I don't think it's that important. It takes a back seat to at least global climate.
I'd go further to say this is not really nor has it ever been an "issue". Not much has changed in the west in that regard since the Victorian era.
Word police are still out and about making the world a safer place for ethics when, in reality, most people don't give a shit and like a good laugh every now and then. What is different is that thinskinned soon-to-be-spinsters have swapped soapbox megaphones for internet social media to sing a swan song about harm words do to their delicate sensibilities.
The rest is comedians inflating their own sense of importance. Sure the role of the jester plays a part in forming political opinion through the ages. But they don't prevent any atrocities or influence any progress. Comedy is mostly entertainment. It has little to no influence over public discourse and society at large.
I completely disagree. I mean, I agree that it's not the most important thing in the world. I never said that. Saying something like that is just a classic fallacy of relative privation and it's, to be blunt, one of the most annoying fallacies to come across.
And I do not see how you would not think that it has ever been an issue. Free Speech (as a moral, not legal concept) has been something that has been a major part of some of our largest conflicts of the past few centuries.
I don't know why you would think most people don't give a shit. I've talked to practically everybody I know at some point about it, and everybody has an opinion on it, with the majority having quite strong opinions about it. You wouldn't see riots break out outside of political rallies of figures who are controversial because of what they say if it was a non-issue. The difference between before and now is exactly social media. It is incredibly easy to sway peoples opinion with viral media and there are people who specialize in it. When you give people that power, these "word police" now actually have the power to accomplish something without any physical force. People can have their lives absolutely ruined nowadays if they piss off the wrong group of people.
I think you are looking at the role of comedian's WAY too narrowly. Sure they don't prevent atrocities but that's not the point. Comedy isn't a machine for change, it is a reflection of it. People look at the world and say what they think about it. If you are preventing comedians from doing so (which more and more comedians are speaking up about), then it's more than just being treated shitty as a comedian, it is a reflection of the society that is trying to silence honesty. You shouldn't have to dig too far to find prime historical evidence of what happens when people try to silence objective views of society.
K. If you feel 9/10 about it then I concede on all points.
Wild guess - everyone you know mostly not truck drivers over 40, amiryte?
Actually everybody I know are old truck drivers. Weird that you would mention that.