Resolved: The United States ought not provide military aid to authoritarian regimes.

Need help taking your debate skills to the next level? Click here to visit my Debate Academy to get personal coaching. Let’s work together to make you the best.

Resolved: The United States ought not provide military aid to authoritarian regimes.

This topic is an interesting one. On initial examination, it seems stupid and one sided. And to be clear, it’s certainly emotionally advantageous for the Affirmative. That being said, there’s a lot of room for debate here if you can suspend the heartstrings for 45 minutes. There’s great opportunity for clash, and a lot of room for directly competing viewpoints. So let’s talk about it.

Definitions

Military Aid – This is any aid provided to the military of a nation. This includes, but is not limited to, troops, machinery, funding, weaponry, and training. Do not get bogged down in a definition debate about what does and does not constitute military aid. Your case should apply to all forms of military aid. The only distinction that’s important here is that this is not civilian aid.

Authoritarian Regimes – This is more of a “you know it when you see it” type of term. Authoritarian is a poor choice of words, but it refers to regimes which are dictatorial and generally have a history of abusing the rights of their own people. Relevant examples for this resolution include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, etc…

Ought – This means should, and you don’t really need to define it, but it’s important to know that this is the crux of your case. You must first answer the question of how we determine what the United States government should do. Only then can you determine if the U.S. government should provide military aid to authoritarian regimes.

Alright, let’s get to work on possible frameworks.

Affirmative

1. Categorical Imperative – Providing military aid to authoritarian regimes certainly fails all three maxims of the categorical imperative. We don’t want to live in a world where this is universal. It doesn’t seek to not use people strictly as a means to an end, since what humane reasons could there possibly be to provide this military aid, and it definitely doesn’t contribute toward an end in the kingdom of ends.

2. Veil of Ignorance – In a liberal application of the veil of ignorance, it can be argued that, as a citizen under one of these regimes, you would not want foreign powers providing aid to a regime that is trying to oppress you. You would want the opposite. From behind the veil, it’s clear people would construct a world in which these regimes do not receive any foreign military aid.

3. Coherence Theory – Truth of a proposition can be examined through examining its coherence with other already established truths. This includes moral propositions. When it comes to established international moral principles, we can look to things like the declaration of human rights to show us that established truths focus around protecting citizens, not military regimes. There is explicit rejection of military oppression of people. It does not cohere with these established truths that the U.S. should provide military aid to authoritarian regimes.

4. Moral Progress – Moral conflict is necessary for moral progress. When the U.S. provides military aid to authoritarian regimes, it prevents the citizens under that regime from creating the necessary moral conflict to help the nation progress. Allowing the military to weaken allows the self-determination of the people to be realized through conflict.

Negative

1. National Security – A government’s primary obligation is to the security of its own people. After all, that’s why government is formed in the first place. If it fails to protect its people, government is worthless. There are several situations in which providing military aid to authoritarian regimes protects the security of U.S. citizens. As long as this is the case, the U.S. should continue providing such aid.

2. National Interest – A government’s primary obligation is to its own people and the interests of its country. Often times, providing aid to such regimes is in the best interests of the U.S. economically and globally. It often allows the U.S. to position itself more advantageously globally or secure access to resources it would not otherwise have.

3. Utilitarianism – The alternative of not propping up certain regimes is much worse. It leads to exacerbated conflict that is often worse for the people of a nation and worse for global stability. Military aid allows for the preservation of a government, though the government may not be the best. An authoritarian government is better than no government at all.

Hope that helps get you started. Good luck!

Resolved: In a democracy, the public’s right to know ought to be valued above the right to privacy of candidates for public office.

Need help taking your debate skills to the next level? Click here to visit my Debate Academy to get personal coaching. Let’s work together to make you the best.

Resolved: In a democracy, the public’s right to know ought to be valued above the right to privacy of candidates for public office.

I get the importance of debating current topics and issues, but we really need to stop when we start struggling to put current issues into “debate terms.” This topic is trash, probably the worst one I have ever read. Not only is it worded poorly, but it relies upon presumptions of rights that may not necessarily be true. It’s also very open to being debated in narrow real world contexts which provide opportunity for abusive positions. Let’s get to it then.

