John Cleese, the English actor and comedian known for the Monty Python films, thinks political correctness is getting a little out of hand.
He’s hardly the first comedian to say so, of course. Funny men such as Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, and others have complained that political correctness is killing comedy. Cleese, like Seinfeld, says he no longer performs on America's college campuses, where political correctness enforcement is particularly strident.
In a recent monologue with Big Think, Cleese said the effort to protect people from negative feelings is not just impractical, but suffocating to a free society.
“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to,” Cleese says.
Cleese, who spoke to psychiatrist Robin Skynner about the phenomenon, posited an interesting theory on why many people feel compelled to control the language and behaviors of others.
“If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behavior,” Cleese says.
You can watch the entire monologue below. What do you make of Cleese's theory? Is he right?
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Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.