“YAKKITY YAKS”—HOW I FEEL ABOUT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. Tyler Cowen criticizes eloquently the way that people speak about people on the autistic spectrum. He gives examples at the beginning of his article of well-meaning academics whose writings about autism reflect what he calls a “dehumanizing ideology.” However, strangely, I found it charming that Temple Grandin refers to people who are not on the spectrum as “yakkity yaks” (who apparently sit around the campfire socializing.) Kids, I am generally sympathetic to political correctness insofar as it calls attention to lack of courtesy and respect for others. It really comes down to etiquette. We all tend to say things which can be hurtful, and hurtful words are part of our language. Political correctness has a bad reputation because of the penalties which are inflicted by people who enjoy inflicting penalties. Politeness has traditionally been enforced by sanctions that are themselves polite—because on the whole that kind of sanction is effective.

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