We have sown a minefield and thrown away the map as we let the word ‘respect’ remake itself — and not in our image.
When you read of a teen hoodlum who stabs someone who “disrespects” him, you can see that redirection. An implicit fist was concealed in the velvet glove of respect — it was once our fist, now it’s his. We once had to respect institutions (and people for that matter), in part because we feared them. Now we just fear him and his kind.
The power to be respected diminished as authority figures who once bound together society for right-thinking, post enlightenment folk were themselves made puny by well meaning laws. Your teacher, the local cop on the corner, or bobby on the beat, the magistrate, the squire, the gamekeeper or your lieutenant or your ship’s captain once could do you (often physical) harm. You respected them.
This is a contra-indication about which the medicine bottle of European Liberalism did not warn.
Liberals replaced the robustness of respected, respectable and respect with craven, appeasing pseudo empathy of the most cowardly cast. The fat aren’t fat. Children are ‘young people’. Consequentially, words such as ‘unwaged’, ‘travellers’, ‘asylum seekers’, disguise more than describe.
Inconsistency in apologia of the minutest kind abounds. For example, the French still call London Londres and the English speaking world calls Milano Milan or Torino Turin, probably because no-one is much exercised. Yet Peking, Bombay and a bunch of other cities got an implicit apology and arbitrary rebirth in our language as Beijing, Mumbai etc. Said who?
Nowadays free speech is draining away as the enlightenment is dimming. Ridiulously perhaps, an English citizen can be legally deemed ‘racist’ about the Welsh or Scots and ‘racially aggravated…’ tacked onto a criminal charge boosts punishment.
And of all the epthets we should have abandoned while we were at it, but did not, we have allowed those whose skin colour is pinkish or those in shades of brown, wilfully and continually to mis-define themselves as white and black. And the brown team dare the pinks to choose the wrong word de jour.
You know there will be a day when ‘Afro-American’ will be considered as great a slur as any of the N words from history you care to mention.
And speaking of the N word, or more particularly its lesser known variant, the K word, that latter version is a racial denigration emblazoned in every library; book shop, a lot of schools and on TV most evenings. yet how come no one raises an eybrow of complaint. Did no-one notice, or is this N word taboo merely a shibboleth of the word police?
That word by the way is Kaffir, as in Kaffir lime leaves, which are an almost indispensible ingredient of most Asian recipes. Go on, look up the definition of Kaffir, I dare you, then apologise to the sainted Nelson Mandela as you devein your prawns.