I know a guy, a competitive guy, who says “correct” whenever he agrees with something. He won’t say “yes,” “I agree,” or “yup.” Rather, he stands firm, makes a judgment, and then, Solomon like, pronounces “correct” in response to a statement or claim he goes along with. When he doesn’t go along, he’ll argue up and down with logic and facts based on his experience of reality. Granted, that’s pretty much what we all do, but his reality is made up of funhouse mirrors and women being sawed in half in magicians’ boxes. It may work at the county fair, but it vanishes by the time you get to your car in the parking lot.

The interesting thing is that this guy carries the funhouse with him wherever he goes, whether work, mountain biking, the beach, or shopping. There’s no arguing with him, either, because he refuses to accept any logic that doesn’t already support the funhouse. I liken it to a ball club that plays only home games and never goes on the road. They know the cut of the grass, the feel of the infield like no other team, but they know no other ballpark.

The only other experience I have had like this is with people who foam at the mouth if anyone questions the existence of multiple genders or that men can give birth and women can have penises if they really want them. My guy doesn’t do that or writhe on the floor, but he insists that Stanley Kubrick staged the moon landings so that Richard Nixon could get elected president. Never mind that the 1968 election took place eight months prior to the landing. Never let the facts get in the way of a good ideology, Right or Left.

Saying “correct” in response to somebody’s comment or observation is a form of political correctness. It signifies superiority, judgment, a higher authority granting approval to a person of lower status. It reminds me of the comeback line heard years ago (not so much nowadays), “Who died and left you boss?” The answer, in this case, is no one. The self-proclaimed higher authority didn’t need to die. They simply usurped the crown.

Henry IV famously cried out in his nightgown, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” So, too, the mouth foamers worry about consolidating their power. They start with language and move to legislation criminalizing speech and acts deemed incorrect. Of course, they decide what is correct or incorrect. You see this authoritarianism quite clearly in the UK and Canada. It’s frightening in both places, in fact. One wonders if English helps facilitate this absolutism by its brevity and efficiency.

I am reminded of the church’s attempts over centuries to eradicate falsehood and lies among the faithful with the aide of its teaching office, or magisterium. Should we now expect a political Syllabus of Errors (1864), Index of Prohibited Books (1559), or various Inquisitions to rip out incorrect thinking and speech by the roots? While attempts in the church often led to excess, what kind of excess will the new political and economic hierarchy inflict upon us? The idea of a morality or social correctness police (the SCP?) doesn’t sound as crazy as it once did. Everything, it seems, is up for grabs.

Whatever world awaits us, the authorities most likely will depend on the “correct” use of language to achieve their ends and maintain control. They will relegate the rest of us to the condition of Winston Smith, operator of memory holes. We will hold our head in our hands and wonder how to make amends for our acts of social injustice. We will perform public penance as has been happening already over issues like racism and climate. Mea maxima culpa.

In the meantime, there are people like my guy and others confirming and rejecting, thumbs up, thumbs down, but never actually listening. Never even caring to listen. Some funhouse it will be.

Image credits: feature by Sander Sammy. Want more? Go to Robert Brancatelli. The Brancatelli Blog is a member of The Free Media Alliance, which promotes “alternatives to software, culture, and hardware monopolies.” Happy Birthday to Rose Mary and Deanna Josephine. Do try to get along for dear old dad’s sake, or he will be driven to sake.

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