Definitions

Democracy – There is no absolute democracy in the world today, we know that. And that doesn’t make a democracy definition critique of the resolution valid. The word democracy here can be replaced with “democratic society.” Democracies share certain characteristics like popular representation, people being able to run for public office, and a certain level of freedom enjoyed by citizens of the society. Don’t belabor the point about what  democracy is; we all know what this is referring to.

Right to Know – This refers to the peoples’ right to have access to information, personal and political, about a candidate running for public office. Yes, you can debate whether or not this right actually exists, and yes, this does make for a valid critique of the resolution.

Right to Privacy – This is also pretty straightforward. It’s the right of a person to keep information about themselves private. Once again, don’t belabor the point about what exactly is covered within this right.

Candidates for Public Office – Anybody who is either running for or appointed to a government office. Yes, this does include people who are in non-elected positions like cabinet members and justices. These are still public offices even if not directly elected.

Ought to be Valued – This is the most important part of the resolution. It asks us this question: when a candidate’s right to privacy is in conflict with the public’s right to know, which one wins? Should the candidate reveal information? Or should they be allowed to keep all that information private?

Case Positions

Affirmative

1. Utilitarianism – Public knowledge promotes the greatest good for the greatest number of people. When all information about a candidate is publicly available, it allows people to make the most informed decision about a candidate for public office. This ensures that the public opinion holds the character and behavior of these candidates accountable.

2. Rights are not absolute – A person’s rights only extend as far as another’s rights begin. This is why we can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. That is an exercise of free speech that puts other people’s lives at risk. Therefore, that right is limited. Similarly, the privacy of candidates for public office puts the rights of the people at risk. They are at risk of electing a candidate that could damage their rights significantly, or if given undue power, could continue violating the rights of others. Therefore, when it conflict, the public’s right know should be prioritized.

3. Governmental Legitimacy – All governments, and democracies in particular, are only legitimate if they are accountable to the citizens which they govern. This accountability is not possible in a world where candidates are allowed privacy. It prevents the public from fully evaluating and judging the candidates for public office.

Negative

1. Right to Know Doesn’t Exist – Rights must exist as claims of people against each other. Under a balanced social contract, it is not reasonable to contend that people would have a claim on each other to reveal information about themselves. Quite the opposite. People have a claim on each other not to interfere with their privacy. As such, it’s impossible to affirm the resolution.

2. Public accountability happens anyway – The public can hold a candidate accountable without them divulging requested information. The simple act of holding back information is enough for a public indictment of the candidate’s character. We’ve seen this happen across the United States repeatedly over the past few years. The right to privacy can still hold priority, because the right to privacy doesn’t matter in cases where it’s in conflict with the public’s right to know.

Hopefully that helps get you started. Good luck!

Eminem’s Cypher is a Demonstration of How Much Racism Still Exists

This is going to be a short post because I think the point is a pretty clear one. Let me start by saying, though, that I’m am not criticizing Eminem’s cypher. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. I thought it was powerful, and some of the bars were pretty wicked.

The great tragedy about Eminem’s cypher is that it is a clear indication that a single white man’s voice will continue to be leader than the collective voices of black Americans across the nation. For decades, black rappers have rapped about political issues. They’ve criticized presidents and other politicians. They’ve continued to write passionately about the challenges of racism, disenfranchisement, and police brutality. The music and lyrics have been an outpouring of the emotions of a population that has long suffered overt and covert forms of oppression.

This rap, by black artists, has largely been met with derisive resistance. Despite the popularity of certain artists, there has been a resistance and criticism of their work in equal measure. Despite all this noise, there has been stark attention paid to the political relevance of rap produced by black artists.

Eminem does one political rap, though, and it’s everywhere. I’m glad he did it; I’m glad it was loud and widely publicized. But let’s not forget that it still took a white man to make black voices heard, while the black voices stood silently in the background.

