The Grievous Cost of Political Correctness

Worth Readingby Ted Hewlett

“Political correctness” is a relatively recent term. Failing to find it in my hard-copy dictionary, I went online and found the following definitions1:

“1. Of, relating to, or supporting broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.

“2. Being or perceived as being overconcerned with such change, often to the exclusion of other matters.”

I am not sure that these definitions exactly fit the meaning of “political correctness” as the phrase has developed in meaning, but they make adequate starting-points for a discussion of the term.

Change is needed to remedy real injustices. The problem is not really with being over-concerned with genuinely beneficial change. Rather the difficulty occurs when we become occupied with whether the political and social trend-setters perceive us as opposing the changes they support.

The fact is that many of the changes made or proposed to be made in the cause of redressing injustices are themselves anything but just, but the code of “political correctness” forbids the discussion of any alternatives to those changes.

Take abortion, for example. It was put forward as redressing an injustice to women, but the code of political correctness prevents—certainly in Canada--a general discussion of the justice or otherwise of the procedure itself. Because of this barrier to discussion, research indicating the harm done to women who undergo induced abortions is suppressed2, as is the evidence of the ability of the unborn child to feel pain.3 Also suppressed is the rather obvious share abortion has in the decline of national populations.4

The currently-reigning politically-correct prohibition forbids the discussion of homosexual behaviour in any way that would reflect criticism of that behaviour. We are all supposed (rightly) to feel compassion for the victims of AIDS. But we are not supposed to ask whether behaviours leading to AIDS should be discouraged in any way that would actually prevent the further spread of AIDS.

The grievous cost of a false adherence to political correctness is one of psychological and physical damage and of death. Women suffer psychological and physical damage as a result of abortions; and, of course, unborn children suffer death. Homosexual behaviour likewise results in psychological damage, disease, and death. The victims of political correctness include the women and families of women who have abortions, and young people lured into homosexual behaviour.

What should be our response to “political correctness” when it forbids informed discussion of social issues? Surely we should challenge such stifling of debate and vigorously discuss social issues, since the welfare of others in society is involved. True, some have paid a heavy price for challenging political correctness. Chris Kempling, a British Columbia teaccher counsellor who was harassed by the British Columbia College of Teachers for exposing the pro-homosexuality propaganda campaign in the public schools, is an obvious example. But most of us do not have to pay a heavy price for speaking out at the present time. It is possible, however, that we will have to pay a heavy price if political correctness is allowed to stifle our liberties. We should continue to speak out, both to preserve our own liberties and to prevent our fellow human beings from becoming victims of evils of which we are not supposed to speak. Ted Hewlett (previously published as an editorial at


1.Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 2.Mentioned in "The Elephant in the Room," previously on the Breakpoint website and Joel Brind in “Abortion, Breast Cancer, and Ideology” at the “Leadership U” website 3.See “Research Shows Conclusively That Fetuses Feel Pain” at the website. 4.See Stephen Gray’s essay “The Revenge of the Aborted?” published as a guest editorial at .