March 21st 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Murray River full; reservoirs low; farms for sale ...

ILLICIT DRUGS Cannabis marketed to children in Colorado

CANBERRA OBSERVED Budget surplus a goner but low interest rates a treasurer's dream

NATIONAL AFFAIRS 'Black Summer' bushfire inquiries: What must be done

GENDER POLITICS Young people deserve better than being rushed into transitioning

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Myth-busting China's 'soft power'

CLIMATE CHANGE Where's the evidence for man-made global warming?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell's appeal heard in the High Court

ON CAMPUS Young Liberals politics heats up after death of Wilson Gavin

OBITUARY Farewell to the indomitable John Barich

POLITICS AND SOCIETY Beyond the Great Divide

ASIA China's waterways bring prosperity ... and sorrow

LIFE ISSUES Age does not dim the memory of such loss

HUMOUR Men and women and others of Australia ...

MUSIC Evaluations of good, better, best can collapse into musical chairs

CINEMA Motherless Brooklyn: Gazing into the heart of the city

BOOK REVIEW How language is being degraded for political purposes

BOOK REVIEW Not very fresh options for a capitalism in which capital is worthless



NEW ZEALAND: Victorian Road Map smooths way of NZ anti-life clique to abortion 'reform'

Books promotion page

How language is being degraded for political purposes

News Weekly, March 21, 2020


by Dr Kevin Donnelly
Illustrated by Johannes Leak

Connor Court, Cleveland, Qld.
Paperback: 180 pages

Price: AUD$29.95

Reviewed by Gabrielle Walsh

Dr Kevin Donnelly AM, a senior research fellow at Australian Catholic University and director of the Education Standards Institute, has recently published a long overdue book, A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide, an exposé on the ideological foundations of the blight of political correctness. The dictionary is an easy-to-read guide and is recommended not only to students but to all who have an interest in understanding how language is being used as a weapon to modify and re-shape our Australian culture and way of life.



The work is dedicated to the late Bill Leak who, through his cartoons, was brave enough to speak out against political correctness. But the Leak influence does not stop there! The dictionary is enhanced by several clever illustrations by Bill’s son Johannes Leak. Much can be conveyed about the blight of political correctness through humour! But can we still afford to laugh?



The dictionary has well over two hundred entries and just on a quarter are about politically correct definitions of “sex” or “gender”, including GLBT. Even the birds and bees would be confused by all this apparent complication of basic biology. But, as Donnelly points out, the aim of political correctness is to deconstruct understandings and reconstruct them within a leftist worldview.

See, for example, the definition of Binary: “Binary concepts like male/female, heterosexual/homosexual, civilised/primitive, black/white are politically incorrect as they reinforce and reproduce an inequitable system of exploitation and marginalisation associated with Western, capitalist power structures.” The politically correct broom sweeps with a very broad stroke

From this work, new words entered my own vocabulary, such as “gaslighting”. This is a term used by trans activists for when “heteronormative parents cause trans children to doubt their desire to transgender”. This is a good example of how the left undermine the rights of parents whose primary concern is the welfare of their children.

With many years in education, including a stint as co-chair of the recent review of the Australian Curriculum for the federal government, Donnelly offers profound insights into the role of political correctness in education. One big change has been a growing emphasis on teachers as “guides” or “facilitators” and students as “knowledge navigators” in a student-led curriculum. Gone are the days when teachers engaged students and imparted a particular body of knowledge based on the commonly shared Judeo-Christian heritage.

The change was made under the guidance of “critical theory”, which came primarily from the Marxist-inspired Frankfurt School of the 1920s and influenced more than Education alone. This theory ousts the study of classic texts as “the best that has been written” and replaces it with “critical literacy” through which texts are deconstructed in terms of “power relationships … to empower so-called victim groups; including women, LGBTQ+ people, people of colour, migrants and the working class”. Education is seen as a tool to manipulate and shape culture.



Feminism holds a primary place in the politically correct manufacture of victimhood and with an anti-male wrapping. The dictionary recognises that there are three waves of feminism, though they share a common belief: “That society is patriarchal and phallocentric where men dominate and women lack equality.”

This taps into why many radical feminists believe that men are misogynist and violent towards women as a matter of course. The arguments are based on emotive language and unsubstantiated personal accounts.

The dictionary holds several entries on indigenous Australians, who are characterised as another victim minority group. A new term for me was “cultural appropriation”, which is “the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect that culture”. This can happen unintentionally but can carry dire consequences.

Donnelly, even while informing his readers about the invasive nature of political correctness as an ideological tool, manages to show both sides of the argument. Through clear and insightful definitions, the book exposes how Gramsci-style “newspeak” has infiltrated Australian institutions, government, universities and schools. He cleverly cites policy and government documents that show the reach of political correctness. But it remains a weapon that is wielded through bullying, abuse and even job losses. The label “denier” is readily applied to those who do not “conform”.

Donnelly states that political correctness celebrates victim-hood in a range of guises but “all see Western civilisation as oppressive and are directed at overthrowing capitalism and those institutions seen as misogynist, heteronormative, racist, elitist and binary”.

Political correctness is dangerous and divisive, and is wielded by many on the left against those who hold to a biological worldview, and hold dear the legacy of Western civilisation and faith. Vilification abounds for any person who expresses a condemned opinion.

This dictionary will help the reader better understand how the culture is being manipulated through misuse of the common language, education and law. Donnelly warns that, unless we stand up to the perpetrators, we can say goodbye to the Australian culture of the past. He is calling readers to stand and resist the “brave new world” of political correctness.

Purchase this book at the bookshop:


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