June 28, 2012
Roger Scruton identifies the poisons, and offers antidotes.
P Is for Poison
As in political correctness, pornography, and plastic, the three great public poisons of our time
by Roger Scruton
People poison themselves through consuming stuff that harms them. They also poison the world, by spreading venomous thought, venomous entertainment, and venomous waste. It is a strange feature of our societies that governments increasingly seek to control the first kind of poison, which threatens only the individual, while largely ignoring the second kind, which threatens us all. The reason for this lies in a deep disorder within democracies—namely the fear of moralizing, which leads legislators to order us about for the good of each of us, but never for the good of all.
We go a little way to understanding the matter if we consider the three great public poisons of our time, what they are doing to us, and why we find it so difficult to take action against them: political correctness, pornography, and plastic. The first poisons thought, the second poisons love, and the third poisons the world. Between them they put in question whether human life as we know it will survive, and whether it ought to survive, given what it will look like when the poisons have done their work
Scruton offers this cure for political correctness:
Where is the antidote, when the mental space in which it could grow has been invaded and sterilized? I have wracked my brains about this for quite some time, and come up with the following suggestion: we cannot forbid political correctness, since that would be simply reproducing the disease. But we can ridicule it. We can, by a collaborative effort, go on using language as we should, go on making remarks and expressing thoughts ruled offensive by the censors, and go on showing contempt for their censorious ways.
Source: The American Spectator
Subscribe to Quadrant magazine here…
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray