Not so long ago one of our conservative readers claimed that we at Harry’s Place had ‘gone PC’ and the recent debate surrounding Robert Kilroy Silk brought more such suggestions.
I have always been wary of people who complain about ‘political correctness’. All too often they are the kind of people who feel they have a right to make derogatory comments about people based on their race, gender or sexual orientation – a right which they are apparently being denied by the ‘PC thought police’.
The term ‘politically correct’ began of course as an in-joke among leftists. It was a way of reacting to those very, very serious activists who used contorted language to avoid any suspicion that they might be ‘unsound’ on matters of race, gender and sexuality. And anyone who was involved in left politics in the 1980’s knows that such people existed.
But political correctness took on a new, broader meaning once it fell into the hands of the right. They used it to attack some of the sillier practices in local government and the public sector in general and while there were some infamous exaggerations (and worse), most people on the liberal left would accept that conservatives were given plenty of ammunition.
Since then the term has gradually become used as a stick to beat the left with. We are now reaching the stage whereby anyone who objects to racism, sexism or homophobia is accused of being ‘politically correct’ by some elements of the right.
The Kilroy Silk affair has brought this to a head. For the right, anyone who simply objected to the racist caricatures used by the former television presenter, was apparently trying to stifle dissent and had fallen in with the Muslim lobby.
This lobby are, we are told, exploiting the weakness of the ‘politically-correct liberal elite’ to further erode the natural born right of British people to make derogatory generalisations about any ethnic or national group (except Americans or Israelis, for whom any criticism is now denounced as the new fascism).
In his book The Myth of Political Correctness, JohnK. Wilson had a chapter entitled ‘Conservative Correctness’ which argues that the political attacks on PC in the US education system that began in the 1990’s are in fact an attempt to impose a conservative agenda through the tactic of labelling opposition as restrictive, ultra-left-wing madness.
That argument and phrase does seem to apply rather well to the approach being adopted by sections of the conservative media (including right-wing bloggers).
Here then are the main elements of this Conservative Correctness in the UK.
1. The white, heterosexual male, is a victim of our currently ‘PC Society’. His freedom of speech is restricted, job opportunities are denied to him, his viewpoint is never reflected in the liberal-left dominated media and people who try to raise families and live a decent law-abiding, hard-working life are penalised in favour of all manner of deviants and minorities.
2. The law and the courts and the political elite are biased in favour of the criminal rather than the victim of crime. Criminals are being ‘understood’ rather than punished while the victims of crime are being ignored and left to the mercy of the muggers and burglars. Criminals enjoy the life of Riley in so-called prisons – at taxpayers expense.
3. Racism doesn’t really exist. The accusation of ‘racist’ is just used to shut down any debate about immigration and the threat to our national identity and to assist in the continued PC fuelled attempts to denigrate our indigenous heritage and culture. The term also helps build the continued growth of the ‘race relations industry’.
4. Sexism or gender discrimination doesn’t really exist. The concept was been invented by feminists and is used to further weaken family values and continue the persecution of men. Women are attracted into this easy but destructive lifestyle by generous government subsidies denied to ordinary families.
5. Homophobia certainly doesn’t exist. It has been invented by the ‘gay lobby’ as part of their campaign against the traditional family. We are now reaching the stage whereby to be straight is to be considered deviant. Schoolteachers and the media constantly promote a positive image of homosexuality while denigrating traditional heterosexual, sex.
6. The European Union is our enemy. It aims to destroy the British way of life and our institutions and force us to live under a Franco-German, anti-American, high-tax, federal, socialist super-state.
7. The PC left has succeeded in taking control of almost all areas of society. It dominates not only national and local government but also the civil service, the media, education and the police force.
None of which, of course bares much resemblance to reality. As such I would argue that CC is far worse and much more dangerous than the rather silly old PC.
For while political correctness, when it really operated, was an over-zealous and misguided attempt to deal with real problems (at least for those of us who believe that racism and other forms of oppression and discrimination do exist) Conservative Correctness is based simply and crudely upon fears – fear of immigrants, fear of homosexuals, fear of Europeans, fear of Muslims, fear of women, fear of crime and above all fear that we are being taken for a ride by them.
At a time of huge changes and much real insecurity the CC exploitation of fear can be a potent mix, although it remains to be seen how much of this agenda will move out of the pages of newspapers like the Daily Mail and other right-wing outlets and be incorporated into real Conservative Party politics.
As for New Labour, well I think it is both a reason why CC is based on fantasies but also, in some areas, a warning of how influential it has already become.
Far from being soft on crime, Blair’s Britain continues to break records in locking people up for minor offences. Far from being ‘PC on race’ we have a home secretary that has used the crudest language and the crassest stunts in dealing with the difficult issue of asylum seekers. Far from caving into Brussels, the New Labour government has continued Britain’s traditional awkward approach to union and has just fallen out with its supposed Franco-German masters over the war.
I’m not really sure how many single mothers feel the cuts in their benefit were a further incentive to continue their attractive easy life or whether the presence of openly homosexual ministers has helped the gay community in their never-ending quest to destroy our families.
Anyway, next time someone informs you that you ‘sound a bit PC’, ask yourself whether or not they are CC. You usually won’t have to wait long to find out.