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Political correctness is philosophical nonsense. What we need is Justice not just Equality, Moral Responsibility not just Freedom, Intelligence not just Reason, and Charity not just Niceness or Fraternity—even if these don’t sound so good on a banner.
Political correctness identifies a syndrome we all recognize, but is hard to define. It can be best described as a set of attitudes rather than an ideology, since viewed philosophically it is completely incoherent. It can perhaps be traced back to the French Revolution, in the aftermath of which various slogans became fashionable—mostly involving “Liberty” and “Equality,” sometimes joined with “Fraternity” or “Reason” to make up a memorable threesome. In each case the “value” in question is distorted by extraction from traditional philosophical frameworks in which such ideas had been discussed for many centuries—or perhaps more tellingly, from a concern with truth.
Equality - People - Justice - Justice - People
Equality seems to mean treating people as if they were the same. But this is not justice. Justice is giving people their due. Why insist on equality at the expense of difference and diversity? Insisting on equality in that sense is unjust, because it is the differences between people that determine what they may be due. A man who is well fed is not due a food handout, and a blind man is not due an eye-test on the NHS. A child with one leg is not expected or entitled to run in the hundred-yard sprint on Sports Day. The only way in which all human beings are equal is in being human; but the “rights” our humanity implies will depend on what we understand it to amount to (not to mention when it begins and ends)—in other words, it depends on the truth about human beings.
Liberty or Freedom is similarly useless without truth. Popularly understood as the power to choose, freedom...
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