Political correctness is the sharia law of the progressive; harsh, intolerant and punitive in its application it enforces conformity of behaviour leading inevitably to conformity of thought. ‘Freedom loving’ progressives love nothing more than passing laws or enforcing conformity, they are in love with compliance, as long as they are the ones enforcing the complying. Progressivism inevitably breeds intellectual intolerance and conformity.
Political correctness has replaced the much gentler and more effective concept of politeness. Politeness requires voluntary adherence to a generally accepted code of conduct part of which is that the stronger show consideration for the weaker. Political correctness requires an enforced conformity to an arbitrary set of social standards determined by an elite, which inevitably leads to double standards.
John O’Farrell, comedian and Labour candidate at the Eastleigh by-election, wrote that he wished Margaret Thatcher had been murdered in the Brighton bombing. Nothing has happened to him, nor should it. There is no demand that he be forced to apologise or to have his book pulped. His writing will still appear in the Guardian; he has kept his place on a school’s Board of Governors; he still appears on those Radio 4 comedy shows where gales of canned laughter immediately follow any mention of Margaret Thatcher. John O’Farrell tried to make a joke, it was in bad taste, like most progressive comedy it contained more insult than humour, but it was just a joke.
Unfortunately progressives see humour as a tool of social enforcement. Humour hurts, there is a butt to a joke. From Oscar Wilde to Jim Davidson humour has a cutting edge and someone is going to be offended. The problem with political correctness and humour is that it inevitably becomes the enforcement of a double standard in which there is a hierarchy of the offended.
There are countless examples. It wasn’t even during a broadcast but in the Green Room when Carol Thatcher, daughter of Margaret, made a remark about someone looking like a gollywog. The only complaint regarding the remark was made by Jo Brand, a comedienne as funny as haemorrhoids. Ms Brand is known to make ‘jokes’ like the one about the best way to a man’s heart is a bread knife through the lapel. Ms Thatcher was banished from the BBC; Ms Brand rolls on to our screens with depressing frequency.
Recently Bob Mills made an unfunny remark on a radio programme, in which a comedian was charged with defending the indefensible, about ‘curing’ Claire Balding the sports commentator and lesbian. After 19 complaints the BBC apologised to “anyone who was offended” by this “inappropriate” broadcast. ‘Edgy’ lefty comedian, Russell Howard described people living in the country as, “inbred casual racists.” A deeply offensive remark to the millions of us who live in the country, yet no rush to apologise.
To insult Christians is acceptable, think of the Last Temptation of Christ; but it is taboo to mention any connection between Islam and terrorism. Despite 55,000 complaints the BBC insisted on screening the blasphemous Jerry Springer: The Opera, yet refused to show a picture of the Dutch Mohammed cartoons.
This is not simple hypocrisy, rather it is because progressives reject reality.
Political correctness is a control system which creates what Paul Gottfried has described as a ‘hierarchy of victims and victimisers.’ Rather than base their ethics on natural law, as the medieval school men did, progressives raise arbitrary values of their own to the status of universal rules. Value has its internal logic: once someone elevates a particular value as pre-eminent, everything else will be thought of as subordinate to it. Reality becomes relative and quantitative: all other goods are reduced to units of the supposed highest value.
Progressives claim to continue the classical-liberal tradition, but actually they strike at its heart. Progressives believe in rule by an intellectual elite whose values are held to be objectively true. As such, they must be imposed on the benighted masses.
To dissent from the values of the elite results in being forced into unwelcome categories members of which are automatically excluded from consideration. Thus we have the almost incessant cries of “Fascist”, “Homophobe”, Islamophobe” etc. Progressive intellectuals have a specific agenda that they wish to impose on everyone else. It’s no joking matter.