One of the joys of editing The Conservative Woman is the new writers and thinkers it brings me in touch with and that we can offer our ‘platform’ to. One such is the Australian Dr Kevin Donnelly. In just months he has provided us with that intellectual foundation — and gravitas — that in the sad absence of the late Sir Roger Scruton we, as social conservatives, so badly need.
Kevin is a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University and a regular cultural and political commentator in the mainstream media there. Like Roger Scruton before him, he is committed to a liberal (in the true sense of the word) view of education, one based on truth and wisdom, and on Christian morals and beliefs. Like Scruton, too, he does not shrink from challenging the cultural Left and taking on the PC movement. To press this home, and to aid all those who want to join battle with him against the new orthodoxies, he’s put together A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide, his third polemic in just over a year, the other two being How Political Correctness is Destroying Education and How Political Correctness is Destroying Australia.
Like the best Australians, Kevin has a sharp wit, but while once he considered PC-language ‘quite humorous’, as did many of us, he’s come to realise that it is ‘a deadly serious game’.
It started years ago to seep into our universities, our schools, our media. But in terms of corporate virtue-signalling and ‘wokedom’, in the last year or two it has taken on a whole new dimension as a cultural weapon for controlling thought. Today, as Donnelly commented at the time of the book’s launch, this has gone well beyond being funny. It is key to the cultural Left’s ‘long march through the institutions’ strategy.
A Politically Correct Dictionary and Guide, illustrated by Johannes Leak, a cartoonist for The Australian, is his attempt to ‘reassert the values of western culture, western civilisation, Judeo-Christianity’ to which freedom of speech and pursuit of truth are intrinsic. As he notes, if you criticise multiculturalism, you’re xenophobic or racist; if you argue that marriage is between a man and a woman — generally, for the purpose of procreation — you’re heteronormative; if you argue against gender transitioning, you’re guilty of transgenderism. This has gone too far, we need to fight against it, he says.
We do indeed. Despite those comments about humour, he joins battle with the weapon of satire. It is both cathartic and effective. The front cover cartoon of the book makes me laugh every time I look at it. It shows a new mum (husband in bed with her of course) staring horrified at her newborn boy (still attached by the umbilical cord) held up for her inspection by a punk male midwife (ring in nose) whose speech bubble declares:
‘It’s a phallocentric binary carbon-emitting heteronormative member of the Euro-centric white supremacist Judeo-Christian imperialist patriarchy.’
After a brief introduction on the emergence of modern thought control, its terrifying censorship and blocking of rational and reasonable debate and questioning across all our institutions, and its reliance on moral relativism and denial of knowledge as objective truth, the book does what it says on the tin. It presents a comprehensive dictionary of words and terms that we should avoid — or at least be wary of — with an explanation of how each is used.
Alt Right, for example, is a term that came from nowhere in recent years which is used to describe extreme Right-wing organisations, but which is also used to smear any centre Right conservatism (and what is conservatism if it is not centre Right?) as racist and offensive.
BAME is a politically-correct acronym that we avoid (I hesitate to say ban) using in this site. Donnelly explains why our reservation and doubts are ones we should heed, defining it as ‘a politically correct acronym referring to those living in the UK who are black, Asian, minority ethnic. Used on the basis that descriptions such as English or British reinforce white privilege and deny the identity of those who are mistreated and categorised as the “Other”.’
It is a must-have book that we all need to guard us from falling into these politically-correct traps, that enables us to check out terminology and phraseology that puts meanings into our mouths and which gradually ‘groom’ us into irrational and dishonest modes of thought and analysis.
Refusing to fall in with it — and being brave enough to do that — is fundamental to resisting the cultural Left’s power grab and the associated descent into a new dark age of unreason. It is something we can all do a battle over, something we can all participate in, with Dr Donnelly’s comprehensive guide and checklist at our side.