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Freedom of Speech and the Offense of Political Correctness

Apr 27, 2024

Do you value freedom of speech? Do you think that political correctness has gone too far? Are you frustrated with the rhetoric of social justice warriors? Are you looking for ways to cut through all the PC confusion with clarity and truth? You are not alone.

[The video of this essay is at the bottom of the text.]

No one likes to be offended.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is actually not true, even though it’s a useful verse to teach children not to retaliate against insults with violence.

Words can indeed hurt and wound, and many young people today are quick to point out that they are offended in a large variety of ways, and fully expect profuse apologies from the offenders.

Those who find that they’ve given offense are often good-hearted people who have no desire to harm others, and thus they typically apologize. No one wants to be an “offensive” person, or a racist, bigot, sexist, homophobe, transphobe, Islamophobe, cultural appropriator, or any other possible category of “badness.”

Human beings have a deeply rooted sensitivity to the beauty and value of love, which is actually humanity’s great hope to finally leave violence behind and grow as a species to the point where a world of love is possible. It’s rare to find a person who would honestly say that their deepest desire every day is to harm others, including children, and most especially puppies. We have a sense of pride that we should at least appear to be good, and usually agree with the idea that it is good to be good.

Thus, very few people experience real, deep, lasting joy when they offend others.

This is why the current culture of political correctness is so powerful. Being called a racist, a bigot, a sexist, or a hater is deeply troubling, so many people do their best to avoid these accusations by self-censoring their words so that no one will be offended and accuse them of being a “phobe.”

Because of this sentiment, political correctness has created a culture of fear—a culture in which anyone at any time can turn on someone and label them as offensive and by extension, evil. Political correctness is partially fueled by Identity Politics—the division of human beings into groups defined by their assumed status as oppressors or the oppressed. Very little attention is paid to the character of individuals. Instead, victimology reigns supreme with individuals competing in an “Oppression Olympics” with circuitous pathways of “Intersectionality” that create ever more complex combinations of oppression that eventually brand everyone as an oppressor of someone else.

White males are labeled as the ultimate oppressors who offend everyone else by their mere existence. Putting aside for the moment the fact that large numbers of white males in history have been incredibly loving, principled, noble, and sacrificial human beings, what about a white male who is gay, or identifies as transracial Asian and trans female? (There are such cases.) Is he now oppressed? Has his whiteness and genetic maleness been forgiven by his self-identification? If so, why? Intersectional identity politics is an enormous pile of tangled spaghetti logic that collapses in on itself if one pulls at the strands.

Its twisted and confusing narrowness has created a politically correct culture of tyrants who roam the streets and hallways waiting to be offended, screaming that their hurt feelings have victimized them because of the purported offense of “the invalid other.” Their response is to verbally and sometimes physically assault their enemy offenders with a self-righteousness often fueled by a petulant rage that has forgotten all about the values of love and forgiveness, and most certainly pays no attention to the log in their own eye.

In this politically correct culture, offended accusers do not have to prove their allegations. In many cases, simply calling John Smith a racist, a hater, a sexist, a bigot, or a transphobe/homophobe is enough to end his career. There’s no due process and no defense accepted. The content of one’s character as an individual is irrelevant. This phenomenon hearkens back to the Salem Witch trials and the malevolent accusations of Mao’s Red Guard student movement in the 1960s.

If the Western culture of sacred individual liberty is to survive, the destructive culture of political correctness must be transformed from its current state of tyranny and hostility and replaced by a thoughtful, reasoned, kind, and respectful culture that promotes harmony and love between people. This can only be done by fostering deep listening between all human beings, and mutual respect between opposing sides.

A social justice warrior who earnestly corrects an “offensive” person may believe that he or she is promoting goodness and vanquishing hate. Yet, all too often SJWs scream with hatred at those with whom they disagree. Even when they don’t raise their voices, SJWs who pursue their conviction of political correctness don’t listen to the other person. They don’t respectfully ask deep questions with a desire to learn opposing opinions.

The culture of political correctness is shallow and one-sided. It allows no debate or discussion, and engenders contempt and hatred toward the ones accused of “hatred.” It is a snake that will eat its own children because it is based on the ever-changing “winds of offense.” Today’s hate-speech policeman will be tomorrow’s criminal.

