During the GOP debate last night, Sen. Marco Rubio made a comment about the fundamental goodness of most Muslims—some of whom serve in the U.S. military and risk their lives to protect the country.
In response, Donald Trump defended his stridently anti-Muslim rhetoric:
"Marco talks about consequences. Well, we've had a lot of consequences, including airplanes flying into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and could have been the White House. There have been a lot of problems.
Now you can say what you want, and you can be politically correct if you want. I don't want to be so politically correct. I like to solve problems. We have a serious, serious problem of hate."
Does insisting that not all Muslims are radical jihadists fall under the umbrella of political correctness? If it does, the term has lost all meaning.
"I'm not interested in being politically correct," Marco Rubio countered, and rightly so. "I'm interested in being correct."
But the idea that political correctness is ruining America and making it impossible to fight Islamic terrorism is a central belief of Trump's supporters—and some others on the right, as evidenced by this national security panel at CPAC. This is a considerable exaggeration. It's true that legal enshrinement of politically correct dogmas—mostly on college campuses—curtails the free expression rights of some Americans. But Trump uses the term so broadly that he's essentially saying common decency is too PC.
The right, it should be noted, has its own version of political correctness. Later in the debate, Trump said this: "We should pay our respect to the police because they are doing a phenomenal job and they don't get enough respect." But the notion that the police are beyond reproach is just as much of a politically correct dogma as anything the left believes.