"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government." Thomas Jefferson

Political Correctness: Intolerance Masquerading as Tolerance

Melanie Sturm | @ThinkAgainUSA Read Comments - 11
Publish Date: 
Thu, 04/11/2013


Last month world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and up-from-nothing African-American idol Ben Carson expressed his contrarian opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman and no group could change this millennia-old social institution. Appalled medical students at Johns Hopkins University – allegedly a place of intellectual inquiry and diversity and “a forum for the free expression of ideas” -- circulated a petition to remove Carson as commencement speaker.

Having gained widespread media attention for his recent National Prayer Breakfast speech in which he critiqued political correctness, Carson apologized for his off-the-cuff, maladroit and incorrect political critique of same-sex marriage, reiterating his belief that gays must be assured equal civil and legal rights without changing the definition of marriage.

Were Johns Hopkins students more sage, they’d Think Again before dissing this distinguished man of character, accomplishment, and philanthropy for sharing Bill and Hillary Clinton’s marriage definition -- until “evolving” last month -- though not their political dexterity. Before exiting the ivory tower, students could learn from Jimi Hendrix who believed, “Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens,” and Benjamin Franklin who taught, “If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.”

Apparently they don’t think much at Johns Hopkins where the Student Government Association denied the pro-life group “Voices for Life” recognition as an approved organization.  Without alternative voices on campus, how does the university assure the diversity it champions? Might ardent though free-thinking supporters of women’s reproductive rights want to know that a representative of Planned Parenthood (half of whose budget is taxpayer-funded) recently testified before the Florida legislature that the decision of what to do with a baby who survives a failed abortion be left up to the patient and her doctor, begging the question: who’s the patient?

Considering that abortionist Kermit Gosnell is currently on trial in Philadelphia for murdering late-term babies delivered alive by snipping their spines, these aren’t hypothetical questions. If “sunlight is the best disinfectant,” shouldn’t we encourage alternative voices – on and off-campus -- to assure an informed citizenry and a civil society?

Other instances of intolerance masquerading as tolerance are equally disquieting: At George Washington University, two gay students are seeking the removal of a chaplain for teaching Catholic doctrine regarding homosexuality (but apparently not pre-marital sex); the U.S. Army listed Evangelical Christianity, Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and Catholicism as examples of religious extremism (along with Al Qaeda, Hamas and the Ku Klux Klan) in a Pennsylvania reserve unit training manual; and actor Jeremy Irons was labeled anti-gay for worrying that “lawyers are going to have a field day” if marriage is redefined and imagining estate-tax avoidance strategies involving father-son “marriages,” despite wishing “everybody who’s living with one other person the best of luck in the world, because it’s fantastic.”

Though distracted by ham-fisted arguments and irrespective of one’s view on same-sex marriage, abortion or any other hot-button issue, Americans must resist diversity-champions and tolerance-enforcers who dictate homogeneity -- as if there’s one cosmically correct policy that can be expressed without offending anyone. Name-calling and social ostracism not only destroy reputations and careers, they suffocate the debate a free, pluralistic and informed society needs to assure its government has the “consent of the governed.”

Throughout American history, we’ve navigated changes in cultural and legal landscapes while accommodating divergent views, values, and (lawful) practices. In America’s melting pot, prejudices dissolve through exposure to disparate voices and moral suasion, while legitimate differences are respected. America is the freest and most decent opportunity-giving society on earth because we’ve been a refuge for the persecuted since the Puritans left the Church of England to establish Plymouth Colony in 1620.

Embedded in our founding documents are uniquely American and revolutionary principles to protect our inalienable rights – including free speech and the free exercise of religion -- and “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” The barring of state-sponsored religion and the guaranteeing of religious liberty is what “the wall of separation between church and state” means – not a demand for the separation of religion and politics.

In his best-selling book “America the Beautiful,” Carson recounts how this “American Way” helped him overcame poverty, poor role models, racism and anger.  Born in a land of opportunity, and cultivated morally by religion, intellectually by a solid public education, and behaviorally by a wise though functionally illiterate Mom who never made excuses (nor allowed him to), he reached the pinnacle of success.

Fearing America won’t bequeath the same opportunity-society to future generations, Carson entreats Americans to recover our founding values, “set aside political correctness…apply logic to solving our problems and add the godly principles of loving our fellow man, caring about our neighbors, and developing our God-given talents.”  This will assure America remains “a pinnacle nation, … ‘one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’”

Think Again – for students whose heads need examining to assure they still think, a brain surgeon is the perfect commencement speaker.

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Thanks for a beautiful

Thanks for a beautiful defense of this beautiful man, whose career I've admired for years. His treatment by Johns Hopkins and the students who have protested him is emblematic of the academy countrywide, the print media in general, television and movies. Is there any institution left for a conservative, Constitution loving American; maybe just College of the Ozarks and Hillsdale College.

I despair.

Bette S.

conservative friend of mine

conservative friend of mine posted your column on FB the other day and I read it in its entirety.
Just a couple of thoughts. I believe in general in what you say. The ability to freely discuss differing
points of view is paramount for any society that values freedom to thrive. However, there is a price to pay,
and that price is civility. Especially if you want to be respectfully heard and replied to accordingly. You even
touched on this in your essay.

