Political Correctness or Trauma?

An interesting suggestion about some of the roots of the current strong sensitivity that exhibits itself in trigger warnings and the like. While it doesn’t entirely excuse what is happening, it makes some helpful points. The final paragraph notes:

It’s easy to caricature the vanguard of the so-called politically correct: to paint them as fanatics who are trying to destroy well-established norms of free speech. But they are not caricatures; they are products of history. Most current college students grew up in the shadow of September 11, with the specter of large-scale terrorism always looming and with a steady stream of soldiers returning home to grapple with their demons. It is no wonder that they feel that they, too, deserve security, even in the precarious and flimsy form of trigger warnings and safe spaces

I do think the appeal to 9/11 is an interesting (and somewhat weak one). There is very little direct impact on the lives of American due to 9/11, certainly compared to the traumas of earlier wars and other crises: WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, Vietnam…I just don’t think the trauma of 9/11 is robust enough to explain this. I think there is a more fertile intellectual ground as well. The therapeutic culture (the PTSD thing the article highlights) catalyzes a stronger response, I think.


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