To conclude this experience, consider the large amount of dystopian literature that includes forms of censorship as part of its vision of what might happen in the future. Dystopias such as Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet clearly develop what happens when political correctness becomes the norm. Historically, politically correct speech has often led to despotism and tyranny.
A more recent dystopia is The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, which has been made into a few major motion pictures. A couple of quotes from these works highlight the ways in which people become fearful and learn “not to think out loud” when those in power seek to control speech.
“When I was younger, I scared my mother to death, the things I would blurt out about District 12, about the people who rule our country, Panem, from the far-off city called the Capitol. Eventually I understood this would only lead us to more trouble. So I learned to hold my tongue and to turn my features into an indifferent mask so that no one could ever read my thoughts.”
After a while, the people in these novels learn that the only “words” they have left are in fact silence.
“To the everlasting credit of the people of District 12, not one person claps. Not even the ones holding betting slips, the ones who are usually beyond caring. Possibly because they know me from the Hob, or knew my father, or have encountered Prim, who no one could help loving. So instead of acknowledging applause, I stand there unmoving while they take part in the boldest form of dissent they can manage. Silence. Which says we do not agree. We do not condone. All of this is wrong.”
The modern university is the current front where this battle is being waged. The following video sums up what this course experience has been considering.
Humor and satire are often the first casualties of politically correct censorship. The following bit of humorous sketch sets its sights on the problems we have addressed with exclusive, derogatory, and acceptable speech. Once all this evidence is considered, we are left with the simple but challenging question: What are we going to do about it? Dave Barry’s words come back to mind, relevant not only to the written word, but also to speech and thoughts: “Fight it, don’t let someone tell you what to write, especially if what you wrote is a legitimate opinion that you hold.”