May 21, 2019

The Emperor's Woke Clothes

“The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose political correctness. A recent survey of 8,000 Americans reveals that people of all ages, races, and educational levels oppose it by lopsided margins. None of the demographic categories presumed to be aligned with it, or to fall within its protective embrace, actually support it. Three out of 4 black people, 2 out of 3 people with postgraduate degrees, and 78 percent of people under the age of 24 all regard political correctness as a problem. While 79 percent of white people oppose political correctness, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87 percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to be resistant to it.

The findings are as encouraging as they are distressing. They are encouraging because they affirm something that no one with a glancing familiarity with the character of the American public has had any cause to doubt. People long habituated to freedom of conscience and speech instinctively dislike attempts to place restrictions on them. A regime of policing speech and thought for adherence to an unprincipled, logically incoherent, and ever-changing array of progressive nostrums will always be unpopular everywhere, but especially so here.

The study demonstrates that the opponents of political correctness are not primarily the followers of Donald Trump. Nor are they in any significant sense the alt-right, a ragbag of at most a few thousand malcontents in a country of 350 million, who have been falsely magnified into a ludicrous simulacrum of a real social force. They are not predominantly the remnants of a dying white America brainwashed by Fox News. They are not a pitiable collection of angry white males—ruddy, be-Dockered, pale, stale, males left behind by the times—clinging to their dwindling privileges in an ever more vibrant and diverse America.”

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