In today's America is there a more egregious crime than to offend someone? Utter the wrong word and you will be immediately indicted, convicted, and sentenced. No presumption of innocence, no reasonable doubt, no trial.
The only evidence necessary is that someone from a protected class could have been offended. Proof that no one was offended or even evidence that no one was in earshot of the infraction is inadmissible in this court. In the United States of Political Correctness there can be no more shameful a penalty than to be sentenced to the label of boorish, crass, insensitive, or ignorant.
While most of us don't expect a life where we will never be offended or have our feelings hurt, there are those who refuse to consider that thin skin is a character flaw. The vast majority of Americans understand that "language should not be policed."
We believe that freedom of thought and expression are cherished parts of the American experience. However, that doesn't stop the self-appointed language-gestapo from attempting to create a world free of individuals who take freedom of speech seriously.
This movement has little to do with its stated intent, not offending the litany of sainted "victims" groups. But rather is an attempt to control peoples' thoughts, ideas and expressions by defining socially acceptable behavior. To these liberal busy bodies the only acceptable world is one where everyone thinks exactly as they do.
Their weapon of choice is ostracization. But their quiver also includes aggressive speech codes, legal rulings and corporate policies. They protest and boycott anyone who doesn't fall in line with their ideology without fear of reprisal for their blatant disregard for inalienable rights. They obviously view the Constitution as some archaic relic to be tossed to trash heap of history.
The roots of political correctness can be traced back to 1920's Germany, where communist academics sought to impose their Marxist views on students. It is currently championed by left-wing academics and sociologists who popularize the notion that western culture promotes systemic oppression against some groups by marginalizing them with labels. Acceptable, is whatever certain vocal individuals, minorities, or special interest groups say it is. They identify ideas and expressions, which are currently legal, and use intimidation to eliminate them from popular discourse.
The 1949 novel, "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell, introduced the notion, called Newspeak, of limiting thought through language. In the book, the government used surveillance and public mind control to persecute all individualism and independent thinking. Offenses were known as "thoughtcrimes." This oppression was justified in the name of a supposed greater good.
We are on the precipice of a slippery slope when as a people we elevate imaginary rights above Constitutionally guaranteed rights. We send a message to the government that the whims of society and the winds of public opinion trump our foundation principles. America was created upon the concept of individual liberty. If we allow the perception that group force takes precedence over individual rights, nothing stands in the way of the government running roughshod over what little individual freedom remains in the name of compliance to socially acceptable norms.
While it is unacceptable, and in many cases illegal, to discriminate against a person for their past behavior or the choices they have made, it is perfectly acceptable to discriminate against a person for what they say or think. Isn't this just another example of our world being turned upside down?
The First Amendment is first for a reason. The Founding Fathers believed that no freedom can exist in the absence of freedom of expression. Political correctness is the foot in the door for those who want to use government force as a tool to control the most intimate aspect of the individual, their thoughts. We cannot allow any collective the power to force their ideology upon us lest we surrender the gift that was given us 230 years ago. The gift of liberty.
From Jack Loesch: "I've lived locally most of my life, now in the suburbs of North Georgetown. For the past twenty years-plus I have been teaching computer science, economics and statistics at the University of Akron. My main area of interest and research is the evolution and demise of the free market system in America. I am a Constitutional Originalist, meaning I believe the Constitution should be interpreted in the spirit in which it was written. I have maintained a web site (www.TorchNFork.info) for several years on which I post my musings, research compilations, and other sundry tidbits of information that cross my path. Most were initially used to organize my thoughts, found their way to the site, and have remained there to pass into irrelevance. I can be contacted at TorchNFork@frontier.com.