As any student of physics knows, when a pendulum swings in one direction, it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the end of its trajectory, pauses, then changes direction to retrace its path along the arc.
It’s been said society does the same thing. When the pendulum of a social issue reaches maximum oppression or stupidity in one direction, the pendulum swings in the other direction until eventually it reaches the other extreme of oppression or stupidity. Neither extreme is good, of course. It’s the center-point (the “equilibrium position” in physics) that is the desired state. But for whatever reason, society can never seem to reach equilibrium.
Let’s take just one aspect of modern society: political correctness. Once upon a time, people had no problem using horrifically tactless terms when referring to various groups: those with physical or mental disabilities, varied sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ethnicity, political suasion, income levels, educational levels, or endless other variations in humanity. Terms of breathtaking insensitivity were routinely used without thought as to how painful, infuriating, patronizing, condescending, or ignorant those terms might be.
It was only a matter of time before, quite rightly, society became aware of the hurtful nature of language and behavior, and made efforts to correct it. Suddenly, I was no longer short, I was “vertically challenged.” Amusing books came out poking fun at this new trend, such as “Politically Correct Bedtime Stories” and “The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History.” People started watching their mouths and their actions. They started refusing terms or behaviors that could – thinkingly or unthinkingly – hurt others. This was all fine and good, a necessary societal change. The pendulum was juuust about in the equilibrium position.
But, inexorably, the pendulum continued on its trajectory until it swung right past equilibrium and soared in the other direction. Suddenly, anything and everything was hurtful. Micro-aggressions were created out of thin air and flourished. Snowflakes were born. The most innocuous things – a display of raw cotton, pumpkin spice latté , the existence of Caucasian people, all of Western civilization – became “triggers” purportedly designed to bludgeon and oppress special-interest groups. Everything became a “toxic environment” by those anxious to capitalize on society’s nouveau victims.
It was only a matter of time before matters took a darker turn.
Political correctness became enshrined in government bodies and is now a tool of mob psychology – not just in America, but all over the Western world. It has become a weapon more potent and vicious than mere censoring could ever hope to be. And now – it kills.
Take the sad case of an Australian political cartoonist named Bill Leak. Mr. Leak was not afraid to confront politically incorrect hot-button issues in his work. He hauled uncomfortable and inflammatory topics to the forefront (the ongoing genocide of Papuan natives by the Indonesian government; child neglect issues with Aboriginal groups; militant homosexuals; Islamic terrorism). His employer, the Australian (newspaper), responded to the vicious criticism of Leak’s work with the statement: “Bill Leak’s confronting and insightful cartoons force people to examine the core issues in a way that sometimes reporting and analysis can fail to do.”
But this wasn’t good enough. To heck with free speech and personal opinion. Leak was hauled before Australia’s Star Chamber, the so-called “Human Rights Commission,” and told to apologize or face fines and jail time for the horrific crime of free expression. Unable to come up with suitable numbers of offended “victims,” Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissar, Tim Soutphommasane, was reduced to advertising for plaintiffs to testify against Leak.
Oh, and this was after Leak and his family were forced to leave their home and live under police protection because he was on ISIS’ literal hit list.
In the excellent words of columnist Marisa Martin:
PC feigns individuality, while dictating mass obedience and enforced passivity. It draws supporters by appealing to their basest instincts of greed, fear, pride, sadism and manipulation of others.
While having no consistent code of ethics itself, political correctness dons a feigned moral superiority. This is a gift for nasty people who hate their neighbors. Charging them with the non-crimes that PC fabricates, they can easily take them down. Ratting on outsiders and infidels is what political correctness is all about – delivered with sneers, and the smug self-righteousness to which we have become accustomed.
Attached at their hips are sycophants of the state, who also find oppression useful: Militant homosexuals or Muslim crusaders, Marxists, Earth worshipers, and various cults who can’t withstand scrutiny or civil conversation. Political correctness covers for a multitude of sins.
However, Australia’s modern-day inquisition didn’t get too far with Mr. Leak. He died, age 61, from an “unexpected” heart attack caused by stress; literally killed by political correctness.
According to Martin: “His chief tormentor and anti-speech activist, Gillian Triggs, was recently honored on her way out of her position in the [Human Rights Commission]. Australia awarded her the 2017 Voltaire award for her ‘courageous stand on people’s rights’ – which is hilarious.”
Yeah, way to go, Ms. Triggs. You killed a man, however indirectly, in your zeal for politically correct perfection and uniformity.
A saddened and disgusted Mark Steyn lamented that Bill Leak, “a man who is already living in hiding because murderous thugs don’t like his cartoon, has to be further tormented because hack bureaucrats and professional grievance-mongers don’t like some other cartoon. … [T]hese are merely different points on the same continuum: The Islamic State and the Australian state are both in the shut-up business, and proud of it.”
Here in America, the impact of out-of-control political correctness is getting worse. People have been fired from their jobs, they’ve had their websites, blogs, or social media accounts shut down, they’ve had investigations into their pulpits and bank accounts, they’ve been forced to move from their homes, and endless statues, monuments and other historical artifacts have been damaged, destroyed, or removed. And yes, people have been murdered.
“We are dealing with a new form of terrorism that strikes at the root of thought and faith,” noted Martin.
I can’t disagree. You think political correctness is trivial? Think again. It’s deadly.
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