Political correctness is way out of control

Political correctness is way out of control

Dr. Jim Surrell

Everybody I talk to regarding this matter of “Political Correctness” is in agreement that it is way out of control. To a person, they also tell me that they are now to the point where they will indeed continue to politely express their opinions regarding various matters, and will no longer be concerned about being “politically correct”. Frankly, I couldn’t agree more!

Let me first briefly define “political correctness”. It is generally defined as the term used to describe avoiding specific language, policies, or measures that certain individuals or members of particular groups in society might find to be offensive. Now, let us take a look at my research on this subject. I was very surprised to learn that this term was first used in Russia in 1917, as reported in the very credible current edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The following is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The term “Political Correctness”, or PC, first appeared in Marxist-Leninist vocabulary following the Russian Revolution of 1917. At that time it was used to describe adherence to the policies and principles of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Many years later, during the late 1970s and early 1980s the term began to be used by various politicians to refer to the extremism of various political issues. The Encyclopaedia Britannica further reports that in the early 1990’s, the term PC was also found to be used frequently by professors and students on various colleges and universities in the U.S.

So, what are the downfalls that we may experience with excessive PC? Many people are starting to believe that excessive “political correctness” could ultimately have a negative impact on our constitutional right to freedom of speech. We now know that excessive PC has been shown to place limits on debates in the public arena. It is also known that excessive PC can also lead some people to self-censorship and therefore place restrictions on a person’s desire to freely express their personal thoughts and opinions.

It is further noted that excessive “political correctness” can lead certain people to believe that some comments are intended to be offensive, where none truly exists. In my judgment, we all have the right to politely and respectfully state our specific opinion on various subjects that are current controversial items in the news, or items upon which we wish to express our personal opinion. If a person, or some organization, does not agree with these comments or with the opinion of someone else, they also have the right to respectfully disagree, and to express their opinion.

So, based on all the emphasis we find today on “political correctness,” let me suggest a new term for what the term PC could really stand for. When I share this suggestion with my friends and colleagues, they all agree. Perhaps we should think of PC as really meaning “Prevents Communication.” Hopefully, this will give us all some incentive to worry less about being “politically correct.” I truly believe we all should feel free to politely and respectfully express our personal opinions and thoughts without being overly concerned about being “politically correct.” Further, I believe we should also focus on teaching our high school and college students to feel free to express their personal opinions, but to always do so in a well informed, polite, and respectful manner.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged. Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.