In the American political and social scene, we hear a lot about political correctness, or “PC.” Many portions of society believe America is being hijacked by political correctness. Before we get into a discussion of that, we have to define the marketplace of ideas.
The marketplace of ideas is the concept that anyone at any time can introduce an idea, view, or opinion for public scrutiny. For example, someone can go on their social media account or personal website and say that they think Beyoncé is the greatest performer in the world. Then, others can read that claim and agree or disagree. The marketplace of ideas is meant to filter through claims in order to identify the best, most true ones.
Now, let’s get to political correctness. The process plays out as follows:
Person/Group 1 makes Claim A. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s say that Claim A is “Homosexuality is a sin and homosexuals are abominations that will go to hell.”
Person/Group 2 disagrees. In this example, they criticize Person/Group 1 for stating that homosexuals are evil.
Person/Group 1 then attacks Person/Group 2 for criticizing them. In this case, they argue that Person/Group 2 is forcing them to comply with their agenda and be “politically correct.”
The reason Person/Group 2 attacks Person/Group 1 is because their claim has previously been shown to be faulty. The claim that homosexuality is evil has already been vetted through history, psychology, and sociology in much the same way that science has vetted the “flat Earth theory.” The claim has already been made, and there’s no evidence that suggests that it’s correct or beneficial in any way. In fact, enacting public policy discriminating against homosexuals has created disastrous outcomes in the past—both for homosexuals and heterosexuals. That’s why Person/Group 2 attacks Person/Group 1 and asks them to stop putting forward that view.
One of the implied agreements in the marketplace of ideas is that just as someone is allowed to make any claim they wish, they are also allowed to be scrutinized for that claim. As such, Person/Group 1 can’t claim immunity from criticism for making their claim. Therefore, the very fact that they’re attempting to prevent Person/Group 2 from criticizing them means that they’re annulling the core concept that drives the marketplace of ideas.
By: Zach Good
We hear a lot of talk about being “PC,” but what is political correctness, and is it really what we think it is? Find out in this video.
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