It used to just be tobacco smoke. Now it’s everything. Spectator:
The contagious madness of the new PC
It’s becoming pretty clear, as the year rolls on, that some of our brightest youngsters have gone round the bend. It’s as if they’ve caught a virus, a mental one, a set of thoughts and ideas that might loosely be called political correctness, but seem to me weirder and more damaging than that.
Back in the 1990s, PC students would stamp about with placards demanding equal rights for minorities and talking about Foucault. This new PC doesn’t seem to be about protecting minorities so much as everyone, everywhere from ever having their feelings hurt. It came from America, this virus, incubated in the closed minds of the Land of the Free, but it’s here now, and contagious.
We have a right not to be offended, think these kids, but this has horrible implications, as Brendan O’Neill pointed out in his Spectator cover story ‘The Stepford students’ last year. Brendan arrived to speak in defence of abortion at Christchurch, Oxford, only to find his debate had been cancelled. Why? Because it was offensive and might damage the ‘mental safety’ of students to hear ‘a person without a uterus’ speak on abortion. What about free speech? Overrated, said the students. Just an excuse for bigots.
Students have also decided they need protecting from disturbing bits in books. There have been recent calls for content warnings — ‘trigger warnings’ — to be inserted into great books. The Great Gatsby (because it’s misogynist),Huckleberry Finn (racist) and The Merchant of Venice (anti-Semitic). This spring at Columbia University, a student complained she had been ‘triggered’ by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Proserpina’s treatment at the hands of Dis gave her flashbacks to a past assault, she said, and made her feel ‘unsafe’, though I’d have thought her assailant pretty pleased to be compared to a god. Columbia have just announced, sotto voce, that the Metamorphoses will be replaced by Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon…
Rod Liddle in the Spectator:
What can we as a society do about the relentless harassment of women by terrifying men? Menacing men, threatening men, priapic men. Something must be done — and quickly. I reached this conclusion after reading a deeply distressing article by the Guardian columnist Daisy Buchanan, who announced that she has imposed a curfew on herself after a series of deeply unpleasant incursions by bestial males. ‘I can’t believe women have to live like this in 2015,’ Ms Buchanan lamented, having revealed that she has also given up dancing in case the same sort of thing happens when she is on the way home from wherever it is she dances.
I am going to repeat the full details of the assaults made on this youngish woman — not for gratuitous reasons, but because I think people need to know; they need to be shocked out of their complacency, they need to face up to the enormity of the problem, no matter how traumatising that might be.
The latest incident happened when Daisy was on her way to her yoga class. A man outside the studio said to her, ‘Hello — I keep seeing you around! What’s your name?’ Yes, I know. It beggars belief that this sort of thing can still happen in this day and age. Luckily, on this occasion Daisy had her wits about her and mumbled an answer so that the man left not knowing for certain that she was called ‘Daisy’. But she was clearly numb with fright…
Presumably it’s this sort of thing that induced Jeremy Corbyn to suggest segregated train carriages. I’m beginning to wonder whether this is where I came in. I grew up in a world of separate boys’ schools and girls’ schools, and pubs that were off limits to children and unaccompanied women. Then they were desegregated, and everyone became equal – which I initially thought was a Good Thing.
I soon had my doubts as the pubs filled up with feral children, and it became not uncommon to see young mothers changing babies’ nappies on table tops. And in many ways the smoking bans that followed not long after grew out of the collision of the newly arrived home and school and playground values with the traditional, adult, and (largely) male values of pub life. How awful for little Johnny to see people smoking! And drinking! Traditional pub values were defeated in very short order by home and school playground values. The smokers were ejected. The drinkers will undoubtedly soon follow them.
I think the same would have happened if all churches had been told that they’d have to cater to all varieties of religious faith, and not just one. And you’d have a Catholic day, a Protestant day, a Jewish day, a Muslim day, a Buddhist day, and a Satanist day. They wouldn’t have been able to coexist with each other for a week, and religion would soon have won, most likely the most intolerant.
I think this is why multiculturalism doesn’t work: it brings all the different cultures into collision with each other, and into conflict. Religions can coexist while they have their own churches in which their own beliefs and traditions reign. Smokers and non-smokers can coexist when there are separate smoking and non-smoking rooms. Adults and children can coexist while the latter are largely confined to schools and homes, and the former have their adult-only pubs and clubs. Men and women can coexist when they have their own separate spaces. French and Germans and Italians and Spaniards can coexist while they each have their own countries in which their own cultural values prevail. One Size Fits All doesn’t work. The EU single currency doesn’t work. Free movement of people doesn’t work. Globalisation probably doesn’t work either.
It’s a bit like somebody taking all the separate bottles of chemicals in a chemistry lab and pouring them all into one single large vat. The resulting explosion would probably blow the roof off. They could coexist in the lab while they were largely restricted to their own bottles, and only brought into contact with each other in small quantities under tightly controlled conditions. But they could not coexist when these stuffy, old, outdated controls and restrictions were lifted.