Political Correctness

Let’s explore the danger of political correctness, the way we might explore a car engine, by asking the question, “How does it work?”  Actually, in this case we should ask the question, “How does it cause harm?”

At its core, I believe political correctness causes great, grave problems in a society by leading people to regularly adhere to falsehoods that deep down inside they know are falsehoods.  Why is this such a big problem?

Well, when people claim to believe something that they don’t really believe, they experience discomfort, in the form of something called cognitive dissonance.  That is the internal conflict that a person feels when they are doing or saying something that they don’t believe in.  Cognitive dissonance can be very unsettling, even disturbing.

After a while, when a person does this over and over, they start to hard-wire themselves for cognitive dissonance.  It is unfortunate because deep down inside, their beliefs do not change.  It may look to others and almost feel that way to them, but deep inside they know what is right and wrong and logical and illogical.  They are merely pushing their dissonance down further and further.

So, if it is harmful for human beings to act against what they know is true (and I believe it is), then what happens when a society starts doing this?  There is a collective sense of cognitive dissonance.  And if this weren’t bad enough, all of those people who are feeling that dissonance look around them in the world and feel that maybe they’re the only ones who are feeling it.  They start to wonder if they are going crazy.  But again, they can’t change their true, God-given beliefs in right and wrong, in logic and the illogical.  Still, they must find a way to cope.  They are trapped in untruth, in dissonance, and in emotional and intellectual confusion and loneliness.

When thousands upon thousands of people watch Jews and others being rounded up and removed from their world, they can’t truly believe that is right.  But they agree not to talk about it, or to justify it based on some ridiculous but popularly promoted idea of justice.  But deep down inside they’re quietly wondering, “Is this world crazy?  Am I crazy?  I cannot process this?”

That happens in little ways too when we pretend that a boss or a teacher or a coach is a nice guy or gal even when they behave unkindly.  It also happens when we watch politicians do things we know are wrong or make no sense, but we support them because they sit on our side of the political aisle.

And of course, it happens when we allow struggling people to kill the living children in their womb, even though we know it is the taking of the most innocent of human life.  Over time we justify, try to avoid thinking and talking about, and even defend what we know to be a terrible tragedy and evil.  And eventually we find ourselves depressed and lost, individually and as a society.

What is the antidote to political correctness?  Loving defense of the truths that we know exist, but which have been cast aside.  But even loving defense of truth will not always be met with love.  In fact, in many situations it will be met with hatred and bitterness, which makes sense because people struggle when they are confronted with a truth they have been avoiding.

And so, the antidote to political correctness is not only a loving defense of truth, it is the acceptance of the rejection and the suffering that often comes with it.  That is, what I believe, God calls us to do in a world where truth, His Truth, is so often ignored or abused.

May we have the courage and faith and selflessness to stand against political correctness and love the people who are victims of it enough to suffer for them.

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About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is the author of nine best-selling business books including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which has been a fixture on the Wall Street Journal best-seller list for more than ten years. Fortune magazine named Pat one of “ten new gurus you should know”, and The Wall Street Journal described him as one of the most in-demand speakers in America.

In addition to his work as a speaker and consultant with his firm, The Table Group, Pat is married, has four sons and lives in Northern California. Pat is a lifelong Catholic who is passionate about his faith.

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2 Comments

  1. Pat, Thank you for your article, I agree political correctness often used to mask evil in society.

    I find it very sad that we live in a world that is so far from God’s truth and the ability to recognize evil that we let sexual immorality get to the point where Abortion is so common before we reach our breaking point in our passive acceptance of evil. If we (Christ Church) stood up more courageously against the lies and evil of sexual promiscuity we would not be is a place where the evil of abortion is so widely accepted.

    Theology of the body is a deep and difficult topic to explain but we live in a world where we need to combat our intellectual laziness as a society and get ourselves to think much deeper on this subject which proclaims such a fundamental truth about how we were designed by God and the purpose of our sexuality.

    With the repeal of DADT in the military and all the controversy it will create in the years ahead we have an opening for boldness in proclaiming God’s design and proper purpose for the use of our sexuality as men and women.

    May God grant us the courage to stand for truth.

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