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Entry 840, on 2008-08-27 at 21:45:47 (Rating 3, Politics)
No, despite the title I'm not talking a about my latest encounter with Windows and how it destroyed a computer I was working with. I'm talking about political correctness and how rugby legend (apparently) Sir Brian Lochore says political correctness is destroying New Zealand. He might have a point, of course. I, along with just about everyone else, am really sick of the more stupid forms of PC, the reverse racism and reverse sexism, the over-protective attitude of law makers, and the constantly increasing bureaucracy.
It doesn't seem to be a problem exclusive to New Zealand either. I have heard similar complaints from other countries, such as the USA and Britain, and even (to a lesser extent) Australia. Political correctness in Australia? Yes, its true, especially since their latest prime minister took over.
Please don't think for a second that I am the sort of person who thinks everything was fine in the good old days, that military training would be good for everyone, that all these young rebels need is a good thrashing to sort them out, or that any of the other mindless solutions proposed by the more conservative members of society are likely to be effective.
It seems to get back to a point that I have made several times in the past: swinging from one extreme to another helps no one. The solution to a political problem almost always lies about midway between the extremes. Having a more liberal political party implement one set of policies then have that reversed by their more conservative opposition at the next election is not the way to achieve anything.
Lochore seemed to be particularly offended by the extreme attempts at keeping people (and especially children) safe. He thinks that its important that kids be allowed to get dirty and do things that might be a bit dangerous. How else would they learn? I actually mostly agree with him. Clearly there is a middle ground here which balances freedom with safety.
We seem to have gone a bit too far in the direction of safety. It seems that any time there is an accident there has to be an investigation and maybe a new law to stop it happening again. But accidents will always happen and we just have to be realistic and accept a certain number, however tragic they might be. It is useful to investigate trends and patterns in repeated dangerous incidents, of course.
The other theme he emphasised was respect. This is a dangerous and complicated issue. Having automatic respect for someone just because they do a certain job (teacher or police for example) or are a certain age (always respect your elders) doesn't give the opportunity to criticise someone who doesn't deserve respect (there are bad cops and bad teachers). It also devalues genuine respect for people who really deserve it (there are some truly excellent teachers and cops out there too).
So I take Lochore's point, we do have too much PC and its time we got more realistic about it, but let's not pretend that everything was fine in the good old days when physical punishment was OK and certain people got respect whether they deserved it or not, because that just introduced a different set of problems.
Comment 3 (1603) by SBFL on 2008-09-02 at 21:09:54: (view earlier comments)
Thanks, but I still couldn't find any reference to automatic respect.
Comment 4 (1608) by OJB on 2008-09-03 at 09:03:43:
He didn't use the word himself but strongly implied it. I meant the sort of respect we should give someone just because they are older, or a police officer, or a teacher. They get respect automatically because of what they are instead of what they have done or what they stand for. That's the sort of thing I think he was suggesting and that seems dangerous to me.
Comment 5 (1624) by SBFL on 2008-09-18 at 18:52:06:
If that is your interpretation of his comments then you might want to mention that in your commentary; to be fair to the subject. I for one don't share your interpretation to the same extent, so it's arguable I have been misled by your commentary (especially since the original article wasn't linked).
Comment 6 (1629) by OJB on 2008-09-18 at 22:08:07:
If you read the original post you will see I didn't actually say that Lochore mentioned automatic respect. I just mentioned it in conjunction with the topic which originated with his comments. I often use a news item as a starting point and then extend it to encompass my own views - which oddly enough are often more extreme than those in the original item!
Comment 7 (1636) by SBFL on 2008-09-19 at 20:18:33:
Correct but after re-reading your final two paragraphs I still think you should make the distinction clearer. You felt Lochore "strongly implied" automatic respect but it wasn't so obvious from your post that this was your view. Anyway I won't bang on about this anymore since you're the one sticking your neck out by having a blog.
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