Letter: Was Thomas Jefferson politically correct?

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Sir: I write in response to Roger Sandell's letter (7 May) and the article on political correctness by Brian Appleyard ('Robert Hughes versus the PCs', 5 May). Whatever the moral standing of an individual, if his or her arguments stand in their own right, regardless of how hypocritical the proposer of them may be, they stand as correct.

It is a well-known fallacy to discount arguments on the grounds of the nature of the people proposing them. This error can cause people to fail to listen to sound arguments and ideas.

Thomas Jefferson might have been very wrong in keeping slaves, but this does not discount the good things he may have achieved. We are all imperfect, are we to be consigned to a life of perpetual silence? The implication of the 'political correctness' movement is that followers are free from hypocrisy, intentional or otherwise. Total correctness is a terrifying idea.

Yours sincerely,


London, E3

7 May