Speech is a distinctively human characteristic that sets us apart from the other lesser animals that make up this earth. The first caveman grunts eventually developed into diverse languages that circumnavigated the globe, now only to be misspelled by kids on AOL Instant Messenger.
People have held the power of speech in high esteem since time immemorial and recognize its power.
From our founding fathers to the brave troops in Iraq, many have sacrificed everything for the right to speak his or her mind freely. Ben Franklin once stated that "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance" and I am calling on my fellow citizens to be wary of liberalism's tightening grip on the freedom to speak and think your mind.
I am convinced that we have all complained about political correctness at one time or another. Whether liberal or conservative I do not think I have come across anyone who has agreed with the idea of saying what people want us to say to avoid offending them. It is not an American quality.
However the hated political correctness seems to have evolved (within its species of course) to a seemingly more acceptable word, "tolerance." On the outside tolerance is fine and good. The majority of people have no problem treating other people with respect and dignity regardless of their beliefs and preexisting conditions, myself included.
Unfortunately the way tolerance is used today is not what it seems to be. Instead of a creating an atmosphere of respect, "tolerance" has weakened our freedom of expression, putting us all in fear of reprisals. It has become a shape-shifting monster, at first appearing as a cute seemingly innocent creature with puppy dog eyes and then once our backs are turned, it morphs into a ferocious beast.
This beast called "tolerance" now dictates the speech pattern of many in this country, especially thanks to the tireless efforts of those within academia. The women and gender crowd has done its part trying their best to obliterate the words mankind and man (used when referring to humanity as a whole) from our vocabulary along with the generic "he."
These are just the start. Also threatened are any attempts to make generalizations about the sexes even if they are true. Despite numerous studies and simple common sense, some feminists refuse to accept that there may be ... get ready for a shock folks ... differences between men and women. What an outrageous statement! When the Harvard University President Larry Summers stated that one of the reasons he thought there were more men than women in the sciences and engineering was possible differences in "intrinsic aptitudes" there was uproar.
Even though he was not speaking on behalf of the institution and he had also added that "I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong," he was recently given a vote of no confidence from the Harvard faculty.
It appears that white males, especially, cannot say anything that could be considered as a slight toward women or minorities. The only exemptions I could find were Democratic politicians like Senator Hillary Clinton who made references to Gandhi being the guy "who pumped her gas" or Senator Robert Byrd who was a Klansman. If these government officials had an (R) next to their names, the media would be demanding their heads on a silver platter.
Also off the table are any "intolerant" statements against religions, except Judaism and Christianity of course. Christianity is the most targeted faith because its true believers dare to believe that there is only one way to go heaven.
While references to Christianity's "intolerance" and marred history in the Crusades, for example, are brought up and bemoaned ad nauseum; no one ever mentions the violence that accompanied the expansion of the Islamic caliphates.
Nor do they mention the countless hospitals, universities and governments which were founded on Christian principles or the thousands of impoverished and abused people who are fed, clothed, sheltered and nurtured by generous Christian volunteers and contributors.
The homosexual lobby in particular has found it prudent to attach itself to the liberal speech police group.
Among their contributions to the doctrine of "tolerance" include a whitewashing of the HIV/AIDS epidemic a terrible disease that is killing millions of people each year worldwide. Instead of using the term infected with AIDS they have changed it to living with AIDS as if it was a pet or a good friend.
I suppose they want to detach some of the stigma that HIV/AIDS patients receive and that's fine but in doing so they trivialize the diagnosis of certain death that the disease brings.
More serious however are the gay lobby's constant efforts to brand anyone who does not agree with them as some sort of a monstrous homophobe. If you are not for changing marriage's definition then you are a homophobe. If you think homosexuality is a sin, just like theft, murder, and adultery, then you are insensitive, intolerant (there is that word again) and a homophobe to boot.
Not all homosexuals are guilty of this smear campaign of course but some in the radical leadership has introduced a dogma of fear into our society.
This dogma of fear is encouraged and grows out of control in other areas as well. To provide an example, I will ask my readers to recall a column written by Jeff Pillar in The Signal in the beginning of the semester.
The columnist was arguing against the continued usage of affirmative action. His case was very good and arguments were strong, but he constantly had to cite his liberal credentials and assure the reader that he was not a conservative writer in disguise in an attempt to give his case more merit.
Case in point, why would he need to do this? Why could not his arguments stand on their own worth? You see my friends; the stigma created by the "intolerance" crowd is that only vicious racist conservatives are against affirmative action.
Pillar either inadvertently or purposefully was trying to distance himself from this "intolerance" stigma by consistently pointing out his liberal leanings which automatically preclude him from most accusations of "intolerance."
This atmosphere of fear and one-sided liberal speech control continues in the world of law as well. Continuing their crusade for radical social change, liberals in Canada passed a hate speech law in 2003. You now cannot say anything that could be construed to be hate speech against any minority group including homosexuals without the risk of being arrested and put on trial.
Religiously motivated "hate speech" like reading the Bible or the Koran is protected however. Yes my friends the holy Word of God is now considered "protected hate speech" in Canada. I wonder if I could be brought up on charges if I said I think we should have annexed that bothersome territory years ago.
Forgive me if I sound harsh, but if someone says something insulting, one does not need to go and change the laws pertaining to the freedom of speech because their feelings were hurt.
If someone calls me a guinea or a wop I should have the right to call them names back or be the better man and ignore them. Human speech is powerful but hurtful insults are only as powerful as you let them be. They are "sticks and stones" and nothing more.
As citizens of the Western world "tolerance" has left us in a terrible lurch. We are terrified. Terrified of offending someone, being offended, saying the wrong thing, taking the wrong side of an issue, of each other and ourselves. Frankly, it is disgusting.
In closing, say and think what you want without fear, this is America where we still have the freedom of speech. And if someone insults you, shrug it off; you do not need to be defined by another person's mean, hateful language.