Jeffery Hertz raised the question whether political correctness in the press and on campus was stifling vigorous debate. In rsponse, ye Editor was found dumb on the topic but not the Economist. Here is an excerpt of the winning Economist Open Society essay on the very topic:
“Drunk on virtue.” Thus did Lionel Shriver, an American author, damn a commitment made by the British arm of Penguin Random House, a publisher, that “its new hires and the books it acquires reflect UK society by 2025.” A conscious effort to ensure diversity is, says Ms Shriver, wholly incompatible with the publisher’s raison d’être of acquiring and publishing good works of literature. If an agent were to receive a manuscript from a “gay transgender Caribbean who dropped out of school at seven and powers around town on a mobility scooter” it would be published, even if its quality were execrable, warned Ms Shriver. Her screed suggests that the unthinking application of political correctness (PC), in this case in the form of a diversity target, will threaten liberal, Western culture and produce small-minded individuals. Like some of Ms Shriver’s previous interventions on this topic, this one was met with outrage online, with thousands of tweets and column-inches devoted to criticising the author.
Welcome to the culture wars. Welcome to “political correctness gone too far”.
The notion that political correctness has “gone mad” is familiar to anyone who follows even vaguely any aspect of modern political or cultural life. The phrase, ostensibly referring to language or action that is designed to avoid offence or harm to protected groups, has become a sharp criticism. It is synonymous with a sort of cultural McCarthyism, usually committed by the left…..
Jeffery has underlined, like in Section 4 Business Case Classes, a topic of delicate concern.