Mar-14 18:09:42

Is that an instruction or a request?

justmyview Mon 24-Mar-14 18:10:26

I sometimes turn it on its head by saying "When you stop and think about it, what right thinking person wouldn't want to be politically correct?" That sometimes stops people in their tracks.

gordyslovesheep Mon 24-Mar-14 18:26:36

YANBU - this sums it up nicely

alsmutko Mon 24-Mar-14 18:29:23

IME, most people who bang on about political correctness are in fact far from PC.
People claim 'political correctness' when they mean 'elfansafety'. Or vice versa. Either way they're taking the piss.

alsmutko Mon 24-Mar-14 19:07:04

See this thread here for a misuse of the term 'political correctness':

WhatAFeline Mon 24-Mar-14 19:18:04

Gordy I love that clip and it has always stuck with me.

Nennypops Mon 24-Mar-14 19:50:31

Yup, "do-gooders" is another one. What is actually wrong with doing good?

linney Mon 24-Mar-14 19:54:41

Better a do gooder than a do badder!

My brother and I tried to introduce the extension do badder into the language but it didn't take.

claig Mon 24-Mar-14 20:13:43

'Yup, "do-gooders" is another one. What is actually wrong with doing good?'

Because 'do-gooders' is used as an ironic term.
'do badders' often claim they are 'do-gooders'.
They start what they call 'humanitarian wars'. They call themselves 'philanthropists' when they are sometimes responsible for wars.

'Political correctness' is used to stifle thought such as not all those who claim to be 'do-gooders' really are.

From wikipedia we have George Orwell's understanding of political correctness as a means of controlling language and thought for political ends. It was originally used by communists to enforce a communist party line against socialists who dared to deviate from communist dogma. As the Conservative politician, Pat Buchanan, says, it is used to enforce conformity by an elite and to cast those who disagree as heretics. It basically subverts freedom and has a corrosive effect on free expression for the benefit of a ruling political class. It starts with an acorn and grows into a tree as it designates more and more thought and speech heretical over time.

"Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism, a régime to punish dissent, and to stigmatize social heresy, as the Inquisition punished religious heresy. Its trademark is intolerance"


"Conservatives also trace the concept to the writings of George Orwell, particularly his Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Politics and the English Language (1946), in which political control of society and freedom of thought is established partly through control of the language, extolling some concepts and banning the mention of others.

Early-to-mid 20th century[edit]

In the early-to-mid 20th century, contemporary uses of the phrase “Politically Correct” were associated with the dogmatic application of Stalinist doctrine, debated between formal Communists (members of the Communist Party) and Socialists. The phrase was a colloquialism referring to the Communist "party line", which provided for "correct" positions on many matters of politics. According to American educator Herbert Kohl, writing about debates in New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s,

The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the CP line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance."

claig Mon 24-Mar-14 20:21:42

The ruling elite, the cabal of crooks and cheats, even want to make challenging what they call 'climate change' non-politically correct. They do it to cover their lies and schemes. But they are doomed to fail, because freedom will always win and people begin to mock them and laugh at them and their sanctions. That causes them to become ever more extreme in their desperation to control people's minds and portray them as heretics.

Here we have examples of where political correctness can lead.

"Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at global warming skeptics in 2007, declaring “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors.”

In 2007, a UN official – Yvo de Boer – warned that ignoring the urgency of global warming would be “criminally irresponsible.”

The same year, another UN official – UN special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland – said “it’s completely immoral, even, to question” the UN’s scientific consensus on climate.

In 2008, prominent Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be “thrown into jail.”

Nennypops Mon 24-Mar-14 22:45:38

I know the history of the term. My point is that it is constantly misused.

But I fear that you are falling into precisely that trap, claig, in relating it to the climate change debate. That is simply a matter of science; but those who deny climate change seek to suggest that its proponents are being 'politically correct' for precisely the reason I suggested in the original post, i.e. to try to denigrate and downgrade the theory when they lack actual facts and arguments. If you seek to deny climate change, fine, but do so by cogent discussion and the production of arguments, not by slinging silly phrases like 'politically correct' at those who are concerned about it.

claig Mon 24-Mar-14 23:25:04

but those who deny climate change seek to suggest that its proponents are being 'politically correct'

Here is the quote again

"Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at global warming skeptics in 2007, declaring “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors.”

