Political Correctness Has Gone Too Far Essay Help

Today, I woke up to the startling realization that I’m no longer a child. In the eyes of the law, I haven’t been a kid since I turned 18. In the eyes of the Lord, I grew up around the time I first saw the interrogation scene in Basic Instinct. This year it dawned on me that the truest, most accurate sign of maturity is actually righteous indignation.

I lost it over reports that students at Princeton are lobbying to have former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name removed from their university’s School of Public and International Affairs. Woodrow Wilson led us through the first world war. He invented the League of Nations, a forward-thinking precursor to the UN. He had to live his entire life with the name Woodrow. Hasn’t he suffered enough? I thought. Wilson, for the record, oversaw the resegregation of parts of the federal government during his tenure – a blemish on his liberal record that he shares with basically every US president through the middle of the last century. While we’re at it, shall we replace the Washington monument with a Whole Foods?

When it comes to the generational divide in this country, I am officially part of the problem. While the young people annoyingly persist in believing we can always “do better”, I couldn’t be bothered to get up and change the channel on my TV if an Isis execution video came on MSNBC because ugh, the remote is so far away and I just got up to refill my water 10 minutes ago. Our world is such a non-stop horror show of violence, greed, and NCIS spinoffs that the aforementioned hypothetical, grisly scenario isn’t quite that far-fetched. All the while, sour-faced commentators and critics delight in ridiculing kids who’ve had enough. Perhaps college students are creating safe spaces on their campuses because the country they’re inheriting fundamentally isn’t.

Perhaps college students are creating safe spaces on their campuses because the country they’re inheriting isn’t

In 2015, it has seemed like every day, some new Gen X celebrity from the 80s or 90s popped up to bemoan the sensitive, guileless, weak-willed Generation Y, while the Baby Boomers guzzle their food through a straw and masturbate all over their guns. Author Bret Easton Ellis dubbed people around my age “Generation Wuss”. To Ellis, millennials are defined by “their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they’ve been fed since childhood by over-protective ‘helicopter’ parents mapping their every move.” Over-sensitivity seems like his way of describing anyone who finds his attitudes toward women distressing. Comedian/brand ambassador for nostalgia Jerry Seinfeld refuses to perform at colleges because they are “too PC” to laugh at his edgy jokes about sneakers, breakfast cereals, and airline food. These culture warriors often see “over-sensitivity” as a threat to America’s precious notion of freedom of speech – one of the most abused, misunderstood ideals we have.

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All year, we’ve been subjected to the borderline hate and unfettered lunacy of Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and the rest of the Republican presidential field. Carson has gone on record saying Islam is “not compatible” with the US constitution, even though the constitution explicitly gives American citizens the right to practice Islam freely. Meanwhile, Donald Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the US all together. Because people like Carson and Trump are old and wealthy and running for president, society values their speech more than the kid demanding trigger warnings before a lecture or one who wants to no-platform an intellectual. Really, there should be a trigger warning for the next GOP debate, because watching them makes me want to shoot myself. In the last two weeks, Trump has mocked a journalist with a disability and said that a Black Lives Matter protester maybe “should have been roughed up” after an assault took place at one of his rallies. In our blinkered view of free speech, Trump has earned the right to rubber-stamp violence and intolerance, presumably because he’s a tough guy who speaks plain truths, or some such bullshit.

Trump’s favorite weapon – the rhetorical equivalent of the golden gun from the James Bond video game GoldenEye, because it has the power to vanquish an opponent immediately – is calling someone “stupid” or a “loser”. Even if Trump’s statements are abhorrent to both sides of the American political establishment, we have to listen to him, but he doesn’t have to listen to us. In the ideal version of American first amendment free speech, everyone speaks eloquently, no one uses their rights to incite violence or hatred, and we patiently listen to everyone else’s opinion because they’re all so damned reasonable. Of course, this notion is so fantastical and absurd, there should be a special section at Disneyland called “First Amendment Land” where instead of Mickey Mouse or Darth Vader posing for photos with your babies, it’s Alexis de Tocqueville.

The practical reality of American society is that most of us would rather not hear what the other side has to say and would quite frankly chew off our own genitals in exchange for the power to pretend like those people don’t exist at all. It’s why any hope for meaningful compromise on wedge issues has died since the early days of the Obama administration. The power of Trump is that he can magically quiet those he does not agree with through the power of insults. That’s the greatest gift a politician could hope for in a democracy that doesn’t value differences of opinion.

