Monthly Archives: July 2012

Free Speech And A Bully Named Political Correctness

I’m going to go on record as saying I’m a Christian. Now, that being said, please try not to burn me at the stake if I say something that doesn’t appeal to your worldview. By all means though, disagree with me, strongly if need be to fully get your point across. Here’s my request. Can we agree to debate an issue in such a way that leaves the other person intact at the end of a debate, in a way that doesn’t make its aim to destroy all sense of worth in the other person?

I’m throwing this out there  because, recently, it appears that admitting to what you believe ends with you being labeled as hateful rather than simply having a difference of opinion. It used to be that thoughts and words, freedom of ideas and public speech, were so sacred that men were willing to die to defend their children’s right to have them. I cringe at what our forefathers might think that their ancestors now live in a time of political correctness so horrendous, that to disagree with popular thought can leave you labeled a biggot.

Freedom of speech is not only meant to protect us; it is also put in place for the rights of our those we disagree with.  Unfortunately, our society has developed the fierce bully of political correctness. If you’re a part of the mainstream, it may not matter that much to you. If what you believe is politically correct, then never fear! The press will side with you. You’ll be painted as a hero of valiant effort for putting up with the likes of me… but what if the tables were turned? What if the social mores and norms of the day were reversed? What if the far other end of the spectrum was popular, what you believed was detestable, and you were mocked for openly admitting your view? That’s the problem with political correctness. It’s a bully mentality and it’s only effective as long as your line of thought is the current victor.

 ” The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” Aldous Huxley was correct when he said that and it still rings true today. We must beware of any agenda that paints the opposing party in absolute detestability. That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? Whether we are God-believing or atheist, republican or democrat, gay or straight, famous or infamous, we are all human! Let me take a moment to let that reverberate. We are all human and under our glorious constitution have the right to say whatever we believe, be it the current voice of public opinion or not. The flipside of that is that we have the distinct responsibility to allow other people to express what they believe without trying to demonize them.

Here’s a thought: What if tolerance is less about agreeing with everyone and more about allowing others to have different opinions and lifestyles without attacking them for it? By the way, if you look up tolerance in the dictionary, that’s what it actually means. Tolerance does not mean drawing a line in the sand and saying, “If you’re on our team, your tolerant. If you’re not, you’re our devout enemy.” It seems that our society has forgotten that. In a time where it’s socially reprehensible to publicly disagree with popular opinion, we need some actual tolerance!

Voltaire summed it up nicely when he said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  Now, here’s where the rubber meets the road. Do I agree with homosexuality? No. Do I agree with abortion? No. Do I believe that Jesus is the way to Heaven? I definitely do. Do I believe that you have the legal right and authority to disagree, be upset with my opinion, march the streets, and petition the government? Absolutely! That is the essence of a free society! That is the framework of a society of people that feel safe to express their thoughts without fear of retribution by the government!

Can we agree that it’s okay to believe strongly about something and allow your next door neighboor to feel just the opposite?  Can we agree that the answer is not to discredit your neighbor in society or have him kicked out of your neighborhoood or place of work? Furthermore, can we agree that to discredit a person in such a way undermines the very political freedoms we all cling to? Can we allow true free speech to exist? I hope we can. I think we need to.