Tuesday, August 12, 2014
The price of political correctness
The day may be beautiful, one’s clothes fit, and your abode’s hopefully comfy. But though not in a dictatorship, it’s sad that we can’t express front and center all the perils on our near horizon. We can think them — wouldn’t it be fascinating to hear those thoughts? But not fully express them all. Sometimes I feel we haven’t much more freedom of speech — due to the rigors of political correctness — than did the French under Louis XIV.
Near the end of that reign Montesquieu (he of the separation of powers influencing 18th century framers of the Constitution) wrote a book called “The Persian Letters.” Unable openly to criticize the monarchy and other institutions in his society, he had Persian travelers in the book come to Paris, naively sending letters home about things that were new to them, and which didn’t add up.
Everyone knows the tale of the emperor’s new clothes, where only a child uninitiated into the horrors of political correctness for that period blurted out the unvarnished truth.
Once self-congratulatory about the virtues of an open society, we now have too many things that can be said only in an indirect, veiled manner. A friend of mine told me before he died in 2007 that Los Angeles, where he lived, was “changing by the day.” (He’d had a long, distinguished career at UCLA.) He said this in a way that wouldn’t step on politically correct toes.
A writer I knew once declared that he had missed the significance of his century. I think many of us have perhaps not missed the significance of even the last five years, and more importantly, of the five or 10 to come; but we have too often failed to tell it like it was, is, and probably will be. So many say something like the following: “Well, the roof’ll only fall in after I’m gone.” Like the old “après moi, le déluge” (a bit after Montesquieu); but what of children and grand-children? What of a heritage in peril — just around here, all the wonderful towns of New York state, all the architecture and infrastructure, and love, sweat, ingenuity, and art that created those things?
Niagara Gazette — At the risk of being called reactionary — that musty word — we’re been too politically correct to avoid handing over big chunks of a lavish inheritance. The trend is getting to be all over — not just in agglomerations like Los Angeles. People in safe boondocks hope it’s not. Which would be like Brazilians warming up for the Olympics but ignoring their favelas replete with turbulence. We hope the water ain’t rising higher, but even on for now secure rocks we’re forced (inside) to realize that it is.
Will there be more thuggery chez nous? Probably. They used to say that Brazil’s the country of the future and always will be; but that kind of instability is well within our gates as well.
And for the roots of all this, one has to consider a brand of liberationism hatched during the late ’60s and continuing in the ’70s, and which at first seemed quite painless. Now it’s led to much politically correct appeasement of deleterious trends. Plus derisive intolerance of those who would like to draw any lines in the sand ...
A generation that forgets the old lessons of barbarism going back to ancient times is doomed to relearn those lessons — the hard way. You mean an era of liberationism à gogo has facilitated increased thuggery? Unfortunately so ...
Meanwhile, we dither or “cynicize” each other with silly divisions, or take refuge in inane TV shows or internet games. We fiddle like Nero — while our Rome maybe doesn’t burn, but is definitely ripe for expropriation by the Darwinian “fittest” (or more accurately, most “ruthless”).
And then (very soon) it may be too late to rue the strictures of political correctness that entwined and engulfed us, perhaps outdoing the situation even back in Montesquieu’s time. At least he was able to frame ideas that helped make a great constitution.
FRC backs bill to protect faith-based adoption agencies
Under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate, states will pay a price if they violate the religious beliefs of faith-based adoption and foster care agencies.
The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act is a bill to protect the agencies from being forced to violate their religious beliefs to contract with the government to help children.
Leanna Baumer with the Family Research Council says policies in states such as California and Illinois have worked to "squeeze out faith-based providers by refusing to respect their religious and moral convictions."
One example is being told to place children with homosexuals, in violation of their faith, or lose government funding.
"And so it tells states that if you want to continue receiving federal funding, they need to not discriminate," Baumer says of the Senate bill.
"If they ignore that prohibition," she says, "they'll risk losing a percentage of their federal funding, and faith-based providers who are aggrieved will be able to sue that state in federal court."
The hope is that Congress will provide bipartisan support for the bill so that political correctness does not trump the welfare of children who need the services.
I’m not supposed to play favorites but I do. In fact, I have a favorite pro-life group based out of Phoenix, Arizona. They are called Voices for the Voiceless (or VFTV, see www.VFTV.org). The thing I like most about the group is that a young man named Josiah Friedman when he was only fifteen founded them. Six years later, some of the leaders are still in their late teens. Arguably, these young people have already done more to advocate for the unborn than most pro-lifers will do in an entire lifetime.
