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Newman: Under Attack From Political Correctness

Under Attack From Political Correctness
Weekly Column by Dr Muriel Newman MP

This week…. The Column examines the wave of political correctness that is sweeping the country, and is now threatening the very commonsense way of life that makes New Zealand great.

The trickle of political correctness that we have become used to over the years – such as calling a chairman a chairperson, a short person “height challenged” and a rubbish collector a waste management operator – now appears to have turned into a flood which is in danger of undermining the pragmatic commonsense foundation of New Zealand’s democratic society.

Over the past few weeks: Government Ministers have claimed that one parent is better than two, and that marriage and the nuclear family are no longer essential for social wellbeing. Maori academics have alleged that greedy pakeha are stealing life expectancy from Maori. The criminal prosecution of a sports event organiser has caused the widespread abandonment of Christmas parades, school trips and other planned events. Employers have expressed their anger that while they can now advertise for non-smokers for jobs, they still can’t advertise for the type of person they are really looking for.

Organisations have been warned that if they ask members to “bring a plate” for refreshment purposes, they could be violating health and safety regulations. Successful voluntary police diversion schemes, requiring young offenders to wear brightly coloured vests while doing community work sentences have been criticised by lawyers who claim they could be breaching their human rights. Naughty children are increasingly being diagnosed with behavioural disorders that need medication, rather than requiring firm parenting and clear behavioural guidelines. Bureaucrats have been advocating for taxpayer-funded sex for the disabled. Stricter, more expensive swimming pool water treatment regulations have led small schools to close their pools.

What is really worrying is that many of these bizarre examples of political correctness have already undermined the ‘Kiwi way’: schools closing their swimming pools and no longer teaching children to swim will add to the already unacceptably high number of drownings each year.

Planned Christmas parades – as well as other popular, long-standing events that are part of our cultural heritage – are increasingly being cancelled through fear of criminal prosecution if anything goes wrong.

The Government’s promotion of family diversity – instead of traditional married unity – will inevitably lead to an increase in family breakdown, greater social dysfunction and the growing marginalisation of children. Successful police initiatives that involve publicly shaming offenders should be promoted, not criticised. Naughty children should be taught to behave, and not given a disorder label and treated as ill, with schools advocating such commonsense being congratulated, not knocked.

Most people see this flood of political correctness as sheer madness. It represents the reluctant evolution of a democracy that has historically valued and championed the freedom of speech, commonsense and forthrightness, into a society where the PC police will rule and opponents will be silenced – if those pushing this politically correct agenda win through.

Political Correctness is, in fact, a dangerous ideology which originated in the 1920s in the Soviet Union. The communists used it as a means of gaining total political control through the capture of ideas and the manipulation of meanings. The official rationale was that they wanted to avoid offending people. They did this not only by restricting the use of offensive terms, but also by organising supporters to viciously attack anyone who ignored the rules. As a result, non-conformists were intimidated with hate labels: racist, sexist, bigots, rednecks or something equally offensive.

With its strong socialist roots, the Labour Government has zealously adopted political correctness as a central weapon of its political arsenal. That’s why there is now such an exhausting flood of PC changes: banning smoking, restricting gambling, advancing affirmative action, introducing preferential treatment for Maori, pandering to minority groups, pushing a feminist agenda, discriminating against fathers, promoting the grievance industry, letting criminals walk free, politically appointing Judges, protecting failing schools, disguising health waiting lists, scrapping the air force, and pretending stealth taxes are not tax increases.

One of the results of this onslaught is a national loss of humour: we can no longer make jokes about blondes or baldies, race or religion – and even tall stories about “the Englishman, Irishman and the Scotsman” are now frowned upon. It is doubtful whether a Billy T James-type series would be acceptable to programme makers these days, and a Kiwi version of “The Kumars at Number 42” almost certainly wouldn’t get off the ground. It is now even considered politically incorrect to talk about some of the more serious issues facing the country, such as the link between welfare and crime, between irresponsible adults and child abuse, and between dependency and Maori under-achievement. Any such discussions bring criticisms of racism, benefit bashing, being hard and uncaring, or other such derogatory labels.

Political correctness has been described as worse than a curse on society, but a cancer that spreads rapidly – eating away at established norms and values, restricting the freedom of speech, and allowing unwelcome changes to take hold. Probably its most insidious aspect is the way in which PC infringes on citizens’ civil rights, imposing a blanket censorship on society. This is dangerous since plain speaking leads to clear thinking and a society in which clear thinking is denied is one that will find its future is being dangerously compromised.

As British orator, philosopher and politician Edmund Burke said, so long ago, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing”. If you too are worried about the political correctness onslaught and its detrimental effect on society, and would like to fight back, then please pass this column onto others who may share your concern and ask them to contact me.


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