It is evident in these recent years that there is a growing group of people determined to eradicate free speech. These people all fit into the same category, as they search for oppressed groups to be a part of. When discussing points with students on college campuses, it becomes evident that they try to turn the argument in their favor not with the merit of their argument, but instead with their identity. If they find they are losing ground they’ll tell you that they are trans, or autistic, or some other oppressed group that is neither easily proved nor easily disproved. Rather than form a cogent argument to defend their position, or, God forbid, be willing to change their opinion, they muddy the waters, and turn the argument from what it was into their very identity being attacked.
The Power of Words
The power of words is even being changed. Often you will find the same groups of people using words like literally, but with changed meanings. The word literally is the opposite of the word figuratively. This is definite and absolute. Despite this, however, people will inevitably dredge up instances in which someone has used the word literally to mean figuratively at various points in history. Just because it happened in the past doesn’t mean it’s correct or right. The use of literally as figuratively is another form of obfuscation.
The definition of other words has changed as well. In any dictionary before 2009, looking up the term fascism would tell you that it is a socialist construct. Socialism is a very left wing ideal. In newer dictionaries, fascism is defined as specifically right wing, with no mention of socialism. History and reality does not support this, but the meaning of the word has still been changed.
How It Remains Relevant
The continued changing and mutating of words ensures that no matter what a person says, a meaning can be drawn out of it to fit whatever narrative another person wants. This is a dangerous form of evolution, especially when it is considered that oppression becomes an ever widening net for people to fall into. Most arguments these days are not based on their actual basis, but instead on how it affects a particular oppressed group. This form of obfuscation ensures that no progress can be made between two opposing parties without somebody being hurt in some way or another.
The United States of America is the only country in the world that has laws regarding free speech. No law enforcement authority nor any government authority can’t stop you from saying something, nor can they levy fines or imprisonment upon you simply for something you have said. The same cannot be said for even so close a neighbor as Canada.
The current attempts by certain groups to classify certain speech as hate speech, as well as attempts by members of the Democratic Party to set forth laws regarding hate speech, are attempts at removing the first amendment rights that Americans hold so dear.
Things Don’t Happen in a Vacuum.
It is important to remember that things don’t simply happen in a vacuum. There is rhyme or reason to almost every action. When someone attempts to classify words as hate speech that are in fact not hateful, a wise person will attempt to see what might come of it.