Look, here's the Straight Dope on Political Correctness

As Paul Rosenberg writes, recently Megyn Kelly challenged Donald Trump on his record of saying disparaging things about women. Trump replied only with, “The big problem this country has is being politically correct.” Otherwise, he dismissed the whole subject.

Which is what the whole “PC” thing is for.

We can have fun with PC jokes – “I’m not broke, I’m financially challenged!” – but the above is what the whole thing comes down to – that, and nothing at all more.

Look, this meme and complaints about it have been done to death repeatedly here.

Look, it could just as well be argued that instances of people being charged with racism, sexism, microaggressions etc. are attempts to shut down debate/expression of ideas. And such arguments of “suppression” are often just as dubious.

Helpful hint: it is not really necessary to create multiple GD thread titles starting with the word “Look”.*

i.e. “Look, Islam is not the enemy”.

Look, PC is also used as a pretext for authoritarians to shut down the free speech of others.

Let’s face it, some people are going to push back against social change and “too PC” is just their current catch phrase.

Why do they need a catch phrase? Wouldn’t argument do?

It’s my opinion political correctness is a double edged sword. The main benefits of PC is that it stopped many of the most offensive words and terms commonly used for minorities pre 1980’s. As with all political movements(and it was partly political) it was used & abused as a tool against political opponents. The misuse of political correctness culminated in the Rotherham scandal here in the UK. If political correctness can be misused in the UK and Cologne to hide rape and sexual assault it can be misused in the US political arena too.

Sure, if they had any. “I don’t like it” isn’t going to get them too far.

“Wouldn’t argument do?” implies a) an argument is easier than a catch phrase and b) they never make an argument. Both are untrue even if you think their arguments are flimsy.

And if we’re going to have a catch phrase, couldn’t it be something fun like “Hey, don’t blame daddy!”

Nearer the mark would be “Wouldn’t argument do – if they were confident in their arguments?” And I never seem to hear any such confidence, as distinct from certainty. Kelly challenged Trump, “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting.” He didn’t argue they deserved it, he simply swept the whole subject off the table by invoking “PC.” Never have I heard a single “argument” against, e.g., same-sex marriage that does not come down to “I don’t like it” or “Because God says so.” Racists do have actual “scientific racism” arguments, but they don’t dare use them in public very much and for good reason; such arguments always fall apart when closely examined. Dog-whistles have not enough actual content to facilitate close examination.

Agitators also use PC as a shield to mask regressive agendas. From Radical by Maajid Nawaz:

*"The student affairs manager was a chap called Dave Gomer. He was the point of contact between the college authorities and students. A friendly, affable, well-meaning guy, his politics were forged in an earlier era, a time when student protests were about sit-ins and strikes and occupying the Student Union. To someone of Dave’s generation, student protest was ‘kids being kids’ and a healthy part of someone’s political education. As you can imagine, we ran circles around that man.

Unlike the student protests in the 1960s, by using religion and multiculturalism as a cover, we brought an entirely foreign lexicon to the table. We knowingly presented political demands disguised as religion and multiculturalism, and deliberately labelled any objection to our demands as racism and bigotry".*

FYI - Nawaz was a recruiter for Islamist organisation Hizb-ut-Tahrir. He now runs an anti-Islamism think-tank. Radical is his autobiography.

Look, insulting someone is not an argument. That doesn’t mean there should be room for insults and demanding that the sphere of discourse be without insult is the problem being referred to.

I’m just really upset that I forgot to start my previous post with “Look”. Could a mod edit it for me?

As I said in another thread, there’s no political authority behind political correctness. We don’t live in the Soviet Union. It’s just social mores.

Saying you shouldn’t call women bitches is like saying you shouldn’t pick your nose in public. They’re rules about what society finds offensive.

In a world inhabited by a rational species with equal knowledge and information processing ability and no hidden motives, yes, argument would suffice.

And that’s not entirely accurate. Public universities have sanctioned people for speech.

I agree with Trump about this (at least as quoted in the OP).

The entire question directed at him was pure PC. "You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals”. Why is calling women he doesn’t like by those names categorized as misogynistic, while calling men he doesn’t like by those or similar names just treated as insults against those specific men? It amounts to an attempt to effectively treat women as a specially protected class, who can insult others but cannot be insulted themselves, via political correctness.

Because the former, and not the latter, are characteristic of historic patterns of misogyny, as you know. If he had hurled such insults at both African-Americans and whites, only the former would be racist; same reasons.

I don’t know that trump has a history of calling men those same names. Looking at this with no background info, if he has a habit of using disparaging insults against women, and women only, that supports an accusation of misogyny. Maybe his response to Meghan could have been, “I call lots of people those names, men and women. I’m an insult machine, not a misogynist!” That may have been a valid response. Instead, he rejected the validity of the question, as if there’s no way that calling women disparaging names could ever be an issue for anyone not worried about political correctness.

There’s nothing wrong with being politically correct. I’m PC, I try to watch what I say and not insult people undeservingly. I’ll insult people who I think deserve it, or whose station in life gives them a pretty good insulation to words (that’s why comedy punches up, not down). Its absolutely PC to tell Trump to shut up when he insults women and you know what? There is nothing wrong with that at all

Smart people can figure out where the line between shutting down discussion, which is what Trump claims, and actually just pointlessly insulting people.