The expression “politically correct” has negative connotations. Why? Because a politically correct argument is logically correct without sufficiently matching the reality. In every instance, there is a degree of hypocrisy in it. Why doesn’t the reality match? Because who I am as a person consists of many contradicting forces. A logical construction of my identity is only one of many. Logic is fundamentally alienating because logic is not my creation. Logic is correct or incorrect independent of me. If logic were to determine who I am, its conclusions would not apply only to me, but to everyone else. Everyone will be the same. Our individual differences will be eliminated. Everyone will have to behave the same way and value the same things. Every politically correct statement, therefore, contradicts the reality of everyone to a varying degree.
I see a man holding a door for a woman. I could go up to him and accuse him of being sexist, and I would be technically and politically correct. Various studies have shown that “benevolent sexism” correlates to real sexism. Men who act benevolently towards women are statistically shown to be sexist. I could also accuse women of being sexist when they accept such gestures. If equality is our goal, we should not treat anyone differently based on gender.
This does not mean that it is wrong to offer help to those who are less capable or in need of help. The critical ingredient is consent. Even if you were to help a blind person, for instance, you should get his consent first. You should not assume that he needs your help just because he is blind. Likewise, it is wrong to assume that a random woman wants you to hold the door for her.
But in reality, not many people are so logical. Many women, even those who claim to be “feminists,” enjoy being treated nicely by men in this fashion. And, many men too still enjoy playing the traditional roles of men.
This problem applies to racism also. Many people who grew up in homogenous suburbs or rural neighborhoods are benevolent racists. They often have romantic notions of the minorities, and put them on a pedestal when speaking of them. Here too, their logical side is far ahead of their own realities. Those who were born and raised in racially diverse communities tend to naturally treat everyone equally regardless of the color of their skin.
It’s like the difference between understanding music theory conceptually and intuitively. Even if your logical side understands it perfectly well, it does not mean that you can apply your understanding while improvising on a piano.
Being a critic does not make you an artist. Even if you are able to articulate a problem in a painting, it does not mean that you can paint it better yourself. By the same token, just because you are able to formulate a politically correct argument about sexism or racism, it does not mean you are free of prejudice. This is how hypocrisy works its way into every politically correct argument.
Those who have a working understanding of a theory are able to apply the same underlying structure to any instances, even if they seem unrelated on the facade. Those who understand it only conceptually have no flexibility. Just because they understand racism conceptually, it does not mean that they can apply it to, say, ethnocentrism. They can only play the notes they see on the sheet music; they can’t apply their understanding flexibility to write their own music.
If I wanted someone to know what it’s like to be a target of political correctness, I could follow him around everywhere pointing out every little thing he does or says which is logically and politically wrong, benevolent or otherwise. I could derive pleasure from seeing him squirm in shame. It would make me feel superior, as if I have no prejudice. This is precisely the problem with political correctness; it’s a form of sadistic perversion.
When we observe some minorities speak with “white men”, we can often observe this sadistic perversion at play. It’s true that white men are “privileged” but this is merely a statistical fact. As such, we cannot legitimately assume specific white men as being privileged. Doing so would make us guilty of the very offense we criticize in whites. It’s essentially racial profiling. Just because someone is a white man, it does not mean that he is more privileged overall. A tall, handsome black man who was born rich might be more privileged overall than a short, fat, bald white man who was born poor. Much of our prejudice comes from our inability to differentiate statistics from particular.
Whatever fortunes we have in our lives, we take for granted, and when we feel sad or frustrated, we think of ourselves as victims. In such moments, we can attack random white men, or anyone presumably more “privileged,” to derive pleasure from watching them squirm in response to the charges of “racism” or “sexism.”
Where is this perverse drive coming from? From within ourselves. By listening faithfully to our own logic, we deprive ourselves of what we truly want, and ignore who we truly are. Just because we logically understand something to be correct, it does not mean that we are ready to practice it. But when our logical side is more dominant, we end up consistently repressing the other side, the less rational side. The side that still enjoys holding the door for women.
The politically correct logic forces us to do what we don’t actually want to do. This leads to feeling bitter. So, when we see others getting away with something incorrect, we want to punish them to get even. Deep inside, we are screaming, “Why do I have to be the only one suffering this? It’s not fair! I’m gonna make you suffer too!”
Politically motivated vegetarians enjoy the taste of meat like everyone else. They abstain from meat because their logical side tells them that it’s wrong. Even though nobody is forcing them to eat only vegetables, it still has the same effect. They end up feeling like someone other than themselves is making them feel guilty for enjoying meat because logic is an external/alien force. This sense of unfairness flares up when they see others eating meat or killing cows, pigs, or chickens. Many such vegetarians are keenly aware of this trap, so they don’t even allow themselves to be critical of carnivores. This, however, is just a more convoluted form of self-torture. As long as any degree of repression is involved in their pursuit, it will find a neurotic outlet one way or another.
Whether it’s politically correct or not, if we are not naturally ready for it, we are better off not practicing it because repression will find a victim in one way or another. In the end, the net gain is zero, or worse.
Some people are vegetarians because they simply don’t like meat. My mother is like that. I’ve never heard her call herself “vegetarian.” If she had to eat meat just to be polite, she would force herself to eat it. There is no sense of correctness in her because she is not trying to be correct. Likewise, people who naturally treat everyone equally don’t think of it in terms of correct or incorrect. For many of them, that is just how they grew up.
If something does not come naturally to us, it’s counter productive to pretend to be otherwise because pretension will lead to repression, which in turn will lead to neurosis and sadistic perversion.