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How is Trump’s dismissal of opposing views any different than the no-platforming of feminists who critique trans activists? In both cases, someone is dismissing speech they deem harmful, dangerous to society, or just plain incorrect. The only difference is that Trump’s ideas are now terrifyingly considered acceptable enough that he can find himself on Saturday Night Live. The average leftwing youth activist hasn’t had a national platform since Occupy Wall Street – a movement cheerfully discredited by the media and shut down by the police. No-platforming and PC attitudes are themselves speech that has to be protected as long as the other side shows such contempt for ideals of equality and empathy.

True American free speech is less a thoughtful dialogue and more an epic slap fight between two combatants exhibiting the signs of chronic alcohol abuse. Our discourse is not civilized, it’s not reasonable, and it’s only gotten more debased in the 30 years I’ve been on this planet. Young activists actually still give a damn about the future, which is why they’re using every tool at their disposal to try to improve their lot rather than giggling every time the man with the silly haircut makes a funny on the TV box.

As a nation, we are so cynical that we’ve allowed a cartoon testicle with a mouth and absolutely zero experience in government to have a sniff of getting into the White House. Gen X thinkers are bemused by the people they so derisively named “millennials” (or should that be “founders”?) because they are compelled to try to be a bit more enlightened than those that came before them. One of the millennial’s favorite tools for enacting social change is Twitter, but there are those who see Twitter as yet another hotbed of censorship. In New York magazine’s piece on PC culture from January 2015, writer Jonathan Chait claims that the emphasis on “tone policing” and other attempts to tackle the biases inherent in certain forms of rhetoric is harming our right to free speech. “Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation,” he wrote.

The “jeering critic” he’s talking about is the rabble-rouser on Twitter blowing up the mentions of someone they deem problematic. In this particular fantasy, the Thought Police mobilize to silence anyone who dares defy what they believe is acceptable. The nameless horde of youngsters who take to social media in order to explain the plight of the trans community to those misgendering Caitlyn Jenner or demand empathy be shown to minorities are apparently terrifying certain people into silence who, you know, have a point too, goshdarnit. Contrary to Chait’s assertion, Twitter mentions can be ignored, no one is required to have a social media presence, and the concept of “isolation” on the internet means your schedule is now free to get that gym membership, visit a foreign country, finish that screenplay about a hyper-intelligent species of space elves, or make actual friends.

The internet is a choose-your-own-adventure of hateful, aggressive speech on all sides of the political spectrum, but no matter who you are – from a nobody calling out an athlete to an intellectual debating the merits of second-wave feminism to an audience of 30 white-wine-drunk adjunct faculty – there’s always the off switch in the corner of your computer or smartphone.

When this alleged censorship migrates into the physical realm, it becomes a bit trickier. It manifests itself in the real world through the manufactured structure of the American higher education system. Students at the University of Missouri recently began expressing their desire for “safe spaces” on campus in the wake of controversies over racism at the school. Student protesters turned a patch of lawn into a sanctuary free of dissenting opinions and journalists. Sometimes, they enforced this safe space through physical means. The protesters were caught on video pushing a photographer for ESPN out of their area, which naturally sent vomitous outrage machines like the New York Post into fits of hysterics. Conservative critics of young people are even more vitriolic in their hatred of PC culture than their liberal counterparts.

I honestly think they believe that this is a harbinger of the end times, far more disastrous for the planet than global warming, the rise of militant groups in the Middle East, or the next Coldplay album. An online post by the president of the evangelical college Oklahoma Wesleyan, Dr Everett Piper, made the rounds of concerned media aggregators across the country this month. Piper says, “An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty,” in response to a student who was troubled by a church sermon. He also helpfully reminds the reader that his school is “not a day care”. He’s right about that. The average daycare doesn’t cost almost $32,000 a year to attend, whereas Oklahoma Wesleyan does, in fact, cost that much. Granted, OWU offers room, board, and eternal salvation, while in daycare all you get is a juice box, a blanket, and a DVD screening of the middle 35 minutes of Finding Nemo before your step-dad comes to pick you up.

