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Civilization And Its Discontents Outlines

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Civilization and Its Discontents

In his essay, Civilization and Its Discontents, Gary Kamiya writes about the presence of Political Correctness in society. P.C. teaches proper societal conduct and determines social status, which are necessary ethics when promoted within private domains. The principles are encroaching on the public grounds of the university where they should not be advocated. The university exists to promote liberal education by giving free space for analysis and tolerance; it does not exist to dictate proper conduct. This free space results in citizens that can handle real life problems, while P.C. concerns itself with the abstract. When P.C. hinders liberal education, society achieves nothing practical.

The varying opinions on the status of P.C. in schools make its presence difficult to measure. Kamiya conducts interviews with students and professors at U.C Berkeley who say they do not feel intruded upon, but increasing righteous behavior in universities signals that something is wrong. P.C. behavior focuses on difference, causing cultural and social effects in the university and society. Culturally it creates cynical and judgmental views of western tradition, and socially it creates a rift between common beliefs and group identification. P.C. accepts idealism and resentment while dividing individuals in groups based on gender, sex, and race. This definition of culture, meaning identity and group self-interest, results in a compression of western history and tradition. Supporters say that society uses the western canon as an instrument of masculine domination, which is pointless because one cannot change or escape the past. The job market encourages P.C. more than anger, and results in many essays but no decline in bigotry. It is an environment where only certain groups have rights to discuss subjects, but Kamiya says that nobody has the right to dictate ideas.

Two ideologies form academic political correctness. First are the antifoundationalist theories that originated from English departments.



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