- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2013

For years, McGuffey Readers were used in the public schools to teach reading, spelling, vocabulary and speech. The books embodied the religious beliefs and values of the authors and generally were embraced by the American people. But the values of McGuffey are no longer shared by a society that has become more pluralistic and increasingly secular.

New values have emerged and political correctness is simply the means by which these values are propagated and enforced. Political correctness sifts and shapes what and how we think about those values, forming a new morality that is transmitted to our children through public education, Hollywood and the media. The goal of political correctness is rigid conformity in thought and deed. It is as if the reins of culture have been turned over to zealots who are now bullying society down the chute toward ideological purity. They are the new moralizers, and while they don’t wear clerical garb, they behave like a secular Taliban in how they condemn, mock, ridicule and shame all who challenge their orthodoxy.

Whether it is the effort to sanitize the public square of religious expression, the willful refusal to use the word “terrorism” when warranted or more puerile examples such as suspending students for chewing pastries into the shape of “guns” or silencing commencement microphones when God is mentioned, new Washington Times columnist Dr. Ben Carson is right in that political correctness is indeed malignant and destructive to our liberties and freedom.

THOMAS M. BEATTIE

Mount Vernon