Banning Words

We periodically hear about various interest groups trying to ban certain words (e.g., bossy). This can be religiously-motivated, but it has seemed more likely to be driven by political correctness lately. Evidently, some people believe that avoiding hurt feelings by a few is sufficient to justify widespread restrictions to free expression.

This strikes me as an incredibly dangerous development in a nation that once prided itself on the freedom of speech. I don't know about you, but I'd need to be convinced that the use of a particular word resulted in a hell of a lot more harm than hurt feelings before I'd consider trying to ban its use. And even then, it would be a hard sell.

We are all confronted with things we don't like each and every day. Being able to deal effectively with these things, even when they hurt our feelings, was once considered a mark of maturity and evidence of personal resilience. Have we reached the point where we can no longer endure hurt feelings? Are we all victims now? And if so, do some of our proposed solutions for eliminating hurt feelings suggest that we have merely replaced the rigid dogma of religion with one of political correctness?

I would hope that those of us who are atheists living in the United States and other countries where religion remains influential would be particularly sensitive to the dangers of restricting free expression. Many of us have seen first hand how it interferes with the criticism of religious belief. To see so many well-meaning atheists jump on the bandwagon of political correctness and actually begin to advocate for banning words is not something I ever thought I'd witness.