Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Someone Has a Pop at me in The Irish Times

A reply to a letter in which I was complaining about political correctness, and in which I termed it a modern-day Inquisition:

A chara, – According to Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh (January 30th) protesting against systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and the like is mere “victimology”, while requiring people to speak respectfully about others – the so-called PC culture – is an oppression worthy of the Inquisition.

Who is playing the victim now? – Is mise,

State College,

I know the Times generally don't allow two correspondents to get into a running debate, which is understandable enough, so I won't send a reply.

Mr. McDonnell, however, is entirely misunderstanding me. I'm all for people speaking respectfully about others. (I'm not sure how you "require" it, but that's another matter.)

The question is how you define respect. I won't insult somebody gratuitously, or even if I can help it, but if (to take one example from any number of possible examples) I am required to refer to a person who I believe to be a man as "she", then I'm being required to agree to a particular belief, not to refer to someone respectfully.

Furthermore, PC is about so much more than "requiring people to speak respectfully about others". It's not just a matter of what epithets you use, but what beliefs you express. If you suggest that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, or if you question the theory that society is institutionally racist, or if you want to distinguish between criticising some aspect of Islam and indulging in 'Islamophobia', you are likely to be branded a bigot. You may even have your right to speak removed from you entirely, in some contexts (universities, for example).

Finally, I can't see how it's respectful to throw around terms like "sexist", "homophobe", "racist", "bigot", etc. etc.


  1. If I'm right, Cadhla (she) McDonnell is an Irish doctoral candidate in Sociology & Demography at Pennsylvania State University. Under her research interests it lists "gender ideology" and "social inequality." With that put into perspective her tone comes to no surprise.

  2. Also, it seems she's rather confrontational when others do not recognize, if not object to, her ideas.


  3. Well, I'm sure she's a perfectly nice lady. But yes, the research interests come as no surprise!