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Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research Institute]

Sally C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute [go to Pipes index]

PC Protection Racket
The nanny state on the rise...
[Sally C. Pipes] 12/6/04

At long last the presidential election of 2004 is history. So hectic was the final week before the vote that one rather strange story failed to elicit some much needed analysis. Some viewed it as comic relief, but it was more than that.

In the town of Puyallup, Washington, school officials banned Halloween celebrations in class. In a dumbed-down nation, one can certainly sympathize with such a move on the part of educators. Such activities generate a lot of waste material and deprive students of valuable class time, better spent acquiring basic knowledge and skills. However, the educators' motive proved rather different.

The Puyallup authorities issued their ban so as not to elevate one tradition over another. Even in this respect, however, some traditions are more equal than others. More specifically, officials feared that girls dressed as witches, with warts on their noses, black pointed hats, and broomsticks in tow, might offend the delicate sensibilities of Wiccans. These ladies are apparently an organized religion of vaguely pagan theology but practicing only "white" magic, not the black, evil kind.

Exactly how much clout the supposedly downtrodden Wiccans might wield in Puyallup and its environs remains unclear. But school officials believed this group, virtually all female, needed special protection. This protection was not from attack, loss of jobs, access, or anything like that. It sprang from the perception that they needed protecting from schoolchildren in Halloween costumes who have not the slightest clue that they might be giving offense. This involved a "final and irreversible" ban on dreaded Halloween activities.

A local Wiccan high priestess – apparently there is a hierarchy of some sort in this group – thought this decision was rather silly. That did not, however, deter the officials from their steely determination to protect even those who announce that they are not offended. Therein lies a lesson, or several.

Political correctness has not faded away but is, in fact, rampant and getting worse, particularly in education circles. One of its hallmarks is the notion of intellectual democracy, that all ideas and traditions have the same value and merit the same respect. Actually, they don't.

A tradition of democracy, free enterprise, and human rights is more worthy of respect that a tradition of, say, slavery, superstition, human sacrifice, and oppression. In other words, the tradition that allows women to become prime minister, or national security adviser, is better than a tradition that forbids education for women and forces them to walk around in burlap sacks. More to the point, a tradition that cultivates science is more worthy of recognition than one that looks to magic, of whatever color.

The "diversity" that politically correct types claim to advance is really a marked antipathy toward the Western tradition. But while the politically correct mindset is at pains to keep people from being offended, ironically, their efforts lack diversity. One can't imagine efforts to prevent giving offense to businessmen, the police, or soldiers. Only accredited, politically correct victims deserve that treatment, with women such as the Wiccans perceived as particularly needy.

Such nonsense is, of course, offensive, particularly when it comes from bureaucrats paid out of the public purse. When it takes place women should speak up. And there is something else they can do. Women should look into educating their children at home, a growing trend.

School officials, part of a government monopoly, who indulge political correctness are unlikely to be performing well at the job they are supposed to be doing – educating children. The Halloween episode is more evidence that women who are parents should be able to choose where their daughters and sons go to school. tRO

copyright 2004 Pacific Research Institute




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