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Words, Tweets and Stones in the 'Political Correctness' Wars

Matthew Sharpe writes in The Conversation (17.2.17) about the recent rise in allegations of 'out-of-control political correctness' levelled by so-called 'free speech' proponents. The author asks: 'What are the arguments of both sides in the 'political correctness' wars that have flared up in the US and Australia in recent times? Is there light amidst so much heat?'

His analysis continues: 'For people labelled by conservative commentators as “politically correct”, their position looks quite different than the polemical tag implies.

'What the Right calls political correctness describes the championing of a series of positions associated with the New Left. These positions hinge on the observation that the modern ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity are imperfectly enshrined in countries like Australia, the UK or the US.

'Behind the advertised equality of all to trade, real material inequalities are produced and perpetuated, leading to deep divisions of class.

'Behind appeals to equality of opportunity, gender inequality hasn’t gone away. Its deep bases are revealed, amongst other places (continuing pay differentials also leap to mind) by the gendered nouns in public documents that for a long time simply excluded women from the franchise - as in “we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal …”.

'Beneath the same language of equality, all-too-real inequalities exist between different ethnic and religious groups within pluralist societies like Australia.'


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