It is a myth that the Victorians were prudish. Their age was exciting, innovative and libertarian. For this reason, many great novels and poems, such as Rudyard Kipling verse, is now taboo.
Scratch the surface of the mob and one is sure to find the mediaeval mind-set. I would not dignify bigots by describing them as ignorant; they are politically corrupt. There is little that separates the self-styled politically correct from sycophants who once applauded innocent men sentenced to death at Chairman Mao and Stalinist show trials.
In the Communist Bloc ordinary people were guarded in what they wrote or said. In constant fear of denunciation few were brave enough to speak openly. Those who did lost friends, their jobs, and in most case their freedom.
This is the slippery slope we slide down. A remark made without malice draws horrified reaction similar to the display of a birthmark on the breast of a yeoman’s wife.
“Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness.” George Orwell.
Attending a business meeting I said something which included the term ‘coloured’. The group looked at each other with horrified expressions. Baffled, I asked if I had said something wrong.
Someone broke the silence. “You don’t use the term coloured anymore.”
Defensively, I replied, “I have no objection to being described as white. The description was relevant to what I was saying; how else could I describe the person?”
I was told that I must never describe a person by their ethnicity even if asked by the police to offer a description of a person. I am reminded of Prometheus: “whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”
A journalist in Germany receives a 6-month prison sentence for posting a picture of Hitler greeting Palestinian President Haj Amin al-Hussein. In Britain, people receive police cautions for liking ‘politically incorrect’ posts on Facebook.
There was a time when a man could pause to enjoy the sight of children playing. It would take a brave man to do so now. I recall a father photographing his daughter as his child played in a park. The hapless dad was invited to leave after women started calling him a paedophile.
In the United States monuments to historical figures are brought crashing to the ground. Throughout the EU street names are changed because those honoured are considered politically incorrect. Yet, the most outrageous haters are witch finder generals and the mob salivating at the prospect of a lost career.
Robert Burns: “Here’s freedom to him who would speak; here’s freedom to him who would write; for there’s none ever feared that the truth should be heard; save he who the truth would indict.”