Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hello and welcome fellow interneters.

So, I've just decided to start a blog. I always kind of felt weird about the idea, but then I figured that if I want to be a journalist and write for a living (which I do!) I should get writing and get it out there. I'm happy to hear anyones thoughts on any of the issues raised here, rational debate should always be welcomed!

Personally, I often feel that various sections of the media refuse to approach issues in a reasonable, analytical way and, that they are often all too afriad to rock the boat. Politcal correctness has been stifling debate on a whole range of issues for far too long.

At the same time, there are also figures in the media who have no shame in conducting their trade in completely unethical ways, showing little regard for the truth or a person's good name. With this in mind, this blog will serve as a platform for my views and opinions while striving towards fairness and accuracy - this doesn't mean however that I will be afraid to tell it as I see it.

I'm generally interested in social affairs, but I'll also put up general ramblings and more lighthearted stuff when the mood takes me.
That's my tuppenceworth for the moment!


Alex said...

Hello John Power: I thought I'd be among the earliest visitors to your new blog.

You say that political correctness has been "stifling debate for far too long". I'd agree but go much deeper and say that politically correct assumptions and attitudes have become ubiquitous. They are no longer just part of the mental furniture of the "liberal intelligentsia", but are now encountered everywhere among both educated and uneducated people.

Political correctness is of course associated with a "liberal" outlook - in the American sense of that word. We are living in the Epoch of Liberalism. Whatever aspect of modern society you choose to examine, whether education, politics, law, religion, history, the media, the arts, etc., it will be thoroughly infiltrated and even dominated by liberal opinion. Liberal opinions and rhetoric are both the highest common factor and the lowest common multiple of public discourse. Without liberal currency it is almost impossible to buy into the circulation of ideas at the present time.

Now I've got that off my chest, have you any ideas about fighting this philosophical menace?

John Power: said...

Your spot on Alex. Out of interest where are you from? My posts basically generally deal with the Irish context.

Certainly, there is a whole issue of what one is allowed to even discuss these days. It isn't simply just an issue of speaking sensitively on a subject anymore, nowdays it seems that some subjects are simply off limits - full stop.

Discussing anything from immigration to gay adoption can result in you finding yourself on the receiving end of childish mud slinging and even torrents of abuse. Wherever a person may happen to stand on an issue, their right to free speech is fundamental and essential.

Without discourse, and the ability to have calm dispassionate discussion, only a stagnant political climate can exist. People are so afriad of offending people that they sometimes literally stop having prominent opinions. In a healthy democracy everyone should be entitled to their point of view and shouldn't have to risk ridicule, their career etc. by being outspoken in their views (there of course questions of libel and slander where I conceed speech must have its limits).

In terms of combating such fear tactics I suppose simply being unafraid to stand up and state what you believe can go a long way torwards giving people the confidence to do likewise.

Also, if like minded people who welcome a challenging of the consenus can articulate their views in a reasoned, calm and respectful way, rather than reverting to simple name-calling, I think many people will realise that they are perfectly entitled to theirs views no matter how controversial.

There is a danger - especially on the interent where face to face interaction doesn't occur and hence people false courage - that people undermine their own credibility by being abusive or petty. Gental persuasion can be effective; a spoon full of sugar and all that...

In terms of liberal ideology, I think the whole area of degrees of objective morality is fascinating; moral relativism is a little too common for my liking. Of course this whole area is problematic, however I still believe we have gone too far down a road of moral ambivalence.

Thanks for the comment anyway, it certainly got me thinking!

Alex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Yes, I agree that we have to stand up for what we believe in and and counter the censorship of political correctness where we can. In some contexts this involves a risk to your peace of mind - or perhaps, in extreme cases, a risk to your job.

In order to combat liberal sentiments with sound arguments, I think that we should try first to understand both the intellectual and the emotional appeal of the lefty-liberal consensus. We should ask why liberal values are so attractive to the educated mind. Or to put it another way; why have almost all "opinion leaders" in Western societies striven to acquire or uncritically adopted a liberal perspective? What's in it for them?

I gather that you are just finishing college, and if you've studied something in the humanities it's odds on you've been tutored by professors/lecturers who are members of the Liberal Orthodox Church. The catechism of received liberal opinion is often learned by rote at institutions of higher education, and it's only after graduating that (most) students get around to questioning what they've been taught.

What you say about abusive behaviour on the internet, under the mask of anonymity, is true. However, assuming good faith, it also provides a platform on which "hot issues" can be discussed in candid and rational inquiries.

In answer to your question. I'm English. My not very well informed interest in Irish affairs and empathy with the Celtic temperament, must be attributed to the influence of my mother who was born and raised in Kilkenny.

(I deleted my previous post because I failed to edit it properly).

John Power: said...

My mother is also a Kilkenny woman, I grew up not from there. Small world indeed!
With relation to why liberal ideology is so attractive to people, I think the answer lies largely in the fact that it is simply easier to hold such views. You'll upset less people and lose a lot less friends if you subscribe to notions such as personal freedom taking sole precedence over responsibilities to society, and not having a right to judge other people's conduct.

My college is heavily biased in its leftist stance alright.
Basically, my English course has been built upon the three pillars of Marx, Freud, and Darwin. There is almost no room for people counter to these theorists and without them most of my modules would be without a grounding. Of course these are all extremely influential and brilliant (in the intellectual sense anyway) thinkers, but a bit of balance would be nice.

My ultimate headache so far has been the study of Judith Butler, a gender theorist. She essentially thinks that all notions of gender are purely (not even partially!) socially constructed. Hmmm.... Biology anyone? The use of words to achieve political goals is incredibly annoying, not to mind dangerous.