I get so sick of political correctness.  The Bible teaches us to be kind, and to treat others as they would like to be treated; but when people demand to be treated in an unreasonable way, that’s a problem.  When so-called authorities who aren’t even in the game demand that we treat others in an unreasonable way, that’s idiocy.

My daughter sent me this link to an article involving the US State Department, and its latest directive from its “Chief Diversity Officer”.  He claims that phrases like “hold down the fort,” “rule of thumb,” “handicap,” and “going Dutch” are offensive racial or ethnic slurs that must be avoided.  He identifies their victims as Native Americans, abused women, people with abilities impaired, and people from Holland.  There are two problems here:  since when did the State Department become the language police?; and where on earth did this guy get his information?

As an English teacher, I have a library of books on the origins of words, phrases, and expressions.  There is no doubt in any of my sources that the term “going Dutch” was a British insult based upon the stereotypical reputation of the stinginess of the Dutch people.  It hasn’t meant that in America for decades, but okay–I can avoid that expression on principle.  But there is also unanimous agreement that “holding the fort” [its original form] dates to 1864, when Gen. Sherman commanded his troops to watch out for the Confederate army.  It has nothing at all to do with frontiersmen or Native Americans.

(On a related note:  if Native Americans were to attack a fort in a savage attempt to slaughter its inhabitants, would it be ethnically insensitive to consider them bad guys, and to make up and repeat a historically accurate expression reflecting their evil intent?  The Creek Indians were known for their attacks on settlers; must we whitewash or ignore history and eliminate from our language the expression, “I’ll be there, Good Lord willing, and the Creek don’t rise”?  For that saying has nothing to do with a babbling brook and everything to do with murderous tribesmen.  Do we have to apologize to the Creeks every time we refer to their bloody past?  If so, then I guess I deserve an apology every time anyone refers to my ancestors as “William the Bastard” or “wicked King John”.  I won’t even mention King Louis the Fat.)

“Rule of thumb” has nothing to do with some obscure antique law from some unnamed land (that apparently spoke some form of English), and instead dates back 8 centuries to when builders would use the distance between the knuckle and the end of the thumb as a rough approximation of an inch–using the thumb as a ruler.  “Handicap” has nothing to do with crippled people begging; it refers to a gambling game that lent its name to gambling on horses and the practice of weighing down or impeding a fast horse in order to make a race fair.

I guess it’s wishful thinking to expect our State Department to focus on things like Iraq, Syria, and Israel instead of fabricated word origins.  But as long as I’m on a rant, let me share three examples of my own “political correctness” that I think everyone needs to rally around:

  • The genius of our Founders in the writing of the US Constitution.  Every American ought to be insulted and say so when some politician, academic, or reporter denigrates the wisdom of their original intent;
  • The status of the Jews as God’s chosen people.  For centuries, society and history have criticized the Jews (primarily because of their successes and blessings); and today’s one-world emphasis considers them an impediment to justice for Arab Palestinians.  Remember:  it was God Himself Who said of the Jews, “I will bless him that blesses them, and curse him that curses them…”;
  • The name of God Himself.  We should not be shy about reminding people that the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords deserves to be addressed with respect, reverence, and obedience.

And my sources are unimpeachable.  I guess I’ll never be qualified to work for the State Department.