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Friday, June 19, 2009

Freedom of Speech and "Political Correctness"

I consider freedom of speech and what is considered to be "politically correct" to be hot button issues these days. As a matter of my own personal political stance, I think we are beginning to lose our freedoms and the American manner of lifestyle via the Obama administration, at an alarming rate. Honestly, compared to Bush, it would seem that Obama is triple to the effect. Crazed deficit spending and all of this talk about "creating more alternative energy solutions, creating more jobs and affordable health care" is just that: Talk. So far it would seem that the president is blinded to the harm he is inflicting upon this country and would rather be optimistic than realistic. And it still seems that the president has a high approval rating due to his "personality." Thus the new motto of the times to live by is that personality should replace policy. Vomit.

Moving on, Loftus' latest blog entry is an intersection of what constitutes free speech and how the protectional rights as stated in the First Amendment of the US Constitution apply and don't apply in certain circumstances. The gist of this particular post I'm talking about now is based on a previous post arguing that Edward Feser, a California community college professor, Should Be Fired From His Teaching Post! According to Loftus here, Feser is guilty of comparing the recently slain abortionist, Dr. George Tiller, to the serial killer/sodomozing rapist Jeffrey Dahmer. Loftus argues in this post:

Feser teaches for Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California which is a community college. I call upon that college to fire him for this highly inflamed rhetoric which will probably bring on more murders of abortion doctors. And I ask others to do likewise. No professor should use such inflammatory rhetoric or be so ignorant about some crucial distinctions.

Loftus might have a point here. But he goes about it the wrong way. What we should be asking is whether or not Loftus is in the appropriate position to make that call or put forth such a suggestion? Well, in his latest post, John just so happens to cite a blog post which argues against Loftus on this very point (quoting from the cited blog and not Debunking Christianity):

I’d be the first to call for Feser to be charged if what he’s said rises to the level of incitement, and I certainly believe he should be held accountable for the horrific implications of his argument. But he should be challenged on the poor quality of ideas, not forced out of his job for what he’s said as a private citizen. Feser is most definitely not calling for violence against abortion providers, and while his rhetoric certainly may encourage dangerous people to do horrible things, he is not calling for violence, nor does he appear to be crying crocodile tears: he seems sincere in his view that violence against doctors isn’t okay.

Come to think of it, this guy has a much better handle on things than Loftus does from what I can see. And perhaps that's one in a list of many "crucial distinctions" Loftus should pay attention too when he goes about something either inane or overly exaggerated. So of course, Loftus responds with the latest:

I was claiming Feser ought not to say what he did in the most vocal way I can, precisely because I find it reprehensible in the worst way. How would he feel, as unlikely as it would be, that someone kills an abortionist and upon being arrested quotes him? I think he would feel terrible. That's the point. We must tone down such inflammatory incendiary rhetoric on occasions like these, because of what it could lead to. One is indeed responsible for the repercussions of the rhetoric they use. One must be careful not to use such inflammatory rhetoric when it comes to human beings who simply disagree on the issue of abortion. It’s like pouring gas on the fire.

Now perhaps you were expecting that I was going to express my disagreement with Loftus on this one. But as much as the point of firing Feser is a bit inappropriate, when Loftus himself admits to Feser being against incited violence against practicing abortionists, he does have some valid points here. Still, the issue of firing him is backed by a whole load of bogus sub-arguments, and ones which could be in themselves, detrimental to society.

As far as free speech goes, there have been many people fired for expressing chauvinism, racism and homophobia in academia, as sportscasters, and as pundits. Hate speech is not something the law tolerates, nor do employers. Whether you like it or not this is "politically incorrect" speech, which I applaud. One cannot call an African American the "N" word nor a woman the "B" word, for those words have a history of oppression to them in the English language.

Actually, that whole point about "Hate speech is not something the law tolerates, nor do employers" is, unfortunately, an invalid one. I just returned about a week ago from a trip out to Kansas to begin my documentary film on the Westboro Baptist Church. Several online sources confirm that members of the WBC lead normal lives outside of the church, to include employment. Additionally, the protests conducted by the Phelps are indeed under protection by law enforcement (of course, while we are talking about Tiller's death, this applies in both ways due to the church calling for support from law enforcement to keep the Phelps' protesters at bay). But something I find greatly disturbing is the concept of "political correctness". Does Loftus really want to go there? He could just as well be put up for being "politically incorrect" for being an atheist. Arguing that some action should be taken, or even for that matter, by merely making a point based on the idea of 'political correctness' is to me nothing short of a logical fallacy. It is an invented figment of the imagination which seeks out to replace words such as "hate" with "strongly dislike" and so on.

The same applies in terms of racial and sexist slurs. Although I'm not arguing against the importance of acknowledging the historical context in which these words have been used, I'm also not in favor of advocating that we should just simply keep our mouths shut or NEVER use these words, EVER. It sets things up for a double standard. Why? In contemporary America, the "oppressed" minorities that have been afflicted upon with these words have asborbed these terms into their daily vocabulary. It has now become racially acceptable, for instance, for the majority of blacks to use the word "nigger" when referring to social situations involving primarily the black community. It has become unacceptable, however, for white people to use these words even if they are used in the same context, or, for that matter, are used between whites. And it's also somehow "okay" for racial minorities to use implicitly derogatory names when referring to whites (e.g., cracker, honkey, etc.) and yet no one gets upset, because it's "politically correct".

