This week a moment of sanity that could begin to unpick the web of PC stupidity that councillors, bureaucrats, and secularists in general weave (and sadly, a group which includes far too many teachers and Guardian viewers) came from a very unexpected source – the Muslim Council of Britain. PC advocates and practitioners have the sheer arrogance to assume and act on ‘offence’ vicariously, without actually bothering to check with the people they consider to be ‘victims’. So the word ‘brainstorming’, for intensive and non-critical think-ins designed to generate ideas, was banned (by a government department, no less) in case it offended people with epilepsy. Did they bother to check with the Epilepsy Society to see if anybody with epilepsy was likely to be offended? No. But the Society very sensibly carried out its own survey in 2005 to see what people with epilepsy thought, and 93% weren’t offended in the least. One response read -
"I have no objection whatsoever to the term brainstorming. I am sure the public do not, in any way, associate this with epilepsy, so why should we?"
It didn’t do any good, though. Political Correctness is still with us, corroding our language and denying us access to our own past, as though we were not capable of making up our own minds, given the benefit of hindsight. PC is informed by nothing more than petit-mindedness and a woeful failing of education, and it puts too much power in the hands of people not intellectually equipped to wield it.
I’ve fulminated at length about PC in modern hymn books, where not even the poetry of Robert Bridges is safe from the hands of vandals (most of whom can’t even grasp the difference between the archaic –est and –eth verb suffixes, though their schoolboy howlers provide much mirth in many a vestry and choirstall.)
What the Muslim Council of Britain did this week was to challenge, very politely and wittily, people who take offence on somebody else’s behalf. It is a response from wise Muslims to stupidities like ‘Winter Festival’ in Birmingham (Christmas renamed so as not to offend Muslims.) That bit of nonsense offended me, and I'm a Christian.