Piper goes on to say: “If you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.” In other words, if you want to spend $32,000 a year to develop an inferiority complex, then you know where to matriculate: Bartlesville, Oklahoma’s finest (and presumably only) private Christian university. Piper’s post equates not wanting to be made to feel bad with “selfishness”. Campus safe spaces are narcissistic playgrounds of the weak-willed and the cowardly. This worldview seems to value stoic cynicism and self-hatred over not wanting to hit yourself over the head with a hammer until God, your mom, and Ronald Reagan’s moldy ghost love you more. I am just old enough to see how that could be appealing. Speaking up takes effort and always being satisfied with myself would get old after awhile. Without extreme disgust, would life be as sweet? If I didn’t struggle with doubt every once in a while I’d be Donald Trump, who, by the way, is the product of America’s reigning generational champions: the Baby Boomers.

Our Boomer overlords have handed us a world where I don’t even trust the guy in front of me in line at Panera Bread

While Gen X and Y fight over which deep-alphabet letter is more “extreme”, Baby Boomers like Trump and Dr Everett Piper are steering the USS Uncle Sammy Blue Jeans into the cultural equivalent of the asteroid field from The Empire Strikes Back. I hadn’t even had the opportunity to blissfully forget the Planned Parenthood mass shooting when the San Bernardino mass shooting happened. Our Boomer overlords, with their tough love, quiet strength, and verbal abuse, have handed us a world where I don’t even trust the guy in front of me in line at Panera Bread to not be planning to unload a clip into my chest. While Donald Trump is gaslighting his critics and encouraging his supporters “rough up” dissenters, real change on important issues like gun control elude us.

Movie theaters, clinics, universities, high schools, and countless other spaces too numerous to mention have been targets of indiscriminate violence. College is the last time where one is free to be idealistic, to think that they can actually make a difference before men of God, politicians, and the mega-rich inform them that actually, they’re better off playing along. I might question the necessity of changing the name of a school or think that people need to stop assuming an off-color joke is the end of the world, but my time is up. I’m too busy ignoring bill collectors, getting winded going up a staircase and freaking out over a suspicious mole to worry that much. The next generation still thinks they can change the world for the better, and maybe they can, if we’d just let them. The only thing I know for sure is that they can’t do much worse than our parents.

  • Yes and NO, please see following argument in support of re-education and the consequences of top-down terminological enforcement

    The opinion that "women are annoying," has held women back for multiple generations. The statement is rooted in previous statements made on what were conventionally upheld as empirically correct. The idea that women are irrational, emotional, and now angry has long been an avenue to oppress women, their ideas, and their self-actualization. However I agree that PC terminology is a step forward. This forum is essentially a debate on an ongoing debate. Terminology evolves depending on what some minorities want to be called based on recent re-education. Of course most of this re-education can only be accessed in higher education institutions and in liberal bubbles, I agree with many of the "anti-PC" forum writers in that we need to educate before we retaliate. Terminology changes rapidly, and does not broadcast nationally. Rural farming communities in the middle of the country do not generally have schedules that fit daily re-education, nor do they have access via outreach platforms. To truly understand politically correct terminology and why it is being used today, the general public needs to be educated on why it is being used or replacing old terminology. For instance telling someone that is attracted to the same sex that they are "queer" when that person was in a movement where he/she fought to embrace the word "gay," and getting annoyed at them when they argue back is obviously wrong in more than one way. You cannot create change from the top-down, and although minorities see the change in terminology as a grassroots fight from the bottom-up, many feel that it is being forced upon them, including the minorities that they seek to represent.

