Few rights are more sacred to Americans than freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Unfortunately, both are under siege in contemporary American society. Although they are supposed to be protected by the First Amendment, liberals have found a way around the Constitution and are using it to suppress freedom of speech and religion. Their weapon of choice is political-correctness; a concept that is enforced by social pressure (with a lot of help from the mainstream media and entertainment industries).
George Mason of Virginia refused to support ratification of the Constitution even though he was one of the most articulate of its framers. Mason’s opposition to ratification was his fear that without a statement of individual rights and freedoms the Constitution would become an instrument of government oppression. In fact, Mason had already written a statement of individual rights that was included in Virginia’s state constitution (a statement that would eventually become the basis for the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution).
Liberals hate the concept of freedom of religion. Religious liberty is anathema to them, mostly because they typically worship the god of self. Liberals have a love-hate relationship with the concept of free speech. They love it when it works on their behalf, but they hate it when it applies to people who disagree with them. To a liberal, free speech means the freedom to say what they want you to say and nothing else. Agree with a liberal and you will enjoy unimpeded free speech. Disagree with a liberal and you will find out that free speech is anything but free in contemporary American society. Because of the broad-based expectation of free speech by American society, liberals have had to come up with another way to suppress any speech that runs counter to their nefarious agenda. That tactic is political correctness, a concept that is indeed political but hardly correct.
Political correctness is the left’s antidote to the expectations of Americans concerning free speech. Society’s expectations may not allow liberals to suppress free speech to the extent they would like—something along the lines of the infamous alien and sedition acts of President John Adams—but political correctness does. Political correctness prescribes from the perspective of liberals what is appropriate to say in public conversation and what is not. In this way liberals are able to control conversation, debate, and discussion in the public square. They also control debate and discussion in America’s classrooms from Kindergarten through college. By applying the one-sided tenets of political correctness, the left essentially controls verbal discourse in America; a fact they use to suppress free speech.
People who are comfortable with their views should welcome discussion and debate. If they truly believe what they profess to believe people of any political persuasion should be able to defend their views. Further, they should welcome opportunities to do so. This is not the case with liberals. Their idea is to foist their views on American society while suppressing discussion, debate, and dissention. State publically a point of view that runs counter to liberal orthodoxy and you will be descended on in the blink of an eye by the guardians of political correctness. The philosophy of liberals on free speech seems to be: When you cannot effectively debate someone whose views run counter to those of the left, attack, vilify, and destroy that person.
Political correctness is killing free speech in America and, by so doing, is undermining all of our freedoms. When we cannot talk about that are ruled as being out of bounds by the dictates of the left, all Americans suffer a loss of freedom. We also lose the ability to find solutions to some of our most pressing socio-cultural problems. Just as fire is used to strengthen steel, free and open discussion can be used to strengthen the arguments of both sides when debating issues of importance.
Free and frank debate can also open the eyes of those debating the issues to possibilities, points of view, and solutions other than those they espouse. People who refuse to submit their views to the fire of open discussion are intellectual cowards who fear that their views cannot withstand the heat. They are people who have arrived at unworthy points of view for reasons other than logic, reason, and truth; reasons such as politics, power, bias, and position. In short, they are intellectual cowards.
What are some issues Americans should be openly and freely debating and would be if they had not been decreed off-limits by liberals and hidden behind the protective shield of political correctness? An issue that comes immediately to mind is racism. The racial divide in America is unnecessarily broad. The lack of trust between and among the races can be attributed in part to our inability to discuss race-related problems without being labeled racists. By the way, to disagree with a liberal on any racially-charged issue is to immediately be labeled a bigot and a racist, and this rule of thumb applies regardless of whether you happen to be white, black, Hispanic, or Asian.
To liberals, anybody of any race who disagrees with their biased political presuppositions is by definition a racist. This is too bad because we will never solve our racial problems unless we can talk about them, and there are plenty that need to be talked about. We need to discuss problems such as school dropout rates, fatherless families, high unemployment, gang violence, drugs, and crime among minorities, but we cannot because these subjects have been ruled off limits by the gods of political correctness. We need to be able to talk about why black Americans cannot be conservatives who reject nanny government without being vilified by liberals, black and white. We need to be able to talk about how to appropriately deal with people of both races who make bigoted statements.
The fact that we cannot openly and freely discuss race other pressing socio-political issues in an open, honest, and responsible manner is evidence that liberals want neither harmony among the races nor solutions to America’s social problems. Take away racial discord and liberals are left without any ammunition for their political guns. Solve our most pressing social problems and liberals have nothing on which to base their anti-America, anti-conservative diatribes.
To liberals, advances toward racial harmony and solutions to social problems signal the eventual end of their relevance in American politics because liberals are not about finding solutions, they are about stirring up discord, envy, anger, and frustration. This is why for liberals it is necessary to use political correctness to rule inconvenient topics off limits and to vilify anyone—black or white—who has the temerity to even raise them.
The Framers knew how important free speech would be in a Democratic and self-governed society. This is why the very first amendment added to the Constitution dealt with freedom of speech. They knew that protecting unpopular speech would be critical to the longevity of the country they risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to establish. Speech that is broadly popular needs no protection. To use political correctness to impede free speech—not by law but by social bullying—threatens the continued existence of our country as a free and open nation, something liberals should acknowledge before it is too late.
What is politically correct is specified by those who are able to dictate terms at any given point in time. Right now that is liberals, but this may not always be the case. If conservatives and Christians who have had their free speech suppressed for so long ever find themselves once again in the ascendancy on socio-cultural matters in America, it might prove difficult to convince them to be magnanimous. The weapon you use on your opponents today might be turned on you at some point in the future.