Sunday, March 13, 2016

Has Political Correctness Run Amok? Does It Exist?

Few issues have ignited the internet like political correctness.  It's classic Culture War stuff that encroaches into territories of free speech, diversity, the ethics of discourse, politics, education, and even science fiction fandom. With US Presidential candidate Donald Trump currently discussing political correctness on a regular basis at his increasingly violent campaign rallies, the issue is more pressing than ever.
Donald Trump

I've been thinking about a post on this topic for months.  I've been collecting articles to cite, looking at specific cases, jotting down ideas, and even crafting clever lines (the most important part).

But in doing so it has occurred to me that the problem with the current discourse about political correctness isn't that people aren't giving enough answers.  The internet and Trump rallies are chock full of statements about the topic.  We don't need more answers.  The problem is that we aren't asking enough questions.

So here are some questions that I think we ought to ask.  Riffing on Immanuel Kant, I'm tempted to call this "A Prolegomena to Any Future Discourse about Political Correctness."

  1. Has political correctness run amok?  What does that even mean?
  2. What is "political correctness"?  Can we define this concept?  Does anything interesting follow from the fact that this is typically a term of abuse applied to other people?  Why is it almost always bad to be politically correct?
  3. Is it significant that, as per my armchair sociological observation, many of those who most vocally endorse the "political correctness has run amok" narrative are white and often also male, straight, cisgender, and American or British?  Could it be that this is a narrative that is, for whatever reason, more appealing to people in traditionally more advantaged social positions?  Does this explain that, although the "political correctness has run amok" narrative is more popular among libertarians and those on the right, there are significant pockets of support for the narrative among some, especially white men, on the left?  
  4. Even if one accepts, as one should, that to discount a claim purely based on its source is logically fallacious (the genetic fallacy), is it possible that there are real aspects of this issue that are more apparent to people with certain perspectives?  Is it possible that people in more advantaged social positions tend to have perspectives that include the authority to ignore other perspectives?  Is it possible that what looks like a reasonable request to "suck it up" from one perspective could be seen as a dehumanizing assault on one's basic dignity from another perspective? Can we ever get outside of our own perspectives to see what's really going on with this issue?  If not, should we all calm down a little bit?
  5. Does the fact that Donald Trump enthusiastically supports the "political correctness has run amok" narrative, which he has exploited for great political gain, tell us anything worthwhile about this narrative?
  6. Is political correctness a cut-and-dried free speech issue?  Why is it that many examples of the "political correctness has run amok" narrative involve cases where one group exercises its freedom to speak against ideas or to decide what speech they want to support in their space?  Is this really a threat to free speech in general if it's limited to a particular space?  Is there a right to tell people what speech to support in their space? Does political correctness threaten free speech in a more fundamental way by making people feel uncomfortable to say certain things at all?  How do we decide what counts as a threat to free speech in general?  Are there some things that just shouldn't be said in certain contexts?  Should all speech be allowed in all contexts?  If not, how do we decide when it's permissible to limit speech?  Is there a difference between limiting speech and simply asking people not to say certain things?
  7. What is the difference between political correctness and politeness or basic respect?  Is there a difference?  What happens if what one person calls political correctness another person calls being polite, civil, or respecting the humanity of others?  How do we settle these disputes?  Is it possible that this whole issue is really just based on the feeling that people don't like being told what to say?  Is it possible or desirable to change that feeling and thus shift the whole narrative on this issue?
  8. Does political correctness exist?  Is there some vast cabal of PC Police imposing the dictates of political correctness on the non-PC masses?  Is it a more subtle cultural force that dampens freedom in deeper, more insidious ways?  Is it possible that the "political correctness has run amok" narrative is like a mythological narrative in that, much like the real phenomenon of thunder is explained by mythological deities (Thor, Zeus, Set, etc.) there are real isolated politicized disputes about modes of expression but there is no overarching cultural force of political correctness?  What would count as evidence for any of these claims that everyone could accept?
  9. Is it possible that this issue is a lot more complicated than we (including myself) think it is?


Is Iain Banks (one of my favorite authors) right?



  1. Mike Glyer over at File 770 linked to this post, which has generated some interesting comments on that post. Check it out:

    1. Iain Banks's comment is a long way from the truth. If Political Correctness simply meant being polite then anything a Government says or does would be correct. Anyone with half a mind can see that governments are not in the business of being correct, just in the business of staying in power at any cost.