The Carrier Deal – Perspectives You Should Understand

jobscartoon

Image courtesy of AP Government Blog

I’m quite selective about posting anything political these days. There is enough noise in the discourse, and I want to pick particularly interesting things to talk about, if anything at all. The Carrier AC deal in Indiana is just such a thing. It’s important to understand not only what happened here, but also how different people feel about it. The differences of opinion here highlight precisely the disconnect between different segments of the American population.

Some Myth Busting – What Really Happened?

Let’s start with the facts, because we should only begin to form our opinions once we understand what actually happened. I’m not going to post sources mostly because it’s too cumbersome, but you’re welcome to fact check anything I’ve written.

Keep in mind that we don’t know everything. We have round figures about tax incentives and jobs, but there is probably much more to the story than we will ever know. That in itself, though, is pretty dangerous, as a side note. That the government can make deals offering corporate incentives without the information being publicly available is pretty worrisome.

Fact 1: Trump just made a phone call. The deal was made by Indiana.

This is not Donald Trump’s doing. Negotiations with United Technologies have been occurring for nearly a year, since they announced they would be moving their plants to Mexico. Most of the work on this deal was done by Mike Pence and others in Indiana. The other thing to understand is that this deal was put together through a method which does not require legislative approval in Indiana. The money is Indiana money, and the tax incentives we know about are to be provided by Indiana, not the federal government. This is important because it leads to a much more significant impact on the Indiana taxpayer, but more on that later.

Fact 2: This deal is not keeping over 1000 jobs in Indiana. The number is closer to 700 at best, probably less.

Carrier is still moving an entire production facility to Mexico, which accounts for over half of the original jobs which were supposed to move. Not only that, part of Carrier’s plan to stay in Indiana is to invest $16 million in the facility to introduce automation, reduce jobs, and reduce costs. These are the United Technologies’ CEO’s words, not mine. So where did the 1000 jobs number come from? Part of the deal for Carrier to stay was that they would get credit for keeping about 300 jobs that they had never planned to move in the first place. It sounds strange, I know, but that’s what happened.

Fact 3: We know about a $7 million tax incentive, but not much else.

We know that Carrier was given a lower tax rate which will allow them to save $7 million over the next ten years. Unlike the bailout which saved the auto industry, there is no plan to repay this money to the taxpayer. The $7 million has to come from somewhere, but we don’t know where just yet. We also know that at least 10% of United Technologies’ revenue comes from government contracts and that they are looking forward to a “better regulatory environment,” whatever that entails. What we do know is that the combination of all incentives provided made it so keeping this one facility in Indiana made financial sense for Carrier. $7 million isn’t enough for it to make financial sense, so there had to be something more, but we don’t know what that was.

Perspectives – How Different People Feel About It

As is the case with any significant event, different people see it differently. There are a number of perspectives here which need to be understood, and I’ve included those perspectives below. After this, I’ll talk about my own opinion and explain what I think about the deal.

Perspective #1 – I get to keep my job!

This is the most fundamental one to understand. The people who get to keep their jobs are happy about the deal. They are able to continue working and making money. Their families are probably excited about this turn of events as well. The thing about this perspective is that it’s simple and unbiased, and so it’s easy to appreciate. This doesn’t require an understanding of macro economics or the larger market. A person gets to keep their job, and for them, that’s a good thing.

Perspective #2 – I’m still losing my job!

The majority of people who were going to lose their jobs before are still going to lose their jobs. They are not pleased about this outcome, and it’s easy to see why.

Perspective #3 – This is some shady government crap designed to keep the fat cats fat!

There are a lot of people who are concerned about the precedent this deal sets. This type of deal harkens back to the days of late 1800s/early 1900s economics where there would be a lot of political economic handshaking that the people weren’t necessarily aware of, or fully aware of. The deal doesn’t actually do anything for workers. No employee is going to see a cent of that $7 million. It also goes against the promises Trump’s campaign made. He boisterously claimed that he would heavily fine and tax companies that decided to outsource jobs, but this deal is doing just the opposite. It provides incentives to stay. People are worried that other companies will begin threatening to leave to get similar incentives. The other thing is that the deal is unregulated, which means United Technologies is basically free to use the incentives they receive however they want. That makes people nervous as well.

Perspective #4 – My state of Indiana gets to keep jobs! Go Trump!

This is perhaps the most vital one to grasp. The sentiment in the state of Indiana, and across the Trump supporter community, is that this is a tremendous win. Carrier is staying in Indiana and not going to Mexico! Yay! The problem with this perspective is the same as with most other such viewpoints, it doesn’t rely on facts. The perspective stops here. It doesn’t encourage research or investigation into the realities of the deal. It doesn’t encourage learning about economic theory and history to understand what kind of impacts something like this might.

The Opinion – This deal is terrible. The jobs will still be lost, and United Technologies just got richer.

With that, let’s talk about my perspective. There are a number of factors to consider, and I’ve tried to outline them as best as I can below.

The U.S. is no longer a manufacturing nation. As a nation becomes more technologically advanced, it ceases to be a significant producer of staple goods and products. Rather, it becomes more of a consumer, and the nature of the workforce shifts away from production. Even the CEO of United Technologies argues that manufacturing jobs are going away; they are not the jobs of the future. This is important because it means we actually don’t want to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S. They are low paying low skilled jobs that actually contribute to poverty. Contrary to popular belief, there is an argument to be made that outsourcing is economically beneficial for the U.S. Human and labor rights issues notwithstanding, the actual economics often benefit the United States.

Tax incentives and tax penalties are both bad policies. It seems that whenever we think about these situations, we ask the question, “How do we make the company stay in the U.S.?” Instead, the better question is to ask how we can leverage the company’s leaving to create a more educated and advanced workforce. Why low skilled low paying jobs when you can replace them with higher skilled higher paying jobs? Carrier had already offered to provide its employees with severance pay and tuition assistance so they could learn new skills and pursue other employment. Imagine if instead of tax penalties, we required companies shipping jobs overseas to provide 2 years of severance pay and the equivalent of full tuition payment for an undergraduate degree for any U.S. employees losing their jobs. For some companies, this would make it more economical to keep the jobs in the U.S. For others, they would still move, but we would boost the skilled workforce instead, without any tax penalty to other citizens. Our government needs to be more visionary.

This deal does set a terrible precedent and signals the reemergence of an era of economic policy which led us into the recession. The U.S. government cannot indicate that it will provide incentives for the rich to do the right thing. The rich don’t need incentives; it’s a large part of the reason we have such a large wage and wealth gap in this country. The wealthy get access to better economic incentives, and that is harmful. Incentives are for individuals, like the worker, not for large multi-billion dollar corporations.

The jobs are going to disappear anyway, so this deal is particularly stupid. The deal shows a stunning lack of vision from our government officials. If they did it purely as a political move to get some positive press, then I get it, but I sincerely hope they don’t believe it’s actually sound economic policy. Carrier is going to spend $16 million to automate the production facility which is staying in Indiana, and that automation will cause a large number of those manufacturing jobs to disappear, not to mention the 1000+ jobs which are still being sent to Mexico. The problem is that, as that happens, the workers will no longer have as much leverage or collective bargaining force to demand higher severance and educational reimbursement, which they were getting before. You know what’s even crazier about that? The $16 million will probably be paid to another company producing the automation equipment overseas. It’s like one big terrible cycle of stupid.

Anyway, that’s that. Hope this helped you understand a little bit more about what’s going on.

Practice Compassion and Empathy, Not Fear or Hate

Image result for sunset prayer

As people, we generally want the same things. We want ourselves and our families to be safe. We want food, water, and shelter. We want the freedom to pursue our happiness and wealth as we see fit. These are fairly universal desires. The great tragedy of the human condition in the modern world is that we, for some reason, refuse to recognize that other people are just like us. Despite their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, geography, or other characteristic, people generally want the same things. While we want to be free to seek our own happiness, we continue to insist that everyone’s happiness must be identical to our own or it is illegitimate. This post is a simple recognition that we’re not all so different. We are human beings trying to accomplish the same things, and the only thing getting in our way is each other.

