Thinking harder about political correctness

Trump, let’s recall, has taken insulting rhetoric to a new low, and “politically correct” has become his all-purpose way of dismissing his critics. For Trump, politically incorrect masquerades as a badge of candor. He may sound like gutter politics, but he’s actually a courageous truth-teller.

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Still, it’s significant that his message hits home with his audience. One reason is that working class and middle class white men have been taking it on the chin for about three decades. Many have had a bellyful of women, blacks, gays, lesbians, transgender people, Muslims, et al, telling them what language they are permitted to use.

Some of the campus causes, where privileged kids argue about trigger warnings and micro-aggressions, epitomize everything that non-college educated white guys hate about liberals.

But let’s dig a little deeper. Some of the downward mobility of white men (expect for the elite) is long overdue. Until the civil rights movement and the women’s movement started contesting the privileges of white men, white guys had relatively fewer competitors for good jobs, and enjoyed the perquisites of stay-at-home wives. The gains in rights and aspirations of women and blacks were a loss in the relative social status and economic well-being of men.

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