It's now official: The truth shall no longer set you free. In our new era of political correctness, the truth is more liable to get you penalized, demonized, or fired. Last week, a female juror in a high-profile American mafia murder trial found this out the hard way.
When asked on a court questionnaire, "Name three people you least admire," this potential juror answered, "African-Americans, Hispanics, and Haitians." Her answer enraged a federal court judge in New York, who promptly sentenced her to indefinite jury duty, for her "racist" answer. This woman was penalized for being truthful.
Under the guise of being sensitive to "feelings," political correctness has succeeded in effectively censoring any uncomfortable "truths" that do not comport with liberal orthodoxy.
Censoring inconvenient truths is not a new phenomenon. Starting in 1994, AEI fellow Charles Murray and fellow author Richard Herrnstein came under fire for their best-selling book The Bell Curve, in which they wrote about differences in race and intelligence and discussed implications of that difference.
Murray's whole body of scholarly work was roundly denounced for daring to point out that the general IQ of African Americans was lower than those of white Americans. Of course, no one objected to the fact that their research also found that the general IQ of Asian Americans was many points higher than white Americans.
Murray and Hernstein found, to their dismay, that their fact-based research challenged the leftist notion of "equality." Both authors were demonized as racists for daring to point out that differences do indeed exist among differing races. They weren't supposed to say that, much less prove it scientifically.
Harvard's former president, Lawrence Summers, also found out that voicing politically incorrect truths can exact severe consequences. In a 2005 speech, Summers dared to suggest that the under-representation of women in science and engineering could be due to a "different availability of aptitude at the high end," and less to patterns of discrimination and socialization. Feminists took umbrage at the suggestion that the under-representation of females in the scientific community might be due to anything other than male oppression.
Summers was forced to resign. And to soothe the hysterical feminists who objected to his politically-incorrect yet fact based opinion, Harvard vested $50 million bucks in Harvard's feminist studies program. Overlooked, or deliberately ignored, in this delicious fracas was the fact that Summers statement was a valid opinion. But he wasn't supposed to say it.
Political correctness is an approved form of censorship. Based on emotional appeals at the expense of reason, political correctness mandates that inconvenient truths or facts be swept under the carpet. Or else.
Free speech, guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment, is on its way to becoming moot. The political, media, and intellectual elites who control the terms of national debate and the rules of civil society have succeeded in censoring opposing views, limiting debate, and demonizing dissent. Perception is on its way to becoming our new reality.
The lady juror who answered truthfully to her court questionnaire is merely the latest example. Though many may express horror at her forthrightness, and are quick to label her a racist, she, like all of us, forms her opinions through an accumulation of her life experiences. She, through either ignorance or courage, dared to be truthful. She hasn't yet learned that in today's America, there are more and more things that are just not allowed to be said.
Her case is important, because for the first time, the unwritten and ever changing rules of political correctness have taken on the force of law. She is being forced to perform indefinite jury duty, supposedly until she starts thinking the right way. Does this sound familiar?
No one wants to be thought of as stupid or, in liberal parlance, "un-enlightened." No one wants to be publicly labeled a homophobe or a racist. Under this threat, more and more Americans are comfortable adopting the assumption that if everyone thinks it is so, then it must be so. They are willing to suspend their very own, inexpert but common sense opinions in favor of a widely held perception. A perception based on expert media and political manipulation as opposed to factual conclusions.
Truth, common sense and reality are now routinely suspended. It is OK to publicly revere one's vagina but acknowledging racial realities is verboten. Dangling a cross in a jar of urine is considered daring -- but mentioning God as our Savior means you're a fringe kook.
Daring to suggest that most AIDS sufferers share responsibility for their disease means you are mean spirited and lacking compassion. (Advocating the expenditure of other people's money is the new "compassion.") And blaming the poor for the life choices they made that contributed to their poverty is considered beyond the pale.
Censorship of uncomfortable truths or opinions is the goal of the PC police. Acquiescing to these arbitrary rules enables and validates them. And though it is politically incorrect to say, I personally believe that those who are politically correct are weak people -- sheep who are either unable or unwilling to form their own opinions. Intellectually lazy sycophants who have so little confidence in themselves that they are willing to let others define them and determine their actions and opinions. Useful idiots, all. Can I say that?