Political Correctness and Free Speech

Political correctness is destroying our culture by making us all victims too afraid to hear an opinion contrary to our own beliefs, by making us monitor our thoughts and speech lest we commit a “microagression” against a tender soul, by turning us into children who must be protected from the real world.

Recently, demands for “diversity” have taken over college campuses. The University of Arizona has just “announced a new diversity task force to tackle student concerns, and the school is poised to hire a new six-figure administrator responsible for overseeing improvements.” (Source)

My recent article, Free Speech and Tender Feelings, presents three editorials on the subject.

Robert Weissberg writes: “Race-related protests on American college campuses are spreading faster than head lice at a daycare center. The ruckus is entirely about pushing the university leftward, and these immature campus social justice warriors are what Lenin called useful idiots.”

Ben Shapiro writes: “Four in 10 young Americans have no idea what America is. That’s the takeaway from a new Pew Research poll showing that 40 percent of Americans aged 18-34 say that the government should be able to prevent people from making ‘statements that are offensive to minority groups.’”

Walter Williams writes: “Recent events at the University of Missouri, Yale University and some other colleges demonstrate an ongoing ignorance and/or contempt for the principles of free speech.”

I conclude that article with “There are times when real discrimination requires action, and there are times when freedom requires that you develop a thick skin. The trick is learning the difference.”

I recently came across a long but very good article on political correctness:

What Went Wrong? Campus Unrest, Viewpoint Diversity, and Freedom of Speech

by Michael Shermer Read full article

Shermer’s statement of the problem introduces us to all the jargon spawned by academic purveyors of political correctness. It is both amusing and maddening.

Some excerpts from the article:

The Problem

Trigger warnings are supposed to be issued to students before readings, classroom lectures, film screenings, or public speeches on such topics as sex, addiction, bullying, suicide, eating disorders, and the like, involving such supposed prejudices as ableism, homophobia, sizeism, slut shaming, transphobia, victim-blaming, and who-knows-what-else, thereby infantilizing students instead of preparing them for the real world where they most assuredly will not be so shielded. At Oberlin College, for example, students leveled accusations against the administration of imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, and the ne plus ultra in gender politics, cissexist heteropatriarchy, the enforcement of “gender binary and gender essentialism” against those who are “gender variant (non-binary) and trans identities.” The number of such categories has expanded into an alphabet string, LGBTQIA, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual and any other under-represented sexual, gender, and/or romantic identities. This is not your parents’ protest against Victorian sexual mores, and the list of demands by Oberlin students would be unrecognizable to even the most radical 60’s hippies.

As often happens in moral movements, a reasonable idea with some evidentiary backing gets carried to extremes by engaged moralists eager for attention, sympathy, and the social standing that being a victim or victim sympathizer can bring.

Safe space, according to the organization Advocates for Youth, is “A place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or challenged on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability.

In addition to infantilizing adults, this practice often means protecting students from opinions that they don’t happen to agree with, or shielding them from ideas that challenge their beliefs, which has always been one of the most valuable benefits of a college education.

Microaggressions are comments or questions that slight, snub, or insult someone, intentionally or unintentionally, in anything from casual conversation to formal discourse.

Yes, language matters, and some comments that people make are cringe worthy. But do we really need a list of DOs and DON’Ts handed out to students and reviewed like they were five-year olds being taught how to play nice with the other kids in the sandbox?

I recently reviewed a book: America’s Culture, Its Origins & Enemies by Tucsonan John Harmon McElroy. I recommend you read it.

The book takes you on an interesting journey through American history from first settlement by European colonists to what McElroy believes is now the “paramount danger to America:” political correctness. McElroy asserts that PC is influenced by Marxist philosophy and that PC “has taken over one of the major political parties and infiltrated the other and is exerting an increasing influence in the nation’s schools, churches, business enterprises, universities, media, government, and philanthropic institutions.”

So, do we all need sensitivity training or should people develop a “thicker skin”? Free speech means that we say what we think and let bigots continue to demonstrate their own biases.

Note to readers: I have constructed a linked index to more than 400 of my ADI articles. You can see it at: https://wryheat.wordpress.com/adi-index/

You can read my comprehensive, 28-page essay on climate change here: http://wp.me/P3SUNp-1bq