The problem with the world is not that things like feminism, Black Lives Matter, and other such movements exist. The real tragedy is that we have created a world in which these movements are necessary. It’s actually quite unbelievable when you think about it. As humans, we actually have the power to effectively create any sort of world we want. Scarcity of resources, wealth, and talent is a myth. There is plenty to go around; it’s just concentrated in all the wrong places and used in all the wrong ways. And yet, we decide instead to kill one another over trivial differences in opinion. We commit terrible atrocities in the name of security and create a universe of “us and them” that perpetuates that violates.

Rather than realizing that illegal immigrants are, like any other person, trying to find their way in life, we treat them like some sort of festering sore that needs to be removed. Rather than understanding that black people in America simply want the same treatment under the law that white citizens receive and giving it to them, we spend our time talking about the ethics of a football player not standing during the national anthem. We start national arguments over who can use which public bathroom, while the bathrooms in our own homes are always unisex.

What you need to understand is that your happy ending is not mutually exclusive of everyone else’s happy ending. The gay man down the street can marry his partner of choosing, and so can you. The black family across the street can receive the same mortgage rates that you do without it hurting you. If the person in the cubical next to yours uses the same bathroom as you, but you don’t know if they have the same body parts as you, it doesn’t hurt you. If the Mexican father gets a job as a server in a restaurant to help put his kids through school, then don’t sweat it. You’re not applying for that job anyway. Muslims can build a mosque right next to a church….right next to a synagogue….right next to a temple….and so on.

Stop treating people like they aren’t people, just stop it. You’ll find that it’s actually much easier than you think. Society and politicians have tricked you into thinking that there are all these problems that need to be solved and addressed, when in reality, the only problem is ourselves. Illegal immigrants? Just give them amnesty and legalize them. Gay marriage? Let them get married; why do you care? Pro life vs. Pro choice? They’re not forcing you to get an abortion, right?

When you begin to fall into the trap of fear, just remember that hatred begets hatred. Violence, terrorism, and the like do not exist in a vacuum. They are human inventions, responses to distress. They are bred and created, and they cannot be stopped with more violence. Respond to fear and hate with empathy and compassion. You think it’s harder, but as T Swift showed us, it’s quite easy to just shake it off, actually much easier than continuing to be angry and afraid.

Stop Pretending ISIS Isn’t Muslim

shahada

I am Muslim, and I know Islam to be a religion of peace. Historically and according to the scripture, Islam is a religion of inclusion. Sharia, as it was practiced during and following the time of the Prophet Muhammad, codified inclusion and coexistence. It protected the rights of women, instituted a reasonable and sustainable tax system, and led to one of the most powerful and successful empires in history. Despite all this, there is a large contingent of Muslims in the modern world who are not only ignorant of this history, but actively act in direct contradiction to its lessons.

It is troubling to me when people say that members of ISIS, and similar groups, are not Muslim. They proclaim the Shahada, the central creed of Islam, and constantly profess that they are acting according to what they believe Allah has ordained for them. The Muslim world’s rejection of ISIS by saying they are not truly Muslims is actually problematic because it takes the focus off a very important aspect of this conflict, that terrorism is being bred in Muslim countries. ISIS is partly the result of what Islam has become in the modern world. The sooner the Muslim community admits and recognizes this, the sooner it can be dealt with.

Yes, unwelcome intervention from other nations has played a direct part in creating power vacuums and societal conditions which lead to radicalization. However, this particular snake has more than one head. The modern Islamic world is comprised of nations with astounding amounts of wealth being put to shamefully bad use. Despite the problems the coalition’s invasion of Iraq caused, Saddam Hussein wasn’t exactly a good guy. Iran’s regime has been supremely oppressive for decades, despite some attempts at popular resistance. I don’t even need to talk about Saudi Arabia. Education is terrible, poverty rates are incredibly high, economies and fragile, and freedoms are limited. Since just before WWI, the Islamic world has been in a decline that is now arguably reaching its apex.

