What Price Sensitivity?


By: Doug Hagin

What price are we to place upon sensitivity? How much will, we, as a nation that values liberty, sacrifice for the sake of sensitivity? Is giving up a slice, perhaps a large slice of our freedom of speech worth it if we transform America into a more sensitive country? We had all better weigh these questions now, because right now, sensitivity, and those who proclaim to be interested in the cause of sensitivity, are trying to sacrifice our history, and our cherished freedom of speech and of thought, upon the altar of sensitivity! Are we truly prepared to pay that price?

Consider some recent examples from the news, and see if you can spot a trend. The state of Virginia officially apologizes for slavery.

New York City issues a ban on saying the dreaded “N” word.

The Museum of the Confederacy announces it might drop the word Confederacy from its name to distance itself from the negative stigma of that word.

A Democratic legislator in Florida announces she wants to ban the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant”.

Ann Coulter calls Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a “faggot”.

Now what do these events have to do with each other and eroding our liberty? Well, all of them place sensitivity over substance. All of them also seek to either erase history, or erase words from our nation because they are, or are deemed insensitive. I ask again, what price sensitivity?

Let us take a peek at the first example cited. Virginia’s legislature apologizes for slavery. For some it might seem reasonable for a state, which allowed slavery once to offer its regrets. Consider, however, that slavery has not existed in Virginia for 142 years now. Anyone who owned a slave, sold a slave, or was a slave is long gone. Now we all agree slavery was wrong, was a national disgrace, and was abhorrent! No one would argue anything different. However, ask yourself this question. What good is served by issuing an apology 142 years AFTER the wrong was committed? Does it really help any descendant of slaves? The answer, of course is it does not help at all. It is emotionalism, nothing more.

What of the second example, New York City decides to serve some greater good by banning a word, albeit a divisive, hurtful word. Again, this action serves no real purpose. No, this only does nothing except violate freedom of speech. Yes, we Americans DO have a right to speak freely, even if we say hurtful, stupid things. If we ban that word, what other “insensitive” words might follow? Is it the Constitutional role of government to censor our speech? Think about it. Which is a better country? A nation that censors its citizens in some search for sensitivity? Alternatively, a nation that embraces freedom, even if some people get their feelings hurt. For me I choose liberty!

Consider the third example. The Museum of the Confederacy, a great treasure of history and heritage, might seek sensitivity over substance. Why, to appease a few overly sensitive types who think they ought never to hear a word that offends them? Is this great museum actually considering erasing the word Confederacy? The history of the Confederacy is in that museum. If the word Confederacy is so offensive, then surely the contents of the museum are as offensive as that word aren’t they. Should the museum remove its artifacts as well? After all, preserved there are many Confederate Battle flags. Confederate uniforms, paintings, history, etc. are also there. Again, how far will we go in the crusade for sensitivity?

The fourth example, that of a Florida Democrat trying to ban the use of the term illegal immigrant, further shows how far the left will go to Liberalize our nation. Again, we are talking here about the government banning words. That is censorship and nothing more. That is un-American and nothing more. Americans have fought, bled, and died for our right to speak. Are we now to spit on their sacred graves in the interest of sensitivity? Is that the proper course for America? Again, we must ask ourselves what other words we will allow government to bar us from speaking or writing.

Now for my final example: Ann Coulter made a childish remark, embarrassing herself in front of her fellow Conservatives. The word she slung at John Edwards is a slur. There are many things to be criticized about John Edwards and his ideology. Coulter chose not to attack him on those ideals, but chose rather to attack him like some angry 12-year-old might. That is on her, she chose to flap her gums, let her take the grief over it.

The word Coulter used, faggot, however, is being censored out of tapes of the video of Coulter’s speech. Talk show hosts are perplexed over whether or not they can use the word on their shows. Why, it is a word, nothing more. Again, are we to allow sensitivity to hold sway here? Why is it desirable to censor out that word? Everyone KNOWS what she said by now. Perhaps we ought to erase that word from our language as Well. Why not allow government ban its use too. I mean, as long as we are being more sensitive, let us really go for it!

I am sure we could all agree on a long list of words and phrases that hurt our feelings. So why not ban them all, of course, after we are done sanitizing our language, we would not likely have many words left to say. What then? We would be more ignorant, less free, and more like pre-programmed robots, speaking only in prepared, scripted utterances. However, that would be OK, because no one would be offended!

What price sensitivity indeed!

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