Best Argument Ever Against Political Correctness by Stephen Fry

Now, In…in agreeing to er, participate in this debate and stand on this side of the argument I’m fully aware that many people, who choose incorrectly in my view to to see this issue in terms of Left and right – devalued and exploded terms as I think they are – will believe that I am Betraying myself in such causes and values that I’ve espoused over the years. I’ve been given a huge grief already simply because I’m standing here next to Professor Peterson Which is the very reason that I am standing here in the first place. I’m standing next to someone With whom I have you know Differences shall we say? In terms of politics and all kinds of other things Precisely because I think all this has got to stop. This rage, resentment, hostility intolerance above all this erm, “with us or against us” certainty. A Grand canyon has opened up in our world the fissure – the crack grows wider every day. Neither on each side can hear a word that the other shrieks and nor do they want to. While these armies and propagandists in the culture wars clash down below in the enormous space between the two sides, the people of the world tried to get on with their lives alternately baffled, bored and betrayed by the horrible noises and explosions that echo all around. I think it’s time for this toxic, binary, Zero-sum madness to stop before we destroy ourselves. (applause) I’d better nail my colors to the mast before I get any further than this It’s only polite to give you a sense of where I come from. I … All my adult life I have been what you might call a lefty – a soft lefty – a liberal of the most hand ringing, Milksop, milquetoast variety. Not a burning ” man the barricades” socialist, not even really a progressive worth the name. I’ve been on marches, but I’ve never quite dared wave placards or banners. Erm…Am I a loathed member of that band, an SJW, a “Social justice warrior” I don’t think highly of social -injustice- I have to say, but I character myself mostly as a social justice warrior. My intellectual heroes growing up were Bertrand Russell and G.E.Moore – liberal thinkers, people like that – writers like E.M. Forster. I believed and I think I still do believe in the sanctity of human relations, of the primacy of the heart and friendship and love and common interest. These are more personal interior beliefs than they are political exterior convictions. More a humanistic version of a religious impulse I suppose.I trust in humanity, I believe in humanity I think I do despite all that has happened in the 40 years of my adulthood. I am soft and I can easily be swept away by harder hearts and harder intellects I’m sometimes surprised to be described as an “activist”, but over time I have energetically involved myself with what you might call causes. I grew up knowing that I was gay – well, in fact from the very first, I knew I was gay – I remember when I was born, looking up and saying “that’s the last time I’m going up one of those!” (laughter) I’m, I’m Jewish. I’m Jewish. So I have a natural obvious horror of racism Naturally, I want racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, bullying, bigotry – – intolerance of all human kinds to end. That’s surely a given amongst all of us. The question is how such a golden aim is to be achieved. My ultimate objection to political correctness is not that it combines so much of what I have spent a lifetime loathing and opposing, preaching us (with great respect) Piety self-righteousness, heresy hunting, denunciation, shaming, assertion without evidence, accusation, inquisition censoring – that’s not why I’m incurring the wroth of my fellow liberals by standing on this side of the house. My real objection is that I don’t think political correctness works. I want to achieve… I want to get to the golden Hill, but I don’t think that’s the way to get there. I Believe one of the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right than to be effective. (audience member) hear, hear
(Applause) And political correctness is always obsessed with how right it is without thinking of how effective it it might be. I wouldn’t trust myself as a classical libertarian, but I do relish transgression and I deeply and instinctively distrust conformity and orthodoxy. Progress is not achieved by preachers and guardians of morality but to paraphrase Yevgeny Zamyatin “…by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels and skeptics.” I may be wrong. I hope to learn this evening. I really do think I may be wrong, but I am prepared to entertain the possibility that political correctness will bring us more tolerance and a better world. But I’m not sure and I would like this quotation from my hero Bertrand Russell to hover over the evening “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision. Let doubt prevail.” I don’t believe that the advances in my culture that have allowed me to marry, as I have now been for three years to someone of my gender, I don’t believe they are a result of political correctness and maybe political correctness is actually just some sort of live trout that the harder we squeeze it, the further it goes away and and you will be saying “I’m not talking about this” … You’re talking about social justice with which I agree with. Wh ether you want to call it identity politics or the history of your people, the history of my people – my people were slaves as well. Both the British were slaves of Romans and the Jews were slaves of the Egyptians all human beings have been slaves at some pointand we all in that sense share that knowledge, of how important it is to speak up. But Russell Means, who was a friend of mine toward the end, who founded the American Indian Movement He said “Oh for Gods sake! Call me an Indian or a Lakota Sioux or Russell. I don’t care what you call me. It’s how we treated that matters.” And so I’m really addressing a more popular idea also actually in Barrow, Alaska an Iñupiat said “call me an Eskimo – it’s obviously easier for you because you keep mispronouncing Iñupiat.” You know words do matter, I’ll just end with a quick story. Gay rights came about in England because we slowly and persistently knocked on the door of people in power. We didn’t shout. We didn’t scream. People like Ian McKellen eventually got to see the Prime Minister. And when the Queen signed in the Royal assent, she has to, for the bill allowing equality of marriage. She said “Good Lord, you know, I couldn’t imagine this in 1953. Really is extra ordinary, isn’t it? Just wonderful!” and handed it over. Now it’s a nice story and I hope it’s true, but it’s nothing to do with political correctness. It’s to do with human decency. It’s that simple. You

