One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Stella Morabito: Cheerful Davids can slay the PC Goliath

This is the fifth and last in a series of five articles by Stella Morabito this week on the way that political correctness is bullying conservative women into silence and how they can reclaim their rights to free expression.

Leslie Loftis’s article in The Federalist Eight Rules for Right Wing Rebels is a great compendium of pointers about how to go about engaging others, how to develop social trust, and how to speak up, among other things. I also offered an article in The Federalist that is related, entitled “Ten Key Ways to Break the Mass Delusion Machine.”  I’ve linked to them both for a more comprehensive “to do” list for conservatives who are trying to find their way out of the trap of self-censorship that political correctness has built.

It’s all about taking baby steps to create a ripple effect of openness in conversations.  And building relationships.

So, at the top of any list should be this general tip:  be kind to people. Warmth goes a long way in defusing situations even if someone doesn’t like what you might have to say. But conservative women generally don’t have a problem with this.  In fact, we tend to be nice to a fault. We self-censor, right?  And why?  In order not to offend, of course!  So at root conservative women are gentle souls who are loath to open any perceived wounds.  But if we are also to be kind to our children and the world they will inherit, we have to disrupt the spiral of silence that is creating wounds in an increasingly lonely world. The medicine, of course, is engagement.

Second, when you “out” yourself as conservative, remember that winning the argument is not the goal here at all.  Just forget about talking points and debate. The goal in today’s climate is simply to put a human face on what you believe or who you are. We need to first smash the caricatures and stereotypes in order to open the lines of communication.

Third, there are many different ways of self-identifying, depending on your circumstances.  The important thing is just to put your toe in the water if you’re not used to engaging yet.  Do not express an opinion that would get you fired from your job.

But you needn’t express an explicit opinion at all.  For example, you might slowly shake your head at a tabloid headline with a compassionate tone of “Oh, how sad,” or whatever you’re feeling.  Or you might see a photo of a happy family and exclaim how beautiful it is to see a happy family, how perhaps there is a lot of self-sacrifice behind that picture of love.

Or if the occasion presents itself and someone expresses their opposing opinion – maybe just on a TV show you both hear -- you might simply say “Hmm, I’m afraid I’m on the other side of the fence on that issue.”  Even if they ask for an explanation, we know that doesn’t really matter at this point. You’ve done the deed with respect for dignity of the others.  There are millions of ways to express these things.  Exploring them is probably worthy of brainstorming sessions or role-playing workshops.

The three scenarios

If you “come out” as conservative or with a non-PC opinion to someone who likes you and trusts you, or identifies with you, rejection is only one of three possibilities.  It’s probably not even the most likely scenario.

Here are the basic three possibilities I’ve experienced when I’ve just come out to a neighbour or someone in a friendly and chatty situation in which I let slip “Well, I’m what you’d call a conservative . . . “ or in which I’ve gently and matter-of-factly expressed a non-PC view.

Scenario one:  Your acquaintance is effusive.  She says:  “Really??  Wow, I thought I was the only one around here!”  After that period of heart-to-heart catharsis that follows, you will realize the impact of what you did there.  You emboldened a like-minded thinker.  You’ve broken her isolation.  You’ve begun the ripple effect that dictators so loathe.  This has happened to me many times. It’s definitely worth the risk.

Scenario two:  Your associate is non-committal.  “Oh, really?  Hmmm, well I don’t know . . . ”  You might explain further and the response is a “Yeah, hmmm, well maybe.”  In this case you have possibly influenced a fence sitter. Even in the remote case that this person is a liberal not wanting to offend, you’ve planted a seed of doubt just by putting a human face on your ideas. Truth is contagious and you’ve given a dose of it.

Scenario three:  She or he is shocked or disagreeable: “I do not agree with you at all.  . . .   Social justice . . .  blah, blah, blah. . . . “  It’s counter-intuitive, but this is where you may have the greatest impact of all. Because you have watered down the stereotype.  You have blasted the caricature. You continue to be gentle and nice to this person while talking.  Again, you’ve done the deed, and you needn’t resort to talking points unless you sense it would be helpful. Even if that person rejects you for it, the main thing is that they know you have no intention of assaulting their human dignity, even if they try to assault yours.  Even if they say you can’t be friends anymore. In these one-on-one situations though, especially if a bond of trust is there to begin with, that’s not likely.

In the end, it is the ripple effect of zillions of human interactions that tyrants are really hoping to suppress by using PC as a weapon of mass destruction. So let’s never underestimate the power of the ripple effect of our words and actions upon others. Whether we can see it or not, they actually move in trajectories across both time and space.  The PC Goliath is ultimately no match for armies of cheerful Davids.  Enlist today!

Stella Morabito

  • Condelfan

    Thank you Stella. I agree with you, niceness all the way is a powerful recruiting sergeant. My own ‘outing’ experience some years ago resulted in a good friend kicking off wildly.
    I stayed calm. We’re now, years on, even better friends.
    She knows that my ‘righty’ views are honest and heartfelt.
    I know she votes Labour, sad, but she truly believes and we both accept each other’s positions.
    When I see Labour hate mobs protesting, I don’t think ‘ they’re all the same these loony lefties’ – it has made me realise that having differing views is no bad thing for democracy and for our country, and that niceness and sensible policies will always triumph at the ballot box.

  • Nockian

    Funny. I was watching a presentation by Stefan Molyneux in which he suggested we actively shun those who continually work against our own views.

    He has a point. I wonder how many people brought up in totalitarian states found themselves on the end of a bayonet that had been pointed towards them by ‘good’ friends, or acquaintances.

    I think keeping the dialogue open is possibly the most effective option, but can’t help thinking a good dose of ‘coventry’ can really make somebody think deeply about their values. After all, most of us do prefer to be liked.

    • Mr_Twister

      I’m inclined to think Stefans option is for when you’ve banged your head against a brick wall for long enough, and when… if you’re objective about the relationship, you think that the Value in pursuing it is negligible or even detrimental to your own wellbeing…

      And as we are talking about the existence of the Northern Europeans as a whole…. we are nearing the necessity to deploy the SHUN Grenade! I believe.

      • Nockian

        I believe discourse is always the best way towards resolution. The only time to quit is if the other person is steadfastly refusing to engage. It happens often in forum discussions.

        • Mr_Twister

          I’m in a liberal area and I come across it in reality…but after reading some Nock, and taking onboard some Molyneux, I think I can calm down a bit! Phew!

    • Mr_Twister

      Enjoying..well sort of! The Albert Nock essays btw

      • Nockian

        Did you read Isiahs Job ?

        • Mr_Twister

          Just, thank you.

  • Jen The Blue

    What scares me is he way PC has invaded even right wingers whom I have always considered “sound people”.
    The resigned acceptance that “you cannot say/think that anymore”.
    The reason vast areas of Britain are no longer recognisable as British is simply because the cancer of PC was successful in labelling anyone against multiculturalism as a “racist”. It is the same reason we have a problem with Islamic Jihadis and security.
    PC is a direct attack on freedom of speech and thus democracy.

    • Mr_Twister

      The reality that, Democracy CANNOT exist in a Welfare State WITH Open Borders!,

      Is going to hit more and more people as the months go on, one way, or another.