The 45th president of the United States, who got inaugurated a few weeks ago, had no experience in public service before becoming the most powerful person of the free world. Logically, this seemed to be a disadvantage, however many of his supporters saw this lack of public service experience as an asset. Trump displayed himself as an outsider who is crusading against a corrupt establishment. This political strategy is not just seen in the United States but is also present among multiple politicians in Europe. Politicians that carry out this strategy, who are very popular at the time, accuse the governing elite of putting political correctness above all else. They claim to oppose political correctness in the interest of the public. However, this is usually used as a tool for politicians to be dismissive and avoid answering questions.
A striking example of this defective reasoning is an interview with Trump that aired on Fox News. The host asked him to comment on the fact that he called women he disliked ‘dogs,’ ‘fat pigs,’ and ‘disgusting animals’. To which he responded: ‘’I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.’’ The audience applauded and seemed to award his courage to not participate in the political correctness. He gave a similar explanation when confronted about calling Mexicans ‘rapists’. Not conforming to the norm of political correctness seems to be an argument that populist politicians can use. This defective line of reasoning is especially harmful since it suggests that a false statement is actually true yet always seemed untrue because it is political incorrect.
The term technically correct suggests that it is actually wrong; the adverb before correct implies a ‘but’. To be politically correct suggests that you are not only wrong but even more unacceptable; you know that you are wrong. Still you are acting on ulterior motives and are hiding the truth in order to signal moral superiority. Current politicians using the concept of political correctness as something they battle are not the first. Political correctness has been a very useful invention for right-wing politicians to drive a wedge between the working-class people and the political parties that supposedly spoke for them. It became a term to shape the public imagination that there was a deep divide between ‘ordinary people’ and the ‘liberal elite’.
It is very harmful for rational debate when people start passing of falsehoods as true by merely stating that they are not being political correct. Additionally, opposing political correctness is being used by some modern politicians to rebrand racism or sexism. It is mournful that this clearly unacceptable rhetoric seems to have sneaked back into everyday discussion and public debate. This hateful oratory borders on the pre-civil-rights era language and should be at least recognized as incorrect reasoning. Because after all, people want their problems to be solved; and one way they are not getting solved is by reasoning that is based on a self-made up argument that is – above all – incorrect.
In addition to fending off a sustained debate, opposing political correctness also has a considerable moral impact. Referring back to the example concerning Fox’s interview with the newly inaugurated president; claiming to oppose political correctness is often just treating people without respect. Try to imagine replacing the phrase ‘’politically correct’’ with ‘’treating other people with respect. The maker of a particular chrome extension ensures that you do not have to imagine; the extension replaces the phrase political correctness by treating people with respect. It is recommended to try the extension for this post.