Political correctness is a term thrown around by everyone today when one side insists on having its own opinion on anything. They then accuse the other of being to politically correct which is another way of saying “I’ve failed to convince you of my point of view and you refuse to bend to my way of thinking”. It’s usually a juvenile thing to do and something we pull when we are frustrated by the debate.
This author sees political correctness as something far more insidious that seeks, in an almost cult like way, to convert the entire society to a particular way of thinking. It’s almost totalitarian in some ways since its pressure has the ability to not only force people’s actions but their own internal thoughts.
In order to understand political correctness we must understand the nature of government in that government is the manifestation of the collective force in society. Primitive tribal societies had a government that was usually a chief who directed the tribal impulse in a way the tribe usually wanted. As societies threw off its tribal roots it contained that tribal force to a few areas that were defined as law. This created a public sphere in which our individual lives were directed by the force of law. It also created a private sphere where we were immune from the tribe’s monopoly on violence. It created illegal actions that could be subject to the force of law where the collective could dictate what your behavior was and it also created a free space where we were free to do as we want.
We have little control over our political lives in the public sphere which is why there needs to be a clear separation between the private and the public sphere where individuals know the boundaries that separates them. It was essential that governments followed every procedure that it established in order maintain the boundary between the public and private sphere. We may say that criminals may get off on a technicality but that technicality was there in the law and the government has to follow it. It may seem unfair that the accused may get away with murder because of this but that alternative is a government that doesn’t function within the rules. A government that does not follow the procedures blindly is a government that has the power to invade the private sphere and destroy the free space that we live in simply because the people in power want to. That is a dictatorship where people are ruled by people on not by law.
Political correctness is a primitive re-manifestation of the tribal force that all societies have but instead of that tribal force interfering with our action it interferes with our thoughts. Just as the collective force of society can interfere with the free actions of others it can also interfere with the free thoughts of its citizens. This is the power of religion in that the collective dictates the inner thoughts of each person in order to shape them and all collectives of any kind has this force in it. In some ways, religion is no different than any other association of individuals accept that this particular association has an all-powerful being who knows what you are thinking and doing constantly. We may think of spirituality as something particular to religion but all collectives have this spiritual force behind it.
The collective of society also has this spiritual force running through it which is why the very first societies were always held together by a religion of some kind. The natural material that all collectives have was there which made it easy to establish a religion around the state. In fact, the state could not exist without that religion which is why primitive governments made sure people believed in its official religion. It was the only way it could maintain its power. Eventually, societies threw off its cult beginnings and established law which contained the tribal force within its predefined limits.
The natural outcome that happens when we have weakened the protocols and procedures that are established by the law is the reemergence of the natural religiosity that exists in every society which is what we call political correctness today. It converts our politics into something that has the same power over a person that their own religion does. The same powerful psychological mechanism that shapes a person’s personality is now being exerted through the political process. That mechanism is the primitive tribal impulse that is the reason for the cohesion that all societies have. We must be aware that we are not a tribal society that are ruled by those impulses but a lawed society. The power of the collective exists within the law and no other force can be applied by against the individual other than the law itself.
Jefferson once wrote a letter saying “legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions”. What he was saying here is that the thing that is the manifestation of the collective will which is known as the government does not apply to the thoughts and beliefs of our person in the same way religion does. We are immune from the collective impulse invading our inner space. This frees us from the compulsion of the tribe that attempts to make us conform to its identity. The law does not direct our thoughts but our actions and that collective will does not shape our soul. That particular area belongs in the private sphere which is immune from the force of the community.