- Paperback: 132 pages
- Publisher: Civitas:Institute for the Study of Civil Society; 2nd Revised edition edition (10 April 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1903386500
- ISBN-13: 978-1903386507
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
614,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3827 in Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Science & Ideology > Political Science > History
- #3947 in Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Social & Cultural
- #4685 in Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Social Sciences > Social Issues
The Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness and the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain (Second Edition) Paperback – 10 Apr 2006
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Discusses political correctness and the freedom of debate.
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Shaw's statement that he might well loathe and despise an opponent's views but would fight to the death for his right to give voice to them, cuts little ice in today's society. Fewer would understand let alone support Lionel Trilling's argument that the most precious of our liberal values can only be truly cherished by putting them under the most rigorous scrutiny and pressure. As Browne so potently argues, liberalism itself has become the major victim of political correctness. Dissent is all too often taboo. The irony is that we have never experienced such intolerance of tolerance.
At the root of all is language, and sadly nowhere is the assault on critical reasoning more alive than in the educational establishment. Minds are no longer opened but filled. The teacher is no longer a crowbar but a dripping tap of moral propaganda. Sanctimonious bigotry threatens a new form of fascism, as exclusive of logic and free philosophical enquiry as Stalin's Soviet Union or many an African, Middle Eastern or South American state. The cultural - sorry multicultural - arbiters are such as Harriet Harman (the deputy leader of a major political party!), the NUT and Cross Cultural Studies still masquerading as English departments.
Have we escaped from the tyranny of organised religion to meet only this sad new dawn of secular oppression? Perhaps Salmon Rushdie is right that the battle for enlightenment has to start all over again.
Browne is not the only voice in the wilderness, but crass media populism and pusillanimous politicians, soft in the head as they may be, are as hard as the Berlin Wall to tumble. This is invaluable polemic, not the final word, but anything that kick-starts a shift back to sanity and freedom of thought and expression has to be welcomed.
There should be a copy of this in every library in Britain and in every MP's office in Britain. But of course that won't happen. Why? Political correctness!
I have had the dubious pleasure, on two occasions now, of being told “To be quiet,” by one of the group of friends that I was drinking with in my local! I certainly don’t appreciate anyone raising their voice at me and it left me a little perplexed and a little angry at he time.
My crime was simply saying the word ‘immigration.’ We were discussing the current topic of the NHS being under strain, It was, as far as I was concerned, said in a quite innocent and appropriate context.
My friend seemed to connect the word ‘immigration’ with racism? He clearly was concerned that a ‘minority’ in the pub may have overheard our conversation and been offended. He too I suppose would have been embarrassed to have been seen to be a part of our group!
Deep down I was furious. I felt his attitude was utterly extreme.
And so I’ve read a couple of books to try and understand his ‘PC’ world a little better. The first book, ‘We’re Nearly All Victims Now,’ didn’t do it for me and this book is far superior in every way. It lays things out in a way that the layman can understand without being over political.This book was published in 2006, so is now 10 years old. Anthony Browne is quite hard hitting and very brave, on the subject of the small minority of problematical Muslims and their Islam religion – which has raised its ugly head again with the numerous cases of ‘child grooming - sexual exploitation’ cases sweeping the country – cases that were hidden for years because of corporate political correctness. Hundreds of young girls suffered extra years of horrific abuse because of it, on the basis of protecting minorities and being terrified of the ‘racism’ slur.
My only negative comment about this book would be the ‘postscript’ chapter which I found a bit self-serving and unnecessary. The reader will make up their own mind. Browne clearly has very strong views but in many cases he's right and the last 10 years have endorsed some of those views.
Other than that I found the book an excellent overview and definitely worth a read on the subject.
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