Thursday, April 23, 2015

The "R" Word

So it seems there is a formal movement to outright ban the word "retard" from public discourse, and to shame anyone who does use it.  When the subject came up amongst some of my friends, I told them that I absolutely would not support such a measure, because while I agree tormenting some poor mentally disabled person with hate speech is wrong, people have the right to say things that you or I might find offensive.

In response, I was told that banning this word wouldn't really be censorship, because its not really about the word, its about respecting other people.  Its about not hurting other people.  Its about being decent people.  And, I was asked, why am I so in love with calling people retards, anyway?  Because apparently, no one could ever desire to just defend freedom of thought and expression without wanting to insult someone.


As the saying goes, believing in freedom of thought and freedom of expression isn't just being able to believe as you like and saying things you want to say.  Its also standing and defending the right of someone else to think and say as they like, even if what they like to think and say makes your blood boil.

That's freedom.  That's true freedom.  The right to disagree is the entire fucking point of freedom of thought and expression.  And that includes some jack-hole's right to be an offensive dumbass.  That other thing?  Yeah, that's censorship.  Simple, traditional censorship, in which one group wants to tell another group what to think and what to say against the wishes of the other group.

Sorry, but fuck that.  I won't tolerate censorship, even when its against someone using hate-speech.  Even when what they say makes me want to lay into them with a 2x4, I won't stop them from talking.  Because I respect the rights of others.  Also, while it might be "about respect" to my friends, there are others out there who are behind this "ban the R word" thing for whom its all about the censorship, the political correctness, and the urge to punish people they don't like for the crime of existing.  
I am not in the business of banning words to soothe the bruised emotions of other people.  And if you truly believe in free thought and free expression, then you shouldn't be, either.

"Its not about censorship, its about respect."  Horse shit.

I really get tired of people and their empty platitudes.

Yes, your intentions are good.  I've already acknowledged this.  But I've also already acknowledged that the worse offenses in history have always been committed in the name of "social justice".  That's why this "ban the R word" disturbs me so badly.  There is an entire section of our society who are quite willing to step all over other people if it means that they can be seen to be "doing good" about some social issue.  And they take to these causes with self-righteous fervor, especially when they can step on people en masse rather than one at a time.  And for some reason, this issue stinks of people doing just that.

What do I mean?

Ponder this question:  just what does banning the word "retard" from public discourse actually accomplish?  Is it going to end the vile behavior some people put the mentally handicapped through?  No.  Is it going to stop hate crimes against the mentally handicapped?  No.  Is it going to stop parents from abandoning their mentally handicapped children at orphanages?  No.  Will it stop such parents from abusing their mentally handicapped children?  No.

The only thing this will accomplish is allowing a bunch of self-righteous assholes to pat themselves on the back because they "made a difference" without actually doing anything important.  And then these same self-righteous assholes will go on to their next "noble cause" and the entire "R word" thing will be swept under the rug and no more will ever be mentioned, much less done, about improving the treatment of the mentally disabled.

The truth is, its all about context anyway.  You don't call mentally handicapped people "retards".  You call your friends retards when they are acting retarded. There is a difference between goofing around with your friends and intentionally hurting someone else with your words.  But even then, I don't think those words should be banned outright.  Doing so is the first step on the slipper slope that leads to having our freedom of speech rights taken away entirely.

The word "retard" isn't the issue.  Treating the mentally handicapped with human decency is.  Do something about that and you'll have my full cooperation.

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