The last refuge of the dull: The case against being “Political Incorrect”Posted: April 19, 2012
When I was 18, for a Secret Santa I was given a book entitled ‘How to be right; In a P.C. World gone wrong‘ the person I had bought it for me, had done so knowing that I was interested in politics and very argumentative, she had thus – as you should clearly never do – judged a book by it’s cover. The subsequent weeks found me going over this tedious A to Z of tired right wing complaints, ranging from traffic laws being enforced, the necessity of rich people being allowed to engage in dog fighting and the deplorable lack of racial slurs in general society. Whilst I went thought it I added furious annotations to the entries that most annoyed me in angry scrawl. It took a while but I realized why it was this book pissed me off so much, it wasn’t that the entries where overly offensive, or to much to handle. The various blurbs from right wing luvvies described the book as ‘Originally witty’ and ‘a fresh perspective’ on the world, the introduction by the author kept thanking his ‘liberal’ editor for managing to stomach the political incorrectness he was braving flinging around the office; these people had mistaken being reactionary for being subversive and in their childish glee to be naughty schoolchildren again had spent a lot of time explaining to us who radical they are. In short the strange fetish many people seem to have with ‘battling political correctness’ hasn’t just lead to a regressive attitudes, it has in fact – which is worse – made political dialogue so much more boring.
I say boring, because having the same obsessive diatribe about the inability to say the things in public you are currently saying in public is not only a redundancy but a double redundancy which is wasting the time you could be spending talking about actual problems – or literally anything else – instead of equating the fact that the perimeters of generally constitutes polite conversation in most people’s opinion have shifted in the past fifty years, to being taken away by the KGB. This is an odd form of faux rebelliousness in that it seems to have no real focus other than getting upset when someone who isn’t a white male gets ahead in some way; Barack Obama for instance has to have been the result of affirmative action in some way, no one can say merry Christmas any more or even discriminate against gay people in your capacity as a government representative. I wouldn’t mind if these where the beginnings of a discussion about – respectively – Race and democracy, the place of religion in the organs of state and how much leeway someone can be given for their personal discriminating beliefs, but they never are; these are always introduced with the howling charge that leftists are, by covert means attempting fundamentally alter society in way it’s never been before and ending with the conclusion that the traditional values we all hold dear are lost forever with the same unity of the so called free thinkers accuse the other side of.
Most of the Anarchists I know have yelled at me for being annoyed by political incorrectness. As they would “Rather know if someone is a bigot” and “rules against thought are wrong” those are both , in themselves true, and would be relevant to this argument if there where any ‘Political correct’ Laws actually on the books, the closest thing any state in the western world comes to is Hate crime legislation, and even then those are about incidents where actual violence has actually occurred: saying “I think Gay people are Immoral” isn’t a hate crime. Saying “I think gays are immoral and we should go and kill us some” to a baying mob a few blocks from the Castro District is a hate crime for obvious reasons and specifying a hate crime as distinct from a normal murder or assault has very little to do with catering to the sensibilities of liberals and brainwashing conservatives, and has a lot more to do with practicalities. In America for instance, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (1994) and the Civil rights act (1964) are held up as bastions of political correctness, one protecting a woman’s right to not be blocked getting into family planning clinics, the other criminalizing segregation. The reason they exist is to take the enforcement of the law in the cases of reproductive rights and racism out of jurisdictions where it is unlikely that these particular groups are going to have their rights protected by making these things a federal crime so that far from thought crimes being created, these laws allow actual crimes to be investigated, challenging the small oligarchies that grow up in any small community, best shown in the movie ‘Mississippi burning‘. There are no laws stating that you can be prosecuted for thinking homophobic things, you can be prosecuted for impacting someone else s life if you utilize your bigotry in an official capacity in say the position of a judge or police officer, but it’s not as though this has greatly impacted the inherent racism of the justice and policing system in both Britain and America, that being because, despite the consistent whining from this particular group; Rich White men still run the show, and when we pretend otherwise we are just chasing shadows.
The consistent need by the right wing chattering classes to pump out the idea that treating people fairly is at it’s core, a plot to make society boring and bland is itself a boring and bland statement, creating a whole new political correctness of the politically incorrect, based on tedious projection; someone can’t be not homophobic because they don’t want to be, it must be out of fear of the gay lobby, all white people hate all black people and the ones who say so are just not lying to themselves, all men secretly resent women in the workforce, and all women, when their true to themselves, want to be coddled and patronized like a housewife from the 1950s. Apart from sounding incredibly stressful to keep up with, this world the media of the right has created sounds incredibly boring, what is generally called ‘political correctness’ is essentially not being weird about other people being different to you, which once you get over the fact that not everyone is like you, you can have some conversations that aren’t necessarily about how everyone is so sensitive about they way you talk about them. Because if we don’t get over it, and we keep listening to people who say that non-bigots are just guilt ridden idiots who want to protect everyone’s feelings then we’ll start to believe it and people who aren’t mental will think books like ‘How to be right, in a PC world gone wrong‘ will seem intelligent. Which will, anyone who has read the book will agree, will be a sad, dull day.