Sunday, 26 February 2012

Absurd but sinister - modern British values

The creator of the Fireman Sam children's series was detained by officials at Gatwick airport after a remark he made questioning why a woman wearing a hijab was allowed through a high security gate without having to show her face. Accused of racism, he was forced to explain his remark before being repeatedly asked to make an apology to a Muslim security official for the perceived insult [full story here]
The only problem, of course, is that the remark wasn't a racial slur at all and was unwise only in the sense that it is foolish to make any unnecessary comments whatsoever to representatives of an increasingly humourless and sanctimoniously censorious Anglo-Saxon officialdom.
One would be tempted to question whether a similar comment about a Christian nun would have resulted in the same absurd but deeply sinister over-reaction and forced apology - except we already know the answer to that.
But regardless of the self-hating double standards in operation in our culture, the real problem is that incidents like these contribute to an atmosphere in which hard-won individual freedoms are slowly suffocated in a miasma of corporate hypersensitivity. If a remark is perceived as an insult, regardless of the context and the actual words used, then the insult is judged to be real.
Ironically, contemporary western "liberalism" has seen to it that freedom of speech (the bedrock of all our freedoms) is now judged, at least by petty officials in our society, to be far less important than a mere subjective perception of offence given to cultures which (to put it mildly) do not exactly share our respect for individual liberty.
How did we get here?
And another reason to love Sundays - Fr George Rutler's letter [here]

"...At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I have been struck lately by the superficiality of our society’s understanding of itself. I have never been polled by those agencies that supply lists of favorite this-and-thats, so I did not figure in a recent report of Public Policy Polling, which claims that 91 percent of Americans consider Abraham Lincoln the greatest person who ever lived, followed by Jesus at 90 percent and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at 89 percent. George Washington got 86 percent, Mother Teresa got 83 percent, and Gandhi was three points lower than Santa Claus, who was the favorite of some 67 percent, who seem to think he was real. (I doubt they had in mind St. Nicholas of Myra.) These people vote in general elections..."

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