Wednesday, May 4, 2016
A favorite target of right-wing wrath is political correctness (PC), and and its supposed practitioners, who are referred to as social justice warriors (SJW). Political correctness is a pejorative term that denotes the tendency to limit speech so as not to offend any particular group of people, such as minorities, nationalities, or disadvantaged people. It is often embraced by young, liberal-minded people, especially college students. In many cases, they have taken it to extremes by instituting overbearing campus speech codes and stifling free expression. In the worst cases, people have lost their careers for saying things that fall afoul of the SJWs. These extreme cases give conservatives some legitimate reason to heap scorn upon liberal PC and the SJWs, and I agree with them, up to a point.
However, many on the right tend to see things as black or white. PC is viewed as a phenomenon of the strictly left-wing, atheist, anti-moral, low-intelligence freedom haters. It stands in opposition to all that is good and moral. It's us against conservative ideals. I've always felt that one of the biggest reasons they have such scorn for PC is that their own (typically religiously motivated) hateful or bigoted sentiments are often held up by the SJWs as being politically incorrect. In response, many right-wingers will take the very worst examples of PC, and claim that these views are representative of anyone who is liberal or irreligious.
But PC is not limited to the left. Whatever name you choose to call it by, there is an orthodoxy of speech and many things that are off limits for conservative parlance. Conservatives love to think of themselves as champions of free speech, but the reality is that they're no better than the liberal PC crowd of which they find so much reason to be critical. Who tries to ban books? It isn't the lefties. Many Conservatives will insist that banning certain books in schools is the only kind of speech restriction practiced by the right, and they do it, of course, for the right reasons. Right-wing PC is just a fantasy, they say. You really can't call that PC, can you? Well, not unless you understand the truth that their desire to ban books extends beyond schools.
But aside from school books, there are certain topics that are taboo for them. Just ask the Dixie Chicks, who were boycotted for opposing the Iraq war. Or the country music DJs who lost their jobs for defying the boycott. And of course, there have been numerous efforts to silence "immoral" or gay-friendly material in the media. The airing of Ellen's coming out was fiercely opposed by right-wing and religious organizations. And what about campus speech? In an environment controlled by the right, you don't lose your job for being insensitive to the plight of marginalized groups - you lose it for being sympathetic toward them. The environment in such institutions is easily just as repressive, if not more so, than the worst PC found on liberal campuses. One big difference is that liberal PC is largely self-imposed by students, while right-wing PC is imposed by institutional authorities. Some conservatives would even use official authority to police campuses in order to assure that no self-imposed liberal speech codes are allowed.
And there is definitely a right-wing orthodoxy being pushed among the general public, too. It is characterized in part by a sense of victimization. Conservatives feel as it they are under attack. They feel that their patriotic values are being undermined, and they want to "take America back". They want to build a wall at the border. They complain of religious persecution, and the "war on Christmas". At the same time, they take pride in turning the tables on liberals by expressing un-PC ideas that can be demeaning or hurtful toward those who are supposedly protected from such language by liberal PC. They are openly defiant of any concerns for protecting the environment or ecology, or for preserving natural resources, because those things are associated with liberalism.
They want to change the language we all use to bend everyone's thinking toward their ideology. The word "fetus" has practically been eliminated from the language, and replaced by "unborn baby", for instance. They describe centrist politicians as "socialists". Estate taxes have become "death taxes". Anti-union laws are known as "right to work" laws. Global warming deniers are called "skeptics".
Right-wing political correctness is arguably more pervasive than liberal PC. It's practitioners are every bit as much social justice warriors as the left-wing SJWs. The biggest difference between them is that the liberal SJW is concerned for the well-being of others, while the right-wing SJW is far more concerned about his own well-being, and openly hostile toward that of others.