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A few years ago — in my more petulant days (they are behind me now, of course) — I shamefully caused a bit of commotion in a Bogotá nightclub.
The casus belli? Well, none other than the extremely incendiary act of a local daring to don a jacket prominently displaying the Union Jack. (The British flag is quite popular in these parts, as I explained in this 2014 piece, https://wwcorrigan.blogspot.com/2014/09/flagtastic-result-thanks-scotland.html.)
There’s a fair chance that the guy wearing the ire-inducing attire had little to no idea what the colours represented. I wasn’t in the mood to find out. I took the ‘(verbally) attack first, deal with the consequences later’ approach. Hawkish rather than dovish.
In the ensuing kerfuffle, a friend’s jacket went awol (it was left unguarded on a chair). The fog of war does favour the opportunistic. That old friend still hasn’t forgiven me for this act of wanton aggression.
My tame defence is that I was drunk. Quite drunk. In sobriety, I knew my behaviour was ridiculous. The Union Jack doesn’t tend to bother me (heck, I lived in Belfast for a year-and-a-half, a city well bedecked in blue, white and red). It’s a flag, an arrangement of colours after all. It doesn’t do any harm of and in itself.
‘There is the possibility that they’ll choke on their own verbal vomit after having imbibed too much of their toxic brew.’
What’s more, not that this should matter in any case, but one of its crosses — the red saltire — also represents Ireland’s patron saint, the Welsh-born Patrick. (Many Irish people would do well to remember this, in the same way that Northern Irish unionists should be aware that the orange part of the Republic of Ireland’s tricolour represents them.)
Watching today’s culture wars while hot war — where people are actually dying — wages in many parts of the world — not just in eastern Europe, you know — I’m reminded of the above inane incident.
In fact, those who are quite militaristic in their approach to battling “inappropriate” works of art, literature, various symbols and such like, doing so from, for the most part, a very comfortable existence, would benefit from some time on a real front line. Or, at the very least, truly experience the lives of those who they claim to represent and defend.
It’s quite easy to cry foul at perceived injustices when one is not really in the firing line or is insulated from any, often pernicious, corrective measures taken to address said wrongdoing.
Many social justice warriors are excellent at finding fault elsewhere and demanding retribution. They’re not so good at dealing with their own shortcomings.
Yes, we must continue to strive for a better, fairer world but we’re more likely to get there by removing barriers, not erecting them.
On many occasions, those who are in a rush to help end up, at the very least, hindering proceedings. At the worst, they make things even more problematic, creating divisions where none had previously existed.
As we’ve seen with the pandemic, the perceived cure can be worse than the disease.
Society faces the difficult task of bringing these culture war soldiers, boisterous with self-righteousness, to their sober senses. There is the possibility, however, that they’ll choke on their own verbal vomit after having imbibed too much of their toxic brew.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.