Meet the new pearl‑clutchers

Jan 6, 2018 by

by Patrick West, spiked:

Today it’s the liberal-left who punish moral transgressors.

A curious role reversal has taken place. Back in the 1970s and the 80s, conservative morality was still dominant. The prevailing areas of taboo were homosexuality, pornography, blasphemy, drugs, infidelity, profanity, disobedience and challenging parental authority. Conservative morality censured those who affronted accepted mores relating to these areas. This was the era of Mary Whitehouse, a time when cinemas refused to show Monty Python’s Life of Brian, an epoch when the Sex Pistols and Frankie Goes to Hollywood were banned from the BBC’s airwaves.

That morality has mostly vanished, replaced by a new system and a new list of transgressions. Today, now that the liberal-left has become the puritan ‘moral majority’, the three cardinal sins are racism, sexism and homophobia. Anyone who offends this triumvirate of taboos faces disgrace, public shaming or worse. Even harmless joking or innocuous insubordination isn’t tolerated, as Tim Hunt found out. ‘Offensive’ or ‘inappropriate’ remarks can now even cost you your career and livelihood.

Just like the old conservative morality, the new liberal morality not only defines itself in negative terms, in terms of things it prohibits, but it also places in the pillory any transgressors. Lewis Hamilton, who was scolded for having the heretical opinion that boys shouldn’t wear dresses, was the final victim last year of this egalitarian fanaticism. The first victim this year (already!) has been Toby Young, currently being pursued for posting a few ungentlemanly tweets six years ago.

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