Tom Nichols is hardly the first one to blame the rise of Donald Trump on liberals. Blaming your failures on others seems to be a conservative fixation these days. But let’s take a look at Nichols’ argument that the rise of Trumpmania is based on the problem of “political correctness.”
To understand Trump’s seemingly effortless seizure of the public spotlight, forget about programs, and instead zero in on the one complaint that seems to unite all of the disparate angry factions gravitating to him: political correctness. This, more than anything, is how the left created Trump.
What he and others want to claim is that by speaking up, liberals have attempted to silence the opposition.
When The New York Times tells the rubes that it’s time to hand in their guns, when The Washington Post suggests that Jesus is ashamed of them for not welcoming Syrian refugees the week after a terrorist attack, people react not because they love guns or hate Syrians, but because their natural urge to being told by coastal liberals that they’re awful people and that they should just obey and shut up is to issue a certain Anglo-Saxon verb and pronoun combination with all the vigor they can muster. And if they can’t say it themselves, they’ll find someone who will…
Let’s leave aside the old canard about the “liberal media” as well as the lie that anyone is suggesting that it’s time to hand in your guns. I have a question to ask: since when did conservatives “shut up” as a result of something printed in the New York Times or Washington Post that they didn’t agree with? This whole argument about political correctness turns the concept of “free speech” on it’s head. It basically comes down to this: Conservatives are allowed to exercise their right to free speech. But when liberals do so, it is an attempt to silence the opposition.
If conservatives disagree with something, instead of expressing that disagreement, they claim that political correctness is attempting to silence them. If they feel shamed by the argument, they have the option of examining the claim to see if it has any merit or presenting their case that the argument is wrong.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out what makes that so hard. That has been the nature of political debate since the dawn of democracies. Anyone who feels silenced by that process is choosing to be silenced. You don’t get to turn all that around and blame it on the people you disagree with. Contrary to what some on the right believe, no one is going to come after you for speaking your mind and haul you off to a FEMA camp.
So where does this whole “silencing” meme come from? Is it because they are actually losing the argument rather than being silenced? I ask…you decide.
Regardless of the answers to those questions, it’s time for all of these people who constantly complain about being silenced to put on their big boy pants, make their best arguments and quit playing the victim card of political correctness.