As I travel the country, I am exposed to many different kinds of people. Some of these people share similar ideals and tastes as me and we get along quite well. Others have differing viewpoints and we deal with each other in a cordial manner as often as possible. Whenever people congregate, it is important to be respectful of other’s sensibilities. To that end, those in polite company try to avoid intentionally and deliberately offending others. This was a lesson I—and many of my peers—was taught growing up. It is the polite thing to do. It is not, however, mandated by law. Imagine a world where anything found to be offensive to anyone could subject one to stiff penalties including flogging or death. No one would ever interact out of fear for their life. Thankfully we live in a country that protects free speech. Or do we? The media is filled with stories of people taken to task for the crime of uttering their personal beliefs. Perhaps we will soon face the troubles plaguing other countries. A family in the UK had to deal with a particularly onerous issue when confronted on a bus by an Islamic woman wearing a hijab.
According to a story in The Daily Mail, the young couple was trying to comfort their autistic 15-month-old by singing the theme song to the popular children’s show Peppa Pig. The show is about a family of pigs and the song features snorting sounds. The Islamic woman approached the couple and expressed her offense after which the bus driver told the couple to leave the bus two miles from their stop.
In a land that celebrates free speech, who is in the wrong here? Is it the couple trying to comfort a child? Or is it the woman expressing her outrage at what she deems an offensive song? In my opinion, it is the bus driver for sticking his nose in the matter. Both parties have the right to express their opinion and they did so, but to eject a person from a public bus for inadvertently offending another is the real crime here. If the couple intentionally sang the song knowing that in doing so they would inflict emotional harm on another, then some kind of sanction might—and I stress MIGHT—be in order. But even then, free speech is protected by law, so the sanction could not be by the state or any representative of the state.
Now, as this happened in the UK and I am not up to date on British law, I cannot address the legality of speech in that country. If this happened in the US, however, I would recommend that driver be removed from his post and the Islamic woman be strapped down and forced to binge watch Peppa Pig episodes until she sings the song in her sleep. But I digress.
Lately it seems that people are so self absorbed that they cannot acknowledge others. So self absorbed that they focus only on their own sensibilities to the exclusion of everyone else. What this means is that they feel their needs supersede the needs of others, and that they are more important than anyone else. This creates a morbid sense of entitlement that threatens to shatter social decorum.
If something creates any degree of offense, no matter if it was intended or not, it is the equivalent of committing a mortal sin worthy of death. People have opinions and just as no two people are exactly alike, no two opinions are the same. A collection of opinions forms an ideal. Quite often the ideals are diametrically opposed to the point that they may cause offense. This is where the problem lay.
A lot of progressives and liberals will shout the mantra of inclusiveness and diversity from the rooftops until they encounter someone whose ideology runs afoul of theirs. They cry for society to be tolerant of Islam while they browbeat Christians. When Muslims cry out in offense, liberals demand that society accommodate them. When Christians express offense, liberals slap them with separation of church and state.
Now we face situations where one group of people is trying to dictate what the rest of the world can and cannot do. While Christian students are banned from praying in school, Muslim students are given a special room to use to pray. Students in many schools have to abide a uniform policy that dictates what they can and cannot wear; Muslim students are exempted from this. Soon, schools may be forced to remove food items from the menu that offend Muslims. We may find our entertainment dictated by the auspices of these ideologues. Peppa Pig may get cancelled by Sharia law.
If a mother cannot comfort her child by singing a song because it offends one person, then we are already on the path to the end of our society. The best that we can hope for is that liberals realize the door swings both ways. Tolerance does not apply only to Muslims. Everyone has to be able to express themselves as they see fit, even if that way is to sing a song about pigs on a bus full of Muslims.