Some people may get a chuckle out of the term. But political correctness is an implacable force we must come to terms with or else accept the reality our First Amendment freedoms may become irrevocably lost.
Political correctness has its roots Cultural Marxism. Cultural Marxists know democratic capitalism cannot be overthrown by external force. So they seek to undermine Western society like a cancer attacking from within.
Those who are politically correct view all history through the prism of power. For example, radical feminism teaches that, in the past, men had all the power. That made men the unrelenting oppressors of women. So now men are obliged to make up for their past transgressions.
Experience proves political correctness is difficult to counter because it is always justified by sentimental appeals to fairness and sensitivity.
The purveyors of PC began 20 years ago by discouraging the use of demeaning stereotypes and epithets directed against any racial, ethnic or gender group. Who could argue with that?
An exception was made, however, for males, who were considered fair game for the crudest forms of denunciation.
Soon, campus speech codes began sprouting. In the workplace, speech codes were subsumed under the rubric of sexual harassment. If a boss called his secretary “honey” or a doctor referred to a patient as “dear,” that could spark trouble.
The next step in the unfolding PC campaign was the passage of hate speech legislation.
In 1999, the National Organization of Women and other groups unveiled the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which aimed to expand the scope of the existing hate crime laws to include gender and sexual orientation. When it floundered in committee, they changed the name of the bill to the benign-sounding Local Law Enforcement Act — the LLEA.
Just last week, five years of hard work paid off. The Senate approved the LLEA by a 65-33 vote. If the House of Representatives approves the bill and President Bush signs off, the LLEA soon will become the law of the land.
So what would happen if someone writes a book that portrays a protected group in a negative light? Could that be construed as a hate crime?
Actually, I didn’t make that example up.
On June 10, legendary actress Brigitte Bardot was convicted in France and fined $6,000. Her offense? Including passages in her best-selling book, “A Cry in the Silence,” about the growing Islamic influence in Europe. The sections in question allegedly incited racial hatred against Muslims. However, a review of the passages in question reveals them to be provocative but certainly not hateful.
Or what would happen if a person did a critique of feminist ideology — not attacking feminists as a group, just analyzing their philosophy? Could that get a person into hot water?
Again, that is not a hypothetical question.
Just last year, the Canadian government published a report titled “School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the Masculist Discourse” The report concluded, “We also recommend that consideration be given to whether legal action can be taken under section 319 of the Criminal Code.” And what is section 319 of the Criminal Code? The Canadian hate crimes law.
And what are the crimes of the accused? According to the indictment in the Executive Summary, “The results of our analysis of the masculist discourse reveal an ideology that aims to challenge the gains made by women and discredit feminism.”
Exactly who perpetrates this ideological crime? The report lists persons like Christina Hoff Sommers, author of expose “Who Stole Feminism”? Accusing a woman of hatefulness to women — apparently the report’s authors missed the irony.
First Cultural Marxism. Then Political Correctness. And now the LLEA. Take me to my grave, but I’m going to stoutly resist anybody telling me what I can say and what I can think.
Mr. Roberts is a Washington-area writer.