The single-track nature of what is permitted in public discourse

It is a feature of public discourse these days that politicians and other public figures have to be very careful about what they say. Those who say something a little bit off-track often find themselves at the end of a ‘Twitter’ storm. Two days later they are forced to make a humiliating public apology if they want to keep their jobs.

The complaints are not worded in terms of a debate. No one says “these are wrong views; here are the right ones”. The complaints are always couched in terms of a moral argument. There is no need for a debate about the views expressed. The views are self-evidently immoral. In this way public discourse is controlled. It is controlled so it can only proceed along a single, approved, line. We have ‘democracy’ and ‘debate’ but only one view can be expressed. Everything else is beyond the pale; people who speak off-track are moral demons. One cannot engage with them. One is reminded of the

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer