An Evans-Manning to Glaivester, who, in the “Tyranny Of The Offence-Takers” thread, and with admirable economy of words, makes an important distinction between politeness and political correctness. He’s responding to Geoff G.’s position that what people deride as p.c. is really just politeness, e.g., telling an annoying relative that you’re glad to see them. Glaivester responds:

The difference is that politeness is merely formal. Political correctness requires that you internalize the lie. Politeness is telling an ugly woman that she is attractive. Political correctness is encouraging her to try for a modeling job and then picketing the modeling agency if they don’t hire her.

It’s all well and good to be polite in social situations. But when discussing actual policies, politeness must not get in the way of clear thinking.