The new public morality

It is exactly the same process that might have occurred fifty years ago but with a policeman warning a homosexual he could not distribute leaflets advocating sodomy. What has changed isn’t that people are being warned off for their beliefs. What is different is which beliefs they are being warned against. The Ins and the Outs have changed places, but he door remains the same. Wikipedia writes that “views on public morality do change over time,” but whether public morality itself can ever be abolished is an open question.

One of the drivers of the new public morality is who can fight back. British policemen do not go around telling Muslim imams not to preach against homosexuality because such preachers may take strenuous exception to their warnings. But the rules of the new morality are often capricious, unstated or simply arcane…

Nothing so demonstrates plebeianism as the inability not to even know the rules. The real hallmark of membership in the new aristocracy is knowing all the etiquette without even having to ask — easy enough because they make the rules. What’s right is what Keith Olbermann and Lady Gaga say. Why? Well if you have to ask then you must be immoral. The new morality is above all the art of speaking in code and part of the power of political correctness springs precisely from its vagueness. The art of correct behavior today consists largely in sensing the prevailing fashion. It is a survival skill the Old Bolsheviks knew well. The important thing was to always to have opinions, but never to have opinions that were out of date.

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