  2. You can easily answer these questions yourself. Start with a comprehensive reading of the histories of McCall's and Good Housekeeping magazines. Look at their circulation figures and how they were marketed, and to whom. Look at who worked for them and the authors they published. Then look at the rise of ad agencies prior to WW I and how they increasingly offered themselves as middlemen between businesses and magazines, offering analysis of demographics. Problem solved; an issue any 9 yr. old who opened a pack of baseball cards knew in 1950.

    This may seem an odd way of approaching matters, but trust me, light bulbs will come on.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure I see the connection, but maybe that's because I haven't done the experiment yet!

  3. A key point that you seem to be missing is that when you say that something is "politically correct" you're saying that it is objectively incorrect. Worse, it implies that the person making a PC statement knows he/she is lying but does so for political reasons.

    For example, conservatives argued that it was PC to say that blacks were not inferior, that homosexuals were not perverts, and that a woman could do a man's job. Their implication was that not only are those things false, but that even the liberals saying them knew them to be false. Politically correct, but not correct in any other sense.

    The term has been extended to cover any language meant to be nice to members of disadvantaged groups, but I don't think its root meaning has really changed very much. Person using the term "PC" implies that the he/she doesn't believe those groups deserve kindness and that he/she believes that anyone trying to show kindness is doing so for dishonest reasons.

    PC is a nasty, nasty term. People should be deeply insulted by it.

    1. I think hits the nail on the head - PC started as a perjorative uttered by right leaning individuals about the lefties response to dehumanising or otherwise discriminatory speech - here in the UK for example racism was endemic up to the late 60's. I remember, in my lifetime, the black & white minstrels, love thy neighbour and other explicitly racist and homophobic TV programs, but in the 80's there was a successful regaining of the narrative by the left which said that these things were unsuccessful. I'd hate to see a reversion.

    2. unsuccessful = unacceptible - my mind vomited the wrong word into that sentence!

    3. Oh, really? What "conservatives" argued that, and when? Compared to who? What was a "conservative"? Were all women's magazines published in the last century done so by non-conservatives? Are gays, women and blacks born liberal, or is it compulsory oppression which drives them to the right side of the tracks and liberal enlightenment? Is equal protection conservative or liberal, and who takes credit, the mid-century racists and sexists who promoted it, or the new anti-racists and anti-sexists who throw it down as a binding principle?

      What you say is "PC" is false and you know it. PC is the notion that all cultures are relative and that success is either unearned or earned, historically suppressed or promoted depending on one's race or sex. We know what "PC" is today; it is the ideology which has routinely lied about the history of SFF.

      Read Magazines in the 20th Century by Theodore Peterson (1956). That will cure any SF fan of their "PC" and make them realize the same lies have occurred outside SFF by the same ideology. If you love "PC" and false narratives, read David Stannard's book about Columbus, American Holocaust. It can rest right alongside Kameron Hurley's double-Hugo-winning "We Have Always Fought" in putting a bicycle tire pump of morality and technology which always firmly flows away from the wrong sort of race and sex and into the right sort of race and sex.

      And yes that is done for "political" reasons, if you want to call demonization theories of millions of people at a go "political."

      As for Gaiman and his insights into "PC," that's the guy who Tweeted his lack of understanding of segregated high school proms the same 2013 week the co-creators of WisCon's segregated space were humorously Tweeting about their no whites allowed room. 2 years later, Gaiman rolls over for one of those co-creators - K. Tempest Bradford - when she asks for people to segregate their reading based on the aforementioned lie about the history of fiction in America and how culture and marketing work. Apparently, Gaiman had suddenly forgotten who and in the name of what ideology had witchhunted his buddy Jonathan Ross out of a job at the Hugos for being a "white dude parade." There is nothing "insulting" about unpacking the lies and double standards of this miserable cult when it comes to "racism" and "sexism." It is clear that depends on your race and sex and not on the actions of individuals.

    4. Greg, that's a good point. Thanks for bringing it up. It's not clear when you say "you" whether you mean to address me in particular or whether you're using "you" more generally. If it's the first, I should say that I'm not making any particular point in this post, but I can say that my own opinions on the matter are probably close to yours (at least based on what I can gather from your comment). My strategy here, though, is to ask questions that might help to sharpen the issues for everyone involved, since this is the kind of debate that frequently devolves into an "us versus them" sort of thing. I'd rather see substantive debate than people shouting past each other, which isn't to say I don't have my own take on all of this. I may write another post later consisting of my answers to some of these questions. In any case, I appreciate your comment!

