Notes from the 2nd TE&M Forum
Questions for consideration during the second session on the 18th of May were:
- Are our cultural norms being changed against our will?
- Are we becoming a PC Society?
The summary of comments were:
- Change is inevitable, given the re-distribution of wealth and the breakdown in social barriers.
- In the past there has been some unbalance of rights and freedoms for some sections of society and minority groups. These have now been addressed but the pendulum has swung too far in terms of the limitations on what can be can openly discuss without the risk of penalty or censure.
- People now experience less moral guidance than ever before because they are less influenced by institutions like the church.
- Extreme statements are being made on social media because they can be said anonymously, without fear of redress and often without the need to provide context
- Changes in customs and conventions are disproportionately influenced by the media.
- When things are said openly there is a pressure to revert to law or public ridicule, rather than to balanced debate.
- Individuals often seek out their own forms of social media and therefore end up reinforcing their views and prejudices.
- There is a really unhealthy trend in higher education to exclude or no platform contrary opinions. This is particularly detrimental for young people who are in the process of forming their opinions and political perspectives, possibly for life. This should be exposed as inappropriate censorship.
- Debate relating to race gender and identity is now strictly controlled in a way that deters healthy discussion. Views which contradict the wishes of minority groups are often met with threats of censure in the courts or loss of employment.
- There is now a burgeoning list of identity definitions which we are pressed to absorbed into our language and which we are compelled to adhere to within the disciplines of our society and our employment rules.
- Opposition to the preferred narrative, promoted by our media results in people or groups being branded as "deniers", rather than seekers of truth.
- The sensitivity towards individuals and communities has increased dramatically but it has now lessened our ability to be honest about real issues. For example, the existence of ethnic based child abuse, the wider consequences of obesity and the roots of terrorism in particular communities. This means we fail to have an open discussion and find honest solutions.
- Free speech is the route to progress and we need to listen to other opinions. Unfortunately, the mainstream media and social media promotes the illusion that they speak for the world.
- It is important that there is an awareness that in order to exercise and enjoy free speech we have an obligation to do so with courtesy rather than abuse.
- We do need to ask ourselves how we can better work together as a community.
- We need to build on the residual benefits of the current level of home working and lock down, which has led to a higher level of neighbour support and an appreciation of our local businesses.
- We will need a period of reflection to review how we think society should change post Covid. This could be in terms of our attitude to Localism, the Nation State and Globalism. This could seek to establish the level of Local, Intermediate and National Government with which people can most relate to and with which they feel most secure.