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12201  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: one adjective to describe the preceding atlasian? on: January 21, 2006, 01:27:51 pm
12202  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poverty - relative vs. absolute on: January 21, 2006, 01:15:53 pm
Providing someone with protection from coercion can also be called generous, and charitable.
If you wish, you can call it generous, but clearly this was not the context in which I was speaking.

Ok, though most people would not disagree that protecting a stranger from coercion can be a form of generosity, which is why many people might thank a stranger for chasing after a pickpocket, for example, with a small reward if the item stolen was returned successfully.

The complete context of your post, including the line "forced to do so against his will" seemed to suggest a focus on the means of acquiring the money and the notion of using it to one's ends; there was no apparent exclusion of using it for any other ends but material wealth.

Thus it could very easily be misinterpreted, and I think most people would have done so, especially if they did not know your precise position beforehand.
12203  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poverty - relative vs. absolute on: January 21, 2006, 01:01:20 pm
I was merely pointing out that you do feel entitled to "be generous with someone else's money" (of course, 'generous' is always subjective) as long as the aim is to minimize coercion, and not minimize material want. Your position remains valid, but your quote was misleading and should have carried the necessary caveats.
"Generosity" is a term normally associated with charity; hence, I don't necessarily believe that the sentence was misleading.

Providing someone with protection from coercion can also be called generous, and charitable.
12204  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poverty - relative vs. absolute on: January 21, 2006, 12:56:43 pm
Yet, you feel perfectly entitled to be generous with someone else's money to pursue your goal of providing outside protection for the endangered from coercion.
As I have noted in other threads, I see the two issues completely differently. For me, the ultimate goal of a government should be to minimize coercion and maximize individual freedom. Security is (in my opinion) necessary to accomplish these goals; welfare is not. Indeed, the very purpose of welfare programs has nothing whatsoever to do with individual freedom.

You are entitled to believe that alleviating economic disparities is a legitimate function of the government: I would simply disagree with you.

Yes, I gleaned your precise position from our previous discussion, but that's why I found your quote a bit misleading:

I certainly do not believe that I am entitled to be generous with someone else's money.

I was merely pointing out that you do feel entitled to "be generous with someone else's money" (of course, 'generous' is always subjective) as long as the aim is to minimize coercion, and not minimize material want. Your position remains valid, but your quote was misleading and should have carried the necessary caveats.
12205  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poverty - relative vs. absolute on: January 21, 2006, 12:45:08 pm
You're all heart Roll Eyes Emsworth ... Unfortunately, not all private citizens feel obliged to help the poor
While I donate to charity, I certainly do not believe that I am entitled to be generous with someone else's money. If someone else does not feel obliged to help the poor, should he be forced to do so against his will? In  my opinion, the answer is certainly no.

Yet, you feel perfectly entitled to be generous with someone else's money to pursue your goal of providing outside protection for the endangered from coercion.
12206  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Does the forum have a right-wing bias? on: January 21, 2006, 09:36:20 am
On constitutional issues, there's definitly an originalist slant...
I would disagree with that assessment. There are only three originalists on this board as far as I am aware: A18, Ebowed, and me.

But from what I've read of the constitutional threads, the only person able to put up a real argument against you guys is Peter Bell. Of the few people who actually understand judicial issues, it seems that select group is mainly originalist.

Wasn't migrendel pretty interested in legal issues? If he'd been around in the past year we might have had some interesting debates. Not that I'd understand much of them...
12207  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the British Empire on: January 21, 2006, 09:28:22 am
Obviously both positive and negative aspects.

I don't think you can simply overlook either side of the coin and do so can be little more than an exercise in willfull ignorance, as both its positive and negative aspects are highly obvious.
12208  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Does the forum have a right-wing bias? on: January 21, 2006, 09:26:43 am
On constitutional issues, there's definitly an originalist slant, just look at the poll results for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy that are in the FF/HP series. Also, there is definitly a very strong anti-PC bias, though that may be a good thing. On both issues, the forum is vastly different from the American public, which probably has at least 25% more support of Roe v. Wade than the forum, and is a lot more politically correct than anyone posting here.

I agree on judicial issues, but I don't agree on PC. The influence of the so-called PC is greatly exaggerated, not to mention the concept itself is grossly distorted. It's a terrible misnomer.
12209  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: APPROVAL RATINGS FOR ALL 50 GOVERNORS AS OF 1/19/06 on: January 21, 2006, 09:22:52 am
According to the approval poll, he'd be great for the coveted Hispanic 18-34 Republican Liberal Pro-Life Female With Some College Who Never Attends Church demographic!

