There’s a meme running around the Internet right now mocking “political correctness,” comparing twenty-year-olds who fought in WWII to the twenty-year-olds on college campuses who want safe spaces from nasty old words.
A friend reposted an Internet bumpersticker to this effect that linked to a site where self-described conservatives gather to trash-talk the educated elites and other “libtards.” It’s the first time I’ve actually been to one of those places, and the comments — which contained some of the vilest language expressing the most sewer-worthy mental processes I’ve ever read — made me think. I wanted to respond to one of them, in particular, with something like the following:
Yes, things have certainly gone downhill a long way since 1945. In those days, conservatives were polite, well-spoken, and if they didn’t go to college, they went out and got jobs and did something productive with their lives, rather than hanging around in a public place showing off their dirty mouths. Had they made such a public nuisance of themselves, a police officer would have picked up the ringleader and taken him home to his father, who would have listened politely to the officer, then given his son an indelible lesson in civic pride. Had that failed to have the intended effect, the boy would have found himself in military school, in the hopes that a good master-sergeant could make a man and citizen out of him. Conservatism was, if nothing else, always polite. That is clearly no longer the nature of conservatism.
Or at least, the self-described “conservatism” that lives in these Internet ratholes, or on “conservative talk radio,” or in political campaigns like Donald Trump’s or Carly Fiorina’s, where “political correctness” is a code-word for “civility,” and is entirely absent.
You know, at least slavery was a real issue. I mean, if you’re going to tear apart civil society, set brother against brother in mortal combat, slavery is something worth fighting over. Insofar as any war is worth fighting.
But it seems we are now coming to a national crisis over the right to be foul-mouthed boors. The right to prance around in convenience stores decked out like Rambo-without-a-cause. The right to believe, and legislate upon, the idea that prayer to God to bring down gas prices is a sound national energy policy.
That is not conservatism. That is insanity.