definition of political correctness / definition of politically correct

an original definition by J. E. Brown

political correctness
  1. A dismissive term used by uncultured persons when they are asked to do such heinous things as:
    • stop being rude {Source: “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}
    • learn a little restraint
    • start actually using those manners your mom taught you
    • stop exaggerating how hard it is for you to be civil
    • lose the bully belief systems
    • stop practicing restrictionism against minorities
    • stop stereotyping the innocent along with the guilty (e.g. “All Muslims are ____s”)
    • Start learning how to get along with others. {Read this comp1ete article at .}
  2. A sneering pejorative used by people who are told to get some culture and some empathy.
  3. A phenomenon situated between these two extremes:
    1. The knee-jerk suspicion that any statement questioning or accusing a member of a traditionally targeted minority group must have been motivated by racism or xenophobia and is therefore automatically improper, even if backed by evidence.
    2. The first defense of a quack or crank when he is told to get some evidence for his wild accusations and baseless innuendos.
  4. A term used by the uncultured, to dismiss manners, tact, and social skills as unimportant.

At best, the lament or accusation of “political correctness” is a statement of skepticism that a process of factual inquiry or scientific investigation is being opposed or squelched because of a knee-jerk reaction to the topic of the question. The charge of “political” correctness is sometimes made even when there is no political movement behind or allied with the opposition; this is an incorrect usage by early 20th-Century standards, certainly an example of semantic drift, and in such cases, the more correct term might be “mass hysteria”.

Of course, the belief that one’s opponents have a tendency to overreact is a direct outgrowth of the Halo Effect, a knee-jerk reaction under which all opponents are assumed to have no good points (also called devaluation or the “You Can Do No Right” effect).

{You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}
Related Concepts:

politically correct
  1. (formally or informally) Conforming to the rules or procedures or behaviors of political correctness.
  2. Polite, cultured, and sensitive to the needs, sensitivities, and beliefs of other social and political groups (out-groups) : diplomatic
  3. (informal or Street Definition) Polite, tactful. {Source: “Definition of politically correct” by J. E. Brown.}
  4. pejorative, as a cynical allegation that someone’s kind interpersonal behavior was insincere and not heartfelt: fake, phony, stuffy, affected, pretentious, done only for show.
{You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}
Related Concepts:

politically incorrect
  1. A criticism hurled against certain social questions, on the grounds that persons who typically ask such questions are revealing their own bigoted agendas, not seeking to serve the public good or the interests of scientific discovery. The act of calling such a question “politically incorrect” expresses belief that the question is improper and disingenuous, and that the question is a defense of traditional values such as slavery, witch hunting, infiltration and overthrow of constitutional governments by religious zealots, and oppression of minorities.
  2. Insensitive, undiplomatic. {Source: “Definition of politically incorrect” by J. E. Brown.}

Relationship between the terms: The term “politically incorrect” tends to be found in a state of tension with its opposite, the accusation of “political correctness”, meaning “the tendency of the out-group to be hypersensitive to the natural opinion-speaking movements of my mouth, which I supposedly have no control over”.

{You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}
Related Concepts:

  1. The belief that manners and people skills shouldn’t be necessary, a viewpoint usually defended with rationalizations which are self-serving, egocentric, convoluted, and illogical. {Source: “Definition of anti-PC” by J. E. Brown.}
  2. The allegation that science is under attack, insomuch as a logical conclusion of a discovery process or theory is being suppressed in order to avoid offending someone.
  3. A belief system sometimes seen in children who learn about free speech before they learn about people skills.
  4. An attitude commonly associated with the belief that a lack of restraint (a lack of social skills) is a sign of a superior being.
{You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}
Related Concepts:

Excerpts from my book (in progress)

I’m reminded of President Richard Nixon. Psychoanalyst Leo Madow described Nixon this way:

Nixon would lie “without the friction of guilt … Nixon’s fascinating capacity to discharge aggression without guilt” is what made him attractive to the people.

“Guilt”, writes Rangell, “is a widespread internal oppressor. People are intrigued by one who shows them that their self-torments are not necessary.” He goes on to point out that most of us have a superego that controls our ego but Nixon’s ego had free reign, allowing him to do as he pleased. Rangell makes two basic points:

  • Nixon had no conscience.
  • Many people in this country secretly admired Nixon for that lack.

— Leo Madow, Guilt: How to Recognize and Cope with It (1988), p. 102, quoting fellow analyst Leo Rangell in The Mind of Watergate

We see this effect again today in the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, specifically in his fans, who again and again say that they like Trump because “He tells it like it is”: No filter, no “political correctness”. The man who openly insults immigrants and refugees and women and Hispanics and all Muslims is admired for the filter he lacks. And admired openly, not secretly, for that lack.

May I explain it a little differently from Rangell: People like hearing that there is no penalty for indiscretion — for sin — for antisocial behavior — for having no culture — for polluting the environment — for thumbing their noses at science — for cheating on or ignoring the laws of cause and effect. People draw courage from someone who tells them that there is no piper to be paid. People like a leader who tells them they can live without thinking about consequences. Much as these beliefs get people into trouble, many people would rather hear these than hear the truth.

