All 5 entries tagged Politicalcorrectness

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January 17, 2006

Free speech?

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Several times recently people have asserted that others are 'wrong' merely because they don't conform to the perceived majority views of western society. In the entry above the debate is centred on the expression of an anti-homosexual viewpoint by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, president of the Muslim Council of Britain. Although I do not personally agree with his standpoint I have no problem with him, or anyone else, expressing the convictions of their faith providing that no active persecution takes place. Yes, religion is entirely opinion and cannot be proved, but how can the reverse viewpoint be proved either? Yes, religious extremists contradict what we believe to be correct, but from their viewpoint our feelings are blasphemous, and who’s to say who is ‘right’?

Why should people be forced to limit what they say simply because it might offend others? If we follow that argument to its logical conclusion no debate should be allowed at all, because all possible arguments offend someone!

It seems to me that everyone is extremely hasty to proclaim the necessity for free speech, providing that those speaking agree with them personally or with the popular or politically correct concept.

By defending the rights of the persecuted in an attempt to promote free speech are we going too far and as a result merely creating new victims of persecution?

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Voltaire

November 20, 2005

Appropriate politeness?

Follow-up to Gentlemanliness and whether it has a place nowadays from Musings of a blonde

Having started a longish debate about gentlemanliness recently, the other morning I was caused to think about politeness in general, and how you make your responses appropriate to the people you meet.

There is a blind man with whom I often share a bus from Leamington to campus at about 9 am in the morning. On the morning in question, I was sitting by the window and he came and sat next to me. As I am a biologist, I had to get off the bus at Gibbet Hill. As soon as the man sensed me moving he turned so that I could get past. I thanked him, but through some deeply-ingrained reflex I thanked him in an obviously more enthusiastic way than I would ever thank someone without a disability.

Now what was his reaction to this? It annoys me that I don't know. Do disabled people appreciate being treated with extra care because it makes life easier, or do they just want to be treated as 'normal'? And probably, in the case of the gentlemanliness debate, it completely depends on the person. But how do you ever know how to avoid annoying people?

November 03, 2005

This Christmas stamp issue

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm so completely hacked off about so many aspects of this Christmas stamp business (link) that I thought I'd have a rant. So, in no particular order:

– Why on earth did the Post Office officials not assume that something like this would cause offence? To me depicting Hindu characters in a position that could imply the worshipping of a Christian god would obviously be controversial to both Hindus and Christians. And so it has been.

– Why did the PO think it necessary to include icons from other world religions in the Christmas stamps? Christmas is about Christianity, not about any other religions. As a Christian state why should we try to soften our celebration of our own religious festivals? It's political correctness and racial equality gone barmy! We are so fanatical now about respecting the religions of our ethnic minorities that we forget to defend and uphold our own!

– And above all, why is the world so preoccupied with this when there are thousands of people dying from floods and earthquakes in India and of food shortages in all parts of the third world? We are getting to the point where we get so bogged down with tiny details that we forget the bigger picture!

October 27, 2005

Gentlemanliness and whether it has a place nowadays

My lovely boyfriend always makes a point of walking on the outside of me when we're strolling along any pavement – something about stopping me getting splashed by puddles when cars go past and other such honourable intentions.

However, I have recently noticed that many other men choose to force me to leave the pavement when they walk by me and to walk through a doorway before I do instead of holding it open for me.

Have men begun to shun the gentlemanly behaviour that has been ingrained in our society for generations? And if this is true some, I am sure, would justify this by saying that if women want equality they should no longer expect to be as 'the fairer sex'. But equally we are inherently weaker and thus should we expect to be protected in this way? Or is it insulting if we want to be treated as equals? I personally get irritated (something Justin knows very well) if a man doesn't play to his best against me in sport just because I'm a girl .

Does gentlemanly behaviour have a place in modern society?

August 25, 2005

Morality or common sense?

Is it ever right to ignore morality for the sake of saving lives?

George Bush has recently declared that, to combat the increasing AIDS crisis, he recommends abstinance rather than the universal use of condoms. Of course this is a lovely idea and morally would is far preferrable tactic, but realistically it's not going to work. If condoms are no longer supplied more people will contract AIDS and, as a result, die.

The other day I watched a fascinating programme about the new Pope. It mentioned a situation in South America where Bishops were preaching a Marxist-tinged message to promote changes in the political system in response to the extreme poverty faced by many of the population. The Vatican published document condemning this, encouraging the poor people to adhere to the Bible and turn to God instead of worrying so much about their lot on Earth. That, again, again is a lovely sentiment, but is it right to ask people to essentially give up the prospect of a better life when something could be done about it?

But then if you begin to ignore your moral code, particularly for those upholding a faith, doesn't it fundamentally undermine that faith?

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