“If we don’t stand for the free speech of our enemies, we don’t deserve that right ourselves.” -Bacon
It’s funny, that as I’m writing this, there’s a controversy over Stephen Colbert making comments about the current President Donald Trump, whose mouth only serves a purpose being “Vladimir Putin’s cock holster”. I don’t like Colbert, I stand against his beliefs, but tonight I stood for what he said and against the #firecolbert hashtag being used against him, mainly for the following reasons:
“Last night, You made a mean comment about X.”
” You’re speaking the truth, but it’s not nice so I won’t listen to it.”
“If you could just find a way to make your argument nicer, I’d listen to it.”
“There’s a time and a place for everything, you know.”
Ever hear comments like this? I have, the ones you read above this are damn near verbatim. And I have to admit, it’s maddening to run across this kind of resistance, that someone may recognize that what you’re saying may have at least some truth in it that they’re willing to admit, but they simply cannot process it because there are “mean words” in it.
This topic has a few labels. “Politically Correct”. “Appropriate language”. “Family/Children/Women friendly”, or more accurately, “Censorship”.. They all, in effect, mean the same thing, in that certain words, or phrasing of them, may be offensive to the recipient and therefore the entire statement containing the “offensive” words may be dismissed without any analysis or critical though on it’s content, whether or not it may benefit the person rejecting it. And to this, I have a very important, yet very succinct, response to this kind of thinking:
“Fuck You. Grow Up.”
Did that make you feel angry, shocked, dare I say, “Triggered”? You don’t have a choice in reality. Please, allow me to explain:
Do you remember when you were a child? No, if you’re a adult socialist, I don’t mean right now, I mean when you were in the single digits of chronological age. I would imagine, at that age, you had many stories told to you by your own parents, let alone your teachers and other caretakers, explaining the world about you, particularly the parts that are considered not good for your little child ears. Your mom didn’t tell you that you were conceived when she was boned within an inch of her life by the local tattooed 14″ personality in the back seat of her Honda Civic; you were brought into her loving arms by a delivery stork. Your Christmas presents weren’t paid for by working double and triple shifts for an entire month and paid for with holiday bonuses; Santa Claus brought them down the trash chute, because you didn’t have a chimney. You didn’t get second hand clothes and shitty food because that’s what your local church was able to afford to give away to you; that’s “what the Lord would provide”. The Tooth Fairy gave you a dollar for your tooth, The Easter Bunny laid plastic eggs containing not little bunnies, but candy, money, and the occasional mini bottle of Jack Daniels, you get the idea.
And so when you were growing up, you had all of these little white lies being fed to you because, while your mind was developing, some ideas or facts or situations were considered too advanced for it to comprehend. therefore it’s considered appropriate for you to be fed a different story so you wouldn’t be freaked out by the reality of the situation you’re witnessing, next to people that seek to shield you from it. And while that’s a kind act in the short run, in the long run that means you, the person being shielded, doesn’t learn to deal with the harsh reality, doesn’t gain the mental armor to deflect the negative feelings and outright physical attacks, and doesn’t get the experience and mental muscle of being on the side that doesn’t have the majority that is ideally against them.
Over time, that tends to dissipate. As the child gets older and more mature, they’re told more about the truth about the world, if for no other reason than they’re learning to think for themselves and lying to them as they’re getting physically bigger and stronger pays off much less. And it’s really the degree to which children are shown reality and taught to deal with it that they are able to “grow up” and live on their own and support themselves, let alone deal with opposing opinions, ideas and belief systems. It is here, as they transition into adults, that they can, or should, be able to handle different language others use that may not be “appropriate ” to use against a mind that is not as mature, such as a child (or your average college student at Berkeley) who doesn’t have the experience or expertise to deal with that kind of information.
Adults grow beyond the language being used and learn to analyze it’s content; today, people are growing up far slower, if at all. And it’s not by accident. It’s no accident that you’re told which words, and how you say them, is labeled “inappropriate”, “hateful”, “mean” or “inciteful”. It’s no accident that certain concepts or topics are considered “taboo”, “blasphemous”, “insulting” or “discriminatory”. Language is used not only to convey ideas and concepts, but to describe things in reality; when you limit the language, you limit the exposure to what it can say about said concepts and reality, not the concepts and reality themselves. If you see a bear coming towards your camp, banning the word “GRIZZLY” doesn’t make it go away, but does make it more likely for you to end up as it’s dinner. Scarily enough, a growing majority of people today believe the equivalent of banning the word describing the bear makes the bear go away, that language IS reality, rather than that which conveys it. And to focus your mind on the censorship of language is to blunt it’s ability to process and deal with reality.
Does that sound like someone you know? Maybe you’ve censored something I or another person said not because it wasn’t true, but because it made you uncomfortable, or it seemed inappropriate. Most people do this with good intentions, but all it does is lower your defenses, making you weaker. My question is this: who does it benefit? Who benefits from you telling others “that’s not nice to say” over many years, blunting their ability to even understand the concept., condemning them to the mental equivalent of eating donuts on the couch for years rather than hitting the gym? Who benefits from a society censoring itself along certain subjects, instead regulating itself to other, “safer” subjects that are considered “appropriate”? Who benefits from you never “growing up”? Understand: the family and friends and colleagues that censor you are merely a symptom of the ones that plant the seed in the first place, ensuring you are forever suppressed and unable to exercise your own thoughts and critical thinking skills.
Who benefits from you mentalling disarming not only yourself, but your loved ones?