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“I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” — Voltaire
I’m going to start this off by saying that I’m a registered Democrat (anybody still there?). I support the progressive tax scale, am a firm believer in Keynesian economics, and contend that the Affordable Care Act was a necessary step for our country. However, unlike many of the more vocal members of my party, I am not an idiot.
Having been raised around rational and sensible Democrats my whole life, I assumed that the majority of liberals were just normal people. That is, until I came to college. I remember one of my first days on campus when I was walking through the quad and noticed a large gathering of protesters. Wondering what all the commotion was about, I headed into the fray, only to realize that it was a call to all students to change the designated moniker for the newest undergraduates from “freshmen” to “first years” (you can’t make this shit up).
“Well, this is stupid,” I muttered to no one in particular, and as I began to leave, I was approached by an angry woman who I’m assuming, based on her alarming odor and prominent armpit hair, had yet to locate her eco-friendly dorm room. She then began to berate me about how “typical” it was for a white male to not understand the need to remove such “misogynistic” and “hate-filled” language and that I needed to “check my privilege, bro” (she probably didn’t say that last part, but by then I had totally lost interest and was only hearing every third word or so).
I decided I had had enough bullshit for the day, so I went back to my dorm, only to discover that the RA had recently put up a list of “words to avoid” on our hallway, citing the need to promote a greater awareness of the sensibilities of others. Normally, I wouldn’t have given the poster a second thought, but as I walked by, I happened to notice that the word “gypped” was on there, with an underlying caption explaining that the word is offensive to the gypsy culture and, therefore, cannot be used under any circumstance.
Besides being utterly ridiculous, that moment helped me see the alarming truth behind the politically correct culture that has clawed its way into the majority of college campuses. These people are so worried about saying something even slightly offensive that they would literally infringe upon my First Amendment right to freedom of speech in order to eliminate my ability to do so. Since 1776, brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that this great nation remains a place where we are free to let our voices be heard, yet all of a sudden we are willing to give that up so that little Timmy doesn’t have to be slightly aggravated by a racial slur he happened to overhear out of context?
Once we allow some outside force to control our vocabulary, we effectively give them control of our morality, and from there it is a short trip to a society that differs little from George Orwell’s 1984. Yes, open discussions should be had about how to handle sensitive topics on campus, such as race and gender equality, and yes there are a great number of strides that have yet to be taken, but simply omitting words from our lexicon won’t do anything to fix these problems.
Voltaire was a French pussy who spent much of his free time writing poetry and even he was able to figure that out. C’mon, guys..
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