PC or not PC, that is the question

Posted: May 28, 2013 in society
Tags: , ,

When the Government passes laws against hate speech or sedition or anything else that restricts freedom of speech, there is debate to be had. All rights and freedoms have to be balanced against other rights and freedoms. I can argue that I have the right to run naked down Collins Street, but many would argue that they shouldn’t be forced to look at such a sight; the question then becomes how reasonable is it for me to say just look away? Many who supported the tightening of the sedition laws because we couldn’t allow people to encourage violence, turned around to argue that racial vilification laws are an unreasonable restriction. Whatever the law, people will be trying to find the appropriate balance, and not everyone will agree that it’s been found.

But about twenty years ago, I’ve noticed a strange thing happened with the term “politically correct”. It probably began before, but I remember John Howard saying about Pauline Hanson that while he disagreed with her, it was refreshing that she felt able to say what she was thinking. The implication being that we were meant to draw was that while the Labor Party had shut down free speech, now people were free to question.

While acknowledging that many of the laws which restrict people’s capacity to incite hatred or violence do not have universal acceptance – (“It’s my democratic right to call you names!”)  – I find that more and more often I’m coming across a strange phenomenon: The person who tells you that he or she can’t say what they’d like to because of this political correctness, but the nudge and the wink is enough! We know what they’d like to say, if only this PC straightjacket didn’t restrict them so much.

Often though, it’s not laws or regulations that stop them. What they want to say isn’t covered by anti-discrimination or racial vilification laws. All that happen is that someone will tell them that they’re an ignorant fool and that they’re attitudes are just offensive. So they’re “forced” to keep their views to themselves, because they don’t want to be told how wrong they are.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about a certain Melbourne columnist (He Who Must Not Be Named) and his comments on the Adam Goodes incident. While sipping my latte (of course, too early for Chardonnay), I made the mistake of picking up the Herald-Sun today and reading the Letters Page. It seems that many of its readers think that Goodes was a little too sensitive, that the term “ape” is not racist and that the AFL was over the top. And, of course, that the girl was a mere thirteen.

I wonder if a story appeared that an Islamic thirteen year old had said that she thought that 9/11 was a wonderful thing would the same readers say that she was just a child, and that I was over the top for complaining. Or would they say that people lost their lives in the September 11 attacks? Whereas, of course, calling a person an ape never did anyone any harm, and besides they get called Neanderthals all the time and that never worries them.

Of course, it might if they could spell the word well enough to look it up!

  1. Fed up says:

    I have problems with the term political correct being attacked. In itself, the term means little.

    The issue is, whether one has the right to abuse all around them.

    Personally, I believe not.

    Yes, I believe in the right to say what I like. But this right, like all others, come with obligations as well. Yes, freedom of speech is important, what our democracy is based on. There is no freedom to abuse or insult.. That freedom goes against civil society.

    What I find disappointing, is that in a civil society, these laws are so badly needed.

    Yes, that 13 year old might not have known the term sh used was racist, but I am sure she knew it was an insult and she was behaving badly. As for being damaged, I fail to see how.

    I am sure the young lass has learnt a very important message in life. That one is responsible for what they say. That every action has an reaction. I am sure it is not the first time, she has acted in such a way. I do hope for her sake, it is the last.

    No, PC is not the problem. The problem is those who feel that they are entitled to say anything that comes into their little minds, and thinking that such behaviour is acceptable.

  2. J.Fraser says:

    Is calling “Slick” Abbott derogatory …. if you don’t think he is a “slick’ politician then you might think it is derogatory, but if I sat down and educated you in the many ways that Abbott has run a “slick” political campaign (full of the worst excesses) then it’s likely you would start calling him “slick”.

    Is calling “Slick’ Abbott “slick” … well if you look at the media coverage here in Australia that has been so anti Labor/Gillard and so pro “Slick” Abbott then you would have to agree it’s been 1 “slick” campaign.

    If your talking about a 13 year old person making derogatory remarks …. then it is of very little use stating that she is a “racist” because it’s most likely she has picked it up at home or from her peers who most likely picked it up from home.

    This particular 13 year old has my sympathy because she has been caught out on the national stage and no 13 year old deserves that.

    The bottom line is always education and just look to “Slick” Abbott and the rabid Pyne to see how much they have dumbed down Australia.

    Along with their simpleton mates The Rinehart Cowboy, Jones, Hadley, Murdoch and the richest dummy of them all Rinehart.

  3. eleanawi says:

    As far as I am concerned a person can say whatever they like as long as it is true. You cannot threaten to kill or harm a person or animal, that is unlawful, so unlawful is of course not on. The adjectives used to describe someone must be a word that is applicable to a human being. So a person should not be called an ape, nor a cow nor a pig. It does get difficult when Pig is a well used term for Police. I feel that it is perfectly fine to call a fool stupid, especially if they are in the public limelight.

  4. ttd says:

    The Labor part is a socialist party that ideally does not want freedom of speech as they wish to control everything about everyone lifes, of course they would not admit to this.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s