Volume 90, Issue 72

Friday, January 31, 1997

big stick


In defence of 'correctness'

Re: Examining the faults of a 'correct' society, Jan 28.

To the editor:

Perhaps I missed out on the beginning of an ongoing discussion, however, I would like to address Mr. Paolo Tonelli's comments regarding his conception of political correctness and his example of a subject supposedly affected by it, namely, the question of whether or not homosexuality is wrong.

In so far as political correctness either results in non-communication or is not supported by knowledge and rational understanding, I must agree with Mr. Tonelli's assertion that it is "just a veneer for ignorance and ideological censorship."

However, in my opinion, many forms of political correctness are not sources of ignorance, but rather reactions to the very fierce form of ignorance rooted in unfounded beliefs, misinformation and an avoidance of argumentive discourse. In this light, political correctness may not be evidence of a regression to less-tolerant times, of a "new breed of ignorant people," but rather a representation of the progress of knowledge and understanding since generated and communicated.

At any rate, I personally have not experienced the supposed external, coercive pressures of political correctness in the way Mr. Tonelli has described, though I am concerned he feels inhibited. In taking homosexuality as his example, I got the impression that Mr. Tonelli might wish to express his views on the question of whether or not it is wrong. Thus, in the spirit of communication and the pursuit of knowledge, I wish to invite Mr. Tonelli to express himself, if he so desires.

I would be more than happy, as a self-proclaimed politically correct individual, to demonstrate an "irrational or incorrect" basis for any counterargument to the notion which, according to Mr. Tonelli, implies that "homosexuality should not affect the way we treat or think of an individual."

In this way, Mr. Tonelli will see that at least with reference to homosexuality, political correctness can be very well-grounded in a wealth of knowledge, rationality, understanding and the communication of that knowledge – which, incidentally, has helped to break down only some of the ignorance stemming from non-communication and a lack of understanding in earlier generations.

Richard Telfer
Sociology III

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Copyright The Gazette 1997