I have memories. They may be, as Clive James suggests, unreliable, but I can’t erase them.
One memory is of people often saying “it’s a free country” in response to either a suggestion that they’ve said something offensive or that someone was doing something not illegal but outside of the norm.
It must be two decades since I last heard that retort, TV re-runs and YouTube videos of Hancock’s Half Hour notwithstanding.
What I mean is, “it’s a free country”, was said all the time, by people in the pub, the local market, outside church, in the newsagents.
You pulled a face when they said “Paki” when referring to the cornershop owner Mr Patel, originally from Bombay, India? “It’s a free country”.
Someone raised an eyebrow at a risqué joke? “It’s a free country”.
What about the girl who has moved in with her boyfriend, or the teenage lad down the road who’s just confirmed what everyone had known since he was in Primary School; that he’s gay? “It’s a free country”.
If I were to speculate on the reason it was such a common catchphrase, I’d guess it was a reaction to our opponents in the Cold War. The things we said weren’t policed by government in the way the Russians were. it was a point of pride.
We don’t hear it so often, if at all now.
Perhaps there’s a reason for that.
Here’s a few news items to contemplate:
So what topics can we no longer express that perhaps we might have done in the recent past? Let’s call this test the LinkedIn filter; i.e. would I be prepared to hit the 👍 button on an article on this topic for my professional network to see? If the answer is no, it would seem we can no longer discuss this in public.
Here’s a list to get us started:
- Asylum seekers waiting to cross the English Channel have passed through at least three safe countries already. Why did they not claim asylum in one of those?
- Openly funding the Ukraine response to Russia is a highly risky tactic for the west and has likely delayed the inevitable diplomatic solution.
- Some cultures are inferior to those originating in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Islam, in particular, is still desperately needing its version of the Renaissance to arrive.
- Most of the world’s governments wet the bed over Covid and then failed to admit it when the data was clear in April 2020 and carried on self-harming for over a year.
- Trans women, particularly the most vocal in the media and social media, are nearly always acting out a sexual fetish, autogynophobia. Their human rights do not trump those of actual women.
- Stereotypes are often rooted in truth. There’s a reason the Lebanese in Sydney have a reputation for corruption, for example, or Nigerians in London are wildly more successful than Afro-Caribbeans.
- The gender pay gap has multiple causes, duh patriarchy is unlikely to be a significant one. In fact, we never talk about it when I attend the local Patriarchy Chapter secret meetings.
- The best way to equalise the gap between Australian aboriginals and the rest of the population is to treat them equally – equal laws, no subsidies to live in remote locations, removal of at risk children, etc.
- Polyamory is yet another con trick, like third wave feminism, resulting in unhappy and regretful humans.
There’s loads more verboten topics to go on that list. I may pin this post on the main menu and keep updating it. Feel free to suggest a few in the comments.
Merry Christmas to all my readers!