Most of us live our lives quite happily without having to cope with the nonsense which afflicts civil servants and local authority employees. We are rational. We are not terrified of facing up to reality just because to do so may offend “minorities”. But others are different from us. They spend every waking moment worrying about whether they are being “incorrect”. They live in terror of being accused of upsetting those minorities. As a result, they adopt barmy theories, most of which assume that the rest of us, the sane, are very bad people.
What brought this on? I will tell you.
My parish church produced a leaflet to help those who read at Masses to do their job properly. There was one passage in that leaflet which I thought very sensible. It said that readers should assume they were reading to the blind, to people who couldn’t follow the readings on the written page. The point, of course, was that readers should speak clearly and loudly. You, because you are not civil servants or local authority employees, agree with me that that advice was entirely reasonable. But others disagree with you. They think the advice was not just wrong: it was thoroughly evil.
An absolutely excellent woman has just become the coordinator of readers in our church. She really is wonderful. She will do an enormous amount of good. But she has one failing (fortunately she doesn’t read anything I write here so she will not know of my concern). She has told us that the readers’ leaflet should be withdrawn because it refers to blind people. Apparently any reference to the blind is not (to use the awful jargon) “inclusive”. Should any blind person discover that readers were being encouraged to read clearly on the grounds that there might be blind listeners, that blind person would be deeply offended.
That, obviously, is total tosh.
As it happens, I have some experience of the blind. My own father was blind. My siblings, my mother and I read to him an awful lot. We read clearly and loudly. He was, I think, grateful to us. He would have been gigantically amused to be told that he should be upset by the suggestion that those who read to the blind should do so clearly.
But that is by the way. Our church leaflet does not give guidance on how to read to the blind. It just makes the point that readers should not assume that those who are listening to them don’t need to hear the reading because they are reading it themselves. The suggestion that that is offensive to the blind is plainly idiotic.
But our magnificent new coordinator of readers is almost certainly not alone in assuming that it is “incorrect” ever to refer to the blind in any document. Almost all state employees, I suspect, will say she is quite right. They have all, though many of them are not unintelligent, been brainwashed into assuming that any reference to people with disabilities is bound to be evil.
What depresses me is the fact that perfectly intelligent people have given up using their brains in order to adopt nonsensical theories, just because their plainly inadequate bosses have told them to do so.