    5. Peter, thanks for your comment. Do you think the kind of progress you're talking about has continued in the UK? Here in the US I think we've made some progress, but the whole Donald Trump thing, along with the thinly veiled racism against President Obama, has really made me wonder lately.

    6. Fail Burton, I'm not sure I understand all your points in your response to Greg and I'm not going to respond to all of them, but here are a few things.

      First and most generally, it sounds like you may be reading a lot into Greg's response. Maybe he somehow implied all that, but it's not clear to me that he did.

      Second, I think it's fair to ask which conservatives Greg is talking about. If he finds his way back here, he may well have an answer for you. I would suggest listening to the things Donald Trump has been saying about Muslims. Trump would probably say that claiming that the vast majority of Muslims are not ISIS sympathizers is a PC thing to say, but it is actually just correct. One could find similar sentiments among many more philosophically consistent conservatives.

      Third, I don't think there's any necessary connection to cultural relativism in any of this (if that's what you were implying). And I don't see how one could deny that some people have unearned privilege and some people have unearned difficulties in most societies today. Note that this is a totally different thing than saying that white guys never have any disadvantages (which as a white guy myself, I can assure you is not the case, although there are some disadvantages I do not face that other people do).

      Lastly, I'm sorry to say that I'm not sure I completely understood everything you were getting at, so feel free to correct me. Thanks for stopping by.

    7. Surely a kinsmen of Orwell - with an interest in SF no less - can do better than to use phrases like "unearned privilege" or tell me I'm falsely reading something into a phrase like "disadvantaged groups" these people use like an incantation. It is very clear who is making them "disadvantaged" and it is always tens of millions of straight white males talked about as if they are one single immoral person. We call that "group defamation" over here as used in the titles of the ADL and GLAAD. It flies in the face of another concept we are fond of called "equal protection," not to mention "due process." I am not an accessory before or after the fact of everything from the East India Company to rape and nor do clever con games like "privilege" change that. Only supremacist ideologies maintain otherwise. Orwell never used these words but he basically said "beware of Nazis in pig-tails bearing gifts of wheel-chair access and allergies to scented products."

  4. Here's another question: Is there a lot in the "PC has run amok" narrative that is, in structure if not in content, similar to conspiracy theories? Do we have any reason to believe there are shadowy cabals of SJWs trying to ruin things for everyone? Is it like the conspiracy thinking engaged in by the Sad and Rabid Puppies (see my take on that here:

    1. Is the following a conspiracy theory or open collusion to promote fiction by affirmative action and discriminate against straight white males? Do you see any interest in literature there? That is a "shadowy cabal" only to the extent you are unaware of these quotes and hundreds of others like it. Are whites, men or heterosexuals in SFF doing the same for themselves? No. Are straight white males in SFF treated as if they do and have done so for 100 years? Yes, but where are the quotes to show that? It is a double standard so massive it is delusional. And how do you think such people vote come Hugo time?

      Want non-white, non-Eurocentric, fantasy that’s really fucking good? – TheOtherTracy

      Sofia Samatar ‏@SofiaSamatar My list (which is already growing, & will have to be updated!) of #horror by non-western writers/writers of color …

      Retweeted by Foz Meadows Nnedi Okorafor, PhD ‏@Nnedi 60 Black Women in Horror now on Smashwords …

      Retweeted by M J Locke A.C. Wise @ac_wise · My latest Women to Read post is at @sfsignal with @CarolineYoachim @erinmorgenstern @AlyxDellamonica & @mamohanraj …

      Dandy McFopperson @rosefox · @JonathanStrahan It was a really good year for queer and feminist SF/F.

      Rose Lemberg retweeted prezzey *Bogi Takács @bogiperson · just a reminder that i have a SF story with two #nonbinary #trans* protagonists :)… because yes

      Rose Lemberg retweeted Daniel Fredriksson @thelovelymrfred · I’ve decided to start a book group celebrating queer, feminist and postcolonial SF/F. It shall be called @fabulations. RTs appreciated

      Bee Sriduangkaew ‏@bees_ja Just cobbled this together quickly – a very incomplete list of queer SFF published in 2013 I liked!