100 thoughts on “Best Argument Ever Against Political Correctness by Stephen Fry

  1. Jordan Peterson is so small compared to Stephen Fry. And I don't just mean physically. Peterson isn't an idiot, but Fry is an actual intellectual.

  2. Freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.
    One should be allowed to say whatever they want, and if no offence was meant, either none can say what they said was offensive, or they simply need to be caught up to date on definitions (the important thing being to not change definitions over time).
    Hate speech punishments seem odd to me. Why punish someone for outwardly stating an opinion? They can't just decide to not have that opinion, they can only be persuaded, and punishment won't persuade them of anything.
    I'm not defending them – I'm just saying the system doesn't work long term.

  3. "Tolerance" of sin is never the answer. To suggest that making a mockery of God's blessed union between a man and a woman is an exercise of "human decency" is rhetoric straight out of the pits of Hell. The Apostle Paul summed it up perfectly in Romans 1: 26-28 and 1 Corinthians 6: 9.

    Romans 1
    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their [a]women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.

    27 Likewise also the [b]men, leaving the natural use of the [c]woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

    1 Corinthians 6
    9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous1 will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: xneither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,2

  4. Aren't the 'PC SJWs' the same people who fought to allow him to marry his boyfriend, when conservatives decided he shouldn't have that right?

  5. For some reason his point of betrayal stuck with me most. This emotion sums up most of the entire clash of politics in general. People choose to discard concerns of other minded people by delegitimizing their rationale. Which is what debate is and I'm not discarding the power of reason. But I'd rather come from a place of common ground, the basis of sharing a human origin and finding balance between being inclusive as well as efficient and effective. This game of superiority has become a bore. Why can't we focus on and question what is. And respect the existence of reality in all its forms. And work our way towards a fitting solution for everyone. The fight has become noise.
    I watched this woman on a soccer talk show in Holland, an ex international, being on there promoting something. And it was a nice talk between the men presenting and her. And at the end they asked for a last remark. And she said: well you know, sometimes I think I miss a woman at your table. And it took her a mere second to respond to herself and say: or not(!!), I mean it doesn't have to be that way of course(hedging).
    And I felt like something had gone badly wrong. I would like a woman on that mens table too every once in a while. Talking about the game. Even when she's wrong. I want to hear a different opinion coming from a side I am not used to because it allows the opportunity to understand the angle from which she approaches things. Not ONLY this or that. BOTH.
    And it comes down to the coexistence of personalities that are on both ends of the spectrum. It takes effort to understand someone with completely different personality traits than yourself. But I enjoy poking at something I don't understand. That's what's lost. Political correctness made it so that you can't ask or do anything about something you don't understand or you get penaltied. And conservatives made it so that competence becomes an excuse to not even consider giving people the chance to fail and succeed. All this "movement" is good for, is replacing questions with answers. And I don't think that either sides "answers" fit the reality that is the balance between two complementary forces. That ENFORCE each other when understood correctly.

  6. The original goal of PC was pretty good but today it has become nothing short of 2nd mccarthyism and is working in incredibly similar way.

