argument top image

Does political correctness harm society? Show more Show less
Back to question

Politically correct refers to the avoidance or censorship of words, actions, and policies that could offend disadvantaged groups. In modern discussions, the word is loaded, with commentators divided concerning its influence. Many people use this term disparagingly, and see it as a reflection of our culture's hypersensitivity. Others argue that political correctness reflects respect for diversity. Does political correctness disrupt honest public discourse, or show concern for the marginalized?

Yes, political correctness harms society Show more Show less

Our society's focus on political correctness cultivates social discord, not progress.
(1 of 2) Next position >

Political correctness stifles and goes against the principle of free speech

In a society that condemns political incorrectness, people cannot speak honestly without fear of being "canceled." This stifles free speech because people choose to stay silent rather than speaking their opinions.

The Argument

Our society's emphasis on political correctness stifles freedom of speech. In public discourse, individuals often condemn those who voice controversial opinions. If someone wishes to discredit another person's conflicting opinion, they simply claim that this viewpoint is guilty of political incorrectness. As a result, people are unable to share their opinions, because speaking their mind could hold grievous consequences. If a person even considers the validity of an unpopular opinion aloud, they risk being ostracized socially or "canceled." They choose to stay silent rather than risk this public condemnation, which also hinders any expression of new ideas. Political correctness has grown from a simple courtesy to a harmful form of censorship.[1] In this way, our society's requirement of politically correct language hinders freedom of speech. Legally, society's emphasis on political correctness goes against the First Amendment of the Constitution, which includes the right to free speech. In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled in Cohen v. California that it is constitutional to "use certain offensive words and phrases to convey political messages." While people may choose to be politically correct, pressuring others to be as well goes against the First Amendment and stifles free speech

Counter arguments

Political correctness does not hinder free speech. The people who use politically correct language are trying to "outcompete incorrect speech in a free and open exchange," not stifle opposing ideas.[2] Since freedom of speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment, people can still choose their language freely. However, other members of our society also have the right to freely voice their opinion of politically incorrect speech. The outrage over political correctness is simply another form of outrage over free speech; these people are upset that other people have the right to criticize their words.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] People fear being labeled politically incorrect and being "canceled." [P2] Because of this fear, people stop sharing their honest opinions.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Since the freedom of speech is guaranteed to everyone, people have the right to freely voice their opinion against politically incorrect speech. [Rejecting P2] Freedom of speech guarantees everyone the right to speak their mind. People have the right to be politically incorrect just as others have the right to speak out against being politically incorrect.

References

  1. https://www.thejustice.org/article/2019/11/cancel-culture-a-truly-toxic-phenomenon-in-modern-politics
  2. https://time.com/4405217/trump-political-correctness-obama/

Vote

Not sure yet? Read more ↑

Discuss

This page was last edited on Tuesday, 14 Jul 2020 at 11:14 UTC

Explore related arguments