      Alex D MacFarlane ‏@foxvertebrae I look forward to following it up with THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF SF STORIES BY WOMEN in 2014, which, trust me, is going to be fucking brilliant.

      D Franklin @D_Libris · Impact of my reading habits; 4 books by women in a row feels normal, 3 books by men feels weird, wrong, and abnormal. 2 by men just about ok

      Mikki Kendall retweeted Marjorie Liu @marjoriemliu · VONA, the nation’s only multi-genre workshop for writers of color, is now open for applications

      Shveta Thakrar retweeted Foz Meadows @fozmeadows · Straight white male voices are the cultural default. Encouraging people to a) recognise this fact and b) step outside it is a positive thing

      Jessica Valenti retweeted Jazmine Hughes ‏@jazzedloon us again: here is the Writers of Color list. send it to friends, professors, Obama, but most of all, yr EDITORS

      Retweeted by Natalie Luhrs Beth Wodzinski ‏@bethwodzinski Today’s a great day to buy books by @maryrobinette and the other terrific women of SFF.

      Retweeted by P Nielsen Hayden Laurie Penny ‏@PennyRed Fans, say it ain’t so – every writer and every director in the upcoming Dr Who series is a man?

      Retweeted by Kate Elliott Léonicka @leonicka · Are there advocates for diversity in publishing/literature in #NewZealand and #Australia? I wanna connect!

      Retweeted by Kate Elliott Léonicka @leonicka · I want to reach the point where all editors and publishers at Frankfurt are seeking projects by marginalized writers.

      I was trying to de-white my reading list a little bit, and was searching for writers of color… – SFF author Andrea Phillips

      Malinda Lo @malindalo · #WeNeedDiverseBooks because only 10% of 2013 YA bestsellers were about characters of color

      Retweeted by Aliette de Bodard Tor Truslow @toritruslow · SFF readers, check out @bees_ja’s timeline for recent series of tweets recommending stories featuring women & queer characters, good stuff.

      K Tempest Bradford retweeted Anna Hutchinson ‏@anna_verity hours ago White dudely authors being white and dudely and gross, get out of my life.

    2. I realize nothing I say will change what you think, so I'm responding more to promote understanding of an alternative interpretation, which is as good a reason as any to have a conversation. I have little hope of even doing that in your case, so I should also say that this response is more for the sake of anyone else who may have bothered to read this far.

      First of all, I am aware of many items on your list. Yet I don't find them to be knock down evidence in favor of the "PC has run amok" narrative. How can this be? Two possibilities:

      1. I am stupid. I don't think that's the case. Maybe you do. I honestly don't care if you think I'm stupid (if personal abuse is your goal, then you've failed). But if you're just going to say I'm stupid that's the end of this conversation as far as I'm concerned.

      2. I simply have a different idea of what all this actually means, that it's evidence not for PC running amok, but for a drive toward greater inclusiveness, which is in itself a good thing. As in point 8 of my original post, you and I simply have different ideas of what counts as evidence here. I think you're wrong, and vice versa, but the question is NOT whether these things happened and ipso facto PC is ruining SFF. The question is what are these things evidence FOR?

      You seem to be taking this as irrefutable evidence in favor of your claim. Drawing on points 3 and 4 in my original post, let's complicate this a bit (in the next comment).

    3. Continued...

      Of course, I don't know anything about you, so I won't comment on your race and sex. But I am a white guy (I suspect you are, too, but I should stress that I'm leaving that undecided and that some of this would go for men of other races as well).

      As a white guy in America, thinking about things like race and gender is totally optional for me. I would be free, if I wished, to think that everyone is an isolated self-made individual who's not affected differently in any way by the larger society. I am also free to think that my perspective on this is right at the expense of others, because part of being a white guy is that our society confers upon me the authority to ignore other perspectives. Sure, women and people of color are always saying they're treated differently and unfairly, but as a white dude I have the authority to cancel out everything they say simply by declaring it to be PC bullshit. Once I get the concept of PC bullshit, I can also do the same with other white guys, claiming that they have ruined their white dude's pristine grip on social reality by muddling it with political correctness.

