Saturday, May 28, 2016

Emotional thinking and folie à plusieurs: a few links about "political correctness"

Political Correctness Gone Mad | Psychology Today:
Collective, contagious behavior of this sort was first described in some detail by the French many years ago. They called it folie à plusieurs. It is collective behavior, often accompanied by a shared delusional system and reconstruction of reality, culminating in emotional thinking. Historically, it involved a degree of social isolation which favors delusional ideation. It seems these days it involves a response to catastrophic or awfulistic thinking with absolute demands (i.e., anger), short of delusional reconstructions of reality. I suppose this is progress of sorts! What we're dealing with appears to involve other dimensions, other sources of a breakdown of rational thinking giving rise to emotional thinking including the cognitive distortions of black-and-white thinking, overgeneralizations, problems with abstraction, emotional thinking, mind-reading, fortune-telling, labeling, exclusion of positive evidence, favoring negative evidence (because "fear attracts"), favoring moral-relativity while blind to moral-absolutes, and engaging in the even more dangerous factual-relativity often associated with growing ignorance and cynicism concerning science and the scientific method.
ETA: 10 Ridiculous Cases of Political Correctness - Listverse is a rightwing grabbag. I disagree with #5, I'd love to know what solution the writer has in mind for #2, and #1 is about science, not "political correctness", but the other seven are worth noting.

Winston Churchill's cigar airbrushed from picture - Telegraph

UNH In Hot Water Over the Word 'American'

'Political correctness gone mad': Man asked not to wear Union Jack jacket because it’s 'offensive' — RT UK

Controversies about the word "niggardly" - Wikipedia

Maryland Teacher Knocked Out, Bloodied by Black Student Who ‘Misinterpreted’ This Word as ‘Racist’ | Top Right News

Political Correctness Gone Mad - TV Tropes:
In some cases, this might be literally about political correctness taken too far, presented through a Granola Girl or Soapbox Sadie who embodies the negative aspects of the PC movement. It may also involve Moral Guardians attempting to Bowdlerize a work in order to remove anything, no matter how trivial, that might be considered "offensive". However, in other cases, the accusations of political correctness are baseless.


  1. I wonder if the jacket thing actually happened? I find it somewhat hard to believe that there are council officials wandering about doing that. Obviously they'd have no power to enforce it and Barnsley's a tough, working class town where they don't take nonsense.

    Alas, some cases of political correctness are real, but a lot of the reactions in the pieces above are even worse. Arguably there are sections of the left and right who feed off each other and egg each other on to unpleasant behaviour.

    1. I agree there are hoaxes on every side, so maybe that's one. But the banning of US T-shirts at a public school happened, so I have no trouble assuming some busybodies told a guy in a Union Jack jacket to take it off.