Apparently, 17% of Democrats approve of Bob Taft.

Given that only 21% of Republicans approve, I have to wonder who the heck these Democrats are.

I think once you get that low it's gotten beyond the point to party politics to the point where you just have ~20% of the population who has no idea who Bob Taft is.
12210  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Does the forum have a right-wing bias? on: January 21, 2006, 09:18:57 am
It doesn't really have much of a notable bias actually; in overall terms a slight tilt towards social permissiveness and an even slighter tilt to the right economically (which is more due to a larger tilt towards fiscal conservatism rather than towards right wing economic views in general). The impression of a genuine libertarian bias seems to come from the fact that the libertarians here (and there are actually less than you usually find in online political discussion things; well certainly a lot less than was common a few years ago) are just very, very vocal and like to be heard.
Bearing in mind the demographics of this forum in particular and the internet in general, there's nothing very significant to note IMO.

Very true Al.  And in fact the 'bias' of the forum depends heavily on which sections you visit most, due to the composition of the posters who most frequent each of the sections.  Someone might say "Constitution and Law" has a libertarian bias, while "Individual Politics" is fairly even if not liberally slanted.  Some of the more election-oriented boards have a conservative lean to them.  "The Atlas" has a whining bias, etc.

That's a more nuanced analysis Ebowed, and I agree with your breakdown. Of course, things are not the same now as they were a year ago, and they'll continue to evolve as the forum dynamics do.
12211  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Al Gore on: January 21, 2006, 09:01:33 am
I like Al Gore. Politically he's different from me, but he is a man of substance and I wanted him to win in 2000. But loosing in the way he did could seriously affect a mans rationality for a time. Just imagine the sheer anger he must have felt, whether or not he believe the election was 'stolen' or not. He now assumes the mantle of 'elder statesman' for the Democrats (as Clinton has absorbed himself in charity work) and seems more at ease with himself.

Really?  My impression has been that he has gotten crazier with time.

I don't think he's crazy, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had gone crazy. After all, considering the current state of affairs in the world and the strength of the U.S., he's arguably the biggest loser in the history of mankind. Not even Napoleon or Hitler can claim to have lost so much power in the whirl of a few hanging chads, and Hitler committed suicide. At least give the man credit for not doing that.

Besides, can you really say a completely sane man would order a risky illegal break-in into the opposing party's Watergate headquarters even though he has a landslide lead in the polls, simply to learn something about their campaign strategy perhaps? No, Nixon went a little crazy after 1960 too, I bet.
12212  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you have a lower combined score than I? on: January 21, 2006, 01:09:09 am
I think that a more accurate way to measure this might be to use the distance formula: sqrt(social^2 + economic^2).

That just measures the distance from the center.
Correct--it would indicate how extreme an individual is more accurately than the sum of the two scores.

Ok, I didn't realize we were measuring extremity.
12213  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: McCaskill leads Talent by 3% in new Rasmussen Poll on: January 21, 2006, 01:05:29 am
I wondered whether Research 2000 dropped off the face of the planet.

Any poll from 2000 is outdated.
12214  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think of me? on: January 20, 2006, 05:37:54 pm
Supersoulty, through what I've observed of your posting on this forum you seem to be a heartfelt individual and I can't imagine you intentionally giving this girl "a lot of crap". Though I don't know the situation it sounds as if the problem is hers and not yours.
12215  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you have a lower combined score than I? on: January 20, 2006, 04:45:45 pm
I think that a more accurate way to measure this might be to use the distance formula: sqrt(social^2 + economic^2).

That just measures the distance from the center.
12216  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Country Star Tim McGraw wants to run for Governor of Tennessee on: January 20, 2006, 04:40:19 pm
He'll be a better gov. that their current excuse for one.

Phil Bredesen is a good governor.  We need more Democrats like him.

Bredesen is a decent governor but I disagree with his decision to terminate the health insurance of 200,000 people.
12217  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Bush vs Osama on: January 20, 2006, 04:32:58 pm
.. Bush's constitutency has an awful lot to thank Bin Laden for, don't they?

Good point!

While that is true I suppose, OBL is far, far worse than any American politican, Republican or Democrat.

