President Trump has no time for political correctness. What about you?
Beginning with the very inception of the country, conservative censorship has dominated the United States of America as a way to moderate public opinion. Beginning in the twenty-first century, however, a new kind of censorship dominated the headlines, schoolrooms, and workplaces of America: liberal political correctness.This new liberal ‘PC’ mentality seemingly accentuated a widespread shift from a traditional, religion-based outlook to the more contemporary inclusive, ‘modern’ toleration-based outlook.
Criticisms of PC culture
Political correctness has been criticized recently. From comedians to politicians, the doctrine is criticized for limiting free speech, overacting to even slightly ‘offensive’ comments, and overall, acting as the “thought police.” The most obvious, essentially unmissable advocate against political correctness is, of course, President Donald Trump. At the first GOP debate, he stated that he “has no time for political correctness”, after replying to questions demanding why he has called women “pigs” and “dogs” in the past.
The right-wing origins and development of political correctness
This societal censorship did not have liberal origins, however. Many forget that conservative-based censorship was ubiquitous in the twentieth-century. In 1918, for instance, the Sedition Act was enacted, effectively making it impossible to speak out against the United States government. The act barred any type of anti-government criticism that was “profane, scurrilous, or abusive language.” The penalty for such an offense? $10,000 and/or twenty years in prison. Eugene V. Debs, a prominent American socialist, was imprisoned for making an anti-war speech in 1918 under a similar law.
Even in 2013, almost one hundred years later, right-wing censorship is prevalent. Neil Gaiman’s book, Neverwhere, was banned in a New Mexico school after a parent complained of a “sex scene” and “The F-word.”
The Harry Potter series has come under attack for “promoting witchcraft.” One of the most thought-provoking and moving works of literature in recent memory, Brave New World, was also criticized for its “anti-religion” and “anti-family” values.
Literature has not been the only thing censored. The Pentagon Papers, published in part by The New York Times in 1971 were released after the government threatened to punish the company under the same law the aforementioned Eugene V. Debs was put up against. The Times later stated the papers were a great example of the widespread lying and censorship enacted by the Johnson administration.
The public-school superintendent in Georgia, Kathy Cox, was proposing banning the word “evolution” so as to not “offend more conservative parents.” The absurdity of this proposal is simply astounding.
Will the pendulum swing back?
However, with the growing backlash against liberal PC, we may see a retreat to conservative-based censorship. The pendulum of political influence may very well swing back to these kinds of restrictions. This development is doubtlessly influenced by the “retreat of globalization” and the possibility of the “end of democracy” as we know it.