When VFTV started it was basically a hub for the student pro-life movement across the state of Arizona. The group held events and tried to reach out to general audiences in an apologetics-based format. Some of their marketing techniques were quite appealing. They held rallies in close proximity to the Arizona State University campus. At the rallies, they wore tee shirts and held signs saying, “We are the 78%.” It was a poignant reminder of the fact that only 78% of their generation has survived Roe v. Wade. On the other hand, 22% of their generation fell to a decision predicated on women’s rights. That includes roughly 22% of unborn women.
Now, VFTV has started to shift its emphasis away from reaching out directly to the masses with apologetics. Instead, they are seeking to help committed pro-lifers develop specific skills so that they, in turn, can reach the masses. The skills sets they seek to develop range from art, to performance, to social media and photography. This new direction has resulted in some interesting new projects.
Perhaps the most interesting of those new projects is called “Exposures.” It is a photojournalism project that involves street interviews on the topic of abortion. (I had a chance to participate in one of the interviews last weekend in Flagstaff). Each brief interview involves a few basic steps.
First, a pair of photojournalists approaches someone on the street, explains that they are doing a photojournalism project, and then requests permission to take a picture of the interviewee and to ask a couple of questions. Most are surprisingly willing to have their picture taken and to answer the questions.
After the picture is taken, interviewees are asked the open-ended question, “How do you feel about abortion?” Then, they are asked the more specific question, “Has abortion affected you or someone you know personally?”
Finally, a release form is signed. Each interviewee is also given a card with the web address of the interview archive. There, interviewees can see their picture and printed responses.
The beauty of this project is that it starts a conversation without being argumentative or confrontational. People are simply invited to express their opinion and then asked if they have a personal story they would like to share. For example, in the interview I participated in on the street in Flagstaff, the woman simply responded to the opinion question by saying “I think it’s cruel.” She responded to the personal story question by saying “No.”
Even those who don’t have strong opinions about abortion (or experiences with it) can go to the website and see some truly remarkable stories. In those stories, they can see how much of an impact this often under-discussed issue can have on the lives of ordinary people. The ripple effects are often broad and enduring.
Australia: Muslim groups threaten boycott of paper over loss of antisemitic columnist Mike Carlton
MUSLIM groups have condemned the suspension of Fairfax columnist Mike Carlton and have accused the media organisation of losing its independent and respected stance.
In a letter to Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood and Sydney Morning Herald editor-in-chief Darren Goodsir, the Australian National Imams Council, Islamic Council of NSW and the Muslim Legal Network NSW among others say they will boycott the SMH unless the outspoken writer is reinstated.
Carlton resigned as a columnist for Fairfax after being told he would be suspended over his use of offensive language towards readers complaining about a July 26 column and accompanying cartoon about the war in Gaza.
This morning Carlton revealed on Twitter he has pneumonia and had left hospital today.
The letter from the groups to Fairfax said: “As representatives of the Muslim community we have always regarded Fairfax to be one the more balanced media organisations in the country and where possible we have cooperated with your journalists on countless stories,”
“But with the resignation of Mr Carlton from your publications we have now lost one of the very few voices advocating for the Palestinian cause in the country.”
The letter says the groups will consider notifying community organisations and spokespersons to cease cooperating with Fairfax journalists for media interviews.
A media campaign targeting Fairfax advertisers is also being considered.
In response to a request for comment on the letter, a Fairfax spokesman told AAP: “We understand and respect that there are strong views being expressed by many parties.
“But the Herald will not be swayed from its longstanding and ongoing commitment to providing fair, independent and balanced news and reporting.”
On Wednesday Fairfax news and business publisher Sean Aylmer said the problem was the way Carlton treated readers after they contacted him with issues about both the column and accompanying cartoon. Carlton resigned when Aylmer told him he would be suspended for several weeks.
In the letter sent to Fairfax today, the Muslim community groups also condemned the cartoon that accompanied Carlton’s column.
“It was indeed a racist cartoon that implicated the Jewish people in the actions of the Israeli state by using Jewish symbolism and stereotype,” the letter said.
“However, the apology from Fairfax makes it clear that Fairfax has been put under pressure by the Israeli lobby.”
The letter also accuses the paper of double standards and compares Carlton to another Fairfax columnist, Paul Sheehan, whom the group accuses of “habitual and countless offensive remarks about Muslims and Islam”.
“Despite the Muslim community being outraged and writing countless correspondences to Fairfax management about their concerns, no such scrutiny was applied to Mr Sheehan,” the letter said.
Carlton said via Twitter today that he had pneumonia.
“Out of hospital this morning,” he said. “Deepest thanks for thousands of supportive tweets and emails. Feel I have many good friends.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.