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Examples of Political Incorrectness in our American Society:

Telling sexually offensive jokes
Being, in any way, racist
Being anti-homosexual
Saying that the poor cause their own poverty
Being, in some way, anti-victim
Saying bad things about any religion
Being intolerant
Saying that women shouldn’t vote
Saying that people of another race are inferior in some way.

This concept causes some interesting incongruities.
Certain TV shows, for example, which don’t think twice about being offensive and would revel in being labeled politically incorrect, would never be caught being seen as anti-gay or racist.

In CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, Screwtape, the wiser tempter mentions that the word ‘puritanical’ has been used very successfully by tempters in relieving feelings of guilt by people who are too in love with the world. So if someone has feelings due to conscious that maybe they should not tell an offensive joke, or spend time with sarcastic people, or watch ungodly entertainment, the thought can be put into their head that by limiting themselves in this way, they are acting like a puritan by being too rigid and legalistic. They fear, or say they fear, that they might be seen this way by others, and in this way they condone a sinful action. So, Lewis suggests, the word puritanical, as it is used these days, has actually been a tool to tempt people to sin.

In the late eighties, the concept of political correctness, as a negative idea, was introduced. Politically Correct is the new Puritanical. (Yes, I understand the irony that these ideas are often coming from opposite sides.) My belief is that as a result of this phrase, people have been tempted to behave more poorly than they would have.
Comedians say that they will not be kept on a leash by the PC police and continue to tell racist jokes.
So an automobile dealer commercials use the politically correct phrase to enable it to get away with swearing.
A guy uses a handicapped parking space, he says, because he dares to be politically incorrect.
And a normally nice guy who in the 80’s wouldn’t have dreamed to consider race as a factor will feel free to not really consider hiring a black man, because, hey, I’m not really bound by those kind of restraints.

Too bad.

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February 2007