The totalitarian state in George Orwell’s novel “1984” created the language of “Newspeak” to diminish free thought and concepts that posed a threat to authority — concepts such as freedom, self-expression and individuality. Any form of thought alternative to “Newspeak” was classified as “thought crime.”
Sound familiar? It should. Progressives in government, media, entertainment and especially academia seeking “social justice” bombard Americans with messages about what we must believe and say — America’s own “Newspeak” called political correctness. Political correctness has a huge vocabulary: hate speech, speech codes, trigger warnings, safe spaces, microaggressions, white privilege, white supremacy, patriarchy, gender-neutral and implicit/unconscious bias are among the concepts we are required to think, say and do.
Progressives use political correctness to create and enforce divisions between classes of Americans by race, gender, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation/identity. Progressives will grant “victim” status to groups they believe are “oppressed” and vilify people who they designate as “oppressors,” mostly whites of European descent. Progressives then publicly demonize the “oppressors” and demand they change their thinking. They accomplish this with indoctrination (e.g., “unconscious bias” training) and use language that progressives deem inoffensive to their “victims.” If these “oppressors” don’t comply, progressives want them socially ostracized if not fired from their jobs.
Progressives claim that this is necessary because most Americans are intolerant of diversity and need progressives’ constant enlightenment. In fact, the original goal of political correctness — treating all people with dignity and respect — has been completely hijacked by progressive totalitarians to silence anyone with differing viewpoints.
So if you have an honest disagreement about abortion, you’re a woman hater. If you hold traditional religious views on marriage, you’re gay bashing. And if you refuse to admit your “white privilege” — even if you are a working class person struggling economically — you are “racist.”
Progressives see offenses to their “victims” everywhere:
• Students at the University of Oregon debated removing Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” quote from a building because they didn’t think it was “inclusive” enough.
• The University of California considers the statements “America is the land of opportunity” and “everyone can succeed in America if they work hard enough” to be “microaggressions.”
• The ACLU criticized a high school football pregame tribute to soldiers, police and first responders as a “frightening message” intended to silence people who claim systemic racism exists in America today.
• A staffer at a Texas school decorated a door with a scene from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Although Texas law allows this kind of display, the principal told the staffer to take it down because she was “forcing her religious beliefs on students.”
• Wyoming school administrators canceled “American Pride Day” during homecoming because they believed celebrating America might “offend some of its students.”
• A North Carolina school ordered a 6-year-old girl to remove the word “God” from a poem she wrote to honor her two grandfathers who served in the Vietnam War.
• The president of black Talladega College was told he’s “a disgrace to his African-American race” because the college’s marching band performed at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Political correctness has replaced our society’s ability to conduct rational conversations with a culture of hysterical outrage, grievance mongering and new victimhood movements — all in the name of “social justice.” Freedom, truth and individualism have become casualties.
For years Americans have been simmering in frustration about the intolerance of political correctness. A recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll indicated that 68 percent agreed political correctness is “a big problem.” And it was an across-the-board sentiment by 62 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans. Among whites, 72 percent said they felt that way, but so did 61 percent of non-whites.
Unfortunately, it required someone like Donald Trump to get Americans to openly rebel against political correctness. The popularity of Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, American Sniper, Sully, and electing Trump as president are great examples of Americans rejecting divisive, condescending progressive elites who for too long have been dictating what we must think, say and do.
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Brian Loutrel, Fairless Hills, is a 1975 graduate of Pennsbury High School.