What Does "Politically Correct" Mean?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by spidergoat, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    This a very pessimistic and cynical perspective. It is also self-fulfilling.
    If you choose to let others define you, then ... well ... others will define you. And I guess you'll accept that.
    It behooves you to define yourself.
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  3. mtf Banned Banned

    While you're trying to keep up with the herd so that it doesn't trample you down?
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Giving one counter-example is not sufficent to generalize.

    Hm. I can't help but view this as a personal negative experience.

    I bet, if we took a poll, we would find that a majority of people feel that their own attitude about themselves is key to how others see them.
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Yes! [at the risk of seeming glib] Welcome to life!

    ** I saw what you did there.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I will be more than happy to answer your question once you answer mine.

    Do you believe that, as you stated, "being called a loser makes one a loser?"
  9. mtf Banned Banned

    Depends on who does the calling, though.

    Some people's words have no weight; the same words spoken by some other people can kill.
  10. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    So.... let me see.
    Those who advocate civil, respectful and sensitive public discourse are brutes, oppressors, tyrants, preventers of solving social problems, stiflers of critical thought and psychological manipulators.
    That's a lot of power, just for telling bigots to keep it to themselves.
    (PS - mtf is a self-proclaimed loser and adamant about it. Fortunately, the PC mob always comes to the aid of the underdog.)
  11. billvon Valued Senior Member

    OK, so you can't answer the question.

    It will be difficult to have a discussion with someone whose claims change from post to post.
  12. mtf Banned Banned

    I merely clarified my position.
  13. mtf Banned Banned

    You do realize there's an equivocation at work, do you?

    What one person deems to be civil, respectful and sensitive people, another person may deem brutes, oppressors, tyrants, preventers of solving social problems, stiflers of critical thought and psychological manipulators.

    PC works out of this equivocation.

    Do you think that, say, Stalin's supporters thought of him as a brute, oppressor, tyrant, preventer of solving social problems, stifler of critical thought and psychological manipulator? No, they didn't. They thought of him as being a civil, respectful and sensitive person. Otherwise, they wouldn't be his supporters.

    Do you think that the people _you_ call bigots, deem themselves to be bigots? They most certainly don't. They probably think you're the bigot.

    You're not nearly as sensitive as you want others to think you are.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Yes, they did. They, too, were brutal and power-hungry. After a while, they were mostly afraid, with very good reason: he purged quite a lot of his old friends. That always happens when you back "the strong man" instead of the smart one. I gather you don't know much about Stalin. Neither do I, really, except that I recall being warned that it was unsafe to look happy when they announced his death.
    Where did you get this bilge?
    Next, you'll be explaining that Trump's supporters chose him for his nuanced grasp of foreign policy and his profound understanding of the cultural mosaic.

    Actually, you've twisted and turned so much, I've lost track of what you're talking about.

    Summary: I would rather live in a society where people don't abuse one another. If you want to call that PC, fine. If you disapprove, fine.
  15. mtf Banned Banned

    Do you think people choose that which they themselves believe to be evil or bad?
    It's a given that if someone chooses something, they believe that it is good. Regardless of what someone else may think about it.

    I didn't twist or turn. All along, I'm talking about the relativity of ascribed qualities and about relativism in general: one man's mud is another man's gold.
    Since this is the philosophy forum, I thought it was a given that everyone participating is well aware of the problems of moral relativism, so we don't have to go over the basics.

    There is a problem in how to find solid ethical ground in a universe conceived as godless, much of philosophy has been devoted to this pursuit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism

    And in this thread, we are facing the exact same problems that philosophers have been addressing in their analyses.

    This is true for everyone. The problem is that people have vastly different ideas about what constitutes abuse.
    What one person calls "love," another may call "abuse."

    For example, Mahayana Buddhists who take secondary Bodhisattva vows, promise, among other things, to even kill, in the name of love and compassion for the person they kill (!!).
    Scroll down to "(4) Not committing a destructive action when love and compassion call for it"

    Would you consider it an act of love and compassion if someone were to kill you, even as that person believes they are doing it out of love and compassion for you?

    If a Mahayana Buddhist were to approach you with the conviction "Jeeves is doing so much harm, I better kill him for his own good" -- would you reply, "Yes, this Mahayana Buddhist is right. I shall let them kill me, for they are doing it out of love and compassion for me, for my own good" --?
  16. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    I should become a Buddhist now?
    I answered the OP to the best of my ability. I don't pretend it's an exhaustive philosophical analysis; nor do I feel such is required of me.
  17. mtf Banned Banned


    Well, maybe you are one of those fortunate who do not know what moral relativism is. That must be great!
    I didn't know such people existed, but it appears I've just learned something new.
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Some worthwhile discussion here.

    In my experience, people who complain loudly about "political correctness" are usually motivated to do so because they believe they ought to be able to treat other people with a lack of good manners and basic respect that any decent human being would accord to other human beings.

    There are few countries in the world that place as high a value on individualism as the United States. There are many Americans who believe it is - or ought to be - their god-given right to say whatever they want to whomever they want whenever they want. Even in this thread we've seen a few posters espousing the kind of dog-eat-dog mentality to which compassion, empathy and connection with other human beings as equals is an idea that rates no serious consideration. What matters is individual power and the will to dominate others. You will often notice that the people who complain loudly about "political correctness gone mad" are the same ones who cling fearfully to their guns and look suspiciously at their neighbours in case anyone should come and try to take away their hard-earned trophies. These people expect to be regarded by others in the same way that they are accustomed to thinking of others.

