NOTE: While looking through my old essays, I found another 15 that struck me as particularly interesting. Some may seem a bit dated, as they discuss current events during the period 2008 to 2010, but the principles they discuss are still relevant.
Has anyone else noticed how PC terminology becomes an insult about every 10 years? A decade ago "mentally retarded" was the PC term, now it is an insult. "Black" was a proper term, then "person of color" (though "colored person" was still an insult), then "African-American" -- including absurdities such as "British African-Americans" -- and who knows what's next?
Why do we put up with this constant shuffling of terms? The only purpose is to make the well intentioned feel guilty and the word-mongers feel superior. There is no difference between "mentally retarded" and "developmentally delayed" or whatever the term du jour is. And whatever term you use for retarded or gay will become an insult among the young, because that is how they are, no matter what the PC crowd wishes. (And if retardation is not something to be avoided, why don't the PC crowd inflict head injuries upon themselves since it is value neutral how well your mind works?)
If we just ignored these terminology shifts and continued to use the old terms. Or even better, insisted of using our own terms, maybe "addle headed" or "crack brained", these shifts would not occur. But, because we accept that PC verbiage is a sign of good intentions, and agree to go along, or at least because we don't care, we let the left force these pointless shifts of terminology on us.
Worst of all, these shifts, besides being pointless and leading to needless offense and guilt, they also manage to be less clear with each iteration, making conversation ever less clear. And since thought requires precision, I would recommend we insist on constant, accurate terms, rather than an ever-shifting parade of euphemisms.
Originally posted in Random Notes on 2010/04/19.