The Politics and Philosophy of Political Correctness

The Politics and Philosophy of Political Correctness

The Politics and Philosophy of Political Correctness

The Politics and Philosophy of Political Correctness

Synopsis

Choi and Murphy seek to analyze the key facets of the debate over PC. Until now, PC has tended to be treated in news stories, magazines articles, and reports where the examination of PC has been short and under developed--rarely have the writers looked beyond single issues. Choi and Murphy provide a comprehensive examination of PC, from its philosophical underpinnings and historical background, through the significance of post-structural philosophy and postmodern literary criticism.

Excerpt

To be sure, the attack on political correctness (PC) is about social control. The conservative onslaught is designed to curtail discourse in areas ranging from art to law. However, PC'ers have been blamed for stifling discussion, but this charge seems to be related to their reluctance to recognize a central tenet of conservatism. That is, they reject the traditional dualistic conception of knowledge and order. As a result, PC'ers are chided for undermining democracy, free speech, and civilization, because they argue that the shape of reality is influenced by social factors.

But the mode of control currently adopted by conservatives is new. In the 1946 revised Foreword to his classic, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley wrote that the new totalitarians would be different from those in the past. There would be no Leviathan. A more efficient means of control would be devised than merely attacking the populace. Citizens, simply put, would be cajoled into their servitude. For example, rights would be understood to be derived from the "nature of men" or "objective value." The overt use of power would thus be perceived as passé.

In this regard, Pierre Bourdieu remarks that the next form of totalitarianism will stem from an obsession with technology and . . .

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