An argument commonly interpreted as racist yet valid nonetheless is that slavery was abolished 130 + years ago. It is a thing of the past. Women have voting rights in our country, and we have had female candidates for the presidential and vice presidential offices in the past. We now have an African-American president. We need to come to a period in time where we can shed these stereotypes about words. Words in and of themselves have no meaning other than the relative context they are placed into. But to merely say you "can't" say something and equate to (or imply that you are equating) taking radical actions is to instigate a situation of control. Does this mean that Loftus' politics are consistent with his own behaviors, in that they are somehow influenced by his political thoughts?

Another somewhat disturbingly confusing point Loftus makes out is this:

When the government is involved and when we are the government, we have a say in what we want to allow and support.

So does John happen to know that the people in our government are put there by electoral vote? That basically sums it up that the government is represented by "us" so to speak because we put them there in the first place. But just because they happen to have the title of "representative" does not make it so. Politics requires that you are a good manipulator. One such example of this being true is Hillary Clinton. So, according to the arguably delusional Loftus, if "we" begin making up the government and therefore the government is enlarged, we will have more freedoms? Whatever happened to less government, more individuality, PERIOD? Loftus' politics are exactly the reason why we are in such a mess today. The government makes all of these proposals to make things better, but their approach is awful. And since when was it ever an American idea that failing companies and businesses should receive financial bailouts? Is there some sort of connection between Loftus' distorted views and the fact that he helped vote Barack Obama to the White House???

And just in case you are not aware, there is no such thing as free speech. It’s a political prize won by the diligent, so argues Stanley Fish, in his brilliant and thought provoking book. That's why there is something called "politically correct speech" in the first place!

Another point I disagree with strongly. If this statement were to be more accurately stated, it would be the other way around. "Political correctness" does not exist. It is a logical fallacy because in many cases, it can be applied in both ways. "Freedom of speech" however, is described in our First Amendment Rights quite clearly, and has only been tainted as the result of "political correctness" having been introduced into the public forum:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Freedom of speech is neutral, "political correctness" is based on majority-minority principles and usually involves an ignorance of proper context, or a negligence of freedom of speech rights. This is the difference between the two.

Finally, in closing, to demonstrate my own self-proclaimed wisdom:


  1. I prefer vile language be discouraged.

    The rest of the post is too poorly constructed to spend time sorting your points.

    Please try again.

  2. Fantastic. But what does your rambling about language have to do with this post, or its admittely poor construction?

    And for that matter, seeing as you have somehow put the two together when they are about two different things specifically, why should I care about this comment of yours at all?

  3. Can a six-word sentence really be considered "rambling"?

    They were mentioned in the same post because the poll appears atop. I now see it appears before every topic. You should care because (I assume) you wish to communicate your thoughts.

    Or maybe, you don't really. Given the uncivil tone, perhaps you are from the lilpixieofterror whack-a-mole-any-mole school of social intercourse.

  4. That post has absolutely nothing to do with the issue revolving around the voting poll. The poll is there to determine the proper usage of language made by guests, not on their social acceptance.

    And another thing, if you insist on complaining so much, why are you bothering commenting here at all? What is the point of you being here if all you are going to do is chide me?

  5. On use of words such as "nigger".

    I wouldn't use it. I think that it's socially understood that a white person using this word usually has a few bigoted race issues at heart. If black people call each other "nigger" it's more of an in-joke - like gay people calling each other "fag".

    Because I've always hung around with gay-ish people, I tend to use perjorative terms for homosexuality in a jokey way, and I don't feel uncomfortable in doing so. Similarly, a few close acquaintences will take the mick out of my part-Jewishness. The nose is a dead giveaway, lol. I'm not arsed, because they're friends.

    But if some person I didn't even know called me a name like "Jewy Jewy Jewenstein" (one gay friend's drunken nickname for me - in song, no less; and after I made light of her Scottish roots) I'd go mental, because they don't know me, and they don't have the right (in my eyes) to take the piss.

    I wouldn't ban any words outright though.

  6. In Explorer 8, after these words:

    "Finally, in closing, to demonstrate my own self-proclaimed wisdom:"

    absolutely nothing displays. I'm sure you did mean for us to see something there - and not suggest that your wisdom equates to "nothing." ;-)

  7. For your information Codeword, I don't travel via flight for fear of "the Jews repeating their attack of 9/11."

    I'm sure you can understand where I'm coming from. ;)

  8. Rat, you are correct sir. However, as of the time being, I have yet to understand why I can't embed the specific YouTube vid I wanted for this post. It's probably because I'm using a Mac now and I didn't put Word on it, which is usually pretty good for posting embedding codes and things of that nature.

  9. Interesting debate on the resurrection currently taking place:

  10. Hey Spencer, how do you figure that anything concerning the resurrection is related to the First Amendment, you quack?

    This is to be expected from Debunking Christianity: They can't offer anything more than irrelevant spammage and attempts to get a rise out of people for thier own glorification.

  11. Truth Be told wrote:
    Hey Spencer, how do you figure that anything concerning the resurrection is related to the First Amendment, you quack?

    Freedom of speech.

    You wrote:
    This is to be expected from Debunking Christianity: They can't offer anything more than irrelevant spammage and attempts to get a rise out of people for thier own glorification.

    I posted the link because I thought readers on here might be interested in reading the debate. Period. No glorification here.

  12. My second rebuttal is now up:

  13. I have ben banned from Debunking Christianity because John cannot argue against the miracles that happened to me.


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