Submitted by Charles Knighton
There is no social justice without free speech. They are one and the same. James C. Wilson letter to the editor, Dec.13
Political correctness is poisoning discourse in America.
On college campuses, social media and large segments of American culture dominated by the Left, “language police” now vigilantly patrol what people write and say for any possible offense to oppressed, disempowered minority groups. Transgressions bring an avalanche of vicious personal attacks and demands that the sinner be shunned and silenced. What these people want, and what in fact they demand, is that you agree with them. They want you to believe. If you do not grovel and beg for forgiveness when “called out,” you only convict yourself of unforgivable racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and general bigotry.
Some college theatre groups, and I am not making this up, are now even refusing to perform The Vagina Monologues because the feminist play excludes women without vaginas and thus offends the transgendered. In mainstream political debate, a straight white man who ventures an opinion without first acknowledging his privileged status is mocked for “mansplaining” or “whitesplaining,” and savaged on social media. Even feminists and people of colour can run afoul of these seething censors, who demand total adherence to their rigid, humorless Groupthink.
In this malignant new form of political correctness, even mildly conservative commencement speakers are shunned, “microaggressions”—small social slights or backward terminology—are condemned for causing searing trauma among various classes of victims, and professors must provide “trigger warnings” for potentially upsetting subjects in novels and history books.
Recently, some Columbia University students demanded trigger warnings on the work of the Roman poet Ovid. What’s next? The pathway of such trigger warnings—not just for sexual assault but also for violence, bigotry and racism—will eventually lead to every work of literature being labeled as potentially offensive. There goes the Bible, there goes Dante, there goes Huck Finn (loaded with racism). In the end, anybody can claim offense or triggering about anything: liberals about conservative politics, pacifists against violence, women against sexism, creationists against evolution and so on.
Is it not time for these delicate hothouse orchids to learn that Life is Triggering? Once they leave college, they’ll be constantly exposed to views that challenge or offend them. How they will manage to cope remains to be seen.