Opinion: Growing intolerance impacting our right to free speech

There is a new form of intolerance growing across our country.

On college campuses as well as inner cities, the American mantra of individual freedom and free speech is being battered.  Some members of minority groups seem to have surrendered substantial individual identity for the relative safety of group identity.

The consequence is that “All Lives Matter,” because all individuals matter, is distorted into “Black Lives Matter,” which means that black lives matter more.

While we have seen such dysfunctional demands before, such as quota hire based on race, this time around there seems to be a new intensity that goes beyond past demands.

Thus, free speech that civilly subjects a group to rational criticism is not only automatically rejected as prejudice, but also free speech that civilly criticizes a member of an identifiable group is also rejected, even if it justified.

This is the antithesis of free speech, free thought, and intellectual integrity.  And the people who make these demands for extraordinary protections and prerogatives do not seem to understand that pushed to an unreasonable extent, the result is fascism, not freedom.

Blind hatefulness of any individual toward any group should be rejected in a free society.  Irrational discrimination based on group identity is prejudice: it is not only wrong, it eventually harms everyone.

But likewise, unreasonable demands by individuals to be specially protected due to group membership is also wrong, is a form of reverse prejudice, and also has negative consequences. We need more open but civil dialogue.

We need to respect each other as individuals, even as we remain sensitive to group identity.  What we do not need is the battering of individual freedom and free speech that we far too often see today on our college campuses and on the six o’clock news.

Social sensitivity and mutual respect must not be transformed into political correctness that stifles individual freedom and free speech.

Mr. Greco is a Scottsdale resident.

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