Tuesday, June 21, 2005


There is a very shallow defence here of Britain's current attempt to outlaw hate speech about Islam. The author claims that the bill is "narrowly drawn" so that it will still be possible to speak against Islam in various ways. But that is plainly false. The bill is designed to outlaw "expressions or behaviour intended or likely to stir up hatred". But if I say that Islam is a religion from the Devil (which I am sure I would say if I were a fundamentalist Christian) is that not an expression likely to stir up hatred of Muslims? Obviously so, I would think. Or what if I said that Mohammed was a paedophile (which he was)? Is that not an expression likely to stir up hatred of Muslims? Again obviously so, I would think. So any condemnation of Islam looks like becoming illegal in Britain. The only escape hatch offered is that "any such action would need the approval of the attorney general, who could keep a lid on it". A Labour Party Attorney General would do anything that might displease Muslims? Pull the other one!

And as the very Leftist Will Hutton ("Britain's foremost critic of capitalism") says:

"It all sounds extremely reasonable, but it isn't. It has crossed another line that is no less dangerous in a liberal society. To incite or express hatred for someone because of the colour of their skin is plainly unacceptable, but to put the expression of views about religion in the same off-limits territory, even if only in tightly drawn circumstances where they incite hatred, is wrong. By protecting belief systems from criticism, it challenges the very heart of why and what we are.

I have also received some skeptical comments from Robin Clarke in Birmingham which I reproduce below:

"Will it be enforced fairly, or with very predictable prejudice instead? In particular, I am thinking of a huge sign on Birmingham Central Mosque, which says "Read Allah's Last Testament, the Glorious Qur'an". The document here being so prominently advocated as glorious is utterly without equal in the extent to which it is saturated with incitement to religious hatred. Nothing in other religions remotely compares and anyway, so what if it did? And furthermore this is no mere theoretical / academic point. No other major religion was founded by a warmonger, whose Glorious book has inspired many millions of murders in the name of Allah, and continues to do so right now. Sure, the violence against peaceful "Muslims" in this country is deplorable and should be stopped, but it pales utterly against the enormous trail of murder which flows from the Qur'an.

So by all means let us have this law, but let it be enforced with balance, starting with the outlawing of all praise for Allah's hate-filled, hate-inspiring, unchangeable Last Testament. Or alternatively, we can cope more sensibly by simply enforcing the existing laws which prohibit assaulting of people anyway. The reality is that this bill IS being introduced solely because some Muslims are convinced --they say so themselves-- that it will indeed criminalise telling the unpalatable truth about their indefensible ideology.

The extreme prejudice with which the bill will be enforced will do nothing to further harmony with Muslims, but on the contrary generate huge resentment and rightful contempt for a "religion" which tries to use legal force to compensate for its moral and intellectual bankruptcy".

There are some interesting letters to the editor on the matter here too.


The other day I was sucker punched, hoodwinked, bamboozled, had the wool pulled over my eyes, and generally sidelined by an expert in Political Correctness. In fact, so sidelined did I get that I have been depressed for a week - and I mean really depressed. My second book recently came out and, proudly, like a new Daddy, I went on the newsgroups to announce the name of my newborn. Boy, was that a mistake. I have been catching all sorts of heck over the name of my book. More than one Politically Correct Disciple has informed me that I offended the masses with the title of my book: Mexican Living: Blogging it from a Third World Country.

It is "Third World Country" that I have been told is not a "PC" term and therefore I have offended many. Well, you can imagine how I felt. First, I live in Mexico and have gone to great lengths to attempt to assimilate the language and culture, to have Mexican friends, and to blend into the life of this wonderful country....

Just what is this Political Correct Cult supposed to be and what does it mean? Most importantly, how did I allow myself to become controlled by it? First: The noun "political correctness" means, according to the TheFreeDictionary.com by Farlex: "Avoidance of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against."

Now, wait a minute: "That can be perceived to.?" Perception - is that what all this "PC" stuff has been about all this time? Someone gets themselves all twisted into a knot because of a "perceived insult?" I mean, is there some manual that one can buy that will spell out just who is going to get their feelings hurt over some innocent remark one might make? President Fox sure could have used one before having Lord Jackson and Prince Sharpton descending on Mexico last week over "their perceived marginalization and insult." Note, it wasn't Fox who said anything insulting but, according to the "PC" definition, it was Jackson's and Sharpton's PERCEPTION there was an insult.

How is something like this even a livable concept? Just think a moment. Is this any way to live? You go through life giving the power and control of your life over to your perception of words, or how someone might perceive your words. Isn't this what we are talking about? Are we not talking about someone hearing something that his or her mental filtration system PERCEIVES as marginalization or insulting? Words are just words. They have no intrinsic power to do anything. It is not words that define something but the hearers of those words.

That is the problem with America. Americans have become a culture of victims and in the case of the Politically Correct crowd, victims of words. Americans are people who actively and volitionally give away the power and control of their lives over to someone or something else - like words and the groups or individuals who say those words. To those who feel themselves to be marginalized or insulted: Why are you giving the power of your life over to words or the people who say them? They, the words and the speaker of them, have no more power over you than you allow. Think about this! Do not trivialize this. Stop giving the power over your life to words and the speakers of them.

Second: I fell right into the trap. My American upbringing was right there to enable me to swallow, hook, line, and sinker, the notion that I had insulted the entire nation of Mexico with my book title. Nevertheless, look what this person did - in the name of "you don't want to be an offense to someone now, do you"? - a manipulation citing Political Correctness - I fell into his trap and allowed this person to control my emotions. I gave up my power. I gave control over the emotional well-being of my life to what? I gave the power over my well-being to SOMEONE'S PERCEPTION of a marginalization or insult.

Here is when "Political Correctness" is NOT something virtuous. When someone's perception of a perceived marginalization or insult results in the loss of freedom of expression, it becomes thought control, it becomes inversion of the traditional social order and, ultimately, a totalitarian control over the lives of others. Was that Politically Correct to say?


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