But, a social justice warrior might wail, “Hate speech is bad! Saying hateful, bigoted, offensive things about Group X, Y, or Z is evil! We cannot allow such harmful things to be said! We must make laws against it to protect the innocent members of all marginalized groups!”

It is a seductive refrain because loving human beings don’t normally want to harm others. Thus, in the name of “love and peace and goodness,” opposing views are crushed, and violators are fined, jailed, and in many Islamic societies, killed. And of course, we must mention communist societies like North Korea, Cuba, and China as examples of political correctness fully grown.

The elephant in the room that social justice warriors ignore is that creating a tyrannical society of political correctness in which people can be fined, jailed, and killed will create a majority population of oppressed victims that will inevitably include members of the SJW class. Tyranny eats its own because it is merciless. Under tyranny, the finer sentiments of love, kindness, and compassion are no longer valued. Thus, in the name of social justice, with a passing reference to love that is soon forgotten, the hell of tyranny is created.

“Totalitarian” is defined as “exercising control over the freedom, will, or thought of others.” Those who support the culture of political correctness, whether they brand themselves as social justice warriors or not, must recognize that telling people what they can and cannot say is the first step toward tyranny. It is a major step, for when free speech is restricted or eliminated, the flow of truth stops.

Children are then raised with the State’s version of truth and grow up entirely ignorant of reality. Eventually, of course, they catch on and revolt, perhaps after many generations. But the cost in human suffering is enormous. The people of North Korea, Cuba, China, and most Islamic countries are in this dire situation right now.

The Founding Fathers of America understood the evils of tyranny and worked brilliantly to create a government with checks and balances, and magnificent freedoms that they expressed as gifts from a Divine source. The Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech was not meant to protect “nice” speech. It was established to protect everyone against the repression of opinions when those opinions were not popular. It allows citizens to insult and condemn their leaders without being locked up under the laws of “Lèse-majesté,” or “injured majesty.” Lèse-majesté is still in force in many countries around the world—but it has no power in the United States, which has given amazing freedom to all citizens, including members of the media and comedians to insult their leaders with impunity.

A comedian can even hold up a bloodied effigy of the severed head of a current president and not be charged with a crime. That is the free speech guarantee at work. There are not too many things more offensive than holding up a bloody model of someone’s severed head. One must ask how the media and supporters of political correctness would have responded to that severed head if they actually liked the man it represented. One can see then, that to safely guarantee free speech for all, it must be thoroughly and rigorously supported at all times by all people.

The United States was formed with unique guarantees of freedom that were so special that millions upon millions of immigrants swarmed to our shores to enjoy those freedoms. The United States is incredibly exceptional—not because its citizens are any more moral than others, but because of the ideas and principles of freedom that created our country. That is true American exceptionalism.

And yes, living in a free country like America has often engendered an attitude of life that creates exceptional people, of all races and religions. We have been a melting pot of diverse peoples from around the world who adopted a common creed of freedom and shared opportunity for all and thus we proudly became “Americans.” After only eighty-five years from the founding of our country in 1776, hundreds of thousands of Christian men, both white and black, bled and died together to correct the monstrous sin of slavery, a momentous and unprecedented sacrificial event in human history. Freedom in America was created and has matured on the foundation of self-sacrifice and a belief in the sacred rights of every individual, without exception.

In 1860, after an anti-slavery meeting in Boston was disrupted by men hired by slavers, Frederick Douglass, a former slave, delivered “A Plea for Free Speech in Boston.” His words could easily describe today’s PC culture:

Even here in Boston, and among the friends of freedom, we hear two voices: one denouncing the mob that broke up our meeting on Monday as a base and cowardly outrage; and another, deprecating and regretting the holding of such a meeting, by such men, at such a time. We are told that the meeting was ill-timed, and the parties to it unwise.1

He went on to say:

There can be no right of speech where any man, however lifted up, or however humble, however young, or however old, is overawed by force, and compelled to suppress his honest sentiments. Equally clear is the right to hear. To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.2

Thus, freedom of speech is the first line of defense against tyranny of every sort. Very specifically, this means that social justice warriors and supporters of political correctness must accept that all speech is free, including hateful speech, disagreeable speech, or insulting speech. Only a very narrow line of speech that directly incites violence can and should be opposed.

