Letter: Political correctness defined properly

Herb Glazer
The Daily Times


When I started to read (Mr. Richard L. Eckstein's letter to the editor published online Sept. 5) I thought it would be defending unpopular speech. But, alas, I was wrong. It was defending the notion that this country should be ruled by the Bible not the Constitution.

Mr. Eckstein wants his form of Sharia law. He feels that it is okay to oppose homosexuality and still hold public office. Anyone who holds public office swears or affirms to uphold the Constitution, putting personal beliefs aside. Such is the case of the clerk that was jailed for not issuing marriage licenses to gays. I would defend her right not to let a gay person in her home or say being gay is wrong. But, as a public official she does not have the right to discriminate.

Political correctness does hinder discussion of issues by shaping thought. "Undocumented" sounds better than "illegal," questioning the "settled science" of global warming does not make one a "flat-earther." There are many ways that controlling speech is used to advance a political agenda. I read George Orwell's 1984 long before 1984 and understand the idea of "Newspeak." Language has been changed. Growing up I drank when I was thirsty. Now one "hydrates." That makes drinking sound more important. It used to be one was called a bigot or prejudiced. Now those words don't seem strong enough so racist is used. Racist is an extremely strong word that also prevents dialog. "Pro life" sounds better than " anti-abortion," " pro choice" is not the same as "pro-abortion." There are trainings given and programs used where things are "good" or "delta." One is not allowed to say "bad." That's like "ungood" used in 1984. "Politically correct" has replaced "Newspeak."

An example from 1984, the word "free" still existed in Newspeak but could only be used in terms of something not being possessed, as in "the dog is free from lice," or "this field is free from weeds." It could not be used in terms of being able to do as one pleases, as in "free choice" or "free will" since these concepts no longer existed. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum. Any redundancies in the English language were removed.

To fully understand how political correctness is the same as "Newsspeak" one should read 1984 Language is the most powerful tool used to shape and control ideas. One should always try to see past the words that are being used to what ideas are being advanced.