During the past few months, America has witnessed firsthand the corrosive and debilitating effects of political correctness. First, Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on a United States military base and killed 13 Americans, despite red flags that were practically screaming out to officials who should have been wise to his behavior and either taken direct action or, at the very least, passed on knowledge of what seemed to be Hasan’s questionable contacts to intelligence authorities who may have acted more decisively. Then, on Christmas day, a young Nigerian man with documented contacts to Al-Queda and a father who alerted American intelligence authorities to the possibility of his son’s extremist political views was somehow, inexplicably, allowed onto an international flight bound for the United States, despite having purchased a one-way ticket with cash and having no luggage for the trip.
Nothing odd there. Continue on to Gate 3A, please.
And now we’re having a debate about profiling for airport security?
When did we as a people overdose on stupidity pills?
I obviously can’t speak for anyone else, but to me this is at least somewhat akin to the now-muffled debate about the PATRIOT Act. As a conservative–or any American citizen, I suppose–I realize that I should be aghast at the mere thought of our government listening in on our private conversations; indeed it’s a slippery slope and, in a normal world, I’d be dead-set against it. We are not, however, living in normal times. My way of thinking on issues such as this is that there are times when the seeming perfection of our Constitution needs to be tempered with a dose of common sense. Personally, I know that I have nothing to hide. If the government deems that trying to ferret out terrorist threats in our own country can be more expeditiously accomplished by listening into a few of my phone calls, then have at it. I went cold turkey on the 1-900 gig a long time ago.
Likewise, while I clearly do not fit the profile of a terrorist bomber–well, maybe Janet Napolitano might see me in that light–I’ll be more than happy to step to the side to be patted down and have my bags searched, if it means that the flight will be that much safer. If my family is protected, I’m all for the inconvenience.
Benjamin Franklin may have put it best when he said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” We as a people are now living in this murky, gray world of moral ambiguity when it comes to these issues, and I’m afraid that it’s here to stay. Better to deal with the problem with common sense than to pretend it doesn’t exist.
This has all led me to thinking about how this notion of “tolerance” and “political correctness” initially took root in our culture. I’m not going to stand here and pontificate as an expert, but there are some basics at the foundation of this quagmire. As with many of the social issues in this country, the late-1950s through the 1960s seems to be the vortex in which things started to go south. The fashionable cultural mores of Dr. Spock and then the behavior of the Woodstock generation began to take our country down a precipitous path that, with each passing decade, was leading us more and more closely to identifying with and defending the rights of young people rather than those of responsible adults who had learned right from wrong from their parents and had entered the workforce in a productive fashion. Couple this with the idea that most of the so-called “flower children” of the late 1960’s were young people who, because of their staggered demographics, their roots in fairly wealthy upbringings because of their family’s post-WWII financial success, and their rebellion against the discipline and family values that their parents most likely attempted to instill in them, likely had reached a point in their lives in which they were now being forced to confront the unsettling: a world in which there would be no one to take care of their every need. They now had to take responsibility for themselves, and they didn’t like it. Not one bit.
So, rather than face this adversity, they decided to extend childhood for as long as they possibly could. Some would say that we now have people in their late fifties to early sixties who still live life as though they’re 18 years old. I’d bet you can find quite a few of them who are big proponents of the entitlement society.
This mindset of running away from problems and handing it to someone else–either in the sense of responsibility or blame–has now evolved in this country, to the point at which one practically cannot speak for fear of offending someone’s sensibilities, and most certainly can never tell anyone (especially a young person) when he or she has done something wrong. That’s now simply inhumane. This is exactly what the social progressives want — moral relativism.
As I always tell my students during class discussions, I firmly believe that every human being–every single one–at his or her core absolutely knows the most basic difference between right and wrong. No one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Call it our “divine spark,” call it what you will — I firmly believe that everyone possesses it. Certainly there are times when we must take into consideration the cultural or parental upbringing of a person, but in the larger picture this does not affect what a person knows at his core. We might even call it “common sense.”
If in fact this is true, why are so many people hell-bent on continuing on such a self-destructive course? I’m positive that if one of these lunatics experienced something as unfortunate as losing a family member to a terrorist attack, he or she would not be standing before a television camera claiming that yes, her sister was brutally murdered by cowards, but at least the Constitution is safe.
Please. Spare me.
Refusal to engage in profiling, in addition to all other politically-correct issues, is the result of this inescapable fact: a significant portion of our people would now no doubt define “freedom” as the “absence of conflict” rather than actual, God-given freedom. Most mentally-balanced people are fully aware that taking responsibility to resolve conflicts, instead of trying to make them disappear, is the building block of personal maturity, responsibility and, by natural extension, personal freedom in the civil society.