It doesn't get much stronger than that. You are not allowed to question, to think and to speak if you do not agree with the politically correct orthodoxy. It has nothing to do with science, but has to do with heresy.

'My point is that it is constantly misused.'

It is not constantly misused. Political correctness continues to grow to encompass ever more proscribed thought to benefit the political elite - and that includes climate change, which is political, as well as many other political policies that aim to change society.

We know that the public is losing faith in what are called 'charities', but there is an attempt to stifle that thought. We know that the public is worried about immigration, but that was not allowed to be discussed for many years. What is the result? The public has voted for the party that is not politically correct - UKIP - and for a leader who smokes like a chimney and drinks more pints than William Hague. The proscribers of thought, the elites and their think tank planners are failing in their attempt to control public thought. They are seen as out-of-touch and not like real people and as not speaking their language. The public refuses to be penned in as heretics for the political benefit of the politically correct elites.

The term is political correctness, not polite correctness. It is not about being rude or impolite, it is about proscribing thought and free expression for the political benefit of an elite. It is about training people what they are allowed to think or say, and it is about restricting more and more thought as time goes on.

claig Mon 24-Mar-14 23:35:16

And I think this poster was wrong when she said

"See this thread here for a misuse of the term 'political correctness':"

The poster of that thread used the term correctly, because it is politically incorrect to dare to criticise the do-gooders flawed philosophy that the patient is not always right. The pressure is to act as if the patient is right even when the nurse knows that the patient is wrong.

Political correctness is a denial of free speech and often of truth, it is a stifling of truth by those who wish to proscribe thought. It is the classic example of the Emperor Has No Clothes and just as in that case, it will eventually crumble and fail when a brave child calls the politically correct elite's bluff.

claig Mon 24-Mar-14 23:46:36

Political correctness started off as a term used by communists to proscribe the thought of socialists who refused to toe the party line.

It is fitting that it started with communists, because that shows us where it leads to - to dissidents and heretics being described as insane if they did not agree with communist policy and those dissidents being locked in mental asylums. Political correctness will be defeated by the people and they will never be able to call the people traitors for laughing at their pretence of 'climate change'. The people will win by mocking them.

The people will stop the following happening

During the leadership of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, psychiatry was used as a tool to eliminate political opponents ("dissidents") who openly expressed beliefs that contradicted official dogma.[3] The term "philosophical intoxication" was widely used to diagnose mental disorders in cases where people disagreed with leaders and made them the target of criticism that used the writings by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin

ApocalypseThen Tue 25-Mar-14 06:25:39

You appear to feel unusually strongly about this.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 25-Mar-14 06:42:08

Political correctness is a denial of free speech and often of truth, it is a stifling of truth by those who wish to proscribe thought.

Bless you sweetie, I needed a laugh this morning, and before seven, too.

alsmutko Tue 25-Mar-14 07:19:00

I still maintain that the only people who accuse others of political incorrectness are the most politically incorrect of all. IME. They are doing it to be ironic.
Yes it is to stifle opinions. Those who do want to be PC rather than those who have unorthodox (or downright racist/sexist etc) opinions.
For instance a workmate described a (white English) colleague as being as much use as a chocolate tea pot. But he was told by someone else he couldn't say that as it wasn't PC. For some reason this (really rather racist) person thought any mention of the word chocolate would be considered non-PC by anyone who followed anti/racist codes. Which is ridiculous clearly. To me anyway.

claig Tue 25-Mar-14 07:22:40

'You appear to feel unusually strongly about this.'

No, I just analyse it from a philosophical perspective.
Political correctness is a growing trend in our society and one with negative consequences for freedom. But I am convinced that it will fail in the end because people will not accept restrictions on thought and freedom. I think it is a temporary phenomenon and I think the rise of a so-called politically incorrect party such as UKIP points to the fact that politically correctness stands on weak ground and will eventually fail.

