Political correctness versus common sense
The masters of political correctness in America are moving fast.
For example, consider the explosion of so-called gender identities." In 2016, New York City released a list of 31 genders approved by the city's Commission on Human Rights. While writing my book Reclaiming Common Sense, I consulted Google to find out how many genders there were then and was told that the answer was 63. Today, while writing this article, I re-Googled that question, and it was revealed to me that the latest number is 112.
Political correctness about gender identities is metastasizing rapidly, making it difficult for ordinarily busy people to keep up. And keep up we must, just as people living in the Soviet Union had to keep up with the constantly changing Communist party line. Not long ago, everyone understood the unchanging commonsense reality that human beings are either male or female. Today in New York City, the rules have been changed — and failure to keep up can have dire consequences. New York City's special 31 genders are surrounded by special legal protections. Businesses can now be fined as much as $250,000 for refusing to address someone by his preferred pronoun. As we have seen in the news, even in cities that have not yet have caught up with New York City in terms of imposing legal penalties, failing a test of political correctness about genders can result in public shaming or the loss of a job.
There is more to this story. Consider the names given the genders officially approved by New York City's Commission on Human Rights. The names include "drag king," "drag queen," "butch," "femme queen," "gender fluid," "gender blender," "gender gifted," "gender bender," and "femme person of transgender experience." Talk about rubbing our noses in it! The commissioners have gone out of their way to be outrageously transgressive. This is not accidental. They are making it abundantly clear they are ridiculing normal people and the world of common sense — the more outrageous, the better.
Why would they do that? Because the purpose of political correctness is to humiliate us. Under the cover of empowering people who deviate from normal, the proponents of political correctness are actually disempowering the rest of us.
Theodore Dalrymple has thought long and hard about political correctness. Here is what he has to say about it:
Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small.
In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity [integrity, honesty]. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.
I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
The masters of political correctness have selected a number of areas of American public life where common sense has been replaced by political correctness backed up by the threat of humiliation. When Americans speak up about the necessity of controlling our nation's borders or protest allowing illegal aliens to vote, they are accused of racism. When Americans protest rules allowing men who "identify" as women to use the facilities reserved for women, they are accused of bigotry. When Americans try to speak up about the need to take commonsense steps to address the threat of Islamic terrorists, they are accused of Islamophobia. And so on down the list.
The important thing to understand is that the masters of political correctness are not done yet. They have given us a glimpse of the future they have planned for us. If they continue to have their way, more and more will be required of us, and the penalties will eventually go beyond mere fines and public humiliation.
Robert Curry serves on the Board of Directors of the Claremont Institute. He is the author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea and Reclaiming Common Sense: Finding Truth in a Post-Truth World. Both are from Encounter Books.