, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 445-480

Just How Correct is Political Correctness? A Critique of the Opposition's Arguments

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Abstract

I begin by examining three factors which enable the term ‘political correctness’ (hereafter PC) itself to feed into the hands of its opponents: namely, the trivialization of the actual issues which are attributed to PC, the villainization of those involved in the PC movement, and the conferring of a sense of legitimacy on the opposition movement.

The bulk of the paper provides a detailed summary and critique of every single articulated Canadian position I encountered against such PC measures as fair language policies. I have distinguished between arguments directed at the ideological content and the methodology of PC. Arguments directed at the ideological content are divided into the threat to freedom of expression argument, the threat to academic freedom argument, and the degeneration into triviality argument; arguments directed at the methdology are divided into the argument that PC commits the very evils that it addresses and the argument that PC uses unjust means to get its way.

The paper ends by claiming that if PC means minimizing sexual and racial harrassment, discourgaing homophobic, racist, and sexist discourse within educational settings, and curtailing policies which victimize oppressed groups, then political correctness is not merely correct, but morally obligatory as well.