Political correctness: it has pervaded modern life to an extreme.

In New Zealand, any swimming pool must have a fence around it with fairly serious dimensions and locking mechanisms – all because a handful of people weren’t watching the kids in their care. Smacking a child is against the law, too, as a ‘protection’ against the ravages of child abuse. Those same children can’t fail at school either, where everyone succeeds and it is an offence to even touch a student. It’s a mad state of affairs which doesn’t look like turning around any time soon.

Still, in today’s modern society, that wonderful, free (as in speech) internet must be the last bastion of speaking one’s mind, right? Well, yes and no. Certainly lawmakers are having a hard time catching up with what online publishing means. Publishing a slanderous allegation in the online edition of a major publication will certainly attract the attention of the authorities, but what about a mildly offensive tweet? Yes, even those are starting to gain attention.

But what I would like to draw attention to right now is something altogether more pervasive and worrying. I’m talking about all those places many of us hang out every day. Twitter, sure, but also blog/article comments, forums, Facebook and more. Those everyday places where people hold what used to be water cooler conversations but with generally much wider audiences. There are mini soapboxes that people stand on every day, including me.

It has been my observation in the last couple of years that any form of opposing view or criticism or even observation – no matter how well reasoned – is taken as a personal attack and often met with vitriol. If I might draw upon an analogy: a student stands on a low wall with a megaphone and demands something be done about exorbitant student fees. I, standing nearby, yell out “your fly’s down mate” and am met with cries of “Hater!” and basically painted as a capitalist oppressor. That sounds extreme but honestly, it has the right levels based on what I’ve experienced recently.

I’m as opinionated as they get, but I learned years ago that I’m often just wrong. Sometimes spectacularly. The thing is, I stand up for my views but I am also more than happy to have those views changed by means of a spirited debate. I fear, however, that I am in a minority with that trait. It used to be people just wouldn’t respond to anything I said. More recently I get varying levels of pure disdain or even hate coming back at me.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just shut up. Say nothing. Let it slide. Fuck that! It’s not who I am.

I see society devolving day in and day out. PC laws, coddled kids, over-sensitivity to pretty much any group you can attach a label to, and I don’t like the way it’s going. So I am saying my piece. If we all say nothing, it just gets worse.

If I see a flaw in your thinking – I will say so.

If I think you’re just wrong – I will say so.

If I think you’re not being clear – I will say so.

If I think you’ve missed a key point – I will say so.

If you use bad grammar or spelling to the point I have trouble understanding – I will say so.

If you don’t like it, then defend your position. There’s every chance I’m wrong and I’m prepared to accept that if you can convince me, or just agree to disagree if it turns out our beliefs are not aligned.

But as soon as you respond while failing to defend your argument/position then I will consider you the idiot. But I won’t hate you for it.

When people hate and despise those with opposing views – that’s where wars and oppression come from. If we end up in the much feared ‘nanny state’ with our liberties curtailed to an extreme, I will stand proud and say I am not accountable for this.

Now go on. I dare you. The comments are open… have at it!

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