How are young people supposed to learn to be strong and to produce in a given society, if not by facing the adversities that real life hands to all of us? I, for one, enjoy resolving my own problems. I depend on no one to come to my rescue, except me. Further, common sense seems to do the trick each and every time. Funny how that all works out.
Concern for the less fortunate or, in other cases, for those people who are members of an historically-oppressed race of people, is yet another manifestation of the statist’s drive to remove any and all conflict from human life. There are those people who, in one way or another, need our help and charity; since that problem will never go away and is a sore at the back of every liberal’s mind, better to shunt that responsibility as well right up to the government — make it all go away, so we can all go back outside and play. Conservative columnist Ann Coulter is exactly correct when she says that after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Muslims went straight to the top of the list of those protected by political correctness. Since all Muslims were now liable to be looked upon in a questionable light, any and all methods to protect them were now on the table; hence a free pass through airport terminals, no questions asked. To do otherwise would be a flagrant violation of their civil rights and racist in the extreme. The safety of the flight be damned.
Over the past few days, yet another example of the effects of political correctness have graced the newspapers, albeit one that is obviously dwarfed by what took place in Detroit as well as being one of slightly different dynamics. Jeff Schreiber, I think, will relate to this case pretty well, since it involves college football. He’s mentioned his love of Auburn football on more than a handful of occasions.
Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach, a coach with many, many supporters and one who has run a very successful program, was terminated by the university amid allegations of “bullying” several of his players. I’m not going to go into all of the specifics of the case, as they’re not necessarily germane to the larger point here. Suffice it to say that if, in fact, Leach is guilty of the conduct of which he is accused, he deserves to be fired. Once again, common sense would seem to dictate that there’s no place for abuse of any person in any arena, physical or psychological. There is, however, a point to made here, and it comes in the reactions of the Texas Tech fans and parents of some of the players:
- “My children will go somewhere else, with my blessing.”
- ”I have TTU clothing to donate. Any takers?”
- “I will never spend another dime on this university.”
If this isn’t a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I’m not sure what is.
Fire Leach if he truly does deserve it. Do it, if it’s the right thing to do. As with many other things in our modern American society, however, what we’re really dealing with is a train that ran off the tracks a long time ago, not just an isolated crazy coach. Funny — that sounds a lot like what’s going on with terrorism, doesn’t it?
The ironic part in all of this now, however, is that people on the Left would be the first to scream about the “neanderthal” behavior of a jock-coach like this and will be more than happy to begin “profiling” all college football coaches who are making their young players uncomfortable and forcing them to learn to overcome adversity. That type of profiling is, most assuredly, okay. The colleges and universities stand behind this unbalanced mindset, because in order to compete for the tuition dollar, parents and complaints must be placated. As I said, we’ve become slaves to success. The “new” manner of competition for anyone in charge of running a business, therefore, is to attack the very people that he’s decided to hire for having the temerity to do the job right.
Can this be made up?
It is important that I reiterate, however, that Mike Leach crossed the line. In becoming one of the veritable thousands of middle-aged men who have gone through adulthood to this point burdened by their own inescapable “Parcellian” fantasies, Leach probably came to view his behavior and tactics as acceptable. Certainly, with famed basketball player abuser Bobby Knight also at Texas Tech, such behavior might look more norm than anomaly in Lubbock, Texas. The unfortunate part, though, is that he’s just another man who has now contributed to the negative stereotype of many college and high school coaches in all sports. There are many, many coaches out there who are quality people, who are role models, and in most cases utilize the coaching of their respective sport to teach young people life lessons about coping with defeat and overcoming adversity. The end result of a situation like this is that schools across the country, rather than looking at the isolated example, will be more than willing to continue falling back on the defensive and to continue profiling the methodology of their coaches, especially if there’s even a hint of an accusation of any kind. Dependency on the tuition dollar will do that.
I guess what I’m trying to say here, then, is this – profiling is sometimes necessary, especially when it comes to life and death. Sometimes it needs to be stopped in its tracks, especially when it comes to people who are just trying to do their job.
John Feeny is the author of the recently published book, Congress Shall Make No Law…Abridging Freedom of Speech and works in secondary education at a Catholic high school in the Northeast. He and his wife, Sheila–who works in higher education–have been married for 14 years and have become increasingly alarmed with the direction of the young people in our society and what that means for the future of our society. They’ve been blessed with one son, who at 11 years old is in the process of giving John a run for his money. John has been an America’s Right contributor since September 2009.
Congress Shall Make No Law…Abridging Freedom of Speech can be purchased at Amazon.com and is currently being sold alongside the books of Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Michele Malkin at Patriots Heart Network. John can also be followed at Twitter (JJFeen).