Hijacking the language to stifle debate
Published in: Daily Mail
One of the most sinister aspects of political correctness is the way in which its edicts purport to be in the interests of minority groups.
This is despite the fact that, very often, they are not promulgated at the behest of minorities at all, but by members of the majority who want to destroy their own culture and who use minorities to camouflage their true intentions.
The latest manifestation stars once again that all-time world champion of political correctness, the BBC. Apparently, it has decided that the terms AD and BC (Anno Domini, or the Year of Our Lord, and Before Christ) must be replaced by the terms Common Era and Before Common Era.
Actually, this edict seems to have been laid down merely by some obscure tributary of the BBC website rather than from on high.
Nevertheless, the terms CE and BCE are now increasingly finding their way onto news bulletins and on programmes such as University Challenge or Melvyn Bragg’s Radio Four show In Our Time.
The reason given on the website is that, since the BBC is committed to impartiality, it is important not to alienate or offend non-Christians.
Well, I am a Jew, so I am presumably a member of this group that must not be alienated.
It so happens, however, that along with many other Jewish people I sometimes use CE and BCE since the terms BC and AD are not appropriate to me.
But the idea that any of us would be offended by anyone else using BC and AD would be totally ridiculous.
How could we possibly take offence, since these are the commonly used and understood expressions when referring to the calendar?
Moreover, I most certainly would not expect society in general to use these Common Era terms rather than BC and AD.
Indeed, I would go much further and react with undiluted scorn and disapproval to any attempt to do so.
That is because I feel passionately that a society should be allowed to express its own culture – and this attack on BC and AD, fatuous as it may seem on the surface, is yet another attack on British culture and the Christian underpinnings which provide it with its history, identity and fundamental values.
The impulse behind changing such established terms – obviously as familiar to us all as the names of the days of the week – is part of the wider desire to obliterate Christianity in British culture.
The fact remains, however, that whatever terms are used the British calendar is calibrated from the birth of Jesus.
As Ann Widdecombe remarked, whatever next - abolishing the calendar itself on the grounds that it too therefore offends non-Christians?
The reasoning behind this linguistic legerdemain is entirely spurious. There is no evidence whatever that any non-Christian group is offended by BC and AD, nor that they would like them to be replaced.
Even if they did, it cannot ever be right for minorities to seek to replace fundamental majority cultural expressions or values with their own.
To do so has nothing whatever to do with impartiality – indeed, quite the reverse. For what about the need not to offend or alienate Christians?
To ask the question is to realise how far we have travelled down this invidious road. For Christians in Britain are now routinely offended and alienated – indeed, positively harassed, and with their religious rights denied – and all in the Orwellian cause of promoting ‘diversity’.
In the latest example, police have threatened a Christian cafe owner with arrest – for displaying passages from the Bible on a TV screen which are said to incite hatred against homosexuals.
Why stop at a TV screen, one might ask. For in such a climate, it is hardly frivolous to wonder how long it will be before the Bible itself is banned.
At the weekend, a campaign was launched by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, to press for greater legal protection for Christians against such attacks.
The pressure on individual Christians, however, is merely part of a far wider onslaught on Western culture through the hijacking or censorship of language.
Thus Christmas has been renamed in various places ‘Winterval’.
Last week, it was reported that Southwark council has renamed its Guy Fawkes fireworks display ‘The Colour Thief: A Winter Extravaganza Celebrating the Change of the Seasons’.
This ludicrous gesture is presumably aimed at being more ‘inclusive’ of Catholics upset by references to the 17th-century Popish gunpowder plot.
What it actually does is exclude Britons by airbrushing out part of their history.
Even more bizarre are the latest edicts by so-called ‘equality’ experts, who say that the traditional black garb of witches in children’s stories leads to racism (yes, seriously).
Witches should therefore be given pink hats, and fairies dressed in dark colours.
Meanwhile Anne O’Connor, an ‘early years consultant’, advises that ‘white paper’, especially in schools, provokes racism since it does not reflect the range of hues of the human race.
Maybe Ms O’Connor needs especially strong spectacles. Has anyone ever seen a human being with skin as white as paper?
And finally, teachers are told they should be ready to lie, if necessary, when asked by pupils what their favourite colour is and, in the interests of good race relations, answer ‘black’ or ‘brown’.
Can you believe this? What on earth has our society come to when grown individuals in receipt of public money descend to such mind-blowing imbecility?
Calling children as young as two ‘racist’ is simply grotesque. Helping them ‘unlearn’ negative associations with dark colours is to try to brainwash them in ways reminiscent of Soviet Stalinism.
But then, political correctness is all about dictating what people are permitted or forbidden to say as a way of controlling and reshaping a society and its values.
Look at the way the Labour leader Ed Miliband has refused to call people who defraud the welfare system ‘benefit cheats’.
He has condemned abuses of the welfare system and said they must be stopped. So why does he say he cannot accuse the people who behave in this way of being ‘cheats’?
The answer is surely that political correctness means you can’t criticise anyone who does wrong if they belong to a group of people who are considered marginalised or oppressed.
This is effectively to give such groups a free pass for any bad behaviour. And anyone who dares criticise is accused of ‘demonising’ such groups.
This means, of course, that those who criticise such bad behaviour are themselves demonised.
Indeed, they can be positively victimised and even threatened with their lives by vicious campaigns on Twitter or the internet – all on the grounds that they have ‘demonised’ some ‘victim’ group or other. If this wasn’t so terrifying, it would be hilarious.
The result of this hijacking of the language is that debate becomes impossible because words like rights, tolerance, liberal, justice, truth and many more have come to mean the precise opposite of what they really do mean.
The result of this inversion of right and wrong is that morality itself has been reversed or negated. Politically correct language is thus a way of shifting the very centre of moral and political gravity.
So what was once considered far-Left has become the centre-ground; and those who stand on the real centre-ground are now dismissed as extreme.
The attack on BC and AD is merely the latest salvo in the war of the words, part of the defining madness of our time.