Small talk is mostly about media-generated topics, and such phatic speech is mostly a matter of alliance building and in-group/ out-group monitoring - therefore the range of acceptable opinions is narrowly constrained for each social group.
This is especially so for the ruling elite, where mastery of the approved (and continually evolving) ideology of political correctness is the major 'qualification' for membership.
For the modern PC elite, casual comment on the issues of the day therefore provides an exact analogy to manners and etiquette for the 19th century Victorians; it is a complex arena designed to elicit gaffes of faux pas and thereby to reveal, to expose, PC imposters.
(And, PC has brought-back the prudish Victorian phenomenon of 'Bowdlerization' of old texts - which 1960s radicals used to mock satirically, but which they now implement with gimlet-eyed zeal.)
Of course, those who are opposed to political correctness and who are honest, will not want to participate in small talk, since they would need to lie, and to lie convincingly, on an hourly basis - which could hardly fail to corrupt them.
Yet the alternatives to frequent social interaction with PC-monitors are not appealing.
Social isolation is one; social life confined within a niche of like-minded people would be greatly preferable - yet is not an option for many people, and carries the danger of being denounced by an infiltrator (it is dangerous - i.e. it carries potentially draconian sanctions - to speak certain truths in modern society).
For the ruling elite there is not much middle ground, therefore, between a 100 percent delusional system of PC (as seen in the New York Times, Harvard and the civil administration) and plain truthfulness.
Only a moderate and ingratiating (preferably self-deprecating) 'voice of pragmatism' is allowed: the stance that allows the best of intentions to political correctness but gently advises different tactics, or perhaps a temporary rest, or slower rate of 'progress' towards these ideals.
This is the niche filled by the right wing political parties - Republican, Conservative, Libertarian.
These views are not favoured by the PC elite, indeed they are strongly opposed. But at present these pragmatically-PC views lead only to moderate sanctions such as failure to attain jobs and promotions, and seldom to extreme sanctions such as sacking and prison (so long as the taboo subjects are avoided).
But - although they tend to delay the advent of PC-induced collapse - there is so little difference between being Republican/ Conservative/ Libertarian and being all-out-PC (since being RCL involves almost as much lying and transcendental inversion as being wholly-politically correct) that RCL ideologies hold little personal advantage to compensate for its many personal disadvantages.
This explains the continual political drift to the left in the major ruling systems (politics, media, civil administration, law etc.)
But we can see that the elite ruling intellectual systems are closing-in, becoming more extreme, excluding all but the most encapsulated and truth-proof PC-ideologues - or else members of approved groups who are exempt from these considerations.
This means that, at present, any non-PC members of the ruling elite either need to wear a mask at all times (which is very bad for their souls); or else accept exclusion from the mainstream, ruling elite community: accept, that is, either niche status or solitude - which is bad for them materially and socially.
Under such circumstances, those who can believe in political correctness will believe in political correctness; except insofar as PC comes into direct conflict with their primary values, those values which they will not compromise and for which they are prepared to suffer.