    The pervasive idea that every American is an island is one of the worst features of the United States - and it's a country that has many great features and great people.
    billvon and origin like this.
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Thanks for the link. That's an interesting article, and I agree with much of what the authors have to say there.

    There's certainly a problem if controversial ideas cannot be discussed in universities for fear that somebody might become emotionally upset. As the authors say, a classroom discussion of violence or rape or racism is unlikely to be followed by actual violence or rape or racism. A university classroom is usually a safe environment. It's an overblown fear to imagine that intelligent, educated adults won't be able to cope with material that they might find upsetting. And it would be absurd not to teach about, say, rape law in a course on criminal law for aspiring lawyers, on the grounds that the very mention might trigger an adverse reaction in a student in the class.

    The idea of microaggressions seems a rather silly idea of oversensitive people to me. Some people go out of their way to take offence when none is intended. A "reasonable person" test makes sense to me in this context. That is, I think it's fair to ask "Would a reasonable person find that comment/writing/speech offensive, given the context?" In fact, such a test makes a lot of sense in most instances where "political correctness" is alleged, too.
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I seems to recall a thread here in which there was discussion of the competitive nature of life, from just a few days ago.

    I personally don't think Social Darwinism is viable as a theory of human behaviour, but I don't see any reason why it can't be discussed here.
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    The idea that an individual is either entirely self-sufficient in his identity, or else entirely at the mercy of society's perceptions of him, is a false dichotomy.

    The fact is: no man is an island. Of course we are defined by what other people think of us, but we also have agency.
  22. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    Modern PC is, with perhaps a handful of exceptions, a myth.
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    No, no, no and no. That's insulting and it was obviously said with no attempt at all to put yourself in your opponent's place.

    As I wrote several pages back: "If it was simply a matter of empathy, politeness and tact, then people would show concern for everyone's feelings and would refrain from gratuitously offending anyone. Criticizing whites would be as off-limits as criticizing blacks. Attacking Christianity would be just as wrong as attacking Islam. Republicans wouldn't be treated as a 'fuck you' free-fire zone.

    In real life it isn't like that. Political correctness divides the world between those who supposedly need to receive protection from any possible offense, and those who can be offended with impunity. It's actually considered virtuous to offend the latter, while the former wear their hair-trigger sensitivities on their sleeves, daring people knock them off with unintended 'micro-offenses' invisible to anyone except the offended.

    That assumes that everyone is agreed on where those dividing lines lie and that their justifications are sound. Which isn't true at all. It assumes a whole underlying theory of oppression and victimhood in which the victims are defined as (surprise) all the members of the left's outsiders' voting coalition, while the oppressors are defined as their 'conservative' political opponents. Offending the latter is not only acceptable, it's virtuous.

    It's when that kind of thinking and behavior becomes mandatory and enforced in organizational contexts like universities or the courts that it turns into the more pernicious sort of political correctness that we increasingly see."

    Right. It's that freedom, liberty and democracy thing that the country has always stood for since its founding days. It's why some people speak of American exceptionalism.

    But I'll add that many of these issues about political correctness are arising in Europe too. (And probably in Australia as well.) It's global and not just an American issue, so your attempt to make this into an 'America vs the world' thing is badly conceived.

    As long as it's just speech, just words, most of us still believe that the government shouldn't get involved in suppressing expression of ideas that it (or those that control it) might dislike or disagree with. That doesn't mean that everyone has to agree or can't argue back. It just means that people can disagree with particular political theories, with the government, with religion or even blaspheme, without being arrested and hauled before the inquisition.

    That's been changing in the last few years and that's the issue in this thread. Historically, the American 'liberals' have upheld the individual liberty principle. They still do when it comes to sexual behavior, marijuana and groups like homosexuals. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union were created to defend it. But today the increasingly illiberal left is moving towards a more Stalinist theory in which all "politically incorrect" ideas and expressions must be forceably suppressed. In the past the liberals felt like outsiders in a country whose majority they didn't fully identify with and upheld individual freedom as their defense. But today they feel that their political coalition is achieving majority status, that it increasingly controls government, academia and the mass media, so that they no longer feel that they need protection and can start to enforce their will more directly and aggressively.

    Who has said that?? I certainly haven't. I think that if you review the thread, it was only this new 'mtf' person making that Nietzschean-style "social Darwinist" argument. 'Mtf' isn't an American (I think she lives somewhere in Europe) and doesn't represent the opinions of Americans. (I'm not even sure that she speaks for her, since I suspect that her argument is rhetorical, meant as a reductio-ad-absurdem of this board's support for atheism, Darwin and biological evolution.)

    That was insulting. What happened to your talk about "good manners" and "basic respect"? They turn on a dime, don't they?

    I could just as easily say that the oligarchical and would-be aristocratic elites that seek to control our lives are afraid of the people that they presume to rule. Allowing the "little people" to "cling fearfully to their guns" threatens the position of the self-proclaimed superior ones who desire a monopoly on armed force. It's a profoundly anti-democratic idea, and I think that it's a big part of what motivates the current jihad against private ownership of guns. It's also what the founders were concerned about when they put the right to bear arms in the Constitution.

    I think that it's America's best feature. Democracy, freedom and liberty are certainly better than the alternatives. I know that Australian labourites like to proclaim that Australia is an Asian country, but if you want communist China and its approach to social organization and free speech to be your model, I won't follow you there.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
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