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PC – As In “Patriotically Correct”

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy just alerted me to an essay in the December 8th, 2016, Washington Post by my former GMU Econ student Alex Nowrasteh. To describe Alex’s essay as spectacularly good is an understatement.

I don’t know how I missed this essay when it was first published, but I’m thankful that I eventually learned about it. This piece by Alex remains as relevant and as penetrating today as – nay, even more than – it was three years ago.

Below are few slices, but do read the whole thing:

But conservatives have their own, nationalist version of PC, their own set of rules regulating speech, behavior and acceptable opinions. I call it “patriotic correctness.” It’s a full-throated, un-nuanced, uncompromising defense of American nationalism, history and cherry-picked ideals. Central to its thesis is the belief that nothing in America can’t be fixed by more patriotism enforced by public shaming, boycotts and policies to cut out foreign and non-American influences.

Complaining about political correctness is patriotically correct. The patriotically correct must use the non-word “illegals,” or “illegal immigrant” or “illegal alien” to describe foreigners who broke our immigration laws. Dissenters support “open borders” or “shamnesty” for 30 million illegal alien invaders. The punishment is deportation because “we’re a nation of laws” and they didn’t “get in line,” even though no such line actually exists. Just remember that they are never anti-immigration, only anti-illegal immigration, even when they want to cut legal immigration.
Every group has implicit rules against certain opinions, actions and language as well as enforcement mechanisms — and the patriotically correct are no exception. But they are different because they are near-uniformly unaware of how they are hewing to a code of speech and conduct similar to the PC lefties they claim to oppose. The modern form of political correctness on college campuses and the media is social tyranny with manners, while patriotic correctness is tyranny without the manners, and its adherents do not hesitate to use the law to advance their goals. If we have a term to describe this new phenomenon — I nominate patriotic correctness.