Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Good manners and feminism

Quick post to follow up on a thought that's been haunting me: is it a coincidence that political correctness -- especially in the area of feminism -- followed upon the decline of traditional manners? Think about it. Up until about the mid-1960s, good manners dictated that, while one might have had rude thoughts, it was impolite to voice them. So, in the workplace, while the average 1950s male might have been condescending, or might have thought it appropriate to pay his female coworker less than he received, he would ordinarily not have said something improper (by which I mean sexually improper) to her at the workplace. He may well have nursed such thoughts, but he wouldn't have said them. Then came the late 1960s and early 1970s, with their "let it all hang out mentality," and their "if it feels good, do it" dynamic, and manners went out the window. I well remember my strictly-brought-up European parents bemoaning the decline of traditional manners, and being very upset by the things being said to them in the name of freedom of thought. I suspect others were very upset too. Interestly, the antidote was not a return to manners -- manners that dictated what one did, not what one thought -- but the rise of political correctness, an approach that emphasizes thought control over behavioral changes. Thus, the rogue at work who might once have cherished lust-filled thoughts about his pretty colleague, but who was restrained by the gentlemen's code from saying them, is now taught that those thoughts are evil patriarchal remnants, and that the mere fact that they exist in his brain -- whether or not he speaks them -- establishes that he is a PC outcast. This is the real problem with the PC mentality. Those who espouse it contend beneficently that it will harmonize relationships between people, especially in the workplace and the academic environment. They're wrong. What harmonizes these relationships is formalized good manners, with everyone buying into the rituals (such as opening doors for women and the elderly, or chewing with one's mouth closed, or considering it rude to speak sexually outside of the bedroom). What ultimately destroys these relationships and, more significantly, undercuts healthy, analytical, democratic (small "d") thinking, is to control relationships by dictating thoughts. This is Big Brother dressed up in feel-good clothes.