Monday, July 16, 2012

Political correctness - an error of the "left"

There can be no doubt I'm no fan of "political correctness" - defined as:

     noun - demonstrating progressive ideals, esp. by avoiding vocabulary 
     that is considered offensive, discriminatory, or judgmental, esp.  
     concerning race and gender

Although I support without reservation the efforts by racial minorities and women (among others) in the USA to achieve true equality under the law and in actual practice, I'm a firm believer in the exercise of my right to free speech.  The idea that mere words can on their own cause damage to such a cause is absurd to me.  Words are only words, and they easily can be distinguished from, say, physical violence.  If I choose to use offensive words like nigger, spick, raghead, blanket-ass, camel-jock, beaner, wop, kike, chink, or cunt, the people who fit those words have a clear choice:  to be offended or not.  In other words, you can only be offended by mere words if you choose to be.   I don't see that as my problem - it's yours, pure and simple.
It's supposedly "progressive" - a concept associated with left-leaning social views - to choose voluntarily not to use such offensive language, at the very least in the presence of those who might be offended by such words.  In my personal perspective, I don't see such voluntary muzzling of my word choices as progressive at all.  I consider any such attempt to convince me to censor myself to be a violation of my Constitutional right to free speech.  No one can argue that I've been responsible for limiting their opportunities to succeed in life by using such words.  No one can argue that my use of such words has caused them any physical harm.  Psychological harm caused by the use of such words is completely a choice on their part.  I have no intention to hurt anyone by such words - epithets exist in our real-world lexicon and I see no compelling reason to avoid using them!

I certainly recognize the power of "mere words" of course.  I'd like to believe that my use of mere words can be persuasive in influencing how people think, or more relevantly, to stimulate people to think for themselves.  I have absolutely zero interest in using the power of "mere words" to sway large numbers of a population to follow my ideas like mindless sheep, however.  The fact that certain words I use might be offensive doesn't mean that my intention in using them is to harm anyone.  Rather, I like to use politically incorrect words for their shock value.  They can jolt an otherwise somnambulant audience to attention.  Their incongruity in certain contexts has that capacity.  It seems delightfully inconsistent with what many people choose to label me with - a "liberal" persona. 

I personally can't imagine being offended by some epithet that conceivably could be used to describe me. Hence, I have trouble imagining why people would be offended by my word choices.   Elsewhere, I've told the story of a good friend who happens to be an African-American (the currently politically-correct description).  He called me a "honky" and I called him a "nigger" and we got along just fine until circumstances forced our separation.  In the era of political correctness, several media divas have run afoul of this trend toward political correctness, even losing their jobs by the mere use of certain words felt to be offensive to someone.

As I see it, political correctness is a massive load of shit, and the left-leaning "progressives" are responsible for its introduction and spread in our society.  If I want to call a spade a spade, am I not to do so because said spade might be offended?  Who said we all have a right not to be offended?  Funny, I just don't see that in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

If what I say offends you, you have the right to call me an asshole or whatever else might come to mind.  You also have the right to pay me no mind whatsoever.  You can conclude I'm an insensitive prick, or even a stupid bigot (despite the falsity of such a conclusion).  If I'm a bigot, I'm an equal opportunity bigot!  I'm equally willing to offend anyone, without regard to race, religion, or gender.  But please, please don't ask me to avoid certain words, simply because you choose to be offended by them.

Personally, what offends me are not words, but things like wars where we kill and maim innocent civilians for the sake of keeping the oil flowing to our society.  I'm offended by massive defense budgets seen as sacred cows even as we slash at social programs aimed at helping people through difficult times.  I'm offended by a "war on drugs" that persecutes people for victimless crimes.  I'm offended by welfare for the rich even as we restrict welfare for the poor.  I'm offended by persistent prejudicial practices in our society that limit the opportunities available to racial minorities and women.  

When I compare the impact of mere words to those offensive aspects of modern America, the notion of "political correctness" fades to insignificance.  If you live in a world where your opportunities are blocked at every turn by malicious people, who really cares what name they use to describe you?  Is that really important?  I just don't think it's worth the attention.  Let's just drop it!

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