One of the most absurd claims made by the liberal Left is that political correctness is a non-existent idea, developed by the Right as an easy, general smear, rather a coherent thought process. The Intellectual Left, in that pompous way that only they can manage, define what the Right call PC as merely good policy.
I don’t subscribe to Wayne Mapp’s reported description of political correctness as just the means of a minority to enforce its will on the majority. That is certainly the effect, as the majority do not subscribe to the politically correct agenda. But it’s not the key point. It is really the process by which a group of people aim to shut down discussion and debate by labeling certain viewpoints as taboo. It is no less harmful just because the majority happen to oppose the liberal PC agenda.
It is therefore not PC for a man to claim that he believes a woman’s place is in the kitchen. It might be his perspective. But in many parts of society—particularly the Wellington liberal set—any man who expresses that view will be shouted down and silenced. The smacking debate, in which the liberals would like to make criminals of parents who use even moderate physical force in disciplining their children by lumping them alongside violent offenders—is a classic example. A person who questions the entitlement of a perfectly able person to live a lifetime on a benefit without any compulsion to work, is considered by many liberals to be a fascist. A woman who declares that her belief is that homosexuality is wrong and sinful is threatened with a human rights complaint, merely for expressing that belief. Questioning the level of arts funding in the Capital is likely to trigger a storm of protest from the chardonnay-swilling, “freethinking” Labour voters, with cries of philistinism.
The PC agenda is a liberal agenda. It attempts to control how people think, and their right to express their thoughts, by both restricting the language of debate, and what is acceptable to debate. It makes clearly liberal assumptions about what is acceptable, and does not brook argument of those assumptions.
There is an easy test for the existence of political correctness in any dialogue: if in a group discussion, a single person contests the assumptions of the debate, and that person is shouted down, then political correctness has won. When there is no opportunity to argue the language of debate, there can be only one answer, and debate itself is futile. PC “values” do not protect the dissenting voice: they make value judgements about which voice should be heard, and aim to silence all other dissenting voices.
Defenders of politically correct strategies deny that it exists in the public sector. That is a nonsense. Taking up the challenge to cite specific examples, as Wayne Mapp is planning to do, I will assist him by highlighting each week one of the many public sector PC excesses.
The great irony, of course, is that the result of the PC agenda is publicly quite visible. It is just seldom documented. So Helen Clark is feted at the New Zealand music awards, and lauded by both audience and presenters, while Don Brash’s arrival is jeered and booed by all. And that is seen as acceptable behaviour. Business is bad, Government is good. Rich people are evil, poor people—but not so poor as to not be able to afford the glad rags on display at the Music awards—good. Economic success is wrong, whereas a life of welfare is ideal. Why? Because Helen is a curry-chomping, socialist, gay-friendly icon, whereas Don Brash is a middle-aged male who wants to question the key assumptions that the Liberal Left hold about New Zealand society.
The PC agenda is most pervasive in the delivery of social services. PC behaviour is not necessarily found in the press releases, the ministerial speeches, or even departmental brochures or briefing papers, where it can be readily exposed and ridiculed. Rather, it is deep in the culture of the organization that key liberal assumptions are made about debatable issues, for no other reason than to further advance the liberal grip in the public sector.
But on with this week’s example. Because as much as the PC brigade attempt to conceal their motives, if you dig deep enough, you’ll find evidence of how they think, and more alarmingly, how they want everybody else to think. Take this example:
“It is essential that a Ministry of Health person has an understanding of Mäori issues. This includes an awareness of traditional and contemporary Mäori and Iwi structures, key Mäori concepts, an awareness of legislation, Treaty of Waitangi issues and policy affecting the key areas of work.”
This statement appears in a job description for a certain position at the Ministry of Health. Let’s break it down.
An understanding of Mäori issues. Right. What does that mean? What constitutes that understanding? Who defines it? Who judges how valid that understanding is? Who determines whether that understanding is right or wrong?
An awareness of traditional and contemporary Mäori and Iwi structures. Why? If there exists a programme whereby services are delivered through contemporary Maori structures, why is it necessary to be aware of traditional structures that existed in 1840, but are now non-existent? How does that assist in the delivery of health services?
“Key Mäori concepts.” Okay. But what are they? Who decides what those key Mäori concepts are? Is there a set list, set down somewhere, that establishes those Mäori concepts in stone? Are those key concepts not open to debate? Are they unchanging, and concrete? And if so, how can the Treaty of Waitangi be a living document, as so many liberal academics and bureaucrats describe it, if key Mäori concepts are so definite?
And the job description in question is for a financial analyst. It is no less than a key requirement for the employee to fulfill. Yes, folks, at the Ministry of Health, a cost accountant, preparing budget forecasts and financial data models, is required by the Ministry of Health to be indoctrinated in its inalienable version of what constitutes “Maori issues”. It doesn't matter how good a financial analyst a person is; if they do not subscribe to the Ministry's liberal view of Maori issues, they do not make the grade.