By Addie Mae Villas | USA
As we speak, American culture is going through a massive shift, and in no positive direction. In fact, we are losing societal recognition for one of the most basic liberties: freedom of speech. In modern American culture, there is now a desire to avoid speech that may trigger or offend an individual or group. This shift, the desire for an increase in political correctness, began as a form of common courtesy. However, it has mutated to the point of censorship of both facts and unpopular opinions. The atmosphere created by a politically correct (PC) culture not only spews out misinformation to protect feelings, but twists facts to ensure the happiness of others. This false reality is dangerous on many levels. When left unchecked, it will undoubtedly create a society that blurs the lines between fact and fiction.
Unsurprisingly, PC culture is not exclusive to either economic side of the political spectrum. Although the left shows a number of extreme cases of PC and censorship, the right is no different. In 2017, the Cato Institute, conducted a Free Speech and Tolerance Survey, in which they analyzed Americans’ beliefs on censorship. Simply put, the results were frightening. In it, 53% of Republicans polled favored taking U.S. citizenship from people who burned the American flag. To supplement, 65% of Republicans believed that NFL players should be fired for refusing to stand for the national anthem. Naturally, many individuals simply claim this is national pride. Yet, by supporting restrictions of American freedom, they immediately ruin the very values they claim pride in.
In addition, politically correct Republican culture often leads to blind respect for our law enforcement. While it is true that police officers are valuable members of society, this does not excuse their abuses of power. The shooting of Daniel Shaver is a clear example of said abuse. Though the victim was unarmed and begging for his life, officer Philip Brailsford still shot and killed him. Despite the officer’s murder of Shaver, the Republican party remained silent. Instances like these prove the hypocrisy of the PC right. Though quick to judge the damage caused by the left, many forget that they are guilty of the same faults.
On the contrary, the economic left is equally guilty of a damaging PC culture. Free speech zones on college campuses are a prime example of such damage, with speech restricted beyond certain areas. Moreover, the Cato Institute found that 51% of Democrats support legally forcing Americans to use a transgender’s preferred pronoun. Though doing so is polite, we do not legislate politeness. Such a law is an example of government overreach. If someone wants to misgender someone, that is solely up to the person, not the state, to decide.
After looking at the faults of both sides, which party happens to be the greater offender? The Cato Institute poll found that Democrats are more likely to support banning offensive language. As time passes, the list of offensive terms only increases. In fact, 80% of surveyed Democrats believe that it is hateful or offensive to declare that America should deport illegal immigrants. When so many individuals believe that truths and opinions are derogatory and harmful, civil debate quickly fades away.
In today’s world, discussion is something that needs to happen to prevent a major catastrophe. Currently, Cato reported that 71% of people believe PC has prevented conversations we need in society. One can easily look to oppressive governments to see the damage of restricting free speech. America is rapidly moving in that direction, and a clear change in culture is necessary to protect our liberties.
(Image courtesy of historyofjournalism.onmason.com)