Browne’s Guide to Purging Political Correctness, #9

“Don’t do zero tolerance. Humanity is not black and white, but many shades of grey. Thinking in absolutes is not thinking at all.”

A wise rule. Is Anthony Browne the kind of person to present issues in black and white, to make exaggerations, to present things as simpler than they might in fact be in a somewhat complex world? Let’s have a look at some of the things he says:

“That’s 1,000 lives blighted, ultimately, by political correctness.” (p.xi)

“For centuries Britain has been a beacon of liberty of thought, belief and speech in the world, but now its intellectual and political life is in chains.” (p.xii)

“Starting as a reaction to the dominant ideology, it [PC] has become the dominant ideology. It defines the terms and parameters of any national debate…” (p.xii)

“For the last few decades, reason has been in retreat – but the time has come for reason to advance once again.” (p.xiv)

PC holds “a vice-like grip over public debate, deciding what can be debated…” (p.1)

“The rise of political correctness represents an assault on both reason and liberal democracy.” (p.5)

“A country that has long prided itself on its freedom of speech has been reduced by political correctness to a country where, despite endemic levels of violent crime, police spend time investigating and arresting leading writers and broadcasters for what they write and say.” (p.51)

“No country has yet been destroyed by political correctness – although the Netherlands has come close…” (p.54)

“The Netherlands has been turned from one of the most socially cohesive countries in the world, where the prime minister could ride a bicycle in public, to one where Muslim and non-Muslim communities live in fear of each other.” (p.58) (I wonder what period he’s thinking about here: the Netherlands has generally been considered a somewhat deeply-divided society in the postwar political science literature – consociationalism, and all that – but perhaps Browne’s thinking of the 1980s, or whenever “depillarisation” (an even better word in Dutch) was thoroughly underway. I don’t know.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *