Saturday, January 14, 2006

PC Storm Clouds

I was struck by the response of some on the left to Anthony Browne's piece on PC. This is a reasonable example. They argue that Browne was massively and disingenuously overstating things. The classic point in response to the idea of the PC suppression of dissent is to say 'look at the columnists themselves'- Melanie Phillips, Paul Johnson, Browne himself, Boris johnson etc etc- 'what suppression of dissent?'. Well, ok- but what they don't admit is that columnists provide a kind of entertainment. They are not serious individuals in public life- they are closer in essence to comedians than politicians, even though they may have some political importance (but so do comedians today).

What this points to is the trivialisation of public life (here's a good recent example from a cross-over show that's lapped up weekly by millions).

The fact is that it's in matters of life and death that we know how crucial political correctness is becoming. Take a look at this brief intro to an article about a woman I really admire. What I noticed was this little bit from her story, concerning Holland's troubles with Islam and the Dutch police's response:

'A young woman from a Muslim family told the programme makers she was in fear of her life from her relatives who hit her and called her a whore for wanting to go out with her friends and wearing western clothes. Hirsi Ali listened to her story, then took the young woman to the police, only to be told: “We can’t help you. There are so many girls like you and this is not police work.” '

"There are so many girls like you and this is not police work"

Now compare with this story in the UK-

"Hate crime is a very serious matter and all allegations must be investigated thoroughly."

Maybe British police are geniuses that can prosecute all kinds of crime in a timely and effective way, even the ones that depend on interpreting one's words- or maybe we aren't so far behind Holland, and are getting worse.

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