Policymakers | Intellectual Diversity

Political correctness isn’t as popular as you think

WASHINGTON EXAMINER   |  March 31, 2021 by Samuel J. Abrams

As cancel culture continues to destroy both careers and discourse around the nation, the idea of what positions are politically acceptable to hold or which views are even open to articulation is regularly under question.

But I have some good news about the wave of “politically correct” speech pervading so many of our institutions: Only a minority of citizens accept this status quo and believe more correctness is necessary. Most people are rejecting this hypersensitive environment in which we find ourselves.

According to a new survey from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and pollster eighteen92 looking at 800 residents of Illinois — a diverse state resembling much of the nation demographically, economically, and geospatially — the poisonous growth of politically correct culture in our society is not admired at all.

The survey asks, “Generally speaking, do you think Americans are too politically correct, not politically correct enough, or just right when it comes to political correctness?” The results show that people are not supportive of being more careful with their words. The plurality of respondents, 42%, state flat-out that the public is too politically correct, while almost a fifth, 17%, are unsure. About 10% think that the current climate is good when it comes to speech and culture, and only 30% believe that the nation is not politically correct enough.

It is clear that that the public is split on what is acceptable, but it does lean toward the position that the status quo is just not working for most people, suggesting the woke cultural warriors of correctness and speech are out of step with the rest of the nation.

What is noteworthy here is how these answers break down after digging a bit deeper. When age is considered, for instance, there is very little variance. Younger people are not actually more sensitive or demanding, as you might presume. Just 36% of those ages 18 to 34 argue that the nation is not politically correct enough, and 33% of those 65 years old and up feel the same way. Younger people are barely more liberal here than older cohorts, despite the regular narrative that millennials and Generation Z are leading the nation toward a hypersensitive, woke left.

There are some notable differences, however, when ideology and education are considered. While fewer than a third who have a college degree or a high school diploma think that the nation is not politically correct enough, the figure jumps to 41% of those with post-graduate degrees. This is understandable given the liberal lean of the most formally educated, but even here, this is a minority of the group. A third of people with post-graduate degrees believe that the nation is too politically correct, and another 18% are unsure of what to make of the current cancel culture madness, suggesting that even among the most liberal, there is hardly homogeneity.

And, turning to ideology, there are some appreciable differences again, but liberals are still not monolithic. Just 48% of liberals claim that the country is not politically correct enough, compared to 30% of centrists and 13% of conservatives. Despite being 4 times more likely than conservatives to believe that the nation needs to be more politically correct, liberals still don’t have a majority that supports more political correctness. So, despite the real differences between liberals and conservatives, even liberals are not uniformly supportive of the rise of PC culture.

This new data provides an important reality check when it comes to the increasing calls for cancellation and the real rise of politically correct culture, for most people are not supportive of these totalitarian, undemocratic impulses. Of course, there are some positions and ideas that are offensive, factually incorrect, and unacceptable. However, many ideas are worth discussion and debate, and the mobs that try to cancel so many under the guise of political correctness need to be dispersed.

We now know that people, even many liberal ones, are worried that we are too politically correct, and the public does not want this toxic movement to grow further.

Samuel J. Abrams is professor of politics at Sarah Lawrence College and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The original source can be found here»


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