We hear a lot about political correctness. You’ve probably heard people say things like ‘oh, that’s not politically correct’, or ‘that wasn’t a very politically correct thing to say’. It pervades almost every area of our lives – in some areas more than others.
You’ve probably also heard the saying ‘manners maketh the man’. I know I certainly heard it growing up. Manners were drummed into me from a very early age. Things like standing when an elder entered the room, opening the door for a lady, taking my hat off inside, table manners, conversational manners – I could go on. I suspect for many in my demographic this was the case. I’ve recounted a story before of a family friend, a doctor and true gentleman who referred to my grandmother always as ‘Mrs Vidins’, in the most respectful, humble way. His manners were always impeccable.
I’m sure you’ve come across people who have fantastic manners. The inverse is probably true too. I’ve certainly met people who come across as disgusting pigs – foul mouthed, disrespectful boors.
Political correctness is the idea that you are restrained by an outward force – a cultural norm, a policy, a coercive power. It coerces you to not say something, or do something, in the name of ‘offending’ someone, regardless of the truth or accuracy of the message. You may have bitten your tongue sometimes because you were worried, or feared about the repercussions of your words. I’ll give some examples. You might have wanted to question the effectiveness of our past, or current refugee processes, but didn’t because you were concerned about being called a racist. You may have wanted to raise your thoughts on same-sex marriage, but didn’t because you knew you’d be labelled a homophobe. Perhaps you had questions on the millions of dollars that were being spent on our indigenous brothers and sisters, without any identifiable increases in health, education, workplace participation or decreases in violence and abuse, but didn’t because you knew you’d be labelled as a hater.
It’s important to pause at this stage, because I’m sure some will think I’m pointing the finger at progressive, or left-wing political correctness. If you’re thinking that, you’re correct, I am. I’ve noticed the most intolerance has come from the left in our present age. It comes in the form of bullying, of the threat of legal action (s18c, anyone?), of having your businesses targeted (refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding). It even comes in the form of opposing a whole nation (the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish Boycott, Divestment & Sanction (BDS) movement). We see our politicians take a politically correct line when talking about terrorism. How often have you heard a prominent politician say a terrorist atrocity undertaken by a Muslim in the name of Allah has nothing to do with Islam? It’s like saying a drunk driver hitting and killing someone on the road has nothing to do with alcohol. Are all Muslims terrorists? OF COURSE NOT! Are all drunks likely to get behind the wheel and be a danger on the road? OF COURSE NOT! Political correctness is that outside force preventing you from speaking the truth, asking a question or voicing a concern because it may cause an offence, be taken the wrong way or cause a retaliation. It’s external.
Manners, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. The total opposite, in fact.
Manners come from a place of inner strength, a place of confidence. Manners isn’t cowardice, oh no. Manners, which goes hand in hand with self-restraint, comes from a place of steadfast conviction. Manners give you the confidence to articulate, not as a reaction, but as a confident position of concrete values. Manners comes from a place of seeking to understand first, to inquire, to test and to challenge, wanting the best, even if that means discomfort during the process.
Manners is an absolute inner process that regulates, analyses, tests and speaks from a place of conviction, with conviction. It comes from a place of respect – self-respect first, then respect for others. Manners is the practice of holding back, not out of fear of retaliation, but from understanding there is no point in an argument for the sake of an argument.
Political correctness is a fear that your words, or some actions will have dire ramifications either directly, or from a third party. Political correctness is suppressing the truth out of fear of retaliation. Despite what some argue, there are truths. There are universal truths. Biological truths. Scientific truths. Spiritual truths. Truths that have real implications for here, and the hereafter.
Manners always seeks the best, even when there is disagreement. It’s the dignified silence in the face of howled insults. Manners is the confidence of truth, spoken in earnest respect. It’s not a cowered, timid mumble. It’s not a brash bulldozer of anger.
Political correctness seeks to crush. It seeks to paint over truth with lies. It seeks to silence. It hates dissent. It fears the thinker. It scoffs at the one confident in truth. Political correctness employs all means necessary – shame, legislation, violence to silence and intimidate anything outside the ‘correct’ narrative. It uses name calling, lies, gross distortions and hatred to plough over and rip up. Political correctness hates free speech, free thought and debate. Intolerance is its mandate, coercion is its goal. It does it for power, for powers sake. It is never satisfied with enough.