12218  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poverty - relative vs. absolute on: January 20, 2006, 04:23:19 pm
Ordinarily I'd say absolute poverty since absolute poverty implies relative poverty-- the absolutely poor are also relatively poor.

However from the perspective of the government, which is funded by U.S. taxpayers, I would say that government has a first obligation to look after the poor in its own borders, and if that means 'relative' poverty, then we need to look at that 'relative' poverty as a more pressing problem. That does not preclude also contributing to international efforts to alleviate poverty in other countries.
12219  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Political correctness on: January 20, 2006, 03:58:51 pm
Notice the single quotes - 'correct' means 'acceptable' in this case
Then we agree for the most part - in my view it's just gotten to a point where one can't talk about certain issues without an unreasonable reaction. The fear of that reaction is, as I said, kind of a de facto ban on free speech.

Well it depends which issues you're talking about, the reaction to many supposed violations of what conservatives like to call 'political correctness' (such as saying 'old person' or 'slum') is nil in comparison positions that would be truly difficult to take socially.

Well, 'politically correct' is just a phrase anyways - to the extent it's gotten I'd rather be incorrect. Tongue

It's a highly misleading phrase.

Yes, there's no denying conservative political correctness exists. I see it as a sad state of affairs on both sides.

Here's my problem with the current usage of the term "political correctness". The phrase implies that there is some overwhelmingly powerful political force that compels people to take certain positions or use certain diction. Yet in the examples wherein people (usually conservatives) like to complain about "political correctness", such as the use of the term 'African-American' vs. 'black', no such overwhelmingly powerful force exists. In fact, most people use the term 'black'.

The very fact that so many people disdain 'political correctness' (80% in this poll) by itself ought to prove that proponents of what is called 'political correctness' are in fact not overwhelmingly powerful, and that their position thus does not deserve to be labelled 'correct' (or 'acceptable').

The cost that this misuse of this term imposes is that it gets people to forget what true political correctness is. Which positions--which values-- in our society are backed by such overwhelming support and punishment for transgression that they deserve to be called 'politically correct' positions? Support for freedom, democracy, equal opportunity, the rule of law, and the Constitution. Support for the nation in time of war. Support for racial integration. Opposition to such things such as pedophilia, sodomy, polygamy, and rape.

I recognize that these positions are politically correct, but I have no problem with this, because they are also positions that I hold myself. I am pleased that the overwhelming majority of the nation shares my views on these basic issues. And I think that broad agreement on certain issues is importance for the coherence of any nation. But if any issues can be truly called 'politically correct', it is these..... Which is why I have a positive opinion of political correctness, not in the narrow sense that conservatives use it to complain selectively about what they don't like, but in the sense that the term itself truly suggests.
12220  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Political correctness on: January 20, 2006, 03:04:33 pm
'Political correctness' is a term that has nothing to do with correct diction - it's a subjectively 'correct' behavior.

How can something be "subjectively correct"?

I can't find one online atm, though I know it happens. Though one thing has been happening in Georgia where the Republicans are being called racists for supporting a voter ID law meant to decrease fraud, and quite ridiculously so.

I know that there is a controversy over that issue b/c of its association with the poll tax in the state's history, though I wasn't aware anyone was called a racist merely for supporting voter the law.

I never said they weren't - I really don't know where the hell you're getting these impressions. I said that there's people out there who are so god damn obsessed with trying to keep people from being offended that it is ruining our culture and politics for the reason of never offending anyone. Being un-PC is such a taboo that people are de-facto having their freedom of speech taken due to the fear of the ridiculous level of reprecussions. Some political correctness if fine and dandy, but the level of it today has become unreasonable.

I don't agree with unreasonableness, all I'm saying is that if you accept the fact that people have a right to be offended at some things, it's inevitable that people who express controversial opinions-- be they about government legitimacy (Kazcynski), pedophilia (opebo), the President (Dixie Chicks) or race (say, Trent Lott) will face certain consequences as a result of their expression. I'm not saying the reaction is never overblown, but it's not always unjustified either. That is inevitable. No one is taking away anyone's right to free speech, however.

I went off on a tangent with the Twain issue that wasn't related to the innacuracy issue - still, I want an answer to why schools are banning works like Huckleberry Finn just because it contains the word nigger.

I don't agree with that, but I think it's a very different issue from substituting "senior citizen" from "old person." The book issue involves a school board making decisions for teachers or students, while the the latter involves an individual's personal preference as to which diction they prefer to use.

