The Prophetic Speech of George H.W. Bush on Political Correctness

in freespeech •  13 days ago

offended.jpg

During his commencement speech at the University of Michigan (4 May 1991), George H.W. Bush talked about political correctness and the dangers it posed to free speech. At that time, the Internet was barely known, social media didn't exist, ideas weren't easily propagated across the globe with the click of a mouse. So, for people living at the dawn of the 90's, Bush's speech didn't have a broad reach and perhaps may have seemed unimportant or not very relevant for those who heard it. Moreover, the world was busy with the aftermath of the first Iraq war, so the speech went unnoticed.

Fast forward to 2019, that speech is like an open book of revelations. It prophetically described the intolerance that has plagued campuses and free speech, all in the name of political correctness and the fear of offending someone, somewhere, with a trivial word or gesture. Millennials were brewing in 1991, became a twisted generation today. From the USA, to Canada, to France, to the UK, to Australia, etc... Many have become brainwashed by intolerant ideologies, where any external idea or questioning of the ideology threatens their "safe space" and must be suppressed with violence. Their feelings must be respected above logic and rational thinking. Comply or be assaulted.

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A recent example is the case of Hayden Williams, who was hatefully assaulted at Berkeley by a Leftist, because he's a conservative (https://eu.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/03/06/berkeley-conservative-students-campus-college-bias-punch-column/3065895002/)

What's more dangerous is governments worldwide implementing laws that are gradually prohibiting free speech, to protect snowflakes from being offended. People who don't submit to these laws get jailed. The thought crime police from Orwell's "1984" is finally here. It's sickening how extreme the world has become. Liberal and democratic nations/people who lectured others about free speech, have themselves become intolerant, oppressive and authoritarian. In this era of social media, it has become easier to spread bad ideologies and brainwashing. Hollywood, Facebook and Twitter are examples of fertile grounds for censorship, double standards and propaganda.


https://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2017/02/the-politically-correct-version-of.html


I think Bush's speech is important to reflect upon to draw parallels to our current culture. We need to do our best to protect free speech. If we don't, the next generation would be an army of brainless zombies thriving on ignorance and hate.

You can watch the Bush speech at https://www.c-span.org/video/?17825-1/university-michigan-commencement-speech, the part about political correctness starts at 3:24. Here's the transcript:

Ironically, on the 200th anniversary of our Bill of Rights, we find free speech under assault throughout the United States, including on some college campuses. The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land, and although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones. It declares certain topics off limits, certain expression off limits, even certain gestures off limits. What began as a crusade for civility has soured into a cause of conflict and even censorship.

Disputants treat sheer force, getting their foes punished or expelled for instance, as a substitute for the power of ideas. Throughout history, attempts to micro-manage casual conversation have only incited distrust. They've invited people to look for an insult in every word, gesture, action, and in their own Orwellian way, crusades that demand correct behavior crush diversity in the name of diversity. We all should be alarmed at the rise of intolerance in our land and by the growing tendency to use intimidation rather than reason in settling disputes.

Neighbors who disagree no longer settle matters over a cup of coffee. They hire lawyers, and they go to court. And political extremists roam the land abusing the privilege of free speech setting citizens against one another on the basis of their class or race. But, you see, such bullying is outrageous. It's not worthy of a great nation grounded in the values of tolerance and respect. And so let us fight back against the boring politics of division and derision. Let's trust our friends and colleagues to respond to reason.

As Americans, we must use our persuasive powers to conquer bigotry once and for all, and we must, and I remind myself a lot of this, we must conquer the temptation to assign bad motives to people who disagree with us. If we hope to make full use of the optimism I discussed earlier, men and women must feel free to speak their hearts and minds. We must build a society in which people can join in common cause without having to surrender their identities.

You can lead the way. Share your thoughts and your experiences and your hopes and your frustrations. Defend others' rights to speak. And, if harmony be our goal, let's pursue harmony, not inquisition.


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It all got out of hand with hate speech laws.

I understand laws like libel, fraud, and slander because trying to cause chaos or deception can have serious consequences. Someone isn't expressing their opinion if they are lying and they should be responsible.

Anti-hate speech, or worse political corectness, is protecting people's feelings and opions. Terrible and hurtful opinions may be ignorant, but we should teach people how to think better though education and debate or just ignore their stupidity and move on.

