In trying to get to the bottom of political correctness, it is necessary to discard as inessential some of its most prominent features.
One of these prominent features of PC that is not really fundamental to it are group preferences: that is those 'affirmative action' policies that identify a favoured group and award them preferential treatment.
This is perhaps the most obvious, and destructive, aspect of PC - yet it is, I believe, merely a transitional stage.
If PC became more powerful, and succeeded in imposing mandatory abstract altruistic systems on acts of allocation of goods - then group preferences would be abolished.
In PC paradise, all humans would be treated as atomic individuals, indeed each act of allocation of goods (each decision or choice that had any affect on the distribution of valued human outcomes) would be treated as an atomic act, and brought under abstract rules.
This is because although political correctness uses groups, it does does not believe in the reality of groups.
More specifically, PC acts on the basis that groups are merely 'interest groups', contigent and temporary alliances, held together only by cooperation in pursuit of selfish material gains.
PC believes, in effect, that all groups are just like the Western media, public administration, legal systems, education and health care systems - which PC has easily subverted into politically correct bureaucracies consisting of shifting populations of atomic individuals.
This can be seen by what are sometimes seen as apparent paradoxes or slip-ups in the application of PC policies, but which in reality reveal what PC really cares about and what it is merely using tactically.
One significant illustration is that PC focuses on the moral importance of group preferences or affirmative action - yet makes no effort to define group membership.
Indeed, quite the opposite - group membership is continually being blurred and expanded.
If PC was serious about racial preferences, for example, then PC would define races very sharply so as to exclude undeserving people from the preferences. Yet in fact race membership is a matter of self-definition, and there are very seldom any attempts to challenge self-definitions with evidence.
Indeed when it is proven that someone has made a false claim of group membership in order to obtain privileges and preferences, this is ignored - or the liar is actually supported.
(There are many examples of this is relation to Native American Indians - indeed it may be that most of the most famous 'Indians' have not been Indians.)
But if PC had been serious about what they say concerning the especially deserving status of 'minorities', then they would have developed a strict and objective method of definitions and measurements of ethnicity, as happened with openly racist regimes of the past.
The fact that PC shows no sign of going down this path is evidence that they do not regard group membership as truly fundamental in their analysis.
Sex is a further example. Political correctness favours women over men, therefore it would rationally be assumed that the sex boundary would be policed.
Yet the opposite happens. Sex has been redefined as gender in public discourse, and gender has become a matter of lifestyle choice; as has sexuality.
It is so much a matter of daily experience that sexuality is blurred by PC that we fail to recognize the contradictory significance of the phenomenon with respect to the avowed objectives of PC in promoting favoured groups of non-heterosexual sexuality.
A real system of group preferences, in which groups were fundamental to the social reality, would not strive to blur sexual identity and sexuality - but would on the contrary make these a matter of objective definition and measurement; such that privileges would only go to those who 'deserve' them.
(An egregious example of this is the addition of 'bisexuals' to 'gay' and lesbian favoured groups. Bisexuals - apparently characterized merely by indulgence of a powerful and relatively undiscriminating libido - have been rapidly invented and manufactured into a PC client group by the mere act of defining and patronizing them. Presumably the group would as-rapidly collapse as a socio-political force, contingently upon removal of special status and privileges.)
From these examples I infer that - at a deep level - political correctness is not serious about favoured group identities; but that PC merely uses these in the game of power politics in order to attack, subvert and force-into-submission that which it opposes: which is individual choice and moral autonomy.
To recapitulate, at its root PC is secular and abstract, therefore it lacks - intrinsically - any positive goal, any objective and eternal positive scale of values.
PC is secular and materialistic - it conceptualizes selfishness as individuals intrinsically keeping an unfair share of goods for themselves - and that this is what makes individuals happy, what motivates them.
Therefore, PC seeks to replace intrinsically-sinful human selfishness with abstract altruism on the negative basis that human selfishness is certainly bad while abstract altruism might be good.
Human agency is bad, abstract systems may be good.
The priority, therefore, is to impose an abstract system for allocating goods - abstract systems are always preferable to human agency, because agency will certainly become corrupt, while abstract system has the potential to be perfected.
So PC is currently engaged in the destruction of what it perceives to be evil, and attacks the foci of this evil using whatever weapons are effective.
At present, human agency is attacked by generating various gangs to attack it under various banners of egalitarianism, anti-racism, anti-sexism and all the rest.
Gangs are made, are created, by patronage - by group preferences (group-based propaganda, laws, regulations, subsidies, exemptions etc).
But because these groups are merely seen as gangs, they are not regarded as potential rulers; to PC the anti-agency gangs are merely contingent and temporary mobs thrown against the enemy, and which will (it is assumed) dissolve into the component parts once PC patronage is switched-off.
In making such a big noise about favoured groups, political correctness is merely playing Machiavellian power politics.
In reality PC is trying to install systems to force all humans to be altruistic according to abstract rules.
PC is not trying to install favoured groups into power,and does not fear such groups becoming powerful, because they regard them simply as 'creatures' of PC, dependent on PC for their existence and survival.