Nocomet Tue 25-Mar-14 07:26:50

It's quicker to write than "you're an over sensitive guardian reading Twat, who has probably never suffered discrimination in your life"

PenelopeLane Tue 25-Mar-14 07:37:15

Everyone I know who uses the term "political correctness gone mad" or the like seems to just really mean "I miss the days when I could use derogatory racial slurs and make fun of people for their sexuality without being made to feel like the small-minded bigot that I am."

The worst case I've seen was I guy I knew at university who regularly ranted about PC gone mad, usually as a response to seeing a gay person on TV or another religion painted in a favourable light.

claig Tue 25-Mar-14 07:38:48

Political correctness and the stifling of expression will eventually have real political consequences as people begin to overturn it. The OP says that she thinks it is being misused. But to millions of people it is becoming a term that represents the mindset of control of thought and Orwellian thought crimes.

As alsmutko said, some people even tell others that they shouldn't use the phrase "as much use as a chocolate teapot".

It is for that reason that it won't last and it will backfire on the elite who promoted it in order to try and control the public's opinions.

'Britain's obsession with political correctness is driving voters to Ukip'

VOTERS are defecting from the Conservative Party to UKIP not because of the fight over Europe but due to political correctness, a Number 10 adviser has claimed.

Lord Ashcroft has argued that Ukip is taking voters away from the Tories due to the "prevailing culture of political correctness that they have ceased to represent the silent majority."

Dawndonnaagain Tue 25-Mar-14 07:53:38

Political correctness is a growing trend in our society and one with negative consequences for freedom.
Okay, you obviously have some problems. Political correctness, if it is a growing trend is a good thing. It prevents people from making homophobic, racist, sexist comments, as well as many other unwarranted observations about life. Freedom of speech comes with a responsibility and that responsibility is to use it wisely and fairly. Those who think that freedom of speech curtails their freedoms are usually those that have something particularly unpleasant to say and ergo do not deserve freedom of speech.
As for your complete and utter nonsense about political correctness and communism, other than suggesting medical advice, I honestly don't know what to say, other than reiterate that it is complete and utter nonsense.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 25-Mar-14 07:54:27

political correctness curtails...

claig Tue 25-Mar-14 08:03:22

'Okay, you obviously have some problems.'

Am I politically incorrect because I believe that political correctness is a harmful trend and because I believe that the Stalinist phrase of "philosophical intoxication" to brand dissidents as "having problems" or being insane lies along the same slippery slope?

Our language is being redefined in order to redefine our thoughts and ultimately it is for a political purpose not a purpose of politeness, that is why it is called political correctness.

We often see MN posters telling other posters that they should not use the word "idiot" anymore. While it is done for good intentions, it will eventually backfire and cause harm.

Here we have the climate of political correctness spread to politicians

"When it's right to call an idiot an idiot

The new Finance Bill is to remove references to “lunatic, idiot or insane persons" after Chris Leslie MP said that the terms are “clearly insulting and demeaning to people who would be regarded as incapacitated”. Conservative David Gauke agreed that the terms belong in the “Victorian age”.


Almost as bad, such euphemisms, by removing stigma or shame, also remove moral agency. I’ve noticed that homeless charities refer to the homeless as their “clients”; which is nothing like as infuriating as members of the criminal justice system using the same word to describe what were called “criminals” in Oldspeak. The criminal justice-social work complex also likes to apply “vulnerable” to describe young people who are “at risk” of breaking into their neighbour’s home or kicking someone’s head in. The downgrading of insanity, meanwhile, helped to pave the way for the disastrous closures of lunatic asylums in the 1980s, a cruel and inhumane policy that led to much personal tragedy.

But for such misguided ideas to win the battle their proponents must first control the language, and the aim of politically correct terminology is to make opposing views literally unsayable; the radicals have forced English speakers to accept their worldview or expose themselves as heretics. And as the language has changed so the political culture has become increasingly intolerant of offensive views."

'Okay, you obviously have some problems.'

I don't care if you think I have "problems". It shows your intolerance, not mine. I don't want to stop you saying what you think, I don't want you to stop having the freedom to be rude.

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