I know a lot of folks, especially conservatives, think I’m a flaming leftie, but the truth is that while I lean heavily leftward, I’m not a liberal. Not that there’s anything wrong with being liberal. Lots of great things about them. Left-wingers (hard-core liberals), though…well, they creep me out just about as much as serious right-wingers.
My biggest complaint most days with left-wingers is their approach to free speech, which seems to go something along the lines of: “People should be able to say whatever they want, as long as it can’t possibly offend anyone else (except maybe white, male right-wingers).”
The problem with that attitude is that just about anything you say can piss someone off. I’m sure if I say, “The sky is blue,” some goldamned science geek with a chip on his shoulder will remind me it’s all about the wavelengths of light allowed through the atmosphere and only an idiot would think the sky has a color. And when you start talking about important things, like politics, social reform, sexuality, race and gender relations, religion and so on…well, the chances of pissing people off increases.
To fend this off, the left wing folks like to tell us that lots of words and attitudes are off-limits, and then create a slew of new words and new rules that no one can ever keep up with, ensuring that nobody knows what the hell to say anymore or who it’s going to irritate. They stifle free speech by making communication into babble.
Sure, we can pretty much mostly agree that the N-word is pretty much off-limits to most folks, especially white ones. Even white ones, like me, who are married to people with brown skin.
It’s pretty clear that “cunt” is a word that should be reserved for sexual escapades in which the two of you are really fired up with the nasty talk about each other’s body parts.
But, really, what was wrong with the term “mentally retarded?” People used it in idiotic ways, but isn’t it just a matter of time before someone finds a way to misuse “developmentally delayed?” And is that term even accepted anymore?
If you’re blind, deaf or paralyzed, you’re not “differently abled” or “handi-capable.” You have a handicap or disability. That’s a fact of life. You can still excel and still deserve respect, but let’s not sugar-coat the fact you are at a disadvantage in many ways compared to if all your body parts worked as evolution intended.
And then terms like “cis-gendered” suddenly appear, and I’m still confused about what that one means, because people seem to use it in different ways depending on their sexual orientation. And what is the accepted replacement for “cross dresser” or “transvestite” these days? I write about sexual issues regularly and judge almost no one except pedophiles and rapists, and even I don’t know what the term is now for dressing like the other gender usually does…or the “right” terms for a slew of other gender and sexual inclinations, for that matter.
And “history” and the extreme feminists! They’ll slam you by saying it means “his story” and then they start saying “herstory,” even though the etymology of the word history doesn’t have anything to do with gender. It’s a coincidence. Maybe if I get an abdominal injury I should complain about my “hisnia” so that no one thinks I have a feminine problem.
I’m a sensitive guy who takes great pains to communicate clearly and level-headedly most days, and I have the added benefit of being a writer and editor to add to my skill sets. When even I don’t know what to say a lot of the time for fear of stepping on someone’s toes because some group feels overly empowered or perceives itself to be oppressed when it isn’t…well, I know the left wing has gone too far to try to tell us how to talk, and free speech isn’t so much free as it is frazzled.
Say what you will about the right-wingers (and yes, they still put down free speech at times with certain races and groups), but overall they don’t try to tell you what to say. If they don’t like it, some of them may threaten you, beat you up or kill you for what you said, but at least they’ll defend your right (mostly) to say it first.