— J. E. Brown

Free Speech vs. PC.

I’d *like* to believe free speech is a worthy cause, but it seems to attract the worst examples/members of society, doesn’t it? Show me a hundred people who claim they need the right to free speech, and I’ll show you ninety-nine who don’t use that right for anything except insulting others. They *pretend* to be activists and patriots, but they have no serious ambition to improve the world.

— J. E. Brown

The Anti-PC Crowd. Pecking Order Theory.

I have to wonder if there’s a process of radicalization, by which the critics of civility recognize each other, find each other, and find reinforcement for their antisocial beliefs, by finding a group of like-minded people who spout and espouse the same viewpoints.

Nazis have their flag, Confederates have their flag, and tactless people have the term “political correctness.” One thing these have in common is that they’re all gang symbols.

PC is a code word for “There’s just a little too much politeness in the world.” {You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}

Listen closely to the opponents of PC, and you’ll hear what they’re really asking for: They want a little less politeness toward OTHERS — and a little more respect for themselves. In other words, they want a class system. They want to create a kind of “Southern gentility” state in which prissy manners mask the fact that half the population is being held down. They’re fully in favor of taking away the rights of some traditionally oppressed minority group(s), as long as the group members will go quietly, without replying with four-letter words and (gasp) unkind criticism of their oppressors. Oppression, lynchings, and continuous whittling-away of rights and freedoms are traditional, after all, and tradition makes everything ok. Or so I hear.

What those ideologies share (at their core) are (a) the belief that defamation (euphemistically called “Free Speech”) should flow in one direction, while (b) deference and respect should flow in the other. These are ingredients of a pecking order, a subservient relationship of the serfs to the privileged, a system in which the chosen betas must submit to the (self-appointed) Alphas.

Notice the exact nature of this double standard: If an Alpha insults a beta, the Alpha describes his own actions as “self-defense”. But if the beta insults the Alpha, that’s simply intolerable. betas are simply not allowed to defend themselves. For that matter, the sentence “The Alpha offended the beta” is not felt to be logical or grammatical; any self-respecting Alpha will re-word this sentence to say “The beta chose to feel offended.” Notice that this latest sentence cannot contain the word “Alpha”, because if you say “The Alpha chose to feel offended,” an Alpha will correct you, and say “No, the beta offended me. I have a right to defend myself.” If you assert that the beta has an equal right to defend himself, that too will get you corrected by the Alpha. And so on.*

* (By the way, you’ll probably notice that in my writings, the word “Alpha” is always spelled with a capital A, while the word “beta” is always spelled with a lower-case b, even when it begins a sentence or a paragraph. Because Alphas are predestined to be in charge and on top, and betas must mind their place. According to Alphas, that’s the way it has always been. Alphas really don’t see why you would object.)

— J. E. Brown

Connection to Bullying:

Alongside anti-PC language, you’ll often hear language saying “The Constitution guarantees me free speech, so I should be able to say anything I want to anyone at any time.” Of course, one of the methods of a bully is choosing a victim and making that victim feel unwelcome and unsafe at every opportunity, using free speech and other means of harassment.

Worship of tactlessness operates under one of the rules of bullying: Anyone who hurts someone else is assumed to be an Alpha, and Alpha-hood gets automatic respect. I believe this is how people determine and discover the social hierarchy: People watch to see who attacks whom and gets away with it; and under the assumption that people don’t choose unsafe targets, the spectators assume that the attacker is the Alpha and the attackee is the beta.

If you’d like to avoid verbally abusive people, beware of the ones who talk unkindly about political correctness. They’re letting you know that they will always choose their mouths over their relationships. Because free speech.
These are not freedom fighters — they’re not patriots of Free Speech — they’re the Anti-Vaxxers of manners.

— J. E. Brown


The term “politically (in-)correct” may be understood by analogy from the opposing term, “grammatically (in-)correct”, meaning “(in-)correct according to the rules of grammar”. Hence “politically (in-)correct” literally means “(in-)correct according to the rules of politics”.

There seems to be an older, un-partisan sense of PC from ca. 1900 where an organization, like the railroad network, could be called “politically correct” if it was in compliance with all laws and power structures. See the long, well-researched reply by Sven Yargs.

In the 1980s, in feminist circles and in gay rights movements, the term “politically incorrect” seemed to signify “a list of terminology disapproved within this movement’s sphere(s) of activism.”

Around the 1980s, “politically incorrect” was often used as if it meant or were the more precise term encompassing “rude and insensitive”.

Partisanship usually implies that nothing good could come from the opposition, because the out-group is evil by definition, or by choice. Allegations of PC take this logic a step farther by reversing the cause-and-effect implications, reasoning that if everything the out-group does is evil, then everything evil must be a product of the out-group. Political pundits, realizing that you can’t take a stand against manners and civility without sounding like a loon, discovered that it’s easier to bully minorities if the prohibitions on such bullying can be represented as the policies of the political opposition. This illustrates the convenient loosening of the shackles of guilt and propriety that would normally prevent the adoption of such double standards as the passage of segregation laws and Nuremberg Laws.