  7. First step in winning the social debate is allowing the debate to be had in the first place. If you obstruct the debate with hatespeech laws, political correctness, and witchhunting, then you are essentially forfeiting the debate. The debate will still happen, but since you forbid the other side from openly expressing their views, they will just have it without you, and your side of the argument will never be acknowledged so they will just have their echo chamber where extremism breeds. Political correctness has fully stagnated any true and lasting social progress

  8. Similar to feminism was good at the start and just then it gets abused and misinterpreted and morphed into what we have today. PC is similar path humans like to deviate from original model dramatically.

  9. Stephen Fry you are beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. You are a beloved actor's actor and adored by many. If there's a film with you in it I have to see it. If you give a speech I want to listen to it and I'm glad I did because it was powerful, right to the point and delivered from the heart.

  10. I don't like Stephen Fry. His reasoning is a bit controversial. For example the biggest impulse in our world towards human rights was with a completely and totally moral person, that was Jesus Christ, with the principle of forgiveness and equity of slaves and citizens in His time (by the way, about tow thousand years ago!). There was also Gandhi, Buda, Martin Luther King, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. Because of this I feel that Stephen Fry ever mix some truths with some lies and the result is more confusion and misinformation than real reasoning. And after Jordan Peterson has destroyed completely the political correctness with science and logic, even Mr. Fry now has to agree with Perterson, but in the midst of his speach, Fry intentionally don't miss a chance to disagree and attack religious principles. For me he is a wolf in a sheep's skin because he is a peacemaker that gently stab the stomach of his adversary.

  11. Steven Fry is polite and intelligent. Very funny. I love Russell, as well. I think JBP is probably the same.

  12. Always a joy and privilege to hear Fry talk. Intelligent, eloquent, modest as a human being and above all a great sense of humour. Watch Fry as general Melchet in Blackadder, and you'll never yearn for imbecilic generals or dictators to rule.

  13. Great thoughts. The world has just become so polarised. And nobody seems to know how to sort fact from fear. Political correctness isn’t a left or right issue, it exists everywhere and always has to a certain extent. Christians who get offended by atheist billboards and moslems who get offended by cartoons of Mohammed, vegans who are offended by animals used in pop culture in certain ways and all the rest. It’s all the same shit. Each dilemma needs to be judged on its facts and its merits and the only way that happens is with a debate, even unfortunately if it means sitting down and speaking with people who hold absolutely horrific views. There is no better way but isn’t open to extreme manipulation and potential worse consequences. Not every liberal is a Marxist social justice warrior extremist and not every Conservative is a fascist neo-Nazi religious lunatic

  14. It is wrong to say that both sides cannot hear each other.

    One side is almost certainly forced to hear the other side through media and entertainment and see that vision enforced via gvt violent intrusion into their lives.

  15. The main problem with Political Correctness, in my opinion, is that those who purport to denounce the supposedly apparent "oppression" or "indignation" of others by way of identity politics, do so under the guise of "good intentions"… That, of course, just means that Hell has a more clear path to it than Heaven.

    Most of whom subscribe to the pathologically cult-like practice of Political Correctness are either blissfully unware of the inevitable negative outcome of their actions, or they simply do not care. To me, I find this line of "logic" to be rather fascinating and simultaneously terrifying. Look no further than AntiFa for a good example of Political Correctness in an authoritative sense. As the militant arm of the Democratic party in America, they are dangerous for many reasons, but mostly sad in my opinion. Political Correctness within their ranks is so far over the rainbow that Caucasian members of AntiFa (of which comprise 99% of the entire movement) will actively and viciously attack members of their own race. Why? Because they think differently.

    Political Correctness, of course, leads to political cannibalism; In which, members of those groups attack each other as the list of "things to which they take offense to" increases… Or as the old saying goes: "The Left eats its own."

  16. If the supporters of political correctness are offended by what I state, then let them be offended. It is not that I don't care about what they are offended about, I just don't care about them being offended.

    Stephen Fry is in a class of his own, brilliant!

  17. Mr. Fry, I have never known nor heard of you before this moment, but you have earned my respect and admiration in eight minutes

  18. PC has gone wrong. Like multiculturism, diversity, Feminism, gender dysphoria. All failed experiments. Time to put them to bed.

  19. If we had lived in a society that kept calling gay people “faggots” over the last 30 years I doubt our culture would have accepted gay marriage today.

