Comment of the Day auteur Glenn Logan (one of many at EA) has helpful thoughts about the intertwined issue of speech control/ racial epithets/ intent and political correctness. I’m behind on COTDs again, but jumped Glenn’s ahead in line because the blog has been active on related topics today.
Here is Glenn Logan’s Comment of the Day on Bret Stephens’ discarded op-ed and the post, “Ethical Quote Of The Month: Bret Stephens’ Critical Column About New York Times Cowardice And Hypocrisy That The Times Tried To Censor’:
This is an excellent inquiry into the current state of political culture. The left has discovered one of the things it has historically eschewed — the concept of strict liability, and the power it brings them to redefine the English language in America, and by extension, the political environment. For years, liberals have found crimes which didn’t consider intent offensive, and for good reason. Alas, it seems that is no longer the case.
At the risk of being pedantic, strict liability — for those who may not be aware — is a type of crime or regulatory violation where intent does not matter. The quintessential strict liability crime example is statutory rape, where violation of the statute requires no general or specific intent. Regardless of whether the violator knew, had reason to know, or intended to have sexual relations with a minor person, the fact he/she/xe/them did is all that matters.The word “nigger” has now become, in the world of the Left, a strict liability offense when uttered in any form and for any reason. More and more, this is also becoming true of descriptive constructions like “n-word, ” “n*****,” “n—–,” or “n_____.”
The recent incident with the Times shows just how successful this effort has become, and is sure to become a model for other words considered to be offensive at some fundamental level. There is no reason to believe the proponents of this new morality will be circumspect in this expansion, either.Using the power of the mob, the Left has found that they can circumvent the First Amendment by ginning up social outrage and placing pressure on companies to do what the law cannot — punish speech.