In the year 1949, George Orwell released the classic novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” It showcased the horrors of a society where free speech is non-existent, all under the guise of helping the people. Fast forward to modern times and we see a striking parallel to that novel and a form of speech control, called “Political Correctness.”
Political correctness is the belief that “language and practices which could offend political sensibilities should be eliminated,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Regularly associated with liberals and progressives, its political relevance and impact on society has increased dramatically over the past decade.
Liberals claim political correctness has helped society become more accepting and tolerant of others that might otherwise be shunned. Colleges across the country have been at the forefront of the effort to spread political correctness, implementing numerous measures designed to help avoid offense.
However, colleges have taken political correctness to such an extreme it’s almost hard to believe they would actually do it.
According to a March 3, 2016 Washington Post article, two members of Bowdoin College’s student government were put on trial for going to a party with mini sombreros. That’s right, wearing mini sombreros was considered a punishable offense, considered a potential “act of ethnic stereotyping.”
That may seem absurd, but it gets worse. In a July 21, 2012 Fox News article, it is reported that Indiana University Southeast students can only share their opinions in certain zones, called “free speech zones.” It doesn’t matter what kind of opinion you share, you have to speak in the zone. It’s not just colleges impacted by political correctness though, it’s spread everywhere.
Even if you do everything in your power to be respectful to others, it won’t be good enough. Voicing a controversial opinion or doing anything that doesn’t coincide with the ever-changing acceptable norm gets you labeled as a racist, sexist, name after name.
Trying to avoid offending someone is a near impossible task in modern times due to political correctness.
“You could choose to be offended by just about anything,” said global studies and English teacher Breanna Webb.
Offending someone is both far too easy and has too many consequences. It’s such an awful thing to do that many are scared to even share their own thoughts with others.
“People are afraid. People who may have good ideas or things to say don’t speak up” Webb said.
This fear escalated tremendously during the presidential election. According to a Washington Post article on Nov. 11, David Wilcox of Chicago, Illinois was dragged out of his car by three men, who then proceeded to beat him to a pulp for supporting Trump. Brutal incidents such as this showcase the grim reality of political correctness.
“People are attacked verbally and physically,” freshman Joe Souders said. “The opposite of free speech is violence.”
It’s obviously within people’s rights to antagonize others, and we shouldn’t be advocating to abolish this constitutional right. People attacking each other, however, is still bad behaviour. Political correctness creates an environment where fear dominates, along with a total lack of real discussion.
Liberals say political correctness is for tolerance, but that’s not the case. Manners and respect are no part of political correctness whatsoever. The only ones treated with any respect are those who agree with what is considered correct, and everyone else is not acceptable.
Political correctness is just a way to shut down any opposition, while claiming it’s in the name of “tolerance.” Whether it’s by attacking others verbally or physically, or outlawing anything deemed offensive, political correctness has slowly destroyed free speech.
Only when political correctness is truly abandoned by liberals will free speech be truly free.