Here’s the problem: Muslims continue to hide behind a rejection of obvious fanaticism while refusing to be introspective about the established regimes and policies which contribute to the rise of that fanaticism. Governmental policies and practices are not rooted in actual scripture. Rather, they are norms designed so that the wealthy who are in control can remain as such, and they’re working. Muslims the world over will immediately get on the TweetBook to reject dramatic acts of violence. Yet, Saudi Arabia publicly beheads over 150 people, and people don’t say a thing. The elite in Pakistan are inordinately wealthy, and yet the total adult illiteracy rate in the country hovers between 40% and 45%. The bombings in Turkey receive universal condemnation, yet Narges Mohammadi is currently dying in an Iranian prison, and you probably don’t even know who that is.

You may say that these things are the fault of a few oppressive groups and individuals. Remarkably, my experience has been quite different. It is the populations of these countries which allow and almost encourage these types of things to happen. When I can walk around after the Orlando shooting and hear people say, “Well, they shouldn’t have been gay,” then I know it isn’t just those in power who allow this hate to fester. Adults will often overtly demonstrate a false politeness but will internally harbor bigoted ideologies and will promote those ideologies among their communities.

It’s easy to say that ISIS isn’t Muslim. After all, what reasonable person would want to associate themselves with that type of ideology that is hated the world over? But, if you denounce their violence and then go home to beat your wife, you have no claim to the moral high ground. If you support women not being able to drive or attain a quality education, then your claims about being a real Muslim are nothing but moral masturbation. If you criticize people fighting for the ability of young girls to attain an education as being “puppet[s] of the West,” then you’re really looking in the wrong place to direct your indignation. If you publicly execute people for drug addiction and refuse to provide treatment for alcoholism, then I wonder where your knowledge of what is un-Islamic comes from. It’s no secret that the social conditions created by these so called Islamic policies create a boiling point necessary for terrorism and violence to thrive. When people are not provided for, when they lack accessible education and liberty, when they suffer from daily lives mired in tiresome difficulties, they turn to what promises them hope of salvation, love, and escape.

ISIS was created, at least in part, by Muslims in the modern world. While these people are quick to reject violence and cite their favorite quotes from the scripture in that effort, they refuse to turn the same critical eye to their own actions. Where is the Hadith of Gabriel when Dubai and Saudi Arabia build the world’s tallest buildings? Where are the references to the Prophet’s wives Aisha and Khadeejeh when women are denied education and economic rights? Where are the references to the many Hadith about kindness to animals when animals are abused and neglected?

What is arguably just as bad as terrorism is the society that fosters it. Islam has provided a blueprint for a successful life and society, and that blueprint has been demonstrably successful, leading an empire to prosperity for 1300 years. I don’t like writing preachy posts like this because God knows I’m not perfect. I have my own sins to repent for, and I’m not really in a place to tell others how to live their live. But, what I am in a place to do is point out obvious inconsistencies. ISIS isn’t the only group of people who have perverted or forgotten the lessons of Islam. It is just the most stark example that we have to point the finger at, but that finger should really be pointed at ourselves first.

Political Correctness is Gay – Here’s Why

pc cartoon

You don’t kill a disease by addressing its symptoms. Cancer is not treated with painkillers and anti-emetics. If you call someone a rake, you are not saying that the gardening implement is an immoral pleasure seeker. Language and words do not carry any objective meaning. Any meaning a word has is created by the person saying it, and the context in which it is used. Given these realities, it still amazes me that so many people choose to focus on the words people say, while the issues that they claim those words represent continue to fester and plague our society.

Last summer, Marc Maron was fortunate enough to host President Barack Obama on his podcast to have a discussion about racism in society. During his interview, POTUS used the word “nigger.” The resulting media frenzy, predictably enough, focused on Obama’s language rather than discussing the actual issue he pointed out. The actual point the president was making, that racism is not marked by people not saying “nigger” in public, but rather by the very fabric of our institutions that prevents minorities from being treated equally and fairly, was lost in the fray. And that, precisely that, is why I am so opposed to the way millennials approach issues of social justice, through the lens of being inoffensive, rather than the lens of actually solving the problem.