After doing a little reading on this controversy, the overwhelming majority of sources seem to support keeping the book in schools. Most townships that have debated this issue have decided to do so, though with more sensitivity on how they present the topic. Courts have flatly rejected any form of outside censorship.

So I don't think the use of the word correct (politically or otherwise) is an accurate description of a position in favor of removing the book. If anything these people are in the minority.

Further, the book appears at only #5 in the American Library Associations' list of most challenged books of the 1990s. At #3 is Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, apparently because of scenes dealing with lesbianism and rape. In fact, the most common complaints of books on the list seem to be "anti-family values", "sexually explicit" or "homosexuality". (http://solonor.com/archives/000134.html) Yet you never hear conservatives complaining that such complaints represent some kind of "political correctness".

History textbooks are innacurate in how they portray things(until you get into college at least, they don't worry about offending people so much there) - not necessarily outright lies, but leaving out facts still distorts things. For instance, you'll hear a lot about the aggression of the white settlers against the Indians, but you'll rarely if ever hear about Indian aggression against the white settlers - the truth is aggression went both ways and both sides were provoking eachother, not that the Indians were just innocent victims as they are oft portrayed.

That's true, and history books in high school dumb down a lot of things. It's too bad, most students in my upper-middle class high school were too apathetic to even understand the dumbed-down version of the history book. Then again, maybe because it was so boring. But their omissions run both ways, as you'll see if you read James Loewen's book which I linked above. Not that I'm endorsing the book, but just to show you the omissions run both ways.
12221  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Agree or Disagree with the following statement? on: January 20, 2006, 01:49:26 pm
"Not expressing a view does not equal not having one. For a Supreme Court nominee to have thought about legal issues and reached some provisional conclusion is not a scandal. It is admirable and probably inevitable. For senators to learn these views and exercise "advice and consent" on that basis is not a scandal either. That's how it is supposed to work."

Michael Kingsley

12222  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Political correctness on: January 20, 2006, 11:49:42 am
Yes, it is a double standard - one that has resulted from the culture of political correctness.

There's nothing 'correct' about either diction usage, John. No one is forcing you into any form of diction.

No particular truth - it is dependent on the issue in question. See my example about someone pointing out a problem with the black community - undeniably there are problems, but if a white person tries to point it out it's often labeled as racist and politically incorrect by the people who adhere to the doctrine of political correctness.

The problem is that no one has ever done this. Can you provide me with a single example where anyone has been called politically incorrect or racist solely because they said that there were problems in black communities?

No, I don't see how you got that idea - people have the right to be offended, but they have no right to not be offended. Such a right is mutually exclusive to free speech. So long as people have free speech, someone is going to be offended.

I'm glad you're finally coming around to understanding, John. As long as people want to give their opinions they have to be prepared for the consequences of those opinions-- including that some people will be offended.

I never claimed to be all knowing, all I claimed is that political correctness gets in the way of the truth being spoken in many cases.

And yet, if you speak of subjective truth, then this is inevitable as long as people reserve the right to take offense. If you speak of objective (scientific) truth, people generally do not take offense to it, though they often challenge the accuracy of claims of scientific truth. And such challenges are legitimate.

Preventing offense is in itself not bad, but when it gets in the way of what really needs to be said it's a problem.

Again-- a person who expresses a subjective opinion has to be willing to accept the consequences of their expression. That is in no way a violation of the rights of freedom of speech, but to deny others' a right to respond is a violation of others' rights.

I'm not talking about interesting, I'm talking about accurate. I would think there would be incentive for our hitory and literature classes to be accurate.(literature class is usually historical in nature, talking about the big writers of various days gone by) And what is the incentive for banning works of literature that contain the word 'nigger', even if the works themselves are by non-racists like Mark Twain?

The exclusion of Mark Twain does not necessarily make a curriculum 'inaccurate' any more than the exclusion of any writer. An example of an inaccuracy would be assigning a book by Mark Twain and claiming it was actually written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Once again you seem to be confusing the meaning of things and I can't tell what you're trying to say.
12223  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Political correctness on: January 19, 2006, 04:33:40 pm
Why are you using one of the most extreme possible examples? The Unabomber Manifesto was rejected because Ted Kaczynski was BATSH*T CRAZY, it had nothing to do with political correctness. Calling people who've never even been to Africa 'African-Americans' is political correctness, the rejection of some loon's political and social ideas because reason dictates that it is wrong is not. I'm mainly Norse in heritage - do people call me Norweigan-American? No - I've never been to Norway, or Europe for that matter(I don't get called European-American either). Since I'm white and was born in this country, I'm just an American Why is it that blacks can't just be Americans too?

