Sunday, April 21, 2013

PC Language Rules Are Wrong

American Congregationalist church communities tend today to be very liberal. Which is very good. It may surprise some people -- perhaps even some Congregationalists -- to learn that the 17th century English Puritans were Congregationalists. Including the Pilgrims. Including the authorities who presided over the Salem Witch Trials in 1692 and 1693. As far as I know, no Congregationalists today will try to kill you for being a witch. But many of them are strong advocates of PC speech, which to my thinking demonstrates an unfortunate persistence of self-righteousness and the desire to control the actions and speech and, yes, thought of their neighbors. Yes, there has been definite improvement in the progress from killing witches to advocating PC speech, but, yes, there is significant room for improvement still.

What got me thinking about this today is that I have been attempting to debate against a pronounced advocate of PC speech in the Readers' Comments at Huffington Post. I say "attempting," because, ironically, it seems to me, HP, whose moderation is very PC, has no intention of publishing anywhere near all of my comments about PC speech, even though I carefully avoided all non-PC terminology in those comments.

But, of course, if PC is not actually about avoiding bad words, but is an attempt to restrict the free exchange of ideas, then there's nothing ironic about it at all. It's not about being kind or caring, because, as we all know, PC speech can be thoroughly unkind and prejudiced, while spectacularly un-PC speech can be thoroughly kind and bravely loving. If we don't actually all know this yet, that's what this movie is for, which I very frequently recommend: Bob Fosse's Lenny, starring Dustin Hoffmann as Lenny Bruce. Watch it while you still can.

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