      At some point I would have done this, but I changed my views over time. Why? I read and thought about this over the years, but the biggest factor for me was simply that I listened to my friends and family about their experiences of what it's like to be a woman and/or a person of color in America today. And when I listened, you know what I learned? That it's pretty different. Women have to think about all sorts of safety issues and have far more trouble getting people to recognize their authority than anything I've ever had to deal with. Black friends get pulled over in white neighborhoods for no reason. Asian friends are constantly treated as if they don't belong even if they're as American as I am. These are just some examples. If you don't want to listen to actual human beings, there are plenty of statistics to look at.

      So... what does this have to do with SFF? SFF authors and fans are people in a society. This means they are subject to the same kinds of advantages and disadvantages as anyone else. Let's take the issue with authority. Since white men are tacitly assumed to be authoritative, is it that crazy to think they may be given more authority as authors, editors, readers, fans, etc? Would this mean that, in general, white male authors are going to be given more attention? Does all of this mean that people with the social experiences of women or people of color are going to draw on those experiences in their work in a way that white men will find it harder to do? Would all of this mean that doing some work to seek out and support work by diverse types of authors would be a benefit to all of us, even white guys? Does someone like me especially need work from diverse perspectives to challenge my own perspective on things, or in the case of science fiction to imagine a diverse and more equitable future?

      People supporting diversity in SFF aren't doing it to discriminate against white guys, as you seem to think. They're doing it to make the field more equitable and, just as important, more interesting for all fans, even white guys.

      One last thing: you seem to think that this whole thing is based on the view that white guys are a secret cabal of people deliberately keeping women and people of color down. Beyond Vox Day and the Rabid Puppies (who do seem to want to deliberately do so), nobody is saying this is deliberate. Social structures are far more subtle than that. I never consciously discriminate against anyone, but that doesn't mean I don't benefit from subtle and often subconscious social structures.

      I'm guessing you won't accept any of this. Fine. That's not really my goal. My hope is just that some glimmer of understanding for you or some other reader might result. Thanks for commenting.

    4. If this is a question of "inclusiveness" as a neutral principle, then where the are calls for "diversity" in middle-weight boxing, romance fiction and delta blues? You and I both know that if I showed a trend of musicians recommending blues music by races other than blacks solely because of race, what that would be and what that is called. What would a Tweet be called that said "Buy this romance novel - it's great - it's by a man"? Each example would be promoting sexual and racial narcissism, if not outright supremacy, not music and literature.

      Secondly, this idea of "inclusion" is always presented as if there has been some "exclusion." Where is there any proof of that? Cultural interests tend towards demographic anomalies, not demographically accurate pie-charts. This is the entire basis of advertising and marketing and has been in America for 100 years. "Inclusion" is based on random cultural shifts, not informal boycotts. The idea women were ever excluded from SFF is a myth. The only thing that did that is the mid-century reading tastes of American women themselves as a demographic, since women dominated being marketed to in other magazines. In 1955, of the top 12 magazines in terms of circulation, 6 were aimed at women, none at men. Had women wanted to be in SFF they would've been - end of story. Therefore there is no factual basis for those Tweets to even exist. You cannot create an audience which isn't there or uncreate one which is. There has never been a male "pristine" grip on magazines; if anything I could make the opposite argument using actual facts. Where was that male authority? It didn't exist. Magazines catered to money, not some imaginary patriarchy. Is Cosmopolitan a patriarchy? Does it "exclude" men? Does Field & Stream "exclude" women?

      What does it even mean to say white authors are given more attention? Are black blues musicians given more attention? None of that even makes any sense. Are you consciously seeking out white blues musicians to get a more diverse perspective?

      The idea the people in those Tweets are being "equitable" is laughable. Anyone familiar with them knows they are viciously and obsessively anti-white and anti-male.

      I will accept what you can prove, not the "subtle" and "unconscious." That can mean anything one wants it to mean. Which would win in a court or debate: that or my Tweets?

  5. Interesting article, thanks!

    Of course the phrase 'PC run amok' seems to imply that PC applied properly can be a good thing. So mote it be.

    But now that phrase is passe. We're all Social Justice Warriors now.

    Replace the word Warrior with Advocate and I'll own up.

  6. Interesting article, thanks!

    Of course the phrase 'PC run amok' seems to imply that PC applied properly can be a good thing. So mote it be.

    But now that phrase is passe. We're all Social Justice Warriors now.

    Replace the word Warrior with Advocate and I'll own up.

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      The more I think about all this the more confused I become about what "political correctness" is even supposed to be.

