I've thought about that for a couple of days, now. Like you, I'm growing accustomed to the conservative backlash over political correctness. I wince every time I hear "PC" used to denigrate an idea or argument.
Even worse, the accusation that something is PC justifies people who immediately stop listening--do not pass go, do not collect your two hundred bucks. "Oh, that's just so much PC bullshit" is sort of the ultimate ad hominem--attacking not just one speaker, but an entire class of speakers and ideas.
Right over the fucking top is the way the other guys--you know, the ones who hate all things PC with a passion--keep making up bogus stories about imagined out-of-control PC tyranny. The so-called War on Christmas, or how Oakland Schools are going to teach Ebonics instead of English? Total scare-tactic crap, fabricated from bits and pieces lifted out of context and given a wild spin to the right, sent out into the news and onto the web to wreak whatever havoc possible, before finally blowing out.
Philip Atkinson, a UK writer, says of Political Correctness:
"The declared rational of this tyranny is to prevent people being offended; to compel everyone to avoid using words or behaviour that may upset homosexuals, women, non-whites, the crippled, the mentally impaired, the fat or the ugly.
This reveals not only its absurdity but its inspiration. The
set of values that are detested are those held by the previous generation (those who fought the Second World War), which is why the terms niggers, coons, dagos, wogs, poofs, spastics and sheilas, have become heresy, for, in an act of infantile rebellion, their subject have become revered by the new generation. Political Correctness is merely the resentment of spoilt children directed against their parent's values."
People who don't want to be called "nigger" or "coon" are really just spoiled and rebellious children. People who don't want to be called "faggot" or "dyke," ditto. Because the right to call people these names is a dearly-held value of the previous generation, we should all just grow up and accept our lot as inferior beings--subject to whatever derogatory language the more culturally powerful care to place on us.
Because, make no mistake, the act of such marginalizing and name-calling is a clear indication of where the power rests. Don't believe me? Think of three nasty words for people of color. Can you think of three equally familiar terms for white folks? I can't. How about the same experiment for queer and straight?
Don't for a moment think Mr. Atkinson is alone in this specific criticism of all things PC, either.
From a speech given by Bill Lind:
...For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic.(Trans: God forbid anyone marginalized should stand up for themselves and demand to be respected. In fact, should they dare to do so, we'll just lump 'em all together and marginalize them even further--plus, any weak-willed, lilly-livered, straight, white, liberals who want to side with 'em can go right on that same boat; we'll sink 'em all together, that way.)
We have seen other countries, particularly in this century, where this has been the case. And we have always regarded them with a mixture of pity, and to be truthful, some amusement, because it has struck us as so strange that people would allow a situation to develop where they would be afraid of what words they used. But we now have this situation in this country. We have it primarily on college campuses, but it is spreading throughout the whole society. Were does it
come from? What is it?
We call it "Political Correctness." The name originated as something of a joke, literally in a comic strip, and we tend still to think of it as only half-serious. In fact, it’s deadly serious. It is the great disease of our century, the disease that has left tens of millions of people dead in Europe, in Russia, in China, indeed around the world. It is the disease of ideology. PC is not funny. PC is deadly serious.
If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.
First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted "victims" groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble. Within the small legal system of the college, they face formal charges – some star-chamber proceeding – and punishment. That is a little look into the future that Political Correctness intends for the nation as a whole.
The whole speech rambles on in that vein. Making wild assertions and spectacular and improbably leaps of, uh, "logic."
Interesting that in both of the above anti-PC rants, the group conspicuous by its absence from the list of the marginalized is straight, white, conservative men. With some consideration, I can think one apt pejorative for two specific individuals belonging to that particular class.