This was a topic I’d been meaning to get around to for a while now but before I do, I’d like to apologise for my brief hiatus from this blog. I was actually reminded to write this article when on my recent holiday I encountered Terence McKenna’s doppelganger. They looked remarkably alike but after speaking with this fellow, I discovered he was, in every respect, the direct antithesis of Terence’s intellect. Of course, McKenna famously discussed the toxicity of being politically correct in his discourse with Ralph Abraham and I wanted to rekindle this topic that is political correctness and how it stifles meaningful progress for humankind.
This post has nothing to do with religion itself but rather the decorous way in which we approach delicate subjects like religion within political discourse. Let’s take, for example, the idea that religious institutions should be exempt from taxation. It would be incredibly contentious for anyone to actually campaign against this notion because of how taboo it is to challenge religion. Of course, you’d not be challenging the religion or its ideas and dogma but simply how such an organisation should function within a secular democracy. Needless to say, people would see any attempt to strip the Church of its tax exemption as a theological attack upon their dearly beheld faith. And so instead of having this discussion, we take the pacifistic cop out that is a politically correct sidestepping of the topic.
We cannot have intellectual and informed discussion on a variety of other topics either. For instance, open and honest discourse concerning the use of hallucinogenic substances and other recreational drugs cannot be held because any attempt to advocate the amendment of drug laws is silenced by the right wing conservatists who are too ignorant and benighted to consider they might be wrong. To them, drugs are bad and any exponents for drug use are doing nothing more than attempting to corrupt the minds of their children! Of course, this isn’t the case but tradition is unkind to change. The Right have no place in a dynamic society and what’s worse is that political correctness plays to their advantage in stifling perfectly rational dialog.
The issue transcends political agendas and permeates into regular day-to-day conversation. Certain things you just simply cannot say to someone for risk of being politically incorrect. And someone who frequently disregards political correctness in everyday dialog will often come across as rude, insensitive, callous, or with a brazen ignorance. We focus too much on the way in which something is said and how it comes across as opposed to the actual validity of the message.
This has become a huge problem in recent times when discussing the topic of Islam and Jidhadism. How are we to critically analyse a system as complex as Islam (or any other religion for that matter) when it is such a touchy subject for so many? The result is a very watered-down, politically correct discussion which offends no one but accomplishes nothing. It’s about time we revel in being politically incorrect in every which way even if it means disregarding or offending conservatists. People need to understand that for progress to take place, we can no longer enable tenuous discourse in parliament, in the court room, or anywhere for that matter. We should take a leaf out of the Christopher Hitchens playbook and celebrate those who talk straight and without dilution.