Ed West:

People have always objected to women dressing immodestly – more so women than men – but what I can’t understand, and this is the dinosaur brain again, is that the current public moral space has no coherence or consistency. So while F1 girls are out of date and exploitative, pornography is fine because it’s empowering and education or something, at least according to the increasingly Buzzfeed-like BBC online. It’s okay for singers whose target audience is pre-teen girls to be crudely sexual and dress half-naked as long as they’re woke; ditto films and television being sexually graphic, as long as everyone makes the right vacuous points on Oscar night. Sex work likewise is a morally neutral issue because it’s empowering; except when it’s not. Women enjoying lifestyle choice is good; except when it isn’t. The one thing all approved, authorised sex-positive things have in common is that they upset conservatives or traditional conservative mores; grid girls don’t.

I appreciate that we’re in the middle of a cultural revolution and revolutions are marked by uncertainty and therefore terror – have I denounced the wrong person today? Did my tweet upset people when a year ago it would have been harmless? – but I do wish it would just hurry up and reach whatever awful dictatorship phase follows next. At least then we’ll have consistency.

Spoken more out of weariness than conviction. In other words, he knows better, the poor guy. The arbitrariness is the whole point. As Beria famously said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” Or, as power-seeking radicals have long known, if they acquiesce to one of your demands, hit ’em with a dozen more. The point isn’t to get what you want and be satisfied; it’s about keeping them subservient and anxious to satisfy your neverending demands. Political correctness isn’t about inspiring people to practice better behavior; it’s about being the authority in charge of ordering others how to behave. They won’t stop hectoring and start praising once we finally give in and comply with today’s dictates; they’ll just invent some new ones tomorrow and start hectoring us again. But I feel confident enough to assert that this phase of revolution will fizzle out as it continues to eat its own; I don’t see any danger of the Napoleon of social justice coming to power and exporting its principles by force (though I resent Ed even putting such a horrific image in my head).

Again, I truly hate to give a quack like Freud credit for anything, but projection explains so very, very much about unpleasant human behavior. The same people who insist that everything noble or pleasurable in society is merely a mask concealing an insatiable lust for power and dominance turn out to be grotesque mutants who conceal an insatiable lust for power and dominance underneath a mask of egalitarian rhetoric. They were warning us all along!