In a recent sermon, my pastor described a tragic event that occurred in Florida. Three teens died in a car crash with an 8-ton truck. The teens failed to stop at an intersection because the stop sign had been stolen. Without the traffic control device the teens were not warned of the hazardous intersection and the need to stop. Had they stopped, they would not have driven into the truck’s path.
A civilized society also needs “traffic control” devices to guide us through analogous cultural and moral hazards. For example the internal experience of shame is a powerful motivator that helps guide people away from bad behavior. Social mores provide specific behavioral guidance helping us function effectively and congruently within groups. Religious tenets, as in the Christian Bible, provide a concrete foundation from which one’s moral compass is built and guides prosocial behavior. Societies create laws to further prescribe and guide our behavior. Shame, social mores, religious tenets and man-made laws (stop signs) are strategies we use to navigate complex social interactions. Removing ambiguity from social interactions by providing us with specific guidance on how best to interact with each other helps us to safely navigate through the four-way intersections of life. With this guidance, billions of people can cohabitate on this small planet.
The term “political correctness” is a totalitarian ideology that perpetuates a sense of victimhood. We have been conditioned to fear saying “Merry Christmas” as not everyone celebrates Jesus Christ. Progressive liberals say using the phrase in a simple celebratory greeting is considered “offensive” to non-Christians — the victims. The politically correct, “inoffensive” greeting is “Happy holidays.” America was built on a Judeo-Christian foundation, but who cares about that?
The term “illegal alien” once described a person living in this country illegally, but today they are called “undocumented citizens.” The change came about because “illegal alien” was determined too pejorative. In an instant, illegal aliens went from perpetrator to victim. They are criminals who violated our laws, but progressive liberals don’t want to offend them.
Most recently President Barack Obama’s administration bullied schools into accommodating students who self-identify as “transgender” by saying they risk violating a student’s civil rights by not allowing a student to determine what sex bathroom or shower to use. The rules governing bathroom protocols were at one time simple — boys in the boys’ room and girls in the girls’ room. But Washington has distorted reality to fit the progressive liberal agenda.
People diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the clinical name for transgender, do suffer and deserve competent mental health treatment. Clearly gender dysphoria is too succinct and doesn’t fit the political correctness ideology, hence progressive liberals’ need to avoid the truth brought about by clear and descriptive language.
But the tortured use of ambiguous language doesn’t stop with mental health issues, Christ or criminals.
How did a political candidate’s name, written in chalk on a campus step, become a “micro aggression?” How did the unverified allegations of wrongdoing on the campus of the University of Missouri — a poop swastika — result in the firing of its president? This is censorship, a head-on attack on the First Amendment.
Jonathan Chait, writing in New York Magazine, reported: “A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on ‘The Vagina Monologues’ in part because the material excludes women without vaginas.”
Chait continued: “Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate … people should be expected to treat even faintly unpleasant ideas or behaviors as full-scale offenses.”
You may think Donald Trump is rude, crude and outrageous. He also is saying what he thinks. He is distasteful at times, perhaps, but he is in good company. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas recently described himself as “unapologetically Catholic, patriotic and a Constitutionalist.” He went on to say, “Do not hide your faith and your beliefs under a bushel basket, especially in this world that seems to have gone mad with political correctness.”
Mark Holbrook, Ph.D., is a Republican candidate for Maine’s 1st Congressional District. He has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. In his clinical practice, he primarily treats police officers, active duty military personnel and veterans.