Oh, Jonathan Chait…
Political correctness appeals to liberals because it claims to represent a more authentic and strident opposition to their shared enemy of race and gender bias. And of course liberals are correct not only to oppose racism and sexism but to grasp (in a way conservatives generally do not) that these biases cast a nefarious and continuing shadow over nearly every facet of American life. Since race and gender biases are embedded in our social and familial habits, our economic patterns, and even our subconscious minds, they need to be fought with some level of consciousness. The mere absence of overt discrimination will not do.
Liberals believe (or ought to believe) that social progress can continue while we maintain our traditional ideal of a free political marketplace where we can reason together as individuals. Political correctness challenges that bedrock liberal ideal. While politically less threatening than conservatism (the far right still commands far more power in American life), the p.c. left is actually more philosophically threatening. It is an undemocratic creed.
That's right—the most dire philosophical problem of our time: white dudes having to think before they say spout off about something.
When I read screeds about political correctness these days, I generally find myself thinking "Must have been on a deadline." This stuff was written about ad nauseum twenty years. At this point, it's just lazy writing.
For all of Chait's garment-rending, no one is actually stopping him from saying what he thinks. What he is actually upset about is the fact that his perceived authority is being questioned. He is used to speaking as though the stuff he is saying is baseline truth, the default position of any sensible person.
Guys like Chait expect to be able to say whatever they want and then scream about censorship and creeping totalitarianism if anyone questions them on it. Here's a suggestion, though: How about shutting up for a few minutes and listening to what other people are saying?