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Here's Why the Fight Over 'Political Correctness' Is Totally Bogus

October 14, 2018 in Blogs

By Paul Rosenberg, Salon

“Political correctness” is another misguided attempt at balance that falls flat.


Writer Yascha Mounk has a new story at the Atlantic with a title guaranteed to grab attention: “Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture.” Drawing from a new report, “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,” Mounk reports that “80 percent believe that ‘political correctness’ is a problem,” even though, as he later admits, “we cannot be sure what, exactly, the 80 percent of Americans who regard it as a problem have in mind.” But don’t let a mere detail like that interrupt a perfectly good line of BS — and what a good line it is! It’s a troubling indicator of a well-intentioned project with some promising ideas gone badly awry.

The story’s subhead added another twist: “Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness, and race isn’t either.” However, as Mounk has highlighted on Twitter, wealth and education are good proxies! Of the seven “Hidden Tribes” the report claims to identify in contemporary America, Mounk tells us: “Progressive activists are the only group that strongly backs political correctness: Only 30 percent see it as a problem.” So Mounk, the would-be savior of democracy seems to have convinced himself that Donald Trump and Steve Bannon are right and “political correctness” an elitist plot against real Americans!

The authors of the “Hidden Tribes” study put their case this way:

In the era of social media and partisan news outlets, America’s differences have become dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants, the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them. These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and putting our democracy in peril.

Pretty much all of this is bunk, starting with the 80 percent figure, as James Newburg, a University of Michigan grad student, explained in a Twitter thread. A more balanced question from the 2016 pre-election American National Election Survey found that “42% think ‘the way people talk needs to change’ while 56% think ‘people are too easily offended,” he noted, adding that <a target=_blank href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/alternet/~https://twitter.com/jamesnewburg/status/1050051933187137536" …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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