  • Anti-PC are cry-babies

    The arguments for why its gone too far basically boil down to "I don't want to have to change anything that I do/say no matter how it makes someone feel." Being PC isn't just you can't say anything mean, or you can't have an opinion. It is to prevent people from spewing opinions that are harmful to the person/group they are remarking on. Not every unmannered comment equals anti-PC, you guys have a lot of stuff twisted. For example, take the statement "women are annoying"; this is a rude statement but it isn't anti-pc. It is a matter of opinion, although it is ignorant and a broad generalization, and likely denotes a sexist mentality, it isn't anti-PC. Something is anti-PC if the term/action currently or has in the past negatively influenced the standard of living. The fact that some people think women are annoying hasn't specifically held women back throughout the past. However, a statement that reinforces a negative stereotype such as "women can't handle ______ like men can", associates with the idea that women are inferior to men, and supports the oppressive system. It matters if we say that women are incapable/stupid because throughout history women have had limited entry to core jobs (medical, science, math-based), because of the negative stereotype that women can't do what men can. If the generalization is meaningless, it's rude of you to make it but you're entitled to that opinion. If the generalization/statement supports a belief system that is harmful to someone, then you shouldn't be saying it all. If you say something that you think is fine, but someone says its offensive, then research why they said its offensive. For example, I saw an anti-PC complain that they cant use the word "crazy". Instead of just complaining that you have to find a new word and you don't feel like it, research the history of the word crazy. People were demonized and shut out of society, treated very badly for having lower intelligence or mental disorders. To keep using the word 'crazy' which was used as a slur to those people, is adding salt to the wounds. Just find a different word that isn't a slur. There are millions of words, so find one that means the same and wasn't used as slur. Don't sit there cry babying trying to defend your right to be rude. You don't just go into church saying the F word or whatever you want to say, you clean up your language. So let that be true in all cases, if you've been asked not to say/do something then figure out why. It shouldn't be such a big deal to you that you have to clean up your act and treat people with respect.

  • Why would it?

    The political correctness should be used in conversation to prevent people from stepping on others toes in a conversation with a stranger who you don't know. Even with friends political correctness keeps people from getting hurt feelings over an ideal that was said in a nonpolitically way. Boom bang just for the words

  • Way too far

    Yes it has gone too far. It used to be about not calling a black person a slur, or something along that nature, but now there's a list of words deemed inappropriate. Example? If you say, "that's crazy" the SJWs flip their shit because the word crazy is an abelist slur. Same with the word insane, or gay. You can't even insult a minority if they deserve it. Lets say a black man takes a hammer to your car. If you call him a fucking asshole (especially if you're white) it's racist. The concept of white privilege and the idea that only white people can be racist (look it up. They really do believe this. Its just an excuse for minorities to be racist and not get called out on it) have directly come from the PC crowd. Enough is enough.

  • Nope it has not.

    Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.

    Many areas where political correctness and perhaps hyper-sensitivity can be seen started as valid issues that had been ignored far too long: discrimination or prejudice based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, concerns about the environment, health issues, etc.
    Overzealousness to make people aware of the issue can backfire. Some people feel a need to judge others and police their speech and behavior. This naturally raises the ire of those being judged or policed.

    So.... Nope.

  • Nope it has not.

    Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.Nope.

    Many areas where political correctness and perhaps hyper-sensitivity can be seen started as valid issues that had been ignored far too long: discrimination or prejudice based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, concerns about the environment, health issues, etc.
    Overzealousness to make people aware of the issue can backfire. Some people feel a need to judge others and police their speech and behavior. This naturally raises the ire of those being judged or policed.

    So.... Nope.

  • At least not on this website

    Unlike Sodahead, this site doesn't have people whos opinions are so up their a-- it's actually funny. On Sodahead people with majority views have such ego problems that they can't accept another person's views. It's the 51% over the 49% there. And I'm not the only one. A tomboy friend of mine was so cool, that she said it was a -amn shame I was banned.

  • No, the concept of political correctness has not gone too far.

    The concept of Political Correctness (PC) has not gone too far in today's society. As a community we should target our language, ideas, or governmental and social policies to address perceived or actual acts of discrimination (and alienation) towards the members of our community that are politically, socially or economically disadvantaged.

  • No It Hasn't

    I believe political correctness is more about being polite than anything and I don't think we can say it's been carried too far. I believe people need to be a bit more weary about how the word things because sometimes people can take things the wrong way. It doesn't hurt to try and look at things from other people's perspectives.

  • I don't see it

    For as much as folks want to rant about PC being a threat to free speech I personally feel these same people get way too hung up on it. Free speech entails freedom to association, it means that folks really don't owe it to anyone to listen. I see far to many people acting as if not allowing their positions to be challenged somehow goes against free speech. Is it dumb? Yeah, it's super dumb but so what. I see far too often fringe or isolated case being made out to be the end of the world when it's just some college kid who is probably being too aggressive in policing other people's speech. Is this dumb? Yes it is but to me this is ironically free speech as well. I mean how is PC not actually a different side of the same coin?

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