When Does Political Correctness Become Orwellian?

Limiting speech doesn't change the nature of hate, says Josh Lieb. Thoughts can be hateful and stupid—but should they be criminal?\r\n

Josh Lieb is an absolutist when it comes to freedom of speech. As a comedy writer and producer on late night programs like The Daily Show and The Tonight Show, he knows that the freedom to essentially roast leading political figures is vital to true democracy. Jokes made in bad taste may worry you, but you should be absolutely petrified if you’re not hearing jokes and satire at all. It’s the same for hate speech, says Lieb: limiting expression has never changed the nature of hate, it only leads to an Orwellian path—and it’s during these exact moments in history, when the political divisions are so high, that thought criminalization and oppressive control find their way in. Josh Lieb is the author of I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President and Ratscalibur.

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Is political correctness a solution — or a desperate cover-up?

No offense, says Slavoj Žižek, but maybe we need to incorporate some "gently racist" icebreakers into our conversations.

Philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek has a bone to pick with the PC movement. While he doesn’t buy into the right-wing paranoid view that the politically correct among us are "evil people who want to destroy the American way of life," he does think they’re doing some damage. Žižek questions whether censoring our expression really addresses racial tension – or does it merely give birth to a politer form of racism (or sexism, or religious and political differences)? Tolerance has started to work against its own agenda, becoming a patronizing insult to those who think differently to you, a way of brushing off and compartmentalizing differences rather than listening and connecting. Žižek recommends we add a tasteful dose of obscenity and humor to our interactions with each other in order to make them more genuine. Covering up racism with nicer words doesn’t eradicate it, but laughing at each other’s differences – in the right way – can unite a world of "others". Slavoj Žižek's most recent book is Refugees, Terror and Other Troubles with the Neighbors: Against the Double Blackmail

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It’s Hard to Stay Racist One-On-One, Face-to-Face

Daryl Davis has made a point of meeting Ku Klux Klan members and 200 members have quit the racist organization after getting to know him.

Image source: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem/Wikimedia
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Culture & Religion

How LBJ Foresaw the Election of Donald Trump

As the US prepares for a change in power, Professor Sanford Levinson says dialogue that was formerly bound to people's inner monologue has been "liberated" into the public space.

2nd December 1963: American President Lyndon Baines Johnson addresses the nation on his first thanksgiving day television programme, broadcast from the executive offices of the White House. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

In the 1964 presidential election Barry Goldwater received only 6 percent of the African American vote, down 26 points from fellow Republican Richard Nixon’s failed run four years earlier. Among other critics, Martin Luther King Jr. said that while Goldwater was not necessarily bigoted, his philosophy “gives aid and comfort to the racists.”

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Culture & Religion

South Africa Proposes Law to Criminalize Its Most Racist Slur

Can you legislate for good human behavior, or does proposing laws to imprison those who use racial slurs distract from actual progress?

(Photo: RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

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Politics & Current Affairs