Two days ago, I had a discussion with some folks who were offended by my use of the word “pussy” and claimed that it was perpetuating a sexist stereotype of women as weak. As has been the case with all previous discussions I’ve had on the topic, I did not hear an argument which explains the moral impropriety of my use of the word. Rather, I was faced with the same emotional contentions which I’ve heard before. In this post I’d like to go over some of those and then offer my own background.

Let’s talk about the first point, that language perpetuates the very “ism” that we want to prevent. There is no evidence, at least that I’ve found, to suggest that the presence or absence of slurs in a lexicon promotes or discourages discriminatory behavior. Take the “N-word,” for example. There is no question that the word is most often used in black communities by black people. Yet, it would be quite a stretch to claim that the black people are the most racist against black people. In that context, the word is used to refer to friends, acquaintances, enemies, and everyone in between. Words do not create or perpetuate attitudes of people toward each other. Words are created and used by people for particular, contextualized purposes. If one is going to claim otherwise, then there should be some actual evidence to accompany that claim.

Next, people argue that using the word in a negative fashion associates that characteristic with the people the word is used to describe. For example, calling something gay means you’re saying homosexuality is a negative thing. Well, the word gay also means happy or joyous. Am I also saying happiness is a negative thing? If you’re going to claim that meanings of words are associated, then you must explain why some meanings are excluded from that association. Otherwise, it doesn’t really make sense. Words can be given multiple meanings; that doesn’t mean that all those meanings are linked or associated, nor does it mean the speaker is associating those meanings.

Those arguments aside, I want to discuss the problems that this focus on political correctness causes. It does a great deal of harm, and the Donald Trump campaign is clear evidence of that. When actually bigoted people are forced to watch what they say all the time, it does not eliminate their ideology. Instead, it forces that ideology to retreat to the shadows, where it grows and becomes more angry. When these people don’t say what they think in public, they become harder to find, and their bigotry becomes more difficult to confront, until it reaches a critical mass. That is what you have with the Donald Trump campaign. There is a tremendously large population of the American public which has been marginalized and disenfranchised. Granted, they are mostly fearful and hateful individuals who have very simplistic ideas about the functioning of society. But, they have been ostracized by the political correctness police, and now they have found a voice through a boisterous billionaire. This voice, in turn, translates into actual action like violence and public policy.

The other, and perhaps larger problem, is that the actual issues get swept under the rug. We fill our “I need to be a good person” desires by chastising someone for using the word pussy while the actual issue of sexism is forgotten. We spend all our time talking about Donald Trump’s ridiculous plan to ban all Muslims from the U.S., and we don’t spend any time talking about how to deal with religiously motivated violence in our own borders. The British parliament spends an entire day discussing banning Donald Trump from their territory, while hate crimes are at an all time high, and the world faces a refugee crisis. Sure, I use the words pussy and gay to satirically make certain points about things. But, I also provide a social justice scholarship each year to help students from marginalized groups in society attain an education. The point is that I choose to focus on the actual problem and do what I can to help address it. I don’t spend my time getting on my soapbox on Facebook or in casual conversations being offended by somebody’s use of language, especially if I know that person is not a bigot.

I have discussed this issue with many people who belong to the groups these words seem to be about. I have yet to find a homosexual person who really cares if I refer to something as gay. Instead, they prefer to discuss the real discrimination they face in employment, marriage, and other fundamental social aspects of their lives. I have yet to find a mentally handicapped person who cares if I call something retarded. Instead, they’re more preoccupied with completing an education. I have yet to meet a black person who cares about my use of the word “nigga” to refer to them or any other black person. They seem to care more about police brutality and a lack of due process in the justice system.

In my experience, political correctness is rarely a concern of the members of groups in society facing discrimination. The people I encounter who care so much about what others say are usually in a completely different boat. They are usually white, middle class or wealthy, young adults. They are usually people who have faced little adversity in their lives. While their intentions may be good, their methods are ill founded and misguided. They do more harm than good, creating a more divided society, rather than a more accepting and inclusive one.

This discussion I had two days ago began with us talking about the ethics of medical professionals participating in torture and military interrogations. As soon as I said the word “pussy,” though, the actual morality of torture was never discussed again. It was a living, breathing example of exactly what I have described here in my post.