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Just Because Voltaire Wants A Fight Is No Reason Not Tell People To Shut The F@ck Up!

For me there’s always been a strange contradiction flowing from those who whinge about political correctness and it goes something like this:

Some well-known figure makes a statement. In this hypothetical example, I’m going to call my hypothetical figure, Humphrey and any similarity between him and anyone living or dead is purely coincidental. Humphrey, I should also point out, is not a Muslim because then the same people promoting free speech at all costs would possibly be arguing that Humphrey should conform to “our” values or shut up. This is, of course, not political correctness, but simply a statement of how we must all conform to the same set of values.

So Humphrey announces that thinks that it would be a good idea if vegans were rounded up and sent to New Zealand. A well-known vegan, Harvey says that this is exactly the sort of thing that he feared the recent “Eat Lamb on Australia Day” commercial would encourage, and Harvey calls for Humphrey’s removal from his position as head of The Australians For Greater Tolerance Commission. Letters are written and some people complain about what Humphrey has said and others complain about Harvey’s attempt to shut down free speech by attacking Humphrey.

Then Andrew Bolt will write a column suggesting that Harvey has absolutely no right to say what he did because we live in a country where people should be allowed to say what they like and Harvey should shut up or go somewhere else – like New Zealand!. And there’ll be lots of comments from people supporting Bolt and tots of talkback where people will reminisce about the good old days when everybody knew their place and you didn’t have people questioning Anzac Day like that guy who lost his job at that TV channel that nobody watches because of all the shows with foreign people speaking foreigner.

In all of this, you’ll notice that nobody has actually been jailed or executed for speaking their mind. And, with the exception of SBS journalist, Scott McIntire with his ANZAC tweets, nobody has actually lost their job.

So contradiction runs something like this: People with political incorrect views should be allowed to express them even if it hurts the feelings of some person or minority group, but people with politically correct views should not be allowed to hurt the feelings of those who have expressed such views by actually disagreeing with them, mocking them or calling for their sacking.

Which, of course, brings me to Peter Craven’s little article in this morning’s paper: “On guard against the tyranny of opinion”

After spending a large chunk of the piece complaining about people who criticised Germaine Greer’s and Barry Humphrey’s comments on Caitlyn Jenner, he concludes with:

“We need to tolerate opinions we find intolerable. Remember, it was the Greeks, the people who gave us the germ of democracy, who executed that great man of wisdom, Socrates. Just as it was the Romans, the bringers of peace and internationalism, who executed Jesus Christ.

We should be vigilant against shrieking at the thought crimes of others. We should be wary of shrieking our own. And in the meantime, we should put up with Barry Humphries and Germaine Greer speaking their minds.”

But surely just because you “put up with” people “speaking their minds” that doesn’t mean that you can’t say that you think that they’re a washed-up old has-been who says controversial things in the hope of generating some publicity. (Not my actual view, btw, so don’t get all PC on me here, gees, I don’t want any criticism of anything I write – stifles my freedom of speech!)

As the quote says, “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

  • * *

P.S. My family started watching the latest “Jurassic Park” the other night and I wondered how the makers still have success, when it’s always the same plot wtih out of control dinosaurs and it just not plausible that people in the film haven’t learned their lessons by now…

But then I remembered the Liberal Party!

  • * *

I can’t close without congratulating Rupert and Jerry on their wonderful announcement. I understand the couple would like people to respect their privacy at such a time. because if there’s one thing people don’t need it’s the media intruding into their private lives.

So please, no photos and no phone hacking.

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9 comments

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  1. donwreford

    I cannot stand tattoos.

  2. terry

    any luck she will put him in the grave .

  3. paul walter

    Of course let the ignorant have their say. How will you ever know what they are thinking unless you encourage them to talk.

    We need to know how to diagnose the insecurities of less well educated or intelligent people, expressed in their comments and where the system has been successful in manipulating those fears. We can allay some of the anxieties only if we allow others to express them first.

  4. diannaart

    One of the most difficult tasks is to find the right words to express at the right time – we must be patient.

    Or turn off the TV.

  5. Bronte ALLAN

    Well said, as usual Rossleigh!

  6. mars08

    Of course let the ignorant have their say. How will you ever know what they are thinking unless you encourage them to talk…

    Given the inadequacies and inequities of capitalism, the immaturity of the ruling class, the speed and reach of modern communication, and the colossal wealth controlled by certain individuals… is it wise to give any and every jabbering halfwit a go on the microphone?

    It’s about 80 years since the craziness hit the tipping point. The people who suffered or witnessed it are gone. And far too many today have forgotten the lessons.

  7. Sen Nearly Ile

    charmie and bazza know political correctness pays less than truth.
    What truth is from gervais?
    Of course women should be paid the same as men for doing the same job. And I’d like to say now, I’m being paid exactly the same as [what Tina Fey and Amy Poehler] did last year. No, I know there were two of them, but it’s not my fault if they want to share the money, is it?
    Thank you, I’m afraid that’s it. We’re out of time. From myself and Mel Gibson, shalom.’

    E. A. Poe:i have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.

  8. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Speaking one’s mind is a great thing. Very cathartic. But it’s even more therapeutic when one doesn’t have anything to lose, or like Germaine and Barry have shown, it helps with their stirrer images.

    Unfortunately, Scott McIntyre didn’t balance the pros and cons before he aired his views on social media.

  9. Sen Nearly Ile

    Yes, Jennifer, whilst in context the sbs is a reasonable place to discuss the validity of the substance of his words.
    The topics deserve airing and discussion but were too big for a sports ‘journalist’ to make in an off the cuff tweet and the timing on the 100th year was ridiculous.

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