Political Correctness and the Thought Police
A look at the origins of the movement to expunge words and thoughts from modern life.
November 1, 2010 - 12:00 am
It’s hard to define political correctness, but like pornography, you know it when you see it. Some say it is a social philosophy that strives to ensure nobody will ever be offended by anything, ever. Wikipedia defines it as a term which “denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, disability, and age-related contexts.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities — as in matters of sex or race — should be eliminated.” No matter what you call it, one thing is certain. For decades now, the perceived orthodoxy of political correctness has been eating away at the institutions which have made America great — precisely as it was intended to.
Long-time liberal Juan Williams was recently fired from his position with National Public Radio for saying what many Americans think. “When I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous,” Juan said on Fox News. Never mind that Juan was simply admitting to a personal feeling he has experienced in a post-9/11 world, it cost him his job. Being afraid of Muslims on a plane is perhaps a bit ridiculous, as clearly most Muslims are not terrorists. But some are. Most pit bulls don’t attack when you pet them either, but that doesn’t mean you’re not cautious around them. It’s hard to tell the good ones from the bad ones, until it’s too late. And is Williams’ nervousness any more ridiculous than a fear of flying — the safest form of travel known to man? I agree with very little that Juan Williams has to say, but I will defend to the death his right to say it without fear of the Political Correctness Gestapo kicking in his door.
Juan’s comment was not much different than when Jesse Jackson said, “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Jesse, of course, was merely admitting the same politically incorrect truth President Obama volunteered years later on March 18, 2008, about his own white grandmother who he claims once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street. The Thought Police are merely the latest tool in the left’s assault on free speech and free minds. And once you learn and understand the origin of political correctness, you realize it is a powerful and effective tool being used to fundamentally transform America — one worthy of resisting.
My earliest memories of this social cancer in its earliest stages was when I was admonished by one of my law school professors that airline stewardesses and stewards were properly called “flight attendants.” Shortly thereafter, I recall being admonished for referring to African-Americans as “blacks.” Indians became Native Americans. The crippled became disabled, midgets became little people, and the retarded became mentally ill. Frankly, I think being called “ill” would be the more offensive choice here, but that is just the political correctness in me.
Proponents of political correctness argue that they wish to bring unconscious biases into awareness, allowing us to make a more informed choice about our language and making us aware of things different people might find offensive. The year 2010 A.D. has become 2010 C.E. and “bias guidelines” now govern what will be in our children’s textbooks.
The language police literally ban even the mere vocalizing of certain words — even words which sound like the forbidden words. Despite its common, non-racist use today in both literature and pop culture, Dr. Laura Schlessinger was forced to publicly apologize for a non-offense reference to the “N-word.” Shortly thereafter she resigned and ended her 35-year long radio career, saying, “I want to regain my First Amendment rights.”
Any utterance of the word “whore” is apparently banned now, too, after Democrat Jerry Brown and a staffer used it in reference to California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. It is now simply the “W-word.” I guess what Jerry Brown truly meant to say was “comfort woman.” After the disgrace of what happened to Juan Williams, we apparently also have the “M-word.” Also banned is the “F-word” referring to homosexuals. We’re quickly running out of letters.