28 October 2005

Proud to be PC!

The appointment by one of political parties of a spokesperson (oops, sorry, spokesman) for Political Correctness Eradication has once again sparked debate about the virtue of political correctness.

In a speech earlier this year, The Eradicator says political correctness is ”a set of attitudes and beliefs that are divorced from mainstream values”. On Morning Report he champions the importance of “respecting the views of the majority”, rather than “pandering to minorities’ views”. One of the prime targets in his crusade to stamp out “the viewpoints and language of the politically correct from the institutions of government” is the Human Rights Commission, in part because it promotes “views on the right of way of thinking about discrimination” and advocates for “appropriate language or behaviour”. Other targets include the Waitangi Tribunal and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

The Eradicator asks rhetorically: “What sort of nation do we want to build?” Well, here’s your chance to tell him. Send him a message that New Zealanders – whether they form part of the so-called “mainstream” or not – aren’t opposed to the values underpinning political correctness. Send him a message that we already have a nation built on basic Kiwi values of fairness, tolerance, and respect for others. Send him a message that his attempt to advance his anti-PC agenda is out of touch with our modern, fair-minded society. Stand up and say that you’re “Proud to be PC!” Dean Proud to be PC! flyer (PDF, 21KB, yellow) Proud to be PC! flyer (PDF, 21KB, light blue) Proud to be PC! flyer (PDF, 21KB, green) Proud to be PC! flyer (PDF, 21KB, orange) Proud to be PC! flyer (PDF, 21KB, purple) Proud to be PC! flyer (PDF, 21KB, midblue)


Anonymous said...

I accept there are (odd) occasions where so called PCism seems extreme (eg pretending Xmas does not exist so poor kids don't feel bad), but don't think there's a widespread epidemic justifying a shadow Ministry.

In time, the anti-PC brigade will see that, despite the rhetoric and anecdotal evidence, there is not such a problem to cure, and on a case by case basis is likely to be defeated in most of its 'crusades'.


Anonymous said...

If being PC means no more than upholding fairness, tolerance and respect for others, then I'm as proud to be PC as the next person. But to the extent that being PC prescribes the "right" way to think on wider issues or values, where reasonable minds may differ in a free and democratic society, it collides headlong with fundamental human rights such as freedom of speech and independent thought.

At its height in the 80s & 90s, being PC threatened to become Orwellian, such was the grip it held on public thought. Any value system that leads to a civil servant being fired for saying the word "niggardly" in public, simply because that word sounds too much like "nigger", is a value system run amok. (This really happened in the United States, to a Washington DC local government official, if I remember correctly.) Needless to say, etymologists have been unable to substantiate the link.

If we're championing unobjectionable values such as fairness and justice, then I'll march on the PC crusade. But if the real agenda is to silence any criticism of the Human Rights Commission, or of the Waitangi Tribunal, then I prefer to support freedom of speech and the right to criticise public institutions.

Graeme Edgeler said...

Andre - you makie some excellent points (which is something you see far too infrequently among those opposed in one form or other to political correctness) - my somewhat fallible memory was that the person who felt forced to resign in DC(?) was an elected councillor.

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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