Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely believe that free speech should not be purposefully offensive, threatening or an incitement to violence.
That said, it should be pursued with passion and vigour. After all, it is something that affects pretty much every aspect of our lives, work, where we live and the countries in which we dwell.
But today, political correctness is ruining free speech.
I would imagine that you’re all too familiar with what political correctness is. However, for the sake of complete clarity, here’s what the Cambridge Dictionary defines it as:
“…avoiding language or behavior that any particular group of people might find is unkind or offensive.”
Now that’s fine, on the face of it. Calling millions of people of a different race or religion a derogatory name, based on the belief that they are evil or somehow lesser, is unacceptable.
However, it’s gone too far in that it now leaves us treading on eggshells, scared to voice an opinion on pretty much anything for fear of offending somebody’s politically correct sensibilities.
Image Source: Public Domain Pictures
Create a villain when there is none
Not being able to call a blackboard “a blackboard” perfectly sums up how political correctness has gone too far. I call it a “blackboard” because it’s black!
I’m a white male, but I don’t recoil in politically correct horror when someone asks me to make a presentation on a whiteboard. You really can have too much of a good thing.
The corrosiveness of political correctness has long permeated the media. Words and phrases that would once not have led anyone to bat an eyelid, are now frowned upon and surgically substituted with “less offensive” versions.
Image Source: Twitter
Take for example the reporting of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” That really does give you an explanation as to what is going on there. However, some in the media now balk at that description for fear of religious offence.
Do I think all Muslims are terrorists? Absolutely not and for anyone to say that they are is ridiculous.
Am I though aware that a very small minority of Muslims have become radicalized, with some of those then going on to commit acts of terror? Absolutely yes.
I live in the US, where gun ownership and violence, are commonplace. Are most mass-shootings in the US committed by white, male people? The overwhelming evidence says “yes they are.”
Am I offended because someone might suggest on the evening news that the US has a dreadful mass-shooting problem that is perpetrated by mostly white men? Not in the slightest.
The PC culture not only stops you from stating a fact; it will demonize you if you somehow go ahead and say it. Creating a villain out of someone who has said a factually correct statement is simply wrong, but what’s worse is that prominent people, media houses, businesses and even nations actually support it.
Some do this out of fear of being shamed, others do it because they genuinely believe that they by silencing hard truths, they are fighting bigotry.
Image Source: Twitter
Britain – A Shining Example
I’ve lived in both the UK and the USA and I’ve always welcomed the wide range of diversity that I have found in those two countries. I regard myself as liberal and progressive too.
Image Source: Dailystar
However, with hair-trigger political correctness radars constantly on the look-out for transgressors, I now find myself scared to talk about diversity, or multiculturalism, in case I set off a politically correct fire-storm with someone.
The UK, today, is especially guilty of this.
Britain has been going through a host of issues due to a certain section of its population. This section contains mostly radicalized Muslims. However, both the British media and politicians not only are too afraid to call out this issue, they even refuse to acknowledge it.
Image Source: Daily Mirror
And a similar trend is visible in other countries as well.
Politicians have been sacked, people have been jailed and the media has demonized anybody who doesn’t give in to this PC culture. But even then, Britain and other countries remain blind to how political correctness has destroyed, and is continuing to destroy, the very fabric of their society.
Image Source: Daily Mail
Image Source: The Guardian
The fact the political correctness has gone too far may have been one of the main reasons that voters in America found Donald Trump to be worthy of their vote – and without necessarily believing in a lot of what he stands for.
For years now, regular Americans have found themselves increasingly under pressure to conform to extreme political correctness. Someone like Trump, who mostly says what he feels, allowed millions of US voters to have a relief valve for that build-up of pressure.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard a Trump voter say of him that “he says it like it is…” – which is the diametric opposite of what political correctness stands for. And that in turn affects voting patterns:
“[The statement] ‘there is too much political correctness in this country’ was the second most reliable predictor of whether a given person intended to vote for Trump.” 
So, in that sense, political correctness has actually proven to be counter-productive in that it fired up people who were tired of it so much that Trump became a breath of fresh air from it. They were so fed up of it that they actually elected a bigot who ‘says it like it is’.
How about that then – that the most divisive, controversial American President, arguably ever, owes part of his stunning 2016 victory to, of all things, political correctness.
And this isn’t even exclusive to America. World over, there’s a sharp rise in the number of leaders and politicians with ‘extreme’ ideologies as a direct consequence of this PC culture and being afraid to call a spade a spade.
This suffocating culture of dictating one can or cannot say has made a lot of people support politicians who they don’t necessarily like, but admire their ability to ‘say it like it is’ even if what they say is purely horrible.
But this is the fault of the social justice brigade who think that everyone should follow their rules, and label anyone who doesn’t as a bigot. The world is pushing back by choosing actual bigots, thanks to the constant and exhausting check they have to keep for ‘not hurting feelings’.
Look, I don’t want politicians to insult or demonize anybody or any societal group. Politics should always be better than that.
At the same time, I don’t want my politicians to pussy-foot around issues and subjects that may be of vital importance to me or my country’s national security.
While feelings are of course important, it doesn’t automatically make them facts. Being offended at the drop of a hat doesn’t default your position to being automatically correct.
Given that it is beyond doubt that political correctness has gone too far, I genuinely worry about the adverse effect that that will have on democracies around the world.
Freedom of speech and expression are vital components of a healthy, functioning democracy. And politics needs to, at times, address issues with straight-talking that is anchored in reality and not wrapped in the cotton-wool of political correctness.
If there is a genuine political problem, I want my political leaders to tackle it in a genuine way – and that includes the language that they use.
Similarly, as an average joe, I don’t wish to be held hostage by racist or sexist political comments and commentary, but at the same time, I also have no wish to be held hostage by the perennial fear of saying or endorsing something that may be obscurely politically correct.
This is a serious business that affects everyone. We shouldn’t be letting feelings become facts and letting extreme political correctness shame us about saying things that we really have no need to feel shameful about at all.
However, that doesn’t give you the right to become a bigot. Yes, you should be able to call things as they are, but that does not mean you can go around being a sexist, racist or xenophobic douchebag, who curses anyone he doesn’t agree with under the guise of ‘fighting political correctness’.
Image Source: Washington Post
At the same time, you cannot let people and their skewed sense of morality dictate what you can or cannot say. More often than not, political correctness is used by people with an agenda, people who want to control the narrative by shaming those who do not agree with them.
You are an adult living in a democracy. You should be able to communicate what you really want [your right] without hate [your responsibility].