We are blessed with the freedom of speech we have in the West, unless SOMEBODY GETS OFFENDED, of course. And in today’s post-9/11 world, saying “no offence” is no defence! People seem to take offence to everything nowadays, it seems. We are unable to express our views with total comfort and ease in a democracy anymore. Anything you joke about, make fun of, criticize, critique, or even analyze, may leave you stepping over “boundaries” or “red lines”. The greatest part of this story is that, unlike a dictatorship where the dictator punishes those who step beyond boundaries, it is the people themselves that regulate what can or cannot be said in a democracy.
However, the tricky part lies here. You see, democratic governments have figured out that if you give the people just enough freedom, they will try to regulate themselves, and within this process, they will begin to try to be “politically correct” and begin to sensitize themselves to any point of view that may “offend” the common consensus, and a threat to majority opinion. You see, the government knows full well that if people in social media are preoccupied by what the right terminology is correct to use in this regard or that regard, on this topic or that topic, it can relax and watch with comfort and not worry about anyone criticizing ITS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!
We must figure out a way, as citizens of democratic societies, how not to get caught up with what we can or cannot say with the same speed as the internet speed itself. We are allowed to speak of any topic we like, aren’t we? Then why is it that some people seem to quiver and worry about a backlash of reactions if they raised opinion on topics ranging from politics to fashion?
In the West, we seem to be free to express our opinion, but must be equally prepared for the new ideas, criticisms, or critiques we posit, and the consequences of which we may suffer. What kind of system does that remind you of?
Time and time again, in US media and elsewhere, you have seen a public figure be forced to retract, apologize and reword a statement he/she has made regarding an issue to what they “really meant”. Obviously, what they “really meant” was what the public wanted them to mean.
It seems to be the trend now, and one must hope the next time you express your opinion in public, that you do NOT offend a single living soul’s point of view, when you make yours known! Otherwise, you lose all the respect, dignity and courage you thought you had the right to have as a citizen of a democracy 😉
Now do you see why ‘they hate us for our freedom’?