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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Damian Thompson: The march of the new political correctness

...If Chait had been a conservative, no one would have paid any attention. But he’s a liberal who wants climate sceptics banned from public office. So by attacking political correctness — and even indulging in a little light mockery of ‘mansplaining’, ‘straightsplaining’ and other neologisms — he showed himself a traitor.

The reaction was comedy gold. Accused of hypersensitivity, the gender vigilantes shrieked their tits off. (That’s a figure of speech, by the way, not intended to exclude people without breasts.) ‘First things first,’ wrote Voxmagazine’s Amanda Taub. ‘There’s no such thing as “political correctness”.’ She then launched into a virtuoso display of this thing that doesn’t exist. Chait was endangering marginalised groups by ‘shutting down the conversation’ — a ludicrous charge, given that Taub’s ideological soulmates on both sides of the Atlantic have always specialised in shutting down conversations.

In the first wave of political correctness, the word ‘inappropriate’ was enough to shame a speaker into silence. The new, digitally remastered PC draws on an ever-expanding lexicon of victimhood. Terf stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminism — i.e. ‘transphobic’ feminists. Swerfs are sex worker-exclusionary radical feminists who think prostitution oppresses women.

For right-wing pundits, these antics are a gift — fresh ammunition for the culture war. For more thoughtful British and American writers, such as the young conservative journalist Robert Wargas, the revived PC is frustrating and creepy. ‘People must understand that PC works like a conspiracy theory,’ he says. ‘The more vigorously you argue against it, the more its proponents see the need to affirm it. That’s because, under their rules, logic and free speech are tools of oppression, at least when used by non-favoured groups. They’ve created this perfectly circular, perfectly sealed universe, packed with bizarre terms and theories that explain why they’re always good and their opponents always evil. By definition, reason will not work against this. PC is like a church whose only sacrament is excommunication.’...

h/t Blazing Cat Fur 

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