The subject of Political Correctness is often not far away when discussing politics and one of my hobby horses – culture wars. I put a stake in the ground about the subject over two years ago, and checking out what I wrote then, I still agree with what I wrote but given what I am about to write would emphasize how important it is to define terms and be prepared to have our views challenged.
Trump & Co. are just as thin-skinned and immature as the caricature they’ve successfully painted of the left.
Political correctness is often seen as one of the “sins” of the liberal progressives use to brow beat those who do not go along with their agenda, and to an extent that remains the case. But when a friend shared an article titled: “Your Political Correctness is Showing, Conservatives” I had to concede that to some extent at least that reactionary conservatives can also be politically correct and are adept at using the term to attack their opponents as evidenced in the recent US Presidential and Brexit campaigns.
The article begins: “President-elect Donald Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon keep confirming an argument I’ve been making for a while: conservatives are just as “politically correct” as they claim liberals and the left are. They’re just as touchy about it, too—in fact, they might even be worse—and they have the capacity to be far more militant about it. This should be cause for great concern”. It then goes on to give examples of how this anti-PC brigade can use their notion of what is politically correct to attack those who don’t go along with what they feel to be important. According to the author, political correctness has been redefined in a derogatory way – “Conservatives ingeniously rebranded PC as a political monopoly that only applied to liberals and the left”.
The author attacks perhaps his main nemesis: “Donald Trump and many of his supporters have argued that (liberal) political correctness spawned a culture that is simultaneously tyrannical in its treatment of opposing worldviews and “wimpy” in its unquenchable penchant to “whine” about not “hurting people’s feelings.” But Donald Trump is simultaneously more tyrannical about silencing opposition (“Get ‘em out!”; “Lock her up!”) and infinitely more whiny (his words) and sensitive about people hurting his feelings (“So unfair!” “They’re very mean to me!”)”.
He is also scathing toward one of Trumps leading sidekicks, Steve Bannon: “Don’t call him a white nationalist; that’s not PC. He prefers the term “economic nationalist.” And no, denouncing immigrants and Muslims isn’t racism; it’s called taking our country back. Erecting the border wall or reviving the Muslim registry isn’t xenophobia, it’s simply enhancing national security. “Neo-Nazis” is an outdated and offensive term. Bannon prefers you call them the “alt-right.”” He raises alarms “correct” conservative doctrine is now being formulated by Trump and his entourage and those who fail to fall into line, even among Conservative ranks, are likely to be castigated in their redefinition of PC.
In rounding off he makes the point: “Trump has thus cannily pitched his hostility to political correctness as a kind of common-sense realism, a truth that cuts through the bullshit of liberal “good manners.” And yet his temperamental worldview and exuberantly pie-eyed estimations of his powers in office are dangerously unrealistic. But Trump’s way of pushing this worldview, this “truth,” is by manufacturing a consensus and commanding political allegiance through culture and feeling”. He reflects on the incident when Vice President elect Spence attended the production “Hamilton” and was soundly lectured at the end (interesting, and not mentioned here, when Bernie Sanders attended he was applauded and just maybe Pence wanted a nice night out to the theatre without being “got at”). “Sending Vice President Mike Pence to see Hamilton, for instance, was very obviously a ploy by Trump & Co. to make themselves seem more sympathetic, to further shore up the politically correct allegiance of Trump supporters with a cost-free spectacle of alleged right-baiting”.
Reading this article was not easy going but was worth the effort because of the points being made. It would appear from those final remarks attacking Trump and his team over their response to the “Hamilton” episode, he would be more likely to align with the so called politically correct brigade Trump and co despise. Yet I concede that important points were made which will make me think twice before using politically correctness as a term of derision to attack the liberal progressive types I regularly come across. But as with all terms, it is important to understand what it is we are criticizing and why, as the author argues to well. It seems to me that the time will come when political correctness will become a cliché and for sensible, thinking types not to give it much credence. What is important is to be, say, do, think correct, regardless of politics.
In my blogs, it might appear that I am more in the conservative, reactionary camp than the liberal progressive one (whatever those terms mean) and I am more likely to support Trump than his detractors. But it doesn’t give him a right to impose his dogma on me. I don’t believe in the right to bear arms, uncritical Zionism, unfettered free market capitalism, simplistic solutions and non intervention on environmental matters, for example. I don’t believe it is right to insult minorities and those who are in weakened positions – all deserve our respect. My concern is particularly for the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed and my values are that of the Kingdom (of God): “righteousness”, “justice”, “truth” and “meekness”. And I will try to be anti-cliché.