Manent on political correctness

"This divorce between action and word contributes to explaining the novel role of 'political correctness.' Political correctness is a particularly significant aspect of the contemporary emancipation of speech. One over longer expects that speech will be linked to a possible action; thus is taken seriously as though it was itself an action. Not being linked to a possible and plausible action that measures its purport, speech is willingly considered, if it is unpleasant, as the equivalent of the worst action unimaginable. Thus one tracks those infamous words that are designated as 'phobias' in clinical language. The progress of freedom in the West consisted of measuring words by the yardstick of visible actions. 'Political correctness' consists of measuring words by the yardstick of invisible intentions." -- Pierre Manent, Metamorphoses of the City, p. 11


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