Manners seeks to edify the individual. It seeks to understand, it seeks the truth, it proclaims what is right. Manners is the respectful debate of ideas. It’s the safe harbour where ideas flourish, where the individual is nourished. Manners come from a place of confidence, it extends the hand of respect. Manners doesn’t compromise the truth, and confidently invites others to seek it.
Let me tell you this. We need more people with manners, across the spectrum of ideas, ideals and thoughts. We absolutely need less political correctness. Next time you have a choice when it comes to the truth, what will you do? Will you cower to political correctness, or will you use your manners to confidently proclaim what is right?
Lose weight. Work less. Be kinder to my family. Listen more. Take time to smell the roses. Enjoy sunrises. Read more. Exercise.
If 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that freedom of speech is more important than ever. It’s taught me that there’s people from both sides of the political spectrum that prefer to use insults and smear to respond to things that cross their sensibilities (or insensibilities!). I’ve learned that there’s a huge movement against free thinking. There seems to be people, ideologies and movements that want to police your very thoughts and closely held beliefs.
2016 has taught me that there are people that are very well prepared to label uncomfortable facts as an ‘ism’ or a ‘phobia’. 2016 has taught me that there are some people who’s default response to my beliefs, thoughts or ideology is to call me all manner of things, without actually asking, engaging or seeking to find out the why of these beliefs.
I’ve found that there’s a large swathe of people, like myself, who for too long have been polite. Perfectly rational, normal people who for too long have bitten their tongue, either publically or privately. People that have literally been too scared to voice conservative or libertarian viewpoints. Kind, hard working, compassionate people who have been scared to speak out on important issues because any dissenting view gets dubbed as racist, intolerant, bigoted, nationalist, unkind or uncaring.
2016 has taught me that there are people who passionately argue ‘against the rich’, but never say how much of their own personal income or assets should be ‘redistributed’.
2016 has taught me that there are Christians who worship a Jesus who’s big on acceptance but silent on all that horrible sin stuff, mute on repentance and uncomfortable with a Sovereign Lord.
2016 has taught me that there’s a stack of people who resent being told what to do. That there seems to be a class of people who make decisions based on good intentions, rather that good outcomes. It’s taught me that even within a so called Liberal party, there are people who want to placate and pander to illiberal policies and outcomes.
So if 2016 has taught me anything, it’s that my opinion is worth just as much as anyone elses. It’s taught me that I’ve still got a voice, and I’m still going to use it. It’s reminded me that freedom of speech, freedom of thought and liberty are more important than ever. It’s reminded me that I will not be told what to think, or say, and I’m not going to be silent.
So my resolution for 2017 is to remove the shackles of politeness and timid silence. I don’t expect to ruffle any feathers or change anyone’s opinion. I’m not looking to cause a stir or be unkind. I’m just resolving in 2017 to exercise my voice. It’s probably the only exercise I’ll do!
Without a doubt, this whole internet thing has let a whole lot of stupid people be heard a whole lot more.
Every nutjob, fanatic, crazy, fundy, loony leftwing (is that an oxymoron?), wacky rightwing, conspiracy theorist specialist can get on the google machine and make themselves a webpage, then spout off any nonsense they want. Hell, even the Greens have a website and use the twitter, and they hate technology and development!
You’ll have friends on your Facebook account that say some whacky stuff that you totally don’t agree on. In fact, they’ll say things that downright infuriate you. I’ve even had to go for a walk after reading some things my friends have posted, or links they’ve shared!
Occasionally, I’ll jump into the torrent of controversy and post something (anyone remember my epic post about childrens’ dance concerts – let’s never speak of that again!), or respond to something that I disagree with. Naturally, the world sees that I am in fact correct, change their views are won over to my correct way of thinking. NOT!
Someone wise once told me that before you can believe what you believe, you need to know what you don’t believe and why you don’t believe that. Essentially, he was saying seek the truth.
Without a doubt, I’m ideologically libertarian. Socialism (or it’s even eviller twin Communism) really does not do it for me. I’m hardly progressive. Conservatism is useful but boring. Religiously, I’m Christian. I’ve had a read up of the other majors and know it’s the one for me. You could say almost everything I see, think, read and analyse is through those prisms. My fav blogs are the Cat and Instapundit (and possibly Visual News but that’s just poetry with pictures!).
