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Reader’s Comment of the Day: Control language and you control thought


In response to Kimberly Ross: Campus taboos. Challenging liberal pieties like gay marriage is off limits, Earthenware wrote:

Whenever this subject comes up, the author is almost always too generous – assuming that the underlying reason for the behaviour is a desire to protect people from being offended. This leads to the gentle criticism that said desire to protect is misguided and, because of liberal values in the education system, one-sided.

The truth of the matter – which most of us can see – is simply that incorrect language is being eliminated from the education experience. To accept that this is to avoid causing offence is extremely naive. If they really cared about causing offence, they would be equally concerned about the offence caused by being told that one’s opinion is unacceptable.

I know it’s a cliché, but Orwell spelled it out better than anyone – removing the means of expressing incorrect thought has the sole aim of eliminating that thought. If a thought cannot be articulated, it will die.

I do wish commentators would stop treating this business as a misguided attempt at protecting people. It is a political project with the aim of ridding society of unacceptable opinions. It is pernicious and should be treated as such.

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