If you aren't on my witness list already, you are next time I adjust. I only want to support witnesses who are up for open discussions.

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It's beyond ridiculous and it is only creating mental and emotional weakness.

I've happily taken on a fair bit of social sanctions myself for choosing to speak against PC, pro-social justice, identity-politics-driven jargon in my past workplaces. Because even though it would sometimes be costly to express my disputes (and yes, it would be nothing more than that, letting others know that I do not think silencing speech in order to protect feelings is a good idea) I always came away feeling it was better to let those who seem to believe that it is worth sacrificing anything at the altar of social justice (in their eyes) know that there were people in their workplace who they respected that disagreed.

Not to mention that the time one stops engaging in conversations, merely because it triggers emotions and discomfort, is the very moment personal development ends.

Hitchens quote_silence in the grave.jpg

This is why I spend as little time as possible on Twitter and Reddit. On Twitter they're obviously extremely biased against anything that goes against their way of thinking. On Reddit, you've got some easily offended mods in popular subreddits who just love to shut down any sort of discussion that doesn't align with their views.

If you've seen the Joe Rogan podcast with Jack Dorsey, Vijaya Gadde & Tim Pool, you've noticed that some people get a pass, purely because their beliefs are in line with what Twitter deems 'acceptable'. While conservative voices are silenced.

I'm not conservative in any way, but I don't throw a temper tantrum when someone with opposing views wants to speak. Just bring better arguments to the table instead of trying to silence people for sharing their opinion.

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Indeed, I'm aware of the Rogan/Dorsey/Jones saga. I stay away from all social media, with the exception of Steemit of course.

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I stay away from all social media, with the exception of Steemit of course.

Probably a wise decision. You're not missing out on anything. I just use Twitter for sharing my own Steemit posts here and there, I tend to stay away from the drama.

Anyway, it's nice to see some interesting opinions here on Steemit.

I’m late to the party on this one, but your first photo drew me in. I couldn’t agree more, the push for tolerance has become a sick display of hypocrisy at its finest.. I guess we should work on trying to offend people more.

Great and thought provoking post, thanks. I’ll be following so I don’t miss the next one.

That is a great reminder, I have not heard about the G.H.B. Bushes in 90's because may be I was just 19 y.o. and actually it was the time for preparation to my entry exams, my "bibles" were my study books. That time we never thought about freedom of speech as we accepted it as something that automatically there. It is a truth nowadays that is slowly becoming an issue, luckily we do not see it so much in Scotland or Germany where I live and where I am from. But I can imagine and fully agree with you. Thank you for that information source and for drawing our attention to that topic, Cheers...

I am surprised I haven't read some of your stuff before, love it! @truthforce writing

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It is my opinion that this kind of negativity has no place on Steem and I can not support a witness who promotes it. You may express yourself as you see fit, but I choose not to associate myself with it. I will not flag this, as it is your right to say it, but I choose to remove my witness vote and unfollow you. Everyone here seems to support free speech; I wondering if I will get downvoted for exercising mine. Good luck moving forward.

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And where is that negativity you speak of? Why would you even consider flagging a post about free speech? Nobody will downvote you for expressing your thoughts, but some justification would have been nice. That's the problem these days, people react without arguing why they reacted in a certain way.

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"And where is that negativity you speak of?"
Does this sound negative and insulting: "an army of brainless zombies thriving on ignorance and hate"?

"Why would you even consider flagging a post about free speech"
I never considered flagging. I even explained why flagging wouldn't be appropriate here. I don't know how you got that idea.

"Nobody will downvote you for expressing your thoughts"
I had been targeted by mass flags before when defending people on this platform from attacks, so it isn't uncommon. I was expressing honest interest to see if people who support free speech would do the same. As you say, people these days react emotionally sometimes.

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an army of brainless zombies thriving on ignorance and hate

It may sound negative indeed, but not insulting, because the world is getting filled with people like that. I specifically crafted that sentence because a great portion of people (millennials in particular) is addicted to smartphones and social media; numerous studies have shown this is bad for mental and cognitive development, especially in children. So yes, a future generation brainless zombies is where the world is heading. Also, ignorance and hate result from the lack of judgment and education, linked to the latter argument I gave you.

If you didn't like my sentence, that's OK, but for me, I think I have reached my point with this post which may not be politically correct to some.

imma just leave this right here..... ;)

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