How the heck am I supposed to know? Black are just blacks to me, but if someone else wants to call them African-Americans, then I have no problem with that. To each his own. I'm not about to go up to someone and say they can't say 'African-American' just because I don't like it. That's fascist!

(edit: Btw, I think what you're talking about with your Norwegian-American example is a double standard, which is a legitimate complaint. I also dislike identity politics, which I feel is divisive and destructive. But neither of those are the same as this overgeneralized, muddled term called 'P.C.')

Anyway... reason dictates? Can you refute the entire Unabomber manifesto? Have you even read it? If not then how do you know his ideas are wrong? I used it because it's an actual example of political correctness-- anyone caught agreeing with him would face serious social penalties, unlike someone who says 'black', which almost everyone does.

I'm saying people can be labeled as racist for making a 'politically incorrect' comment even if the comment is true, simply because that truth might offend some minorities. Quite often those doing such labeling aren't even of the race

Well people can be labelled racist for anything, so to say they can be labelled is saying nothing. And what's wrong with calling a racist person racist if that's the truth? On the other hand if they're not really racist-- then the person who labelled them has mislabelled them, just as I said. But I also pointed out that mislabelling soemone and reacting to someone's opinion are completely different. Which leads us into...

Reaction and perception are intertwined, you can't seperate the two.

Misperception can occur without strong reaction, and strong reaction can occur without misperception... which is what I believe we were talking about.

You react based on what you perceive.


My complaint about poltical correctness is that the PC crowd is more worried about offending someone than the truth being told - the truth, no matter how offensive, is the truth and reason dictates that we don't dumb it down.

Wait a minute, what truth, and whose truth? Do you claim that no one has the right to be offended at anything? If not, who is to determine what is true and what is legitimately offensive? After all, what is inaccurate and thus offensive in one man's eyes is the truth in another man's eyes.

For example, you yourself seem to have rejected Ted Kaczynski as "BATSH*T CRAZY", even though he's probably much smarter than you are (of course, the two are not mutually exclusive). You seem to be willing to go to the limits of offensiveness in theory but not in practice. Your complaints are highly limited and constricted, and you seem to feel as if the practitioners of political correctness are limited to a "crowd", evidently not made up of the whole. Yet no one can have a conscience who is not offended at something, and almost everyone does have a conscience. You have not spoken up, for example, in opebo's defense on this forum when people have become offended at his acceptance of pedophilia. Do they not have the right to be offended at his pedophilia?

Overall your complaints seem to be that people are offended at what you consider "truth" yet you have no problem when people are offended at what you consider "untruth". Shall we call on John Dibble every time America wants to know "the truth" on some issue?

It's somewhat based on intent - usually to prevent offense(quite often to someone who would have no reason to be offended if the original word was used).

And what if they do intend to prevent offense-- is there something wrong with this? Must everyone be obliged to shout out every negative thought we have about every other person?

Why then, if not to prevent offense, have our history books been dumbed down, the real truth hidden from our students? And why then do we ban classic literature in the classroom because it contains the word 'nigger' if not to prevent offense? If not for the politically correct goal of keeping people from being offended why do we dumb down our educational system in this manner?

Because there's no incentive to make it interesting. I don't think it's a matter of there being a brilliant curriculum beforehand, rather the school curriculum has always been somewhat more dull than it could be. The system is run by the government and the government is generally terribly poor at administrative matters.
12224  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Political correctness on: January 19, 2006, 03:13:52 pm
So? I really fail to see what that has to do with political correctness in the sense we're talking about it. What you're talking about it plain common sense, what we're talking about it the sheer overuse of this type of thing. For instance, one aspect of political correctness can make it so that open criticism of a viewpoint or lifestyle(even extreme ones) is politically incorrect, even if those criticisms are valid.

If you fail to see what my reply had to do with what you’re discussing, should define your terms more clearly in the future because my response was tailored directly to the definition that you gave me.

