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Bredin happily ‘problematic’

December 21, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Melissa McGrath’s response to Rob Bredin’s column, “Surely All Lives Matter” betrays the new norm of acceptable social membership.  Its name is ‘victimhood’.

Ms. McGrath makes several unfair assumptions about Mr. Bredin’s response to the female patron in McDonald’s who audibly warned her child that police could not be trusted.

First, Mr. Bredin had the right to respond.  Some of us still do this, publicly, in a democratic society.  When there is a perceived injustice being verbalized, such a response becomes a moral choice. To suggest that his response was based upon the nature of the recipient is to make an irresponsible and unfair assumption.

Her argument loses again when she confuses ‘common decency and respect’ with political correctness.  The former fall under the category of civility, good manners and appropriateness.  Mr. Bredin may have lost marks here but his subjective behaviour should not detract from his central point.

Third, it is becoming evident that, while we need to defend those who are marginalized, too many of us fall prey to a self-imposed sense of guilt which is neither helpful nor necessary. Personal responsibility is a phrase we hear less and less. The proliferation of interest groups clamouring for money and attention and using the political system to justify a sense of special entitlement has deep roots in social agitation going back to the early twentieth century.

Lastly, political correctness is a veneer of control, sometimes supported by law and carrying penalties, which suppresses effective dialogue and expression.  It is a coiled snake in the hands of autocrats, dictators and political leaders with subtle or hidden agendas.  We ‘nice’ Canadians who give more freedoms to others than we would take for ourselves will have no excuse when this snake bites us.  We knew what it was when we picked it up.

Ms. McGrath offers the example of the U of T professor who has had the courage to resist being forced to use ‘gender-neutral’ pronouns. Insightful citizens  recognize that this is only one issue in the veneer of political correctness which has the potential to destroy historic values, shift moral perspectives and reshape institutional functions.

Mr. Bredin may not have realized the full implications of his actions but has reminded me of Winston Churchill’s retort to one of his critics that “It’s good to have enemies; it means you stand for something.”

Carol Leeming

Orangeville ON

         

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