The word man, or any derivative thereof that is even slightly reflective of masculinity as a concept, has now become so toxic in everyday parlance that its very utterance can cause world leaders to squirm in their fancy socks.
Or at least the above holds true in the case of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who during a town hall meeting in Edmonton in the province of Alberta, interrupted a young woman while she was speaking about the paramountcy of maternal love in society.
Commendable though her point may have been, the young woman’s argument was invalidated when she committed the cardinal sin of referring to humanity as ‘mankind’. She was quickly reprimanded by Trudeau, who retorted: ‘we like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind, it’s more inclusive.’
In attempting to bend over backwards to ingratiate himself with woke feminists the world over, Trudeau himself acted in a sexist way by failing to properly engage with her point and mansplained to her about the phrases she can and cannot employ.
As the red line underneath the world peoplekind on my laptop screen would seem to indicate, Trudeau was simply making up nonsensical words in a vain attempt to virtue-signal his way back into the hearts of the people of Edmonton.
Up until the gaffe, the men and women of Edmonton had been scrutinising their Prime Minister for his administration’s decision to spend millions re-integrating ISIL fighters into Canadian society whilst simultaneously fighting Canadian veteran’s groups in the court system for ‘asking for more than we can afford to give right now’.
Trudeau later walked his statement back, referring to his statement as a ‘stupid joke’. While this may indeed have been the case, those familiar with the life and work of the substitute drama teacher-turned sock-modelling Prime Minister know this is most likely an attempt at damage limitation.
All said, peoplekind-gate can be viewed as a pivotal flashpoint in the ever-raging culture war between the virtue-signalling neoliberals and well, everyone else. Trudeau’s decision to interrupt the young girl belies an air of superiority that is commonly-held amongst those who can’t help but correct the language-choices of their peers. In attempting to satisfy his sense of moral superiority, Trudeau side-stepped the meritorious sentiment of this girl’s suggestion.
Modern news is now consumed in snippets, and therefore the modern politician is far more concerned with pleasing soundbites that may go viral as opposed to you know, tangible solutions to real problems. In choosing to ignore the girl’s ideas, Trudeau has shown that the modern neoliberal is not concerned with the substance of any point, but rather more with how something is packaged.
Those of us who have waged war with identity-driven politics over the past few years ought to be grateful for scenarios like this – in one short video Trudeau has highlighted the idiocy of political correctness far more effectively than I could in a lifetime of columns by equating the quality of the girl’s point with the perceived societal acceptability of the language she chose to use.
In a similar vein, the now-infamous interview of Dr Jordan Peterson by Channel 4’s Cathy Newman is another example of the turning tide against political correctness and identitarianism. For the uninitiated, Dr Peterson is a clinical psychologist and lecturer at Toronto University who champions personal responsibility and individualism – coming to fame in recent years as somewhat of a thought leader for disenfranchised and isolated young men.
Amongst a myriad of other worthwhile topics, Dr Peterson often explores the dangerous notion that biological differences between men and women may in fact lead to different career choices, as opposed to the commonly-espoused explanation of tyrannical patriarchal oppression.
For having the gall to suggest that young men were not in fact oppressing women and minorities by occupying well-paying positions, Ms Newman immediately sought to paint Dr Peterson as somewhat of an alt-right poster-boy, mischaracterising his views for the entirety of the thirty-minute interview by reference to the refrain – ‘’so you’re saying that…’’
At one point, she implied that Dr Peterson advocates placing extra barriers in the way of women who would seek to gain promotion at the workplace. Visibly shook by this, Dr Peterson retorted by pointing out that his interviewer is herself a woman who occupies quite an important and well-paying position. Ms Newman of course responded by stating that she has worked extremely hard to occupy her position. ‘’Well why wouldn’t you?’’ came her interviewee’s characteristically realistic response.
The comments section of course came out overwhelmingly in favour of Dr Peterson, praising his steadfast resolution in the face of abject misrepresentation. Like Trudeau and the young woman in Edmonton, Ms Newman displayed an absolute unwillingness to engage with Dr Peterson’s actual positions on issues but was rather more concerned by the fact that he does not choose to cloak his biologically-deterministic theories in more self-effacing language.
What we are witnessing here is a rapid paradigm shift towards the centre, a return to normalcy if you will. For the past few decades, the stifling of free speech on campuses and in the media has cultivated a hive-minded atmosphere that can be at times hostile to freedom of expression.
With every passing day, more and more people are waking up to the blatant hypocrisy that has become a feature of western neoliberalism. In the age of free information, Trudeau’s super-cool socks and holier-than-thou attitude can no longer obscure the fact that he wilfully sells arms to the brutal and totalitarian Saudi Arabian regime.
By the same token, journalists like Ms Newman can no longer wilfully exploit their positions to flagrantly mis-represent the life work of well-intentioned and quite frankly, brilliant cultural figures like Dr Peterson without being exposed for so doing. Moreover, the establishment media are no longer the gate-keepers of information. In the age of social media anyone with an internet connection and the will to dig can uncover the truth.
Jonathan Swift once stated that ‘falsehood flies and the truth comes limping after it’. At present, the incontrovertibility of truth is enjoying a moment in the sun. We really do owe it to ourselves to converse and debate as freely as possible, allowing the truth to remain unobscured by politically correct euphemisms – after all free speech is for the good of all peoplekind.
By Eoin Molloy