This Trevor Phillips documentary “Has Political Correctness gone mad?” has seriously disturbed me, this PC stuff is now just censorship.
I have known censorship all my working life. In teaching one of the bigger hypocrisies is that they say they give a balanced outlook and let the students decide. Then they want to protect the students. I taught in Hove (actually) for nearly 6 years, and the censorship I came across was horrendous – and along with being the union rep cost me promotion. My head was a feeble bully who was incompetent. He used tactics to stifle opposition to him, and most teachers deeply resented him but were scared for their jobs so did little – his bullying easily allowed him to affect promotion; the lay governors had made an ignorant appointment and the teachers paid the consequences. However because he was so feeble he ignored his staff, and if parents or governors said anything he jumped and kept his job. I was a semi-public figure in the local trade union movement, Brighton and Hove, and Hove is very right wing so parents were always willing to complain about me. Because of this I was forced to censor myself, although I saw my job as maths teacher and not purveyor of left-wing wisdom so had no desire to spend lessons teaching Marxism or whatever. Other teachers who were not so threatened did put across their viewpoints because they were safe and acceptable; I knew the lie of the land and accepted this censorship even though it was not educational. I remember feeling angry because a good-hearted teacher was able to promote environmental awareness, and gained favour because of this. He did things for the environment but refused to comment on whether accumulation, capitalism or the 1% were the causes of problems. I doubt if he wanted to make such comments, he was just happy collecting bottles etc. The head liked this – perfectly safe, good practice for the kids and yet they never learned the truth so it was not very educational. Students had the personal strength to make judgements for themselves. Show them facts and let them assess for themselves – sadly that is not now an option with the manufacturing of fake news that confuses knowledgeable adults let alone children trying to learn.
Any form of censorship is a measure of failure for a society. PC first came in because society had failed. The problems of racism and sexism were deep-seated, and controlling the way people spoke about black people and women was a positive step; I understood at the time that it was always to be integrated with good education. At that time this positive step towards inoffensive language was however only community pressure, a pressure that I thought was acceptable in that disapproval was the only legal punishment.
Legislation on what can be said where and when can never work, what is said is a moral action and morality cannot be dictated to by law. This clip from the Trevor Phillips documentary horrified me.
I have no problem with these people discussing these issues but what they were then doing is enacting them as policy within their universities. Such repression is counter-productive. People have to reach such conclusions for themselves, morality is a personal activity. Repression through censorship or otherwise just produces a backlash. In the UK typical expressions of that backlash are UKIP, Manosphere and Brexit, none of which make any sense other than understanding they are backlashes against repression.
When Trevor says Trump is a consequence of PC repression, he is right, but these liberals are so self-righteous they appear not to be altering their approach. These are not people working for the 99% but intellectual liberals working for their own self-importance – ego. When I see this I understand why the right wing is so critical of leftists, and how they have been able to mobilise around a racist sexist bigot like Trump. Extreme actions produce extreme reactions.
It is far easier in the short term to repress, misuse power and prevent differing views from being aired. But repression is never a solution, it is only violence. Communication produces solutions when people try to listen. These students were not listening in the same way UKIP voters are not listening, in the same way that the Trump deplorables are not listening. Without communication there is no unity, such censorship is completely illiberal – and dangerous.
Later I will discuss the problems I have with Trevor Phillips (LINK to be added) but there is no doubt that he is right on the money when he describes this political correctness as mad. Unfortunately these liberals are so self-righteous they cannot see the damage they are doing. So many people have been alienated by their tactics that establishment parties more favourable to the left (and liberalism) such as Labour or Democrats are now losing out. If there is no education to go along with PC legislation, then it is just censorship and in my view society is better without it.