The scourge of political correctness causes many kinds of damage, but the most ominous is that it intentionally greases a steep slippery slope. The effort to constrain private and public expression according to an endlessly versatile definition of “offensiveness” is a desirable weapon for political activists, grievance bullies, censorious and debate-challenged advocates, weenies, and busybodies. Once one specious argument for strangling another small sliver of free speech succeeds, usually after capitulation in the face of relentless vilification and hounding aided and abetted by the press, this ugly and anti-American faction of the progressive movement just moves on to another target. The process will never end, although it will get more oppressive, restrictive and absurd. That is, it will never end until a backlash and an outbreak of rationality stops it in its tracks.
The Patent Office’s politically motivated (and doomed) attack on the Washington Redskins was an example of political correctness at its worst, and sure enough, here comes another deluded censor with a related and even sillier grievance. Simon Waxman wrote a jaw-dropping op-ed for the Washington Post arguing that the military’s use of Native American names and works on its helicopters and weaponry is a “slur.” Why, you ask? Because the white man cheated and defeated the Indians using superior fire power, that’s why. Yeah, sure, we pretend to honor their bravery now, but that’s just to salve our guilty consciences. He blathers…
The message carried by the word Apache emblazoned on one of history’s great fighting machines is that the Americans overcame an opponent so powerful and true that we are proud to adopt its name. They tested our mettle, and we proved stronger, so don’t mess with us. In whatever measure it is tribute to the dead, it is in greater measure a boost to our national sense of superiority. And this message of superiority is shared not just with U.S. citizens but with those of the 14 nations whose governments buy the Apache helicopters we sell. It is shared, too, with those who hear the whir of an Apache overhead or find its guns trained on them. Noam Chomsky has clarified the moral stakes in provocative, instructive terms: “We might react differently if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes ‘Jew’ and ‘Gypsy.’ ”
See? I didn’t make this up. It sure is nice, though, to see old Noam is making as little sense as ever, and still has his gift for dishonest analogy. If the Luftwaffe named its aircraft “Jew,” it would be cause for rejoicing, since it would prove that the Nazis had finally lost all their marbles, and were drooling in a corner somewhere. The hypothetical has no similarity in any way to the current military recognizing the nation’s indigenous people who we fought over a century ago.
Wrote one of the many military veterans who were stunned by Waxman’s piece,
“Mr. Waxman does not understand Native American history and why all U.S. Army rotary-wing craft have Native American names. He seems to know nothing of the ageless warriors’ code of always holding your opponent as a worthy adversary no matter the outcome.”
Ah, but you see actual knowledge, much a less rational manner of interpreting it, is completely irrelevant to the political correctness movement. It matters not if normal, educated, fair people are offended by a name, for example, or have any historical or cultural reason for being so. What matters is that they are offended, say they are offended, or argue that someone else should be offended. Amanda Blackhorse, the Native American woman who brought the Redskins complaint to the Patent Office, lives on a reservation where Navajos root for the Red Mesa High School Redskins. The irony of this appears to escape her. Her comprehension of American sports traditions is also a bit muddled: she thinks that team mascots “are meant to be ridiculed,” “to be toyed with,” “to be pushed around and disrespected” and “have stuff thrown at them.”
Oh, well. It’s too bad that Amanda’s entire argument is based on her slovenly failure to know what the hell she’s talking about: it will still be enough to cost Dan Snyder millions of dollars as he fights in the courts or free speech and his right to call his team what he wants to. Amanda, Waxman and the others trying to take the words out of our mouths know how that game is played. Amanda’s and Maxman’s kind of nonsense-fueled hysteria is what wins it, and those who have real lives ultimately throw up their hands, and conclude that the battle isn’t worth it.
It is, however. Waxman lets us in on the secret with his final paragraph.”So, sure, rename the football team,” he says. “But don’t stop there.”
That’s what the political correctness fascists want, you see. They intend to censor speech and thought forever, until nobody is capable of opposing their view of the world, or everybody who does oppose them is terrified of saying so.