CULTURE: The “Thou Shall Nots” of Political Correctness

The “Thou Shall Nots” of Political Correctness
Posted on March 16, 2016  in Blog, Culture
So I’ve been reading Anthony Esolen’s intriguing book Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child and would highly recommend that you spend time reading it, as well as his previous book Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of your Child. The social commentary, along with the skill of the writer, guarantee that these will be read and re-read. Below is a lengthy excerpt from a chapter entitled “Condoning Everything and Forgiving Nothing.” Few individuals, at least that I’ve encountered, are willing to take on the intolerance of tolerance, or political correctness, or whatever you want to call it, with such verve. Surely these highlight the reality of truth’s stumbling in the public square, marked by a jubilant affirmation of that which is wrong and a zealous condemning for that which is right. 
The state where I love, Rhode Island, was founded by a Baptist minister, Roger Williams, who wished to establish a colony characterized by freedom of worship, at least for his fellow Protestants. Whatever one may think should be the relations between churches and the state, one cannot fail to be stirred by the noble words inscribed in Latin on the frieze of the capitol’s rotunda: RARA FELICITAS TEMPORUM UBI SENTIRE QUAE VELIS ET QUAE SENTIAS DICERE LICET – The rare happiness of times when one may think what one will and speak what one thinks. Now, when the name of Christ is treated as an obscenity that may not be uttered within the walls of a public school, we dare not express what we think about any number of things, if we do not want to be dragged before the commissars of correct thinking and signed over for reeducation. The common engine of such reeducation, the mildest form of punishment for thoughtcrime, is “sensitivity training.” Bullies do not always lose their sense of humor. More severe punishments include loss of employment and public campaigns to destroy your reputation.
I have sometimes wished that the thought police would get around to issuing a handy list of things to which we are supposed to give our vocal assent. It is hard to smother your common sense, to ignore history and the evidence of your eyes, and to turn reason into intellectual pretzels. All that requires a good deal of self-suppression. The task would be made a little easier if we could be informed beforehand what to think. We are plebeians, after all, and can’t be expected to perform the mental gymnastics of our patrician masters. But since they have not come up with such a list, and since, if the truth be known, they themselves are often reduced to catching up with the latest rectitude, I have decided to provide one here below.
Thou shalt not call an unmarried woman “Miss.” Thou shalt not feed thy children cupcakes. Thou shalt not think that women should not be soldiers. Thou shalt recycle thy bottles.
Thou shalt not speak about God in a public school. Thou shalt not say that the Ten Commandments are commandments. Thou shalt not speak ill of any culture, with the following exceptions: American, British, medieval, Christian, and Catholic. Thou shalt not speak well of those. Thou shalt not laugh at certain jokes. Thou shalt not vote for a conservative, if thou canst find one.
Thou shalt not say that a man is biologically incapable of marrying another man. Thou shalt not decline to march in the following parades. Thou shalt not agree to march in the following parades. Thou shalt not have anything good to say about popes and priests. Thou shalt not say what you believe unless it is approved by pundits on television.
Thou shalt not say that contemporary music is ugly and banal. Thou shalt not shop in the following places. Thou shalt purchase the following product, on pain of targeting by the Internal Revenue Service. Thou shalt attend these sex education classes. Thou shalt not utter a word of complaint about them.
Thou shalt not exhibit any fondness for the American South. Thou shalt adore Abraham Lincoln and abhor Robert E. Lee. Thou shalt not say that women have not been persecuted from of old. Thou shalt not say that men are for women and women are for men.
Thou shalt not give thy son a toy pistol. Thou shalt not shoot a rubber band at the back of a schoolmate’s head. Thou shalt not say “bang.” Thou shalt not complain when a boy claims to be a girl and uses thy shower. Thou shalt celebrate what we like, whether it liketh thee or not.
Thou shalt not dress thy older daughter in a dress. Thou shalt not say, “My nation are heathen fools.” Thou shalt not wear a cross around thy neck in a hospital. Thou shalt not pray too close to someone going to slay her child. Thou shalt not spank thy smart-mouth. Thou shalt not sleep thy children more than one to a room. Thou shalt not look askance at a fornicator. Thou shalt lend other people’s money to people whose prospects for repayment are not good. Thou shalt allocate other people’s money to thy clients.
Thou shalt not disagree with a social worker. Thou shalt not speak up at an open meeting, unless thou art called upon, and unless thou sayest what those who hold the meeting want to hear. Thou shalt not disagree with a policeman. Thou shalt not bring toothpaste on an airplane.
Thou shalt not say disparaging things about global warming. Thou shalt not collect rainwater in thy cistern. Thou shalt not kill the weasel that is eating thine eggs. Thou shalt read the poetry of Maya Angelou, and thou shalt pretend to be impressed by it. Thou shalt admire soccer [We’ll let this one slide]. Thou shalt sneer at everything more than three minutes old. Thou shalt pursue orgasms. Thou shalt not deny the harlot her due. Thou shalt be feminist in thought, word, and deed.
Thou shalt, O child, learn in school what opinions thou must have. It needs not that thou should learn grammar, history, poetry, geography, the natural sciences, or mathematics. It needs not that thou read the great authors of Western heritage. School is not for those. It is for the building up of the New and Improved Pharisee, to torment his parents withal in the evening, if they should yet retain something of the liberty of common sense and ordinary virtue.
Thou shalt, thou shalt not, on and on, with no end in sight. None of it really unites us as a people; none of it has the power to make us good. He who sins is a slave to sin. We have become the slaves of the slaves.
Well, now that you have certainly been duly offended on at least one point, feel free to get on with your day…or you could explore why you are offended if indeed you are. Or you could ponder whether or not you would have the requisite courage to speak such words aloud, display them on social media, or actually write them in a book, with your real name on the cover. Hesitancy on this front will surely be an indicator of how fenced in our minds have become. Or, perhaps we we could go a little farther and ask God to grow us spines that would help us stand up above the not-so-nice-niceness of our Canadian culture to graciously, humbly, wisely, and winsomely expose the bankruptcy of this new breed of tolerance, a force that shuts down the free exchange of ideas in conversation and on campuses across our country. Truth has stumbled in the public square. Our silence perpetuates the problem. We can pay now, or we can pay later. The implications for the spread of the gospel are evident.
So, what is it going to be?

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