“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” –Harry Truman
As you probably know by now, I’m fascinated by language. While one of the hardest languages to speak fluently, English, is beautiful and, in my view, mellifluous. No matter how good a language may sound, however, it can serve as a mighty weapon to destroy anything in the path of those wielding it.
Speaking of weapons, it’s a dark irony that the notion of political correctness is a language bomb that keeps detonating while expanding its blast radius.
I use the word notion because being politically correct is not an objective destination. PC does not mean good manners. PC does not mean “not offensive.” If you are considered PC, you are not ideologically placed in a neutral position worthy of respect from all sides of an argument.
PC is Leftism.
In a previous life, I managed a community college textbook store. Right by the register we sold a number of impulse items we thought students would like. One of those was a ball point pen that looked like a syringe complete with plunger and black stopper, and it even contained a clear, red liquid that resembled medicine. It was a big hit with nursing students among others, and we often sold out.
One day a smarmy pipsqueak took issue with the pens. While browsing the small store, he stopped short when his eyes beheld this funny novelty. “That’s not PC,” he whined, pointing at them. “That’s not politically correct.” “I know what PC means,” I replied, “and they’re very popular with students.” I wonder what this guy would have said if he knew we used to take the pens out of the case, and mimic the act of shooting up – tying off an imaginary rubber band, tapping out a vein, etc. Ah yes, the good old days of humor.
Comedians Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld say they don’t play colleges anymore because campuses are too PC. As Dennis Prager and others said, why didn’t Seinfeld, who spoke out just this week, go further and describe the source of this political correctness? To Prager, PC is a euphemism for Leftism. In other words, and this is something I’ve always said, PC means “that which displeases the Left.” You know you’ve never heard a conservative make so much as a grunt toward stifling any speech, especially speech we disagree with. That never matters to the Left. All they care about is controlling the language.
PC doesn’t just stifle speech under the guise of attempted civil discourse. It can actually kill. On November 5, 2009, Muslim Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people, and injured 30. A horrible fact about this event is many people saw it coming.
From Robert Spencer:
The Fort Hood massacre wouldn’t have happened were it not for political correctness. Nidal Hasan lectured on the Koran’s punishments for unbelievers when he should have been discussing medicine; justified suicide bombing; and spouted hatred for America even as he wore its uniform. Yet no one filed a complaint — for fear of seeming bigoted. This is the fruit of long-term efforts by groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others to demonize everyone who speaks honestly about the threat of jihad and Islamic supremacism. People are afraid to speak up about Muslims who behave suspiciously. And if Nidal Hasan had been disciplined or removed from his post because of his pro-jihad, anti-American statements, CAIR and others would likely have been up in arms, calling for an investigation of “Islamophobia” in the military.
I ask of you a favor: When you find yourselves in a situation with people who will call you politically incorrect, rude, [insert current Leftist victim group modifier]-phobic, etc., have the courage to step right over their accusations and keep to the truth. Tell it calmly, directly, and repeatedly, even if it means a heightened exchange. And please listen to masters of debate like Dennis Prager who, despite getting peppered by angry people who attack him personally, rarely become angry. If more of us do this, the tide can turn.
PC can GTH.