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10 Aug 2015, 15:57

Political Correctness or Treating People With Respect?

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There was an article on Vox earlier today that I found very interesting. It was discussing the following tweet:

I posted the above link on Facebook, and got a great response from a friend:

The problem now with “political correctness” is that outrage is apparently the only permissible reaction to slights, real or perceived. We’ve lost all sense of scale and are too quick to pile-on and inflict massive damage in response to minimal slights or things that that ultimately don’t matter to us, our families, or our community.

Take Cecil the lion. It’s a shitty thing, but big game hunting can be important for conservation efforts. But because the lion was a beloved local figure (on the other side of the world) and the hunt was questionable (and I’m not sure of what the dentist knew, it’s possible he was unaware), people in the United States lose their minds. As far as priorities go, the whole thing was bullshit. It’s not news. But the outrage monster must be fed, so here we are.

I’m starting to think Twitter has made society demonstrably more petty, vindictive, and stupid. In 140 characters.

Note: bad shoots and abuse by overzealous or unfit officers are obviously a problem that needs addressing. Hell I’ve handled excessive force cases for both sides. I’m only talking about the new outrage economy we seem to be building and its blind rush to judgment.

Here was my response to him:

I am not so sure. I think that there are times where political correctness goes too far, and I agree about the Cecil the Lion case. Though, I was surprised that the hive-mind successfully picked out the guy who did it, since most of the time it seems they get it completely wrong. However, I’m not sure that that is the general case, and likely the exception more than the rule.

Also, on the Cecil the Lion topic, I had several very level-headed conversations with people. I have not been able to have meaningful conversations with many conservatives on basic economics issues, because they start saying very offensive things about how lazy Millenials, minorities, and poor people are (seriously, this has come up too many times to count). So, instead of being able to make progress in a conversation, we get stuck because they’re being bigoted, and when you call them out on that, they’re the ones getting offended. Whatever, I don’t have time to argue with dumb people.

It seems like Fox News and the GOP have been cultivating a rhetorical lack of respect, and encouraging intellectually dishonest shots across the bow, as opposed to thoughtful, issues based discussions. It seems like Trump is a natural result of such an effort, and I think that they’re getting exactly what they deserve with him.

The reason that I bring up Trump, is that I think that he sort of exemplifies this anti-political correctness campaign, where the basic thrust is that you don’t need to treat people with respect. The Megyn Kelly thing was a great example, where Trump was being extremely disrespectful to her, and played it off has him not wanting to bend over backwards being politically correct. When you look at what he said to her, there is nothing but at attempt to be offensive, no substance at all. This is Trump’s m/o, over and over, be extremely disrespectful offensive, and then take offense at people being offended by the awful things you said.

In general, if people were more politically correct, especially our politicians and news media, perhaps they would have to actually discuss and deal with the issues, as opposed to discounting people wholesale because their group doesn’t count.

What’s more, is it really such a bad thing if we could not be shitty to each other, and treat others as they would like to be treated? Is that a bad goal to have?

I do think that we need to be able to have honest conversations without the fear of getting jumped on by SJWs. And, I think that most of the time, if you’re not being overly offensive, and genuinely trying to understand people, they’ll be forgiving and not give you a hard time about minor screw-ups.

I totally agree that the PC concerns need to be tempered, when they go too far, and that we should be on the look-out for that. But, when they’re not going too far, maybe the notion of PC does some useful work.

As far as Twitter goes, I think that there are some parallels with Reddit. The similarity between them is anonymity, as opposed to a character limit. Giving people a mouthpiece and a mask can have both positive and negative results.

Oh, and I’m not opposed to a lot of conservative ideas. I love to get into discussions where people have a good head on their shoulders, and can actually discuss issues without getting into the weeds. It saddens me that we don’t have more of these sorts of discussions as a society.

Update

Link to Chrome Extension for PC to Treat with Respect

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