Archive » August 23, 2012
It's just my opinion
By Harris Sherline, Contributing Writer
“Another plague upon the land, as devastating as the locusts God loosed on the Egyptians, is ‘Political Correctness.’” – Charlton Heston
I’ve been trying to understand exactly how the term “Politically Correct” (PC) is defined. What is it, specifically? Who determines what is correct and what is not? Are there regular meetings of some PC board or committee? Who appoints or elects them? Is there a guide or dictionary that is used to determine what is correct and what is not?
Although the answers to these questions may seem obvious, I do have some thoughts about the situation in America today.
To me, PC is BS (Bad Speech), but there are also “Politically Correct” images and conduct or behavior: “I’m totally outraged and saddened by the statue that is supposed to represent the three firefighters who raised the flag amid the rubble of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. In case you live in a cave and haven’t heard, although the three firefighters who raised the flag -- the photograph of which is one of the most poignant from that day – are white, the statue depicts a white, Hispanic and black firefighter.” – Washington Post
This is Politically Correct extremism. The statue is supposed to be a demonstration of America’s resilience on one of the worst days in its history and should be historically accurate. A memorial to Sept. 11 was not the time or place to make a political statement about ethnic diversity. Even the black firefighters union of New York said at the time that it’s more concerned with real-life diversity, not the symbolic kind.
Political Correctness is censorship. Free speech in America has been hijacked. We are no longer able to openly express our opinions. Instead, we are constantly looking over our shoulders for the next ad homonym attack on our character or values for something we might say: In Once Upon a More Enlightened Time, James Finn Garner points out that children’s classic fairy tales no longer carry messages that are considered socially unacceptable but that they are also actually re-written based on modern morals.
Political Correctness has taken over our colleges and newsrooms, two previously sacrosanct forums that are supposed to be bastions of free speech in our society. People can no longer say what they think without running the risk of sanctions, some of which may cost them their jobs or even expose them to the threat of bodily harm: “Under the auspices of a national coalition of independent campus groups called Students for Academic Freedom, (David) Horowitz is pushing for the adoption of an ‘Academic Bill of Rights’ (see studentsforacademicfreedom.org).
The gist of the measure is summed up in a sentence declaring that ‘no political, ideological or religious orthodoxy will be imposed on professors and researchers through the hiring or tenure or termination process, or through any other administrative means by the academic institution.’ It goes on to state that ‘intellectual independence means the protection of students as well as faculty.’” (Why should this be necessary?)
Political Correctness is not just about speech. It permeates every aspect of our daily lives, including what we wear, what we eat, our entertainment, our schools and institutions of higher learning, the names or slogans we use, such as nicknames of sports teams and schools, the definition of acceptable behavior, individual rights and more: “One of the most common questions I am asked is, ‘What can I, a simple citizen, do to make our country better?’ The answer: Change the little things first...Here is a seemingly small project that any American who works at almost any company can initiate. If successful, it will send shockwaves through the country: Rename your company’s ‘holiday’ party a ‘Christmas’ party. Nothing is quite as symbolic of the narcissism at the heart of contemporary ‘progressive’ policies than the belief that because there are non-Christian employees at a company, its Christmas party may not be called one. And when someone asks you whose idea it was, tell them it came from a Jew who doesn’t observe Christmas, but who loves and honors the fact that the vast majority of his fellow Americans do.” – Dennis Prager (The Federalist, Sept. 23, 2003).
“There’s something terribly wrong when an American soldier overseas can’t receive Scriptures in the mail, but a Muslim chaplain can preach freely among al-Qa’ida and Taliban enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay.” – Michelle Malkin
Stop hyphenating Americans: “Personally, I’m disgusted with everybody’s continued use of ‘fill-in-the-blank American.’ If they are Americans, they’re Americans.” (‘College Dems Anger Indian-Americans for Attack on GOP Candidate,’ Oct. 10.)
“If they are Indians, Mexicans, Africans, or whatever, then let them claim their original ethnicity, but don’t claim to be Americans. This idea of worshiping diversity is nothing more than saying that all other countries have a culture, but America does not.
“America may not be as old as some other countries, but we do have a culture of our own, and it is different from that of most others. People in other countries often have their own idea of what an American is, and they attribute certain characteristics to Americans. Some of these characteristics are complimentary and some are not, but they are American.”
“I am an American, and proud of it. I am thankful that my ancestors came here and started a new life as Americans.” – Roger F., Houston, Texas.
It seems to me that defining Politically Correct is a little like Supreme Court Justice Stewart’s statement about defining hard-core pornography (Jacobellis v. Ohio): “ I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description. But I know it when I see it.”
Political Correctness is really not about speech at all, it’s actually about controlling people’s thoughts, ideas and expression, defining acceptable behavior according to some nebulous and variable standard that is laid down by various special interest groups for everyone else to follow and manipulated for political purposes. In the final analysis, PC is whatever certain vocal individuals, minorities or special interest groups say it is from time to time. It’s about using the power of censorship to stifle dissent for political advantage and monetary gain through the power of government. The oft-quoted statement “Follow the money” applies here as well.
Personally, I am sick and tired of being told what is acceptable and what is not acceptable speech. All PC is BS. It’s time Americans stood up and reclaimed their right to free speech.
© 2012 Harris R. Sherline, All Rights Reserved