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CHAT: Political Correctness

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 23, 1998, 18:20
   Date:         Wed, 23 Dec 1998 11:15:23 -0400
   From: "David G. Durand" <dgd@...>

   Well, personally, I see no problem with trying to be resopectful of other's
   religions (my "atheism until I see proof," for instance). No more than I
   see a problem in celebrating Christmas myself because of family background
   and tradition.

The cards are being sent because it's a Christian tradition to send
cards at Christmas. In what sense is it respectful to say "OK, we're
having a big bash here because of a religious feast, but we're going
to pretend that it's not religious --- and then we expect you to go
along and celebrate it as well, or at least smile a lot. But we're not
going to change our attitude one whit when you happen to have a
religious holiday." ?

   I myself don't really believe that Political Correctness exists -- term
   that I first heard in the late 70's in a joking context at Brown (where I
   suspect, but can't prove that it originated).

It did exist in left-wing intellectual circles. The term itself
originates with the Maoist version of Marxism, where viewpoints
contrary to the writings of Mao Ze Dong were simply not admissible ---
because politics demanded that he should be viewed as infallible.

I once heard two die-hard proponents of `Capital Logic' discard some
new archaeological evidence (for early beer-making, I think) with the
sole argument that `such a thing can only develop after the rise of an
exploitative capital-accumulating class, which didn't exist at that
time'. The evidence did not fit their political worldview, so the
evidence was wrong.

The term was taken up as a form of affectionate ridicule by left-wing
people with a less rigid intellectual stance, and later (in the US)
applied to the specific US aberration that tries to improve the world
by making people talk nice.

                                                 The term has been popularized
   by a bunch of neo-conservative types as proof that "liberals" have finally
   "gone too far."

The US right wing may have usurped the term to mean something else,
but it did denote a real phenomenon before that.

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked)