“Political correctness” and freedom of speech

The phrase “political correctness” was coined by conservatives who were mad that they could no longer insult minorities, gays, or women without facing criticism in return. When I was a kid, political correctness was called “being polite.”

The problem with most people who whine about “political correctness” is that they have this idea that freedom of speech means freedom from consequences of that speech.

You have every right to say insulting and demeaning things. And we have every right to call you an asshole for saying those things. gervais

Often the people who defend their insulting comments don’t think they are being rude.

“Gee, you sure are fat.”

“Hey! Don’t be so mean.”

“I wasn’t being mean, I was just stating a fact. How dare you be so rude to me simply for stating my opinion! How dare you enforce your political correctness on me!”

That’s how you guys look to us. You look like big whiners who can dish it out but can’t take criticism in return.

If your idea of free speech is that you can degrade others and be insulting without consequence, then maybe you need to better understand the 1st amendment, which guarantees your right to be as insulting as you want but doesn’t protect you from other people calling you out for it.

This is not to say that people can’t go too far. Preventing someone with a different viewpoint from speaking doesn’t support the concept of “freedom of speech” much. This happens too often on college campuses where well-meaning but misguided students won’t let people with different opinions have a forum.

But — and here’s a key that many opponents of “political correctness” don’t get — this is not the same thing as the government doing it. I’m getting pretty sick of comparisons like “Political correctness is exactly what the Soviet Union used to do!” Since the United States government is not forcing political correctness on everyone, no it isn’t. The 1st amendment limits the government from curtailing your freedom of speech. It doesn’t guarantee you a forum nor does it protect you against criticism.

And if the government suddenly came down with laws requiring “political correctness,” I would be the first to be fighting against them. (It’s why I am also against “hate crimes.”)

So, in conclusion, please stop whining about “political correctness” every time someone criticizes you for insulting things you have said. . Grow a thicker skin already, you big babies.

 

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4 thoughts on ““Political correctness” and freedom of speech

  1. The first time I heard about being politically correct by people who needed to enforce a ‘less hostile’ work environment. It had nothing to do with yelling at the person correcting the offense, it was more at yelling at the person who caused the offense.

    And I believe those who are against the overuse of the political correctness also state that people should grow a thicker skin. If you’re fat, you shouldn’t be so butt sore when someone calls you fat.

    Personally, I agree with your main statement, in my day it was called being polite too.

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  2. I like what you say about how we used to call it, “being polite.” A few years ago, I got called out for being politically correct on a gaming forum. The exact words were something like, “You must be American. Only Americans care so much about being politically correct.”

    Clearly, both “American” and “polically correct” were supposed to be insults. I was not insulted, though. I am American, that’s a fact, not an insult. I told the guy that I did not know if I was politically correct, but that I was the “fluffy bunny type.” I told him I tried to be kind and polite, and if that made me politically correct, so be it. I don’t see being nice to others as a personalty flaw!

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  3. Bullshit

    Politically correct was a progressive speak for “one of us” starting in probably the mid 80s, at least that’s the first time I heard it, and I was one of them back then. It gradually came to mean “acceptable speech” through the next couple decades as the left learned the best way to defend the irrational was to make it off limits to even discuss it.

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  4. When I was growing up, we were told “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. Which covers many of these situations. But not always – witness the classic countercase of the friend with something stuck in her teeth, or the open fly – in those cases saying something is potentially better than the alternative. So my kids get the following more encompassing judgment call:

    “All truth is good. Not all truth is good to say out loud.”

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