Monday 29 May 2017

Today's secular zealots are as much a danger as old puritans

Evangelising legions fail to realise that tolerance of those you think wrong can be a virtue

Director Sam Mendes spoke of political correctness. Ian West/PA Wire
Director Sam Mendes spoke of political correctness. Ian West/PA Wire
Ruth Dudley Edwards

Ruth Dudley Edwards

'On screen, our hero can blow away 500 bad guys," Sam Mendes (who directed the Bond movie Skyfall) told an audience of aspiring directors, "but if he smokes one f**king cigarette, you're in deep shit."

I read this in a gossip column the other day, and it reinforced my belief that today's puritans are as much of a threat as their predecessors, even if they are secular rather than religious and their targets are different.

This item was followed by one about the jockey, Ruby Walsh, who answered a question about a horse's death at Cheltenham with, "It's sad, but horses are animals ... you can replace a horse. You can't replace a human being." This brought denunciations and death threats from animal activists.

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