December 31, 2016

Source: Bigstock

Thoughts and feelings are not like pus in an abscess that unless drained by expression will cause a kind of mental septicemia. On the contrary, violence of expression (and the feelings that come with it) is an appetite that grows with the feeding. There is not a certain amount of vile language in each of us waiting to come out. In the prison in which I worked I used to ask the prisoners not to use bad language in front of me because they would not expect me to use it in front of them. And though they were badly educated, and I had no means of enforcing my request, and they were robbers, burglars, and the like, the appeal almost always worked. The problem was that no one had ever made it before.

The proper response to political correctness, then, is not unbridled insult, or vituperation that is supposedly equal and opposite to whatever it is that political correctness asserts. It is resort, incessant if necessary, to reason, which may employ irony and mockery but not crudity.

The last election in America was appalling because of the crudity of both sides. Mrs. Clinton let it be known that she, in effect, considered those who voted against her to be scum; while Mr. Trump flirted, inter alia, with the assassination of his opponent and a refusal to accept the results should he lose, to say nothing of the crude insults that he frequently employed instead of argument.

We need a propaganda war against self-expression:



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