I must have missed something along the way in my understanding of the meaning of what I thought were established liberal values, stretching back principally to the western Enlightenment, extending into the great civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and now, or so I thought, properly representative of our society’s legal and moral zeitgeist.
I thought that individual rights, most particularly the right of equality of opportunity and treatment, regardless of one’s race, gender, beliefs, sexual orientation and those other indicia of individual expression were a properly settled matter. Apparently, I was wrong.
How wrong I am was revealed in two recent local occurrences. The first concerned the matter of what constitute appropriate Halloween costumes. The second dealt with that utterly insidious approach taken by a local elementary school in the matter of a Remembrance Day prayer.
These two cases demonstrate that what we once regarded as individual rights of expression, including freedom of speech and assembly, are really not representative of a properly constituted society. Instead we must engage in and pay homage to the primacy of politically correct, elitist driven, group think.
Yes, this is the world of identity politics deploying, the cult of victimization, the fatuous notion of the incongruously named term “cultural appropriation, the speech control notion of “platform banning” and the general denigration of the individual’s rights in favour of catering uncritically to a grievance orientated politics.
All of this is brought to us by the virtue seeking social justice warriors, determined to ferret out and slay all perceived wrongs.
They are a predatory lot whose true intent is not to advance pluralism but rather to make their beliefs the only acceptable ones. It is a new form of censorship and all done in the name of righteousness.
It is all designed to shut down debate and generally it works. So-called public opinion is really a carefully managed amalgam of the thoughts of the political class. In fact, all opinions must be filtered through predicate terms identifying one’s group, the stratifications of race, gender selection, orientation, the oppressed, the suppressed and, alternatively, the entitled, being seemingly infinite. Previous notions of what constitutes success are replaced by a new model which embraces a hierarchy of victimhood.
They really don’t want their so-called grievances to be solved because such an outcome would take away their identity. More practically, it would deny them their life blood, namely funding, and publicly financed interest group support networks.
So, the context now set, back to my two examples of where these practices once more, like a modern day Hecatonehires beast, reared their ugly heads: Halloween costume banning and Remembrance Day degradation.
In Antigonish, an individual, she, of course, preferring to identify herself as a member of an aggrieved group, objected to a certain Halloween costume. She used the term ‘cultural appropriation” in justification of her demand. Her feigned outrage was, of course, met with the standard stream of apologies and removal of the costume, lest it shake our society off its group identity foundations.
Cultural appropriation is a phrase that comes down to this: if you are a member of one race, you cannot attempt to wear the fashions of another, sport a hair style not identified with your race and on goes the exclusionary list. It is the most ridiculous of all of the mutated offspring of political correctness with its group identity sticker affixed firmly to its closed mind. It demands bloodline purity of a type not known since the infamous Nuremberg laws. It speaks of “staying in your own lane.” So much for ending racial segregation and not judging a person by the color of their skin.
The fact a prayer was banned from a Remembrance Day ceremony displayed an ignorance only challenged by an insufferable arrogance. Yes, the school later apologized but we know where their heads are, don’t we. It’s the type of politically correct madness that is infecting our education system and body politic. It says cultural and religious practices are publicly quite acceptable if only they conform to satisfying the self-identified aggrieved. Otherwise take you conventional practices home lest they offend the perpetually offended.
All of it is, destructive of the cherished values of a free and democratic society.
David Delaney lives in Albert Bridge. He can be contacted at email@example.com.