Friday, October 19, 2012


"I think politically correct is wrong, it should be 'politely' correct."
-Grant Enfield

Learning nothing from Canada, the UK passed a "public order" act that outlaws certain speech.  Section 5 of the 1986 Act outlaws threatening, abusive and insulting words or behavior, but does not define these acts very carefully (especially 'insulting') and the act already has resulted in several outrageous violations of liberty:
A 16-year-old boy was arrested under the legislation for peacefully holding a placard reading ‘Scientology is a dangerous cult’, on the grounds that it might insult followers of the movement.
Gay rights campaigners from the group Outrage! were arrested under the Act when they protested against the Islamist fundamentalist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was calling for the killing of gays, Jews and unchaste women.
An Oxford student was charged under the act for joking that a policeman's horse was gay.  A cafe owner was arrested for displaying Bible verses on a TV screen (which I wrote about a while back).  A Christian street preacher was arrested for stating that he believes homosexual behavior is sinful.  A 16 year old growled and said "woof" to a Labrador Retriever and was arrested under this bill.
On and on it goes, and Rowan Atkinson has had enough.  Known for his roles as Mr Bean and the even more hilarious Blackadder series, Atkinson enjoys humor by satire and poking fun at things he finds silly, and has done so his whole career.
At the Westminster campaign launch, Mr Atkinson said he hoped repeal of Section 5 would be the first step in a project to ‘rewind the culture of censoriousness’ and deal with the ‘outrage industry – self-appointed arbiters of the public good encouraging outrage to which the police feel under terrible pressure to react’.
He added: ‘The law should not be aiding and abetting the new intolerance.’
Mr Atkinson was joined by Lord Dear, former chief constable of West Midlands Police, who plans to lay down a Parliamentary amendment to delete the word ‘insulting’ from the Act.
I'd say the whole act probably needs serious examination, since it was passed in 1986 and the "insulting" section was added along with other speech issues in 1994.  As the United Kingdom was able to get by for over a thousand years without this bill, I'd say maybe it might not be all that critical to begin with.
But these sort of bills are just a tool for PC petty tyrants to impose their worldview on the public, and in Canada it reached a point of Orwellian totalitarianism and create horrors that insults and racist speech never would have come close to.
And England for centuries was famous for being polite, dignified, and treating people well, to the point of caricature.  In the 1980s that started to fall to pieces for a wide variety of reasons (not the least of which was the left's hysterical reaction to Margaret Thatcher), and today instead of a cultural and honor-based internal pressure to be polite, they're trying to impose it by law.  In the name of not offending, the government is causing offense and creating offense where none is offered or perceived by anyone but overly sensitive government types.
Its just another case of an attempt to impose proper behavior and right action through law instead of through societal pressure and internal moral compass.  Its what happens when you strip away every external pressure and internal system (religion, for example) to regulate behavior and replace it with nothing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enforcing PC language is such a bad idea. There is no objective measure and it based on the subjective response from the most thin-skinned members of society. As rude and crude as society has become, it doesn't even engender greater civility.

It is the cult of victimization in full bloom fertilized by the manure of the throngs of grievance mongers. They can't win the public debate without silencing the opposition.

These laws are akin to being thrown into an abusive relationship where you have to walk on eggshells for fear of setting off the other party. Being bludgeoned into submission by the law is a anguishing form of terrorism.