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Sticks, stones and sexism

Quaequam Blog! » Iain Dale calls Lib Dem candidate a “whore”.

I don't usually cross-post or refer to my contributions elsewhere but not all my readers may visit the Quaequam Blog by LibDem James Graham. I recently took him mildly to task for accusing Iain Dale of sexism, earning this stern retort;

I have to say that I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard so-called libertarians criticise people employing their own freedom of speech when they choose to use it to criticise people for being bigoted and rude. It is as if “politically correct” language has some kind of magic power that all other language somehow lacks.

Why this blind spot? I genuinely don’t understand it.

With apologies, I repeat some of my latest response here;

If this class of defective thought is as important as you think, then perhaps you should (suggestion, not prescription) make the accusation with care and consideration, not just lob it willy nilly when you want to damage an enemy.

You devalue ideas about which you care deeply because you are so casual in invoking them. For example, the Northern working classes have been called “racist” so often as they struggled with the consequences of mass immigration, that many no longer care. They regard it (at best) as casual abuse designed only to shut them up. That perception has helped, not hindered, the BNP. Overuse the antibiotic, and it ceases to work.

“Whore” has many everyday uses as metaphor and simile, as you might have remembered if it had been used by a political ally. Used by Mr Dale, of course, it’s “sexism”. As I said, he uses such thought-substitutes himself, so is hoist by his own petard.

I found it almost as amusing as when he lobbed it at Michael White and “you too yah boo sucks” ensued. White was called (idiotically) a sexist and suddenly his accuser was a sexist too. My point is that this is about the level of thought that typically goes into the use of such words as “racist”, “sexist”, “homophobe” and “islamophobe”. Most of the time, they are no better than playground abuse and are registering as such with the man and woman in the street. That should be a problem to you. No?

What do other "so-called" libertarians think? Feel free to chip in, here or there.

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