In certain ways, the haughty, sickeningly idealistic and self-righteous movement we call “progressivism” has turned the United States of America into a frightening battleground for even the most well-meaning of people. More and more, we have to go through our days walking on eggshells, afraid to say much of anything, so as not to offend the hypersensitive individuals who seem to be multiplying uncontrollably. We have to watch our mouths for the words that we say, even when we’re not saying anything that’s traditionally or patently offensive. The political correctness police are everywhere, ready to string you up in public for being insensitive, racist, or otherwise insulting, even if you truly didn’t mean to be.
The Internet has given rise to what are referred to as “social justice warriors”, a rowdy, self-righteous bunch who take it upon themselves to ruin the lives of people who make a simple mistake by saying something publicly that they arguably should not have. Increasingly often, the denizens of Twitter unleash a hellfire upon those who tweet things that are meant as jokes, and have ruined careers, and sometimes, lives for those people. Congratulations, Twitter. Someone sent out 140 characters of poor taste, and you ruined their life. Are you satisfied with yourself?
I fully understand the limits of the freedom of speech that was granted to us as American citizens by the Constitution. While the government cannot impinge on your right to say what’s on your mind (short of making terroristic threats- I get why that’s not alright), any private institution reserves its own right to decide what sort of speech is allowed within its walls. A place of business, a school, or even a private forum on the Internet has the power to punish you for the words you speak on their premises. Understandable. What I am not in line with is the general public designating itself with the power to decide that certain words (that never were before) are offensive and can no longer be uttered in public.
Nobody has an innate, given-at-birth right to not be offended in life. You are going to encounter problems in this life that will result in hardships that will be much worse than the words that people say to or about you, or even just within earshot of you. The simple desire to be accepted has been overblown, having evolved from a reasonable request to a self-absorbed demand. To that point, something needs to be set straight. Nobody HAS to accept you. Nobody HAS to agree with you, your lifestyle, or anything you do or say. There is no “right” belief system when it comes to anything. That’s the beauty of having a brain, free will, and the ability to express your thoughts and feelings.
However, in this country, the slippery slope of language has become a full-blown avalanche, and we’re all being crushed under the weight of it. If this mentality continues as it has, I fear that we will all be trapped forever, only perhaps to be dug up by some trepidatious explorer in a couple hundred years. I find it sad that comedians like Jerry Seinfeld will no longer do standup on college campuses because the brainwashed, liberal masses that inhabit them don’t know how to take a joke. Once upon a time, not too long ago, comedy was the last bastion of relief from the language and morality police. That is no more. Comedians now have to water down and censor their jokes and observations, lest they be booed, taken down by the fire-and-pitchfork mobs on Twitter, or otherwise blacklisted. I find it sad that professors have to cut material out of their curriculum, because someone in their class may have a flashback to a past trauma, or may simply just be offended by the subject at hand. I find it sad that many judges will actually entertain lawsuits brought about as a result of the plaintiff being offended by words that were said by someone else.
When did we become so easily offended in this country? When did our skin become so thin? When did our self-esteem become so fragile? The political correctness movement was started several decades ago, which served to start modifying the words we use to refer to different people. This was in an effort to treat everyone with kid gloves, to placate the oversensitive types who believed that if the words were changed, so would the prejudiced thoughts in people’s minds. Nothing could have been more sadly misguided. So many terms had to be invented to refer to people of all skin colors, genders, professions, and walks of life. The irony here is that the people who those politically correct terms were used to protect, if anything, should have been offended by such useless patronization.
I despise the entire movement, as I find it insulting to the people that have to adapt to it, and to the people it’s meant to defend. To this day, I refuse to subscribe to the vast majority of it. If you’re a woman and you bring food to my table at a restaurant, you’re a waitress. Plain and simple. I’m not going to treat or tip you any differently than I would a man who provides me with the exact same type and quality of service. I also won’t refer to a manhole cover as anything but, and I won’t adopt these insulting, asexual terms instead of calling people and things what they are. People can be equal without being the same. That’s the point of all of this.
I believe in the greater good. To shackle the overall freedom of thought, ideas and speech to assuage the emotions of the few is not justifiable. Sometimes, it takes getting offended to promote discussion, to exchange ideas, and to bring about some type of resolution. I will never advocate hate speech, and I generally abide by the basic human law of treating others as I would like to be treated. Admittedly, I’ve made my fair share of inappropriate jokes, but without a true, bonafide racist or sexist bone in my body, I’m still fearful for the future of our freedom of speech here in America.
Trying to keep up with the litany of words and terms that are newly being deemed offensive each week is exhausting. People need to stop believing that they are special, or that they deserve any sort of special treatment. Too many place the responsibility on others to not offend, rather than on themselves to not get so easily offended. This is entirely self-righteous, and the self-absorbed expectation that those around you should have to cater to the maintenance of your dainty, fragile skin is beyond unreasonable. If you don’t like what someone is saying, you have the choice to frame an argument against them, or to stop listening and walk away. Again, I’m cordial and polite to everyone unless they give me a compelling reason not to be. However, I cannot abide by the outrageous victim mentality that this country clearly encourages, and I say that it needs to meet a swift and decisive end.
If you would like to engage in discussion with me about the current state of human relations in our country, I’d be happy to chat with you. Until that time, goodnight, and good luck.