We must remember that good-hearted people don’t normally wish to offend others. Yet in spite of the risk that speech might offend others, all speech must be protected if liberty is to survive.

“Islamophobia” is a popular canard in the West these days. Canada, Britain, and Europe are passing laws that criminalize criticism of Islam while leaving criticism of Christianity, Judaism, and other religions open to unbridled condemnation without consequence. Who benefits from these laws?

If one examines life in Iran or Saudi Arabia or other strict Islamic Sharī‘ah countries, one can see that over a billion wonderful human beings around the world who just happen to be Muslim are unable to criticize Mohammed or Islamic doctrines without suffering severe and sometimes fatal consequences. Blasphemy laws that criminalize opposition to Islam benefit a tyrannical class that has no interest in granting freedom of speech and religion to their own Muslim populations who are the first and constant victims of their tyranny—most especially women.

Muslims cannot leave Islam upon pain of death. It is reasonable and logical to assume that vast numbers of Muslims would leave Islam if they felt that it was safe to do so. The Islamic religious and political culture that pushes men across the globe to riot, burn, and kill when someone in a faraway land draws a cartoon of Mohammed is a culture that has become a fully realized version of political correctness and tyranny.

Can you imagine the outcry in Western media if Christians were killed if they tried to leave Christianity? Can you imagine the disgust and contempt toward Christians if they rioted, burned, and killed people around the globe if someone created a piece of art that mocked Jesus? The media and people in general would scorch the Christian world with their criticisms—as well they should if Christians did those things. Which, of course, they do not. Christians can leave their faith at any time, and Jesus has been mocked endlessly by a large variety of people, in the most vile of ways. But Christians almost always turn the other cheek because they were taught to love their enemy instead of hating him.

Why then do so many Westerners in media, entertainment, politics, and academia refuse to speak out against the violence and oppression in the Islamic world, while still criticizing the West? Why the double standard?

Is it because of naivety and ignorance about Islam? This type of behavior reminds me of a scene in the movie The Poseidon Adventure, in which Gene Hackman’s character tries to get a second group to follow them—the right way—to safety. The second group stubbornly refuses, and of course, dies.

Or is it because they have so much hatred for Judeo-Christian values that they gladly join with Islamists in their jihad against Western civilization?

Or, do they keep silent about Islam because of fear—fear that angry Muslims will respond with violence, as has so often happened? For the West to be cowed by fear of Islam is a terrible situation to be in, that needs review and a solution. To find answers to these questions, one must look at things with common sense, courage, open eyes, objectivity, and most of all, honesty.

Do we really want to yield to the tyranny of Islamic Sharī‘ah law in the West? Unfortunately, too many people are saying yes. It is short-sighted and may become a matter of great regret, most especially to their children who will inherit the results of their policies.

The historian Arnold J. Toynbee stated, “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”3 Western liberals who support political correctness are leading people into an abyss that will swallow all of us unless we vigorously oppose the Offense and Tyranny of Political Correctness.

That means that when someone spews forth a stream of invective, laced with the standard descriptors of phobes, haters, and bigots, etc, we must courageously push back against it, with bold speech supported by an underlying desire to eventually create harmony between all sides—a harmony centered on love and respect, but most of all a harmony centered upon an unbreakable commitment to sacred, individual liberty.

That freedom applies to all men and women of every race. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not preach hatred toward whites or blacks or any other race, but instead timelessly affirmed that the value of every human being was based on their individual spirit and character. In Dr. King’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he stated:

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.4

May Dr. King’s dream at long last come true.


You can view the video on Rumble:

or here:

Image Credit:

Photo of “A scene from the Red Detachment of Women”
(1972 production), White House photo by Byron Schumaker
Public Domain


1. Frederick Douglass, “A Plea for Free Speech in Boston,” December 9, 1860, Boston’s Music Hall

2. Ibid.

3. Arnold J. Toynbee, referenced in “Arnold J. Toynbee,” New World Encyclopedia.

4. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Martin Luther King Jr. Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, 10 December 1964.


Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to one of his favorite mottos: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

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Peter Falkenberg Brown
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