Like I said above, I’ve got some friends that say some stuff that downright infuriates me. I couldn’t disagree more with them – usually. You know what? That’s what I love about them. I LOVE reading stuff I hate. Isn’t that strange! One of the thrills of being a human is to be able to reason. To have your own opinion, ideology, beliefs and to be able to understand others.
As I get older, my views seem to crystalise more. I see the fruits of an ideology and think ‘that’s just not for me’. I also begin to see the flaws in my own ideology.
I heart capitalism. I believe in the free market and the idea that someone can work their way to prosperity. I loathe this tall poppy syndrome we have here in Australia. I often get baffled how socialists and progressives want to tax the snot out of someones efforts, only to give it to the lazy.
Here’s the rub – as I look at capitalism, it’s plain to see the obscene disparity between rich and poor. It’s exponentially harder for a kid from a broken family with unemployed parents to get ahead in life. Why should that kid be punished because of the idiocy of their parents? This is why I need my progressive, lefty friends. This is why I need my unionist buddies to remind me of some of the craziness of this capitalist system that I love. Sometimes I need my more conservative friends to show me the permissiveness that libertarian views give.
I know this isn’t the same for everyone on the internet, but I’m thankful for my friends that I disagree with. I know their motivations – a free Australia, a fair go, justice, helping those in need – things that make this great nation of ours even greater. Sure, I might think the way they want to do that is crazy, but I know where they’re coming from. I know their motivations arn’t malicious (usually!) – they want the best for our country.
As I read posts, websites and facebook shares of things I disagree with, I constantly ask myself ‘why do I disagree with this’, or ‘why does this post make me want to stab progressives in the eye with a soldering iron’. More often then not, it’s because the post is idiotic and stupid. But sometimes, just sometimes, there’s something in there that makes me think ‘man, I got it so wrong on that point’. It’s in those times, I’m even more thankful of my friends that I disagree with.
So if you’re one of those friends that I’ve disagreed with (and you’ve managed to read this dross until this point), thanks for sharing your opinions with the world on Facebook. You’ve given me literally minutes of chuckles, hours of rage and often, moments where I need to eat humble pie.
I need you to help me remember why I believe what I believe and why I don’t believe what I don’t believe.
image from http://www.nrl.com/what-origin-means-to-mark-geyer/tabid/10874/newsid/78681/default.aspx
So I’ve come to the stunning realisation I’m a closet hipster. Yes, conservative Pete is just a rouse, and you all fell for it!
I’ve had my suspicions for a while, but have never really been able to, well, be honest with myself.
I’ve been doing all sorts of hipster things in a clandestine (and not so clandestine) way. I have not shaved all week and I want to grow a beard (not so secret really). I’ve been gelling my hair back in the comb-over style that’s popular with the beautiful people. The other day at work, I didn’t wear a shirt and tie. Nope. Not even close. I wore my chinos. I wore a checkered button down shirt. I didn’t tuck it in. I didn’t roll up my sleeve. I buttoned the sleeves down. I never do that, except of course for weddings and funerals. And that day was neither of those. And it’s usually a business shirt, not a casual shirt. I did the buttons up high. I’ll probably post a pic.
How else do I know I’m a hipster? I take photos and put them on instagram. But I won’t take a nice portrait. I’ll take the photo from some strange angle and filter it strange, then blur out the edges. I love the hashtag #urbex . I love that kinda retro look on stuff. I think I want to get skinny-ish jeans. I’m sick of my conservative look.
I’ve been doing other hipster-like stuff. I’ve been secretly reading Smith Journal. I loved brush stainless and un-rendedered brick. I dig hipster-ish bands like Midlake, Mumford & Sons and of course Brittany Spears. Just jokes on the Brittany. I’ve liked her since the ’99.
Do you ever get the feeling you want to break free of your conservative appearance and kinda do something really different? Well that’s me.
Oh there are some things that I have not (and wont do). Take photos of food. I’ll do it for booze, but not food.
Where will it end? Who knows.
I guess the ironic thing is that a true hipster (like a true alcoholic) would never admit their status. So perhaps this is a bit self-serving.
All’s I know is I’m out. And proud. And still quite conservative.