18 July 2009

Political correctness left and right

A conservative blog for peace:
A young Canadian libertarian thinks about social conservatism. If a Muslim can’t handle hearing a Christian word then he does not belong in a country of (supposed) free speech. Not all social conservatives want the government to control speech to fit the Canadian heritage mold. I would argue that most, like me, would probably prefer everyone to be culturally Canadian and value traditions but would rarely want the government involved.

I haven't heard of Muslims objecting to Christian words like "Christmas" -- the word mentioned in the original article The Shotgun: My brush with conservatism:
On one side of that line, there is 'being politically correct'; on the other, free speech. Using the term Holiday instead of Christmas is fine when used to include all religions and ethnicities, but telling someone that they can't use the word Christmas because it is discriminating against non-Christians is ridiculous.

"Social conservatives" seem to attribute "political correctness" to the left, but it's equally common on the right.

I've heard of some "socially conservative" Christians who have objected to having "Halaal" printed on food for sale, so this is not simply a "left" political correctness -- it affects the whole political spectrum except the liberals, who believe in live and let live.

And "live and let live" means that Christians can have Christmas (though we prefer to call it "The Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ", but "Christmas" is fine as shorthand) and Muslims can have Ramadan without it being called "the holidays", and can have food marked as "Halaal" if it makes shopping easier for them. It would be nice if food were also labelled "Nistisimou" for Orthodox Christians, though. Would Muslims object to that? I doubt it. And matzos is "nistisimou", even if it is labelled "kosher".

My objection to "Christmas socials" is that they usually take place during the pre-Christmas fast, and not during the Christmas festive season season itself.

But don't come with all that guff about left "political correctness" -- it comes just as much from the socially conservative "religious right" as it does from the left, if not more so.


James Higham said...

I agreed up to the last sentence, which bore little relation to the otherwise good post.

Political correctness is the scourge of the times and is the language of the international socialist thrust, otherwise known as globalism, which, in turn, seeks to stamp out Christianity as an outdated superstition.

I'm afraid I don't see Christianity that way but see it more in need in these times than at any time before.

Anonymous said...

You have to keep in mind, however, that "political correctness" has a special meaning amongst the "religious right" and its followers here in North America, as Mr. Higham has so perfectly illustrated in his comment. To them, "political correctness" is nothing other than a horrible conspiracy by everyone else to oppress good Christians and eventually eradicate Christianity. They seem to love to think of themselves as persecuted martyrs for the faith, and use situations like this as proof of it. Apparently, they've never studied Church history to appreciate what actual martyrs have suffered through.

This whole "war on Christmas" meme has been going on for years, and I never understood it. Various businesses and schools are choosing to refer to "holidays" rather than "Christmas." This is because some of their customers or students happen to be celebrating other holidays. This doesn't strike me as anything other than acknowledging the diverse culture we live in. How some Christians interpret this a some horrible plot against them without engaging in some serious mental gymnastics is a mystery to me.

In closing, I'd like to point out a quote from the original article:

It isn't saying that only Christians, or rather those that celebrate Christmas are allowed to attend. It is merely saying that it is a mid school year dance during the season in which Christmas is celebrated.

If the only link between the event and Christmas is the fact that they just happen to fall close to each other on the calendar, then I'm inclined to wonder why the author insists upon acknowledging such a tenuous link at all. His description of the event suggests several other names -- such as mid-year dance or winter social -- that would communicate the same idea. So the fact that he insists that the name should remain "Christmas social" suggests there's more to the whole thing than he'd like to admit.

bigbluemeanie said...

I agree that the behaviour that the term "political correctness" is used by some people to describe, like halitosis, always seems to be something that other people suffer from.

Steve Hayes said...


The last sentence summarised the whole point of the post, so I'm not sure what you are getting at here.

Political correctness was originally a Nazi concept. In Nazi Germany journalists had to have a permit to function, and to get a permit journalists had to be "pure Aryan" and have opinions that were "politically correct".

Globalism is far more capitalist than socialist nowadays.

James Higham said...

Oh Steve, haven't you read any of the posts on the global socialism? It's not even a bone of contention any more which admittedly it was three years ago.

Yewtree said...

Excellent post, Steve!

I don't want to eradicate Christianity, I just want to topple it from its position as the "norm" by which all other religions and philosophical systems are judged.

I celebrate Saturnalia, Yule, and Christmas too, so it would be easier for me to say "the holidays" just as it's easier for Steve to shorten it to Christmas. In practice, I say whatever is likely to be understood in the context I am in. But I always try to wish everyone the holiday of their particular tradition. I confused my atheist colleagues by wishing them a happy Humanlight last year. Mwahahaha!!!


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