Ian O'Doherty

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Time to criminalise the stupid?

Published 14/07/2014 | 00:00

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Idiocracy: is it time to criminalise the stupid?

So how many forms of mentally ill are you? Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not talking about people who suffer from depression, bi-polar, chronic stress or any of the other genuinely debilitating conditions which can leave even the strongest soul lying on the ground, hanging on to the carpet for dear life, and hoping everything, and everyone, will just go away.

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No, I'm referring to the kind of mental condition that other people are happy to diagnose - phobias. Or their relative 'isms'.

Anyone with even the vaguest understanding of Soviet history, for example, will know that the best way to shut up those you don't like is to state they are obviously suffering from some terrible psychotic condition.

Under that system, they must be 'treated' for their affliction - and all the better if such treatment is conducted in either a gulag or one of the infamous 'psikuskhas', where the unfortunate patient was treated to as many rounds of ECG and psychotropic drugs as the medics deemed fit. And then they were shot.

Nobody is calling for people with apparent phobias to be shot in Ireland at the moment. But it's hard to escape the impression that if the Curragh was ever turned into a psikushka, they'd have no shortage of applicants to work in the place.

And what would these crippling mental disorders be?

Well, the obvious one is Islamophobia, a label that's routinely stamped on anyone who is so deranged that they might suggest that perhaps stoning gay people to death is not a great way to live your life.

Islamophobia is the slur that can be easily thrown at those of us who understand that our way of life and Government in the West is infinitely superior to the kind of cultures which exist in the Muslim world.

Think I'm lying?

Have a look at the emigration patterns. Do you see vast hordes of terrified Europeans or Americans desperately seeking asylum in Pakistan?

Let's talk about homophobia, which is supposed to mean anyone who breaks out into a cold sweat at the thoughts of having to talk to a gay person. Or, even worse, fancies beating them up.

As much as I disagreed with the people who sued RTE in that infamous exercise in stupidity, '
'Pantigate', I could nearly - nearly - understand where they are coming from. Because homophobia is now an entirely meaningless phrase. Anyone who disagrees with the gay lobby on any of their pet issues is a homophobe, as opposed to someone who disagrees with them on certain issues.

In fact, I experienced a truly brilliant example of that wretched non-thinking when I was lectured last week by a gay guy who saw no absurdity in stating that 'members of the gay community' think the phrase 'gay lobby' is homophobic. Community? Lobby? Who can keep up when people are arbitrarily deciding which phrases are acceptable?

Obviously, the Soviet reference at the top was an extreme example. But when you have people openly suggesting that anyone they disagree should be sent for re-education (they might call it 'sensitivity training' but it's the same thing) you can see that we are seeing not only a rise of Generation Outrage but Generation Stoopid.

Of course, we could play them at their own game. In fact, it might even be fun for those who still value common sense and logic over 'hurt' feelings to start running to the lawyers or the cops because you felt 'threatened, harassed or alarmed' by one of the innumerable activists for the innumerable causes which have now hijacked public discourse.

Of course, reasonable people won't do that because reasonable people have better things to do with their time than going around hassling everybody else.

But I must admit - the idea of bringing a criminal code against stupidity is certainly an attractive one…

Ian O'Doherty

Irish Independent

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