The 21st century has notably brought many reforms and changes, particularly politically and socially. One change has been the push by progressives for adherence to political correctness. More and more things in daily life are being deemed “offensive” or “politically incorrect.” The push for virtually everyone to adhere to this set of expectations in how they speak, act, and relate to others has been directly related to the progressive agenda in many cases. The drive for change and reform that was originally the purpose of being progressive has now been converted to a demand for everyone to get on board with this type of one-way thinking. The standard seems to be the sensitivity of an individual or group, and the expectation is that everyone who wants to be seen as a good person, or simply not be attacked verbally or otherwise, complies with this standard. One could argue that while being sensitive to topics that offend people is prudent, there is also something to say about how far this sensitivity has been taken, and how it affects the rights of those forced to comply. In essence, this culture of sensitivity has translated into a sort of doctrine put forth by progressives that everyone else is being forced to adhere to.
The essence of this doctrine can be found in the meaning of the term “politically correct.” Politically correct is defined as, “ marked by or adhering to a typically progressive orthodoxy on issues involving especially ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or ecology.” The key word here is “orthodoxy,” also known as a dogma, belief, or doctrine. Basically, those with specific views on what is offensive define, for example, homosexuality, gender pronouns, abortion, and more, as politically correct or incorrect and then expect others to comply. This is closely related to religion because almost every religion has its specific moral guidelines that the followers of the religion believe are correct. However, most religions don’t expect those outside of their own religion to comply with these morals, and if they do they are shrugged off by the rest of society. This is not the case when it comes to the sensitivity and political correctness of our society. All members of society are expected to adhere to what has been deemed politically correct regardless of their political or religious affiliation. The case in point is the story of a young woman identified as Madeline who was fired from her job as a contractor back in 2017 for updating her Facebook profile filter to “It’s OK to VOTE NO.” Madeline was referring to the fact that it’s okay to vote no in regards to gay marriage but was contacted by her boss and then fired. Her boss claimed that she had “shit morals” and that this was a form of “hate speech.” She was accused of being homophobic by her boss before being fired, all because of her views on a political controversy. Madeline didn’t even claim to be progressive and yet she was expected to adhere to their “moral” standards of what is offensive and what isn’t.
The pattern here is that, just like a religion, a set of standards is put forth, and those standards are labeled as “right.” However, quite unlike most prominent religions, these standards are expected to be met by everyone, and if they’re not, consequences follow. It doesn’t matter what an individual’s own religious or moral views are on the topic, what matters is what has been put forth by those who set the standard of “offensive” or not based on their own sensitivities. This brings us to another example, the case of a high school teacher in Virginia. The French teacher refused to use the “correct” gender pronouns of a transgender student and he was fired for this. The reason for his refusal stemmed from his own religious beliefs, and yet because he refused to comply to this standard of sensitivity, he was fired. His own beliefs were overshadowed by the dogma of sensitivity. The doctrine of progressives is put forth in this case as, “it’s politically incorrect to not use the gender pronouns one wants you to use for them.” The average citizen is then forced to comply, and when they don’t their job is taken.
What makes all of this especially harrowing is the fact that we seldom acknowledge that people are being forced to comply with the moral code of sensitivity. The fact that jobs and reputations are at risk based on possibly offending brings up further discussion about freedom of speech and the future of our culture, especially in relation to progressive political correctness. The sensitivity of certain groups has now grown into mandatory demands on how to speak and act and it is noteworthy that everyone is being forced to comply with their views whether they like it or not. Awareness of the fact that a doctrine is being forced on everyone is essential if change is going to happen. If they seek to defend their freedom of speech they must regard the fact that something is happening here that many blindly go along with. That something is more forceful than any prominent religion today, it is the dogma of progressive sensitivity.