      "Social Justice Advocate" sounds pretty good to me, too.

    2. This is how I see what "PC" is and came to be: Let's say for instance someone observes no one in American history has ever driven a cart, locomotive or car across a bridge built by women. That would be a "correct" observation. However, one does not go around sticking that in the face of women at a cocktail party, or anywhere for that matter. It would be rude - bad form. The only reason one would have for doing that is to act as some male supremacist bully or narcissist.

      Where PC goes off the rails is to take that "correct" observation" and pretend it's not just bad form, but false; that the reason no women have ever done such a thing is because of this or that or patriarchy, misogyny or whatever. Do that, and history itself then becomes "PC" and goes off the rails. Observable truths are no longer permitted. It is certainly impolite to remind Egypt they would need 100 armies to beat America, but it is also true. There is politeness and there is fact. The purposeful ideological confusion of the two is "PC." Ironically, it is inspired today mostly by feminist supremacist bullying and narcissism where actual global history is transformed and rewritten to suit an agenda and delicate sensibilities.

      "This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. After all, the chances are that those lies, or at any rate similar lies, will pass into history... The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world in which the Leader, or some ruling clique, controls not only the future but the past. If the Leader says of such and such an event, 'It never happened' -- well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five -- well, two and two are five." - George Orwell

      It is self-evident "PC" is a monstrous form of politeness.

  7. Wasn't "Politically Correct" coined by Marxists themselves as an internal critique? Conservatives only took it on much later.

  8. I think that political correctness is often a cry from folks that feel like freedom of speech is infringed on these days but also from people who are, let’s be honest, always at the receiving end of violent threats. I often find myself wondering what folks consider freedom of speech. Telling a group of people to attack another as we’ve seen politicians, civilians and government officials do over the years? Is it simply being able to speak your mind without feeling threatened? Is it silencing entire groups of people and interjecting your two cents about folks you know nothing about as we see is happening with both BLM and #bluelivesmatter? Is there a line to be crossed and when?

    I feel like conversations like the ones you have on your site are very good for opening discussions and having healthy talks (not fervent pointless arguments) about how we feel. I feel like even though we live in a free democratic country many Americans feel silenced. This is on many parts of the social spectrum and it’s sad.

    I think all voices should be heard. It let’s us know who is who and what every person individually stands for. This isn’t to say that some people don’t have cruel and unusual intentions and are anti-American bigots but yeah. There has to be a healthy middle. It seems like every political argument is based on false dichotomy or baseless string-like theories.

    Look at police and black people. Both are being silenced if you think about it and bigots are somehow managing to control the conversation. They then claim freedom of speech and that folks pointing out their slanderous rhetoric are communists. The truth is if folks really care about the police they would let them speak their own truth instead of pitting people against them in the name of something they may have nothing to do with. Conversely if folks really think that black people are bemoaning an invisible attacker there wouldn’t be so many dollars being spent to take away our American right to speak freely about the issues that make us feel hurt and betrayed by our fellow countrymen. People need to stop interjecting their hateful views and let each American speak for their self. This is another major problem that is inciting chaos in the Homefront.

    People love DT because they believe he reflects them. I mean—I don’t know. I guess if fearmongering spiteful duplicitous blithering buffoon sounds like you then more power to you. I just know that it was a bad move for him to so vehemently denounce the value of entire groups of people and to be buddies with white knight grand dragon supreme speaks volumes to his character. With the recent lies regarding a speech (this was dumb they should have just mentioned Michelle) upon the dissension in the right our politics just don’t make sense. The left isn’t too far behind either. Those giggles and smiles don’t fool me for one bit. PC is just a scapegoat.

    1. Thanks, Kyanna. I'm glad you find my conversations helpful! There's a lot of insanity and surface-level, fallacious thinking on the internet, so I try to do what I can to make things a little more sane, deeper, and more complicated.

      I think you're right that a lot of the talk about PC stuff is a kind of scapegoat. Maybe not all of the time, but a lot of the time I get the feeling that harping on whether people have the RIGHT to say whatever they want is a way of avoiding thinking about how we SHOULD talk to each other in a respectful, rational manner.

    2. Exactly. We need to stop using things like 'political correctness' to mask our shortcomings. I also agree with your comments regarding free speech. I don't understand why an American, or any human person for that matter, would defend savagery of any sort.