Sunday, June 30, 2013

Should We Shun Political Correctness?

by Tom King  (c) 2013

I just got jumped on with both feet by a conservative Facebook Friend. She was not happy with me because I posted this in response to another poster who stated that "If I had a nickel for every 'retard' who thinks he can stop the climate from changing......"

I responded with this.
  • "Retard" Really? Dan, it's not people with developmental disabilities who think we can stop the climate from changing. I wish you wouldn't use that word as an insult. I have a Down's Syndrome nephew who doesn't believe in global warming either. As President Reagan said, "It's not so much what our liberal friends don't know as it is what they do know that ain't so." IQ has little to do with it. First, let me make it clear, I never said I was offended.  I simply addressed the use of an easy to use insulting expression that I see a LOT of shrieking liberals use that is kind of offensive. They call US that. What I wanted to express was that it is not actually the  low IQ folk who are pushing this. We need not be afraid of ordinary folk or even developmentally challenged people.  It's people with just enough intelligence to think they are smarter than everybody else that think they can run the world. 
Then it got ugly with another commentator jumping in and claiming I was stupid to be "offended" by every little thing and that I was the reason the world was in the shape it is.

So I thought I had a little 'splainin' to do.  I've made this comment to several conservative friends lately with regard to using the word "retard" as an insult.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not arguing political correctness here.  What I'm arguing in favor of here is the Golden Rule.  It's got nothing to do with political correctness, just kindness.  I think if we're going to argue in the public square against socialism, global warming hysteria, big government or excessive taxation, that we ought to we beat them, not with name-calling, but with logic, reason and facts.

To his credit, Dan did apologize for using the word as an insult and I respect him for that.  It really is frustrating to get pounded day after day with this stuff and to not lash back.

Those of us who are Christians are under orders with regard to the whole name-calling business.  Christ said that he who calls another a "fool" is himself in danger of hell fire.  That's pretty serious and calling someone a "retard" seems awfully close to doing what Jesus advised us not to do.  I say better safe than sorry.

I'm not without sin in this.  I've used words like idiot and moron before and I'm not terribly proud of it.  Sometimes, when frustrated beyond endurance we do resort to name-calling. It's not something we should ever do casually and something we should always be willing to apologize for instantly.  Name-calling is niether a reasonable, rational nor particularly effective argument on behalf of your opinion.  Your ability to put down other human beings on the basis of their disabilities, race, creed or color does not factor into whether or not your ideology is correct.  Usually it only makes you look less credible. After all, if you're reduced to name-calling, how good can your argument really be?

Good manners used to be important.  I miss civility and I believe that, as conservatives, we should embrace a return to civility, lest we find ourselves down in the mud with those who would make our society harder, nastier and more thoroughly enslaved.

My proposal is that conservatives like me and you at least act MORE intelligent than our opponents.  Name calling makes you look like you have a weak argument.  Liberals do it to us all the time and the truly self-centered herd-follower types clap in approval and fall in line behind the name-caller.  Do we really want to encourage that sort of behavior on our side?  To win in the court of ideas, we must be better than our opponents; smarter, kinder and wiser. 

I do understand the frustration with political correctness. But I would argue that good manners is not political correctness - not if you exercise your free will and choose to be polite.  Scripture counsels let your yes be yes and your no be no. The willingness to argue a point on merit alone instead of on mere rhetoric is something else that has been, sadly, rather lost in this debate. 

Political correctness comes from fear of what others think; fear that you might be spurned by the herd.  If you are not afraid of the herd's collective opinion and I am not afraid of the disapproval of the herd, then why don't we choose not to act like them.  Name calling is a technique used by thugs and bullies to keep the herd in line.  It's just not something people with as good an argument against global warming and socialism as we have should dirty our hands with.  That's all I'm saying.


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