There can be no equivocation on the rights of speech. We either have free speech or we do not. By its very nature Political Correctness seeks to limit speech and thus the right of the individual to speak and express themselves freely. Often times the arguments for political correctness are framed only in terms of being considerate of others. They often call for “Reasonable Accommodations” to an individual’s speech to spare another individual’s discomfort. With so many interests groups all calling for their own “Reasonable Accommodations” we eventually reach a point where the “Reasonable Accommodation” is the rule and not the exception and what can be said and not said is fully controlled. This limitation of speech by fiat of “Reasonable Accommodation” is insidious in its nature to strip away free speech and expression one word or phrase at a time until it simply becomes “Reasonable” to give these unwritten rules of political correctness the weight of law with the power to punish those who violate them. We arrive at the “extreme” of political correctness one request for tolerance at a time.
No conversation about Political Correctness is complete without due consideration of the 1st amendment. We have a duty and a responsibility to teach the next generation that the basis of a free society is the freedom of speech. We cannot parse out certain types of speech simply because we disagree with them. Children need to be taught to be considerate when they communicate, but that responsibility to carefully weigh the power of our words is not born from some obligation to societal group think, but instead exchanged as part of the price we pay for exercising those freedoms. Words only have the power we grant them and we should strive to engage with reasoned arguments instead of stifling those with which we disagree. Life has sharp edges and we can either send our children into the world with blinders or with their eyes wide open.