In your article, you didn't mention that Ben Carson brought up the specter of bestiality and pedophilia
in the same breath as marriage equality, and in so doing invoked what I have termed "Irwin's Law", named after
Steve Irwin, the late crocodile hunter. "When discussing marriage equality, the probability that inappropriate
comparisons to bestiality/pedophilia will be mentioned approaches 1 as the discussion continues."
I think, to be complete, you should have mentioned that fact in your article. This kind of rhetoric not only devalues
an argument but also the credibility of the argument's speaker. Should John Hopkin's have allowed him to speak
at commencement? Yes. He did in fact apologize for his rhetoric. But he needs to be aware of the impact of the
associations he uses. It matters.

Secondly, the idea that an army training program taught that "US Catholics are extremists" is completely false.
The slide this "idea" originated from was completely taken out of context and the accompanying textual description
removed. The entire power-point presentation is at http://www.adfmedia.org/files/ExtremismPresentation.pdf . Taken
in context both in the slide's entirety and with the adjoining slides as additional support the fact that this assertion is baseless.

Lastly (I need to get a little more sleep before work) any individual who mentions that straight men would
marry each other for tax purposes if marriage equality is law can be dismissed out of hand. There is the free
marketplace of ideas and then there is the .99 cent store of opinion. This is of the latter variety.

Thanks for the read though! I enjoyed it.


Sara ...

Perhaps prevailing attitudes

Perhaps prevailing attitudes emanating from Washington have helped to create the tyrannical climate toward open inquiry, freedom of conscience, and free expression of religious belief--all of which are protected by "the People's" Constitution from the purview of their elected officials.

Youth of the nation, including those at Johns Hopkins, have, perhaps, been influenced in their so-called "political correctness" demands of what might be called "progressive purity" of expression by Executive policies and actions over the period of their stay at Johns Hopkins.

David Barton, on his Wallbuilders.com web site, posted an editorial documenting some actions by the President and current Administration which could possibly influence young minds not trained to be vigilant about their religious liberty and freedom of expression.

Readers might benefit from other editorials in the Issues and Articles Section of Barton's "Wallbuilder" site.

On that site, Wallbuilders provides reprints of original writings and speeches from the founding period which document the intention of the Founders and Framers of our Constitution that, in accord with the scriptural quotation on the Liberty Bell, their actions were to "Proclaim liberty throughout the land." Their Declaration of Independence from a government which, like today's, seems intent on imposing its coercive will on "We, the People," and the Constitution which became the Supreme Law of the Land, were intended to protect "the People" from the government, not to impose a politically-correct limit on freedom of expression or religious belief and practice.

Great Job Melanie.. You're a

Great Job Melanie.. You're a brave, intelligent, thoughtful and reasoned person.. Seems the goal is to somehow get people to listen, right?.. Yet, by withdrawing, didn't Carson let the zealots win? How can they listen if they don't hear?.. I'm wondering if there was a counter petition in support of Carson speaking? (I doubt it).. Seems YOUR bravery is not shared by not only Ben Carson but all those wall flower students who may have wanted to hear what he had to say, but didn't stand up..

Perhaps the biggest issue in American politics is the left has the courage to protest the right; while the right sits idly by and tolerates the ignorance of youth;.. The spoiled brats win again?.. Temper tantrums work?.. The individualist is not inclined to tell his neighbor how to behave, but Bloomberg actually thinks he knows what size soda you should drink.. Every time the left wins (as they just did with Carson's withdrawal) it grants them more power and courage to impose their will on others.. And every time the right loses, and shrinks from the fight, they are less likely to speak out; less likely to participate; less likely to do what is NOT in their nature to begin with: Tell their neighbor how to think..

I adore what Carson has to say; but he just showed himself to be a coward and far too willing to "get along";.. His conduct is far more disappointing to me than the students who ran him off; I expect them to behave like a mob; but rare courage is what is expected of the individualists if they should ever gain their country back;.. Your defense of his rights was wonderful; I wish he had shown your courage

Democrat political

Democrat political strategists would support these students in order to eliminate any rational conservative or Republican thought that might appeal to liberals. Keep writing! Best, Dick

Carson is perfectly entitled

Carson is perfectly entitled to argue for traditional marriage. However, when he compares those favoring gay marriage with NAMBLA (a pedophile organization) and with bestiality, he can hardly expect his comments to be accepted simply as policial discourse. Similarly, when he argues that a flat tax is Biblically mandated, he is really contending that his political views are supposedly those endorsed by God. He is free to make his arguments and even to run for political office. However, it's not difficult to see where parents and students might think he's not the best choice for a college commencement speaker.

Political Correctness:

Political Correctness: Intolerance Tyranny Masquerading as Tolerance

"Somehow they’re considered

"Somehow they’re considered open-minded....."

Always liked the Bill Bennett quote that""Some people are so open-minded that their brains fall out."

I’ve really come to despise

I’ve really come to despise the word “tolerance”, as most of those who use it don’t understand it. First, they think it means “acceptance”, which it doesn’t. Second, they believe that tolerance in itself is a virtue, which it isn’t. In fact, there are many intolerable things in this world, which should remain intolerable. People who tolerate everything aren’t tolerant, they are apathetic.

Mid way through reading this

Mid way through reading this article it occurred to me that one of the funniest things about these issues is that those who want to destroy traditional values repeatedly compare defenders of traditional values to those who defended slavery, yet they are the ones using the same tactics as those who defended slavery.

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