The most neutral interpretation of the term “politically correct” is a definition based on the notion of a “party line”: the list of words and wordings and talking points and government programs which are officially sanctioned (as good or bad) within a political movement. We can readily think of political organizations which might say “If you want to be part of our movement, you must never call homeless people ‘bums’ [or vice versa, depending on the party]”. “We don’t use that term” is the core tenet of all correct political speech, where “We” is understood to be in capital letters and to stand for a million or more party members.

Political Correctness may mean: {You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}

  • Politeness legislated and/or enforced by a political party or other powerful organization. Or, from a different perspective: Politeness which, when enforced by someone who happens to be a high-ranking official in a movement, feels heavy handed and therefore causes skeptics to wonder if it’s part of the party line of the movement and therefore PC.
  • Next, among young people who misunderstand the organizational definition of PC, and cry “PC!” whenever corrected for their tactlessness, slogans like “We Fight PC” could become a core tenet of their group identity — and to the extent that these young people find a community of shared voices in the social media, the very charge of PC may itself become a rallying cry of powerless young people.
  • To the extent that communities tend to be indifferent to the causes and activisms of their individual members, “PC” comes to describe the short list of issues officially endorsed and/or embraced by that movement. “PC” in this sense bespeaks community rigidity, the tendency of organizations to resist (internal) change and to insist that members toe the party line.
  • To culturally isolated groups who do not encounter opposing beliefs and lifestyles except during national elections, who may not experience any rebuke or admonition or correction for their xenophobic insults at any other time, these corrective statements arise only in the presence of the opposing political party, and so are assumed to be or mistaken for political values. Thus, the cry of “PC” may indicate a belief that good manners and getting along with others are political values, created by political movements. Probably indicative that these persons didn’t learn these fundamental principles in their childhood homes and families of origin.

Anti-PC people come to believe in the supremacy of the “personality” above all humanistic morals and interpersonal skills. The self is absolved of all duty to be polite and kind; such values are seen as PC, phony, and fake. They may make statements like “I’m not insensitive, I’m outspoken”; “I wasn’t rude, I was just expressing myself.” Of course, other people are not allowed these same freedoms. Other persons are not seen as equal or even human; their complaints about “rudeness” are dismissed as coming from exaggeration and hypersensitivity. (Double Standard)

— J. E. Brown


If someone tells you: Your correct response is:
“I don’t see why I can’t say ____.” “Yeeeeeeessss. And that would be the problem: Your blind spot. Your visual handicap. Your lack of insight, upbringing, and experience.”
“I’m not racist. You’re racist for calling me a racist. That’s your racism coming out.” “;^) Riiiiiiiight. Your life is so hard.” #whitepeopleproblems

— J. E. Brown

From the chapter on How to Be a Jerk:

Relabel all rules of good manners as what they are: an imposition on You.

— J. E. Brown

Random Thoughts.

Isn’t it interesting that plain old civility and getting along with others always gets relabeled “political correctness”? {You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}

Rude people have a vested interest in having rudeness thought of as normal, and so, they adopt the tactic of lumping the values of respect, kindness, and empathy under a label that sounds bad.

One thing you must understand about the bully mentality: To a bully, being offensive is a goal.

It’s really sad that for so many people, interpersonal education stops at the age of 10.

I’m always amazed when bigots think having manners and respecting the Constitution and the rights of others are “political correctness”. They’re not political correctness, they’re correctness PERIOD.

All efforts to correct their abusive speech (and for that matter, all reminders to be polite, have manners, be respectful) are denounced as “political correctness.”

However, this doesn’t mean that the offender doesn’t understand politeness, as shown by the fact that he or she won’t allow anything unkind to be said against his or her own people. The offender will often say it’s ok to correct betas, but not Alphas. (Double Standard) {You’re reading “Definition of political correctness” by J. E. Brown.}

Like the Confederate States of America before them, they are unaware that True Class is not about knowing which fork to use and which word to use. Any attempt to force a group of people into a lower class IS low class.

One can certainly understand why bullies, bigots and ignocrats try to reduce the number of people they have to be polite to: it’s about efficiency. Being good to fewer people is less work.

Some city governments have made this into an art form. If you can declare 60% of the population to be non-citizens, then you only have to provide government services to the other 40%. If you have the power to give your dislike and disapproval the force of law, you can raise taxes on the 60%, and then it’s much easier if you only have to provide justice, health care, clean water, and marriage licenses to the other 40%.

Example: Towns Run by Religious Sect Violated Rights of Non-Members (at

— J. E. Brown


And here’s a news flash for those people who proudly declare themselves Not Politically Correct -- what you really are is Colossally Rude. Every single person alive has beliefs which might hurt the feelings of those around them and, somehow, most of us manage to keep them to ourselves.

— Quinn Cummings

It’s not hard to change with the times. I don’t say that things are “gay” anymore if I think they’re lame. It didn’t take long to get used to it.

— Sarah Silverman

1st edition 20 Feb 2016

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