May 16, 2015

Political correctness is a society-wide groupthink that can be very dangerous.

Sir, In the Shrink and the Sage’s “Can we get used to anything?” of May 16, the Sage mentions “society-wide groupthink”. And the best example of current society-wide groupthink I can think of is “political correctness”.

I just came back from a week in Sweden. There I heard many expressing to me, in sotto voce, sort of ashamed, sort of “don’t tell anyone about this”, some very ordinary and human concerns about there being too many migrants and about the risk they felt that could dilute their meaning of being a Swede.

My immediate thought was that political correctness, if it blocks this way citizens from venting their concerns, then it must be a dangerous powerful growth hormone for extremism.

In other words, if you use a “That’s like Hitler” in response to too many of people concerns, then too many might end up thinking “That Hitler guy sound’s quite right for me”.

Let us never forget that the emotions involved in the not liking something for the wrong reasons, are just as strong as that of the not liking something for "the right reasons".

PS. My father suffered years of concentration camp because of Hitler. I don’t remember him saying, “That’s like Hitler” about anything or anyone… perhaps because he would never want to diminish Hitler’s evilness to something being sharable.