Comic Talk and General Discussion *

Thought crimes
Ozoneocean at 11:17PM, Dec. 22, 2016
posts: 28,831
joined: 1-2-2004
THIS is what people really mean when they start to get upset about the bugbear shibboleth boojum that is “political correctness”.

They confuse it… They think there's something possibly wrong with using overly correct language, but they don't really know why and just criticise it for its own sake.

Thought crimes are the far end. THAT is when it's problematic.
Using inclusive language, being gender neutral, not demonising gay people, and trying not to be racist are GOOD things. They're better, they're GREAT. This trend should always continue and be positively encouraged.

When it gets bad though is when we start to police this sort of behaviour with real penalties- if we deleted posts people people didn't use the correct gender neutral terms, if we banned people for saying something that someone else construed as “offensive” in some indirect way, or if we reported people for even disagreeing with us on that- then that would be into the realm of thought crimes and a different field entirely.

To conclude- so called “political correctness” in language and behaviour is great, but policing, penalising, or applying extreme social pressure based on it is not.

Goes the other way too. If you're into penalising people for things then anything can be a thought crime. With the backlash against using inclusive language and feminism people are now often penalised for being a feminist or standing up for the less fortunate.
bravo1102 at 12:18AM, Dec. 23, 2016
posts: 6,117
joined: 1-21-2008
They came up with the term politically correct to avoid royalty payments to the estate of George Orwell.

Originally it was a term of ironic self reference just as Wikipedia says. I was there. Alan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind and Denesh D'Souza Illiberal Education were the first books to discuss it and I devoured them and the ensuing debates in the New York times. We knew it described the OrwellIan notion of thought crime and really saw no reason to make any distinction.

In a free society all free expression is sacrosanct whether one agrees with it or not. Life is about tolerating what one finds discomforting. Words are merely that. Symbolic action like flag burning is free expression no matter how much it may go against all one believes in. The US is one of the few nations where that expression is protected by a guarantee in the Constitution. So in the US free speech has to be tolerated whether it is politically correct or a thought crime.

As a student of US history and culture I believe in the ideals of the Enlightenment that were behind the Constitution. I have fought for the right of free speech (and not just by wasting ten years in the Army)

As I will say to my dying day, I may not agree with what you say but i will fight until death for your right to say it. That's what Orwell meant when he invented the term. One has to the right to free thought and free expression and that included the right to be offensive. Policing speech is not good because before you know it you will be Policing thought. That's what Orwell meant and what he knew from the history of his own time in Russia and Germany.

We would do well to forget our own agendas and remember that. Protection from offensive speech usually ends with oppression. Athens, Rome, England, America, Germany, Russia, France… time after time. Madison knew that, Cicero knew that, Seneca knew that, Orwell knew that. You would think we'd learn from their example rather than Robespierre, Stalin or the PC college community.

Ozoneocean, your entire post is a paraphrase of the words of the Jacobins during the French Revolution when they sought to stifle dissent. That's one thing the term politically correct alludes to as well as the Stalinist Russia and Maoist China.
last edited on Dec. 23, 2016 12:24AM
Ozoneocean at 1:10AM, Dec. 23, 2016
posts: 28,831
joined: 1-2-2004
You fell into the very trap I was talking about: confusing inclusive language with a thought crime.

I know why- you have preconceived responses and already thought out arguments that you like to use in these situations (as many people do), but you do not modify them or adapt them to fit the context or new circumstances.
I understand that but it's still a failure on your part.

Again: It's OK to be inclusive with your language.
But it's NOT ok to penalise people based on it: whether that's for not being inclusive or for BEING inclusive (because you don't like people being “PC”)

I'm not talking about being deliberately racist, sexist, or homophobic though. Those aren't thought crimes they're social transgressions and people will judge you accordingly.
The language doesn't matter in that case anyway, you can be a racist, homophobic, sexist prick without ever using racist, sexist or homophobic language.
last edited on Dec. 23, 2016 1:18AM
El Cid at 8:42AM, Dec. 23, 2016
posts: 1,273
joined: 5-4-2009
As far as I'm aware, there is no deafening outcry against people being inclusive and just generally polite and accepting for that matter, so I'm not sure who this topic is directed at? Your definitions may or may not be etymologically accurate – if incomplete – but I'm not sure they're all that relevant to the broader concerns people have, which are well justified and which you appear to be aiming to diminish.

I think the problem is that you're trying to isolate the objective – an inclusive, tolerant society – from the means, which tend to be exceedingly intolerant and socially corrosive, not to mention very possibly counterproductive. Implicitly then, you're acknowledging the problem. We can all agree on the objective, I think. But there are better ways of getting there.
KimLuster at 2:29PM, Dec. 23, 2016
posts: 795
joined: 5-15-2012
I got involved in a conversation a while back - we were discussing the difference in the populace responses when the Tsunami hit Japan vs. when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans (the latter saw widespread looting and destruction of property while the former saw people going out of their way to return lost valuables to owners). Good conversation, but then I had the temerity to use the word ‘Oriental’… I couldn't believe the backlash I got, how insensitive I was being to use the word, so much so that the original conversation was drowned out. I realize the word has a bit of baggage but it should be clear I did not mean offense near the level some took from it (I went overboard lauding the honor and integrity the Japanese displayed in their disaster), but no one cared. All that mattered was my insulting languange…

I'm still flabbergasted! This level of PC is nothing but bugbear shibboleth boojum. It's not all that uncommon, and I'm not confused when I detest it! ;)
Banes at 7:04AM, Feb. 21, 2017
posts: 672
joined: 8-13-2008
@KimLuster - That's a good example of what the problem with PC is. When it actually derails or destroys the discussion. And when “the discussion” (in a general sense) is stamped down, solutions to real problems are that much harder to figure out.

And the backlash can be nasty - repression tends to produce an ugly, overblown reaction that could have been avoided.

One of the many lessons taught to us by the Hulk!

mg78 at 11:22PM, Feb. 25, 2017
posts: 10
joined: 9-5-2016
avoid bad terms it's honorable, no doubt. BUT i feel the political correctness business quite hypocrite because:

ozoneocean wrote:
you can be a racist, homophobic, sexist prick without ever using racist, sexist or homophobic language.
last edited on Feb. 25, 2017 11:23PM

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