Insanity has gained another foothold. An employee of the Boeing Company filed a complaint about an article that was written 33 years ago by the company’s current communications chief in which he said women should not serve in combat. The “woke” culture that has taken control of our country enforced the complaint, causing a valuable executive to lose his job. This new form of McCarthyism is destroying free speech and ruining careers. The establishment, which has an opportunity to defend cultural sanity, is instead jumping through hoops to support the dictates of political correctness.
Are we all to be judged by the opinions we held three decades ago? That’s what happened to Niel Golightly. The offense, in this case, was over an article written in 1987 by Golightly, Boeing’s senior vice president of communications, while he was serving as a Navy pilot. In the article, he argued against introducing women into combat roles. Golightly has since changed his mind, he said, but confessed that, “My argument was embarrassingly wrong and offensive.” How can it be wrong and offensive considering that the issue of women serving in combat is still being debated in military circles? Evidently the “woke” culture doesn’t see it that way. Our new leftist masters have decreed that Golightly’s opinion from 1987 is “sexist,” so Golightly had to be sacrificed. He prostrated himself before the altar of political correctness and apologized. Perhaps he hoped that his boss would back him up. No such luck. Boeing’s management surrendered in the face of an employee’s whining complaint and forced Golightly to resign.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun thanked Golightly for his resignation and then issued the standard mindless obeisance to identity politics. “I want to emphasize our company’s unrelenting commitment to diversity and inclusion in all its dimensions,” Calhoun said, “and to ensuring that all of our employees have an equal opportunity to contribute and excel.” All of their employees, that is, except for Golightly. He doesn’t have an equal opportunity to do something as basic as speaking his mind. Calhoun never bothered to include an “unrelenting commitment” to free speech.
Golightly’s experience has become the rule rather than the exception. When the political correctness jury issues its verdict, our most influential institutions can’t wait to conform. We have been witnessing this phenomenon play out on the national stage for the past month. Our cities have been trashed by violent demonstrators pretending to protest the death of George Floyd. Instead of defending law and order, mayors and governors have shown nothing but cowardice in the face of the social justice mobs. Looting, arson, and murder have continued unabated as mayors in major cities such as New York, Seattle, and Minneapolis offered their moral support to the miscreants. They have released violent criminals from prison while threatening to prosecute serving members of the police force. Our mayors have even acquiesced to absurd demands that the police ought to be defunded.
Democratic Party members of Congress have demonstrated their spinelessness by supporting a new brand of unparalleled idiocy known as the Green New Deal, which, if implemented, would destroy our economy and the lives of millions. Their Republican colleagues, hiding in the bushes for fear of losing their lucrative sinecures, are not doing much better. In Michigan and Missouri, local officials have sold out to Black Lives Matter by prosecuting whites for trying to defend themselves against black violence. When it comes to standing up against political correctness, no one has shown greater cowardice than our elected representatives.
Did you know that you can lose your job if you don’t kowtow to the PC crowd? Sacramento Kings broadcaster Grant Napear was fired for exercising his right of free speech by uttering the words “all lives matter,” which is considered anathema by BLM adherents. Serbian winger Aleksander Katai got into trouble with the LA Galaxy team because of social media posts made by his wife that were critical of BLM protestors. Katai was coerced into a lengthy apology and then they fired him anyway.
Academia has followed the same path as our politicians. UCLA disciplined an English professor for insisting that his students use the Chicago Manual of Style, which is de rigueur for English composition. When a sit-in by a noisy group of black students claimed it was racist, the school’s administration should have backed up the professor. In a show of cowardice, they supported the ridiculous claims of the “offended” students. “UCLA’s response to the sit-in was a travesty of justice,” Heather Mac Donald wrote in City Journal. “The school sacrificed the reputation of a beloved and respected professor in order to placate a group of ignorant students making a specious charge of racism.”
Harald Uhlig, a University of Chicago economics professor, is under attack because he criticized Black Lives Matter’s push to defund police departments. What was Uhlig’s crime? He attempted to exercise his right to free speech. When it comes to racially charged issues, the nabobs of academia won’t tolerate it. Uhlig’s colleagues have accused him of “hurting and marginalizing people of color.” Liberal economist Paul Krugman called him “yet another privileged white man who evidently can’t control his urge to belittle the concerns of those less fortunate.” The people and institutions that ought to be supporting Uhlig have shown their yellow streak by virtue signaling their support of a PC-approved ideology.
Institutional cowardice at the university level is explained by Ben Shapiro, author of Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans. Instead of doing their job, Shapiro says, college administrators decided in the 1960s that it was “easier to appease rampaging leftist students than to deal with them. They came to an agreement with the wildebeests: stop taking over the buildings and locking the doors, and we’ll start teaching you about how America sucks.”
When it comes to exposing the refusal of the establishment to make a stand against the Orwellian concept of political correctness, I’ve merely touched the surface. Our society deserves more courage from its fundamental institutions. Instead, we get declarations like this one: “Non-politically correct speech is the equivalent of violence,” Andrew Sullivan wrote in New York Magazine, “and so must be shut down.” For the sake of free speech, Sullivan and his would-be totalitarian buddies need a swift kick in the posterior.