Free speech ain’t always pretty, but it’s necessary.

Does political correctness actually benefit the elites? Last week Jake Tibbett defended political correctness.  This is Richard Wagner’s rebuttal

Free speech benefits the oppressed.  As long as that basic freedom is protected, then there is always hope for marginalized people.  No matter what else is done to them, they can voice their opposition in the hopes of persuading others to sympathize with their cause and effect change.

The United States became independent because marginalized colonists were expressing their opposition to the British Empire.  They moved enough public opinion in their favor that revolution became viable.  That is why freedom is speech is sacred to US.  But vigorous protection of free speech isn’t just an anachronism.

Since the 1960s, we’ve seen many marginalized groups make gains by using freedom of speech to persuade public opinion.  MLK led millions who made their voices heard, while the powers that be tried to suppress him.  A second wave of feminism began in the late 1960s.  Gays, and later transgender persons, made their voices heard.  Lots of people at that time were “offended”.  But in the end, their voices were heard and society was forever changed.

Does Political Correctness challenge the status quo?

Last week, fellow Pavlovic contributor Jake Tibbetts argued that political correctness ensures that “the voices of the oppressed are heard loudly and clearly in the fight for liberation”.  Yet he states later – “If that journey begins with expelling harmful phrases and words that serve no purpose but to deprive others of power from my vocabulary, I accept that.”  

During the 1960s, lots of hurtful words and phrases were used.  While blacks were marching for their right to be treated as human beings, whites were calling them “nigger”, “animal”, etc.  Also during that time, the Nation of Islam was circulating a theory that the white race was genetically engineered by an evil scientist on the Greek island of Patmos to be a devil race

Free speech ain’t always pretty, but it’s necessary.

“Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression…” – John Stuart Mill

Political Correctness protects the elites

Have you noticed how the powerful are generally supportive of political correctness.  This is not only academic institutions.  Corporations are mostly very supportive of it.  It was the corporations that started all that “Happy Holidays” stuff instead of “Merry Christmas”, because the idea of people of one religion having a holiday is just so offensive to anyone who is not of that religion.  

The retailers like Target pay slightly above minimum wage, pester you to get one of their store credit cards and fall into their debt trap, but trans persons can use whatever bathroom they want.  How progressive of them!  

The Democratic Party establishment and their media allies clearly are as well.  In 2004, Howard Dean ran on a rather populist platform.  Despite his support for same-sex marriage before it was cool, despite his excellent record on civil rights, he got PCed when he said, “I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks.” 

Is the redneck terrified that the prospects of equality will topple his privileged position?  He’s probably no better off than his black fellow Americans.  While Walmart discontinues the offensive, oppressive Confederate Flag, their wages remain low and their goods remain mostly made in sweatshops in developing countries.  Where’s all the PC protesters giving a voice to the oppressed?  

Maybe they were too busy worrying about something more horrifying that sweatshops and poverty.   Chick-fil-A treats its employees well, and offers them scholarships.  College students of every race, creed, color, and yes, sexual orientation can work their way through college while frying the tastiest chicken sandwiches around and never have to work on Sunday,

But the CEO of Chick-fil-A is an old Christian who closes his restaurants on Sunday but also considers same-sex marriage to be sinful.  Ermagerd!  There were boycotts, but they didn’t last.  I mean, who can resist Chick-fil-A?

Yet according to Tibbetts , the opponents of political correctness are “the oppressors [who] appear to attempt to make themselves out to be the oppressed.”  Is Walmart the champion of the oppressed?  

Divide and conquer

The powers that be love to play one marginalized group against another, and political correctness is just another means of carrying out their nefarious will.  It’s now politically incorrect for a politician to even say that they care about working class white people.  Jim Webb (who was calling for criminal justice reform long before the emergence of #blacklivesmatter) has been PCed more than once because he has the audacity to say that white people matter too.

Martin Luther King understood that to achieve equality, people of all races must stand together.  The “Poor People’s Campaign” symbolized everything the powers that be fear, and political correctness is undermining that legacy.

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is...

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