Please note that what is "overuse" in your eyes may not be the same as "overuse" in someone else's eyes. Ted Kaczynski probably felt that the rejection of his "Unabomber Manifesto" was an exampled of " 'overused' political correctness"! Generally, whomever feels that a position they agree with is being punished indirectly will feel that the popular reaction is being overused in their case, but in other cases it will be merely “common sense”.

I'm not saying there's no incentive to be politically correct - politicians are that way to whore themselves for votes, for instance - but political correctness prevents potential truths from being spoken by our leaders simply because it might offend someone. For instance, if a white man(and some cases a black man) were to make comments regarding something he thought was wrong with the black community(not the race, the culture and community in general) many would consider it to be politically incorrect and he might even be labeled a racist. His criticisms might be aimed at getting attention paid to a valid problem with the culture and alleviating the problem, but because it's not PC he might be risking his political career simply for pointing out the truth! (minority issues are one of those that are really hit hard by political correctness)

You seem to be implying that some people are being mislabeled as racist. When someone is misjudges a person, they’re doing something very different from being offended at a person’s stance.

Your complaint with “political correctness” (and your definition of it) up until now seems to have centered on the way people react to others’ opinions, not the way people perceive them. So please get it straight exactly what you mean. Of course, I’d be happy to discuss either one (or both) with you, as long as we’re clear that we’re discussing two entirely separate types of behavior.

"Politically correct" describes more than just euphemisms - it's a category of behavioral changes, euphemisms included. As far as euphemisms go, they're ok occassionally but these days they are overused.
So are euphemisms necessary or sufficient for “political correctness” to have occurred? Just what is your complaint with the use of euphemisms anyway? Who are you to tell someone else that they can’t use them?

And rhetorical devices are part of the whole PC package.

So any time someone has used a rhetorical device they are politically correct? It seems as if every public figure from Socrates to George W. Bush is a politically correct nutjob then!

While I'm at it, I think I'll speak briefly about one of the worst places political correctness has gone into - our schools, especially in history class. Let's face it, history is filled with things that would be considered offensive by many, but hey, the truth isn't pretty, is it? God forbid we offend someone with the truth. So, in an effort not to offend people we dumb down our history books(sometimes even lie in them), ban many pieces of classic literature from literature class because it contains the word 'nigger' or some other such offensive material, and so on and so forth. Is this effort to not offend really worth the gradual decay of our education system? Don't you care about the children at all? End political correctness now - do it for the children. Wink

Indeed, history classes are excessively bland, but that’s not wholly or necessarily due to political correctness in the way conservatives like to complain about it—history books have been bland since well before the 1960s. This guy seems to agree.
12225  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Political correctness on: January 19, 2006, 12:40:29 pm
No offense intended, but are you sure you understand the topic? I don't think any of that stuff you said has anything to do with political correctness - political correctness is going out of your way to not offend some group of people or to make something easier on the ears, usually with the use of euphemisms. It is oft used to soften the hard truth of things.

Many people would be offended by the views of a terrorist who advocated the overthrow of the government. The offense that the overwhelming majority would take imposes heavy indirect social costs on expressing such a view. The same phenomenon would apply to any political position which was sufficiently at odds with a majority that a social cost would be imposed. My example was only an extreme version.

Going back to the first part of your definition of "P.C.", any time the social costs I've discussed might be imposed, some people will be incentivized to "[go] out of [their] way not to offend". By your definition, that in itself is sufficient for something to be labelled "P.C." I am simply pointing out that, assuming that the right of people to respond to political expressions is upheld, any society wherein certain views are broadly agreed on by the majority will be characterized by that incentive structure on the particular issue in question.

The second aspect of your definition says that any time something "make(s) something easier on the ears", it can be labelled "P.C." By this definition, I fail to distinguish between an attack on P.C. and an attack on euphemism in general, since you've basically described the definition of euphemism. You might be complaining that more euphemisms have come into use over time compared to the past, but a person complaining about this would simply argue how he feels there are too many euphemisms in the English language. There is no need for a new term, "P.C.", which implies something more going on. Furthermore, I've seen very little argument and discussion on the merits and disadvantages of euphemisms.

On the other hand things like "I'm doing it for the children" or prefacing an argument with "I support the troops but..." are rhetorical devices. In fact, all rhetorical devices-- the study of rhetoric as a discipline, can be argued as a science of making things "more pleasant on the ears." I hardly believe those who complain about "P.C." are attempting to attack the use of rhetorical devices in general.
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