Top critical review
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Interesting overview if flawed in detail
on 17 February 2011
Before picking over the detail it has to be said that this a good read; it's well written and concise and gives an excellent overview of that phenomenon we love to hate, political correctness. It remains a shame though that the majority of analysis on the subject comes from the Right, as it unashamedly does in this case, which is not surprising though really as the author has worked for the Daily Mail and the publisher Civitas is a classical liberal think tank.
Nonetheless it hits the nail on the head a number of times when tackling the broad ethos of PC, but falls down woefully when the author becomes too partisan and in particular, when he has a chance to take shots at what are clearly his pet hates- namely socialism, a publically run NHS and Europe. This leads to him at times stretching credulity a bit too far as he tries to place PC fairly and squarely at the Left's feet and is completely erroneous about a number of issues that he paints over, with all the skill of the consummate neoliberal brandishing a political airbrush.
And it is this obsession with blaming the Left entirely for the reality twisting of political correctness that sits most uneasily with this reader. If PC really is cultural Marxism, why has it had such a grip on us for 30 years, when in all other areas of economic and political life, the neoliberal ethos of individualism and free market capitalism has reigned supreme? Are there really thousands of Marxist sleepers secretly running our establishment?
I think not.
The truth is more complex and, I suspect, political correctness is more a manifestation of Libertarian Right ideology than they dare admit [or indeed face up to]. This book of course in no way acknowledges the possibility of this and because the author does make one sweeping generalisation too far when it comes to the glories of capitalism, I've given the book three rather than four stars. That doesn't mean it's not worth reading though- by people of all political persuasions- so pick it up and give it a go because it is at the very least intelligently thought provoking, which has to be the mark of a good book.