    It is very possible that political correctness towards gays has brought about the changes we have accepted.

  20. That debate was embarrassing, fry put forward coherant objections to political correctness, Peterson gave us the usual word salad that's makes you think he knows what he's talking about, but no one else does, and the other 2 went on absolute tangents.

  21. Funny thing is the concept started as a criticism of the conservative right wing establishment and now is used to feed the persecution of the conservative right wing establishment.

    Laws impinging on what you say have problems, but people do need to understand consequences, I don't think you should go to jail for what you say but don't be surprised if someone punches you in the face

  22. I would rather be kind than politically correct. But sometimes, my words and terms, when spoken in ignorance, can be hurtful. If I don't know someone personally, then leaning on politically correctness helps me until I learn enough to ensure that I am not hurting someone through my ignorance. It does put a bit of a barrier in the way of unguarded, honest communication though.

  23. Disappointed in Fry, giving up so much ideological ground, just for politeness' sake. He's declined as a debator since Christopher Hitchens' demise. Sad to say.

  24. This was a poor debate. Even the speakers said so. They didn't really discuss what they were supposed to. It was too vague. Here fry is doing his best, but he clearly doesn't know what to say, so he's just pouring out filler.

  25. Political correctness has a place that is in politics. Public officials must uphold the law as well as be writers of laws and these laws must be for anyone and everyone, driving all towards a better society. And you cannot do that being incorrect, in my opinion.

  26. The persecutors are the same minded people. They changed the preach. Back in the 60s-90s there were radical, anti-race, antiwhatever. Today we have anti-race, antiwhatever, but preached from the huge media. These antiwhatever people don't think about collectivism. The old ones shame black people. The new ones shame white people. So, the media and dangerous people just change their discourse. They are still the same, born in a different time.

  27. Mr. Fry is a reasonable, thinking, caring, kind man, who in this time of political correction, may be like dinosaur. His good traits, now seeming out dated in this PC world, insuring his extinction. God forbid!

  28. 'Absolute certainty' maybe comforting and provide a sense of identity when taking a side, but there are others who believe in 'self doubt' and the subtlety of humanism & harmony without the need to fuel the flames or impose their will to others (Peer Pressure).

    Insisting on others as to what is "right" end up driving a wedge from human progression, because it stops us from asking. For one, 'absolute certainty' is unscientific. So theses arguments between left or right, right or wrong, with us or against us, are ultimately pointless.

  29. The biggest issue with political correctness is that it started with the very best of intentions and it's become this juggernaut that is so removed from the original concept that it really should be called something else than what it is.

    While not a fan of Jordan Peterson, I greatly admire Stephen Fry and his appeal to sanity and reason. Just because you might be offended by somebody else's words does not mean those words aren't valid. Being offended does not mean you're right.

  30. Imagine the disappointment a wolf would feel if it knew it’s descendant was a Pomeranian. That's how your war veteran Grandad feels when you mention political correctness.

  31. Stephen utterly confuses me… one moment he’s pandering to the left lbgtqqqjfjfndjsisbsvdvjosbdgdhdnk lot and then he’s advocating the end of the PC culture… he seems as confused about his politics as he is about where to put his penis

  32. Let's gather some firewood and build a campfire to gather 'round and sing "Kumbaya." Change emerges from conflict and with conflict there is chaos. Deal with it.

  33. Great example of controlled opposition to political correctness. And misleading title. One of the worse arguments against political correctness when the men is all for it. So called debate amongst themselves.

  34. Those people aggressively pushing a PC agenda are acting in exactly the same manner as the totalitarian bigots they declare they’re opposed to, it’s censorship and oppression, you should NEVER have the right to not be offended.

  35. Well done Stephen Fry – but as you say yourself – you are receiving the wrath of the PC brigade – your eloquence falls on deaf ears because the PC simpletons would have nothing to do if they were to agree with you – keep it up – great work

  36. You can't swear and say anything that offends anyone in the West. So many resources are wasted policing bad language.

    Meanwhile on the other side of the world China is building mines in Africa, pulling real wealth out of the ground and transporting it away.

    What can the soft rubbish do as they watch all that wealth being taken away. So they police language, they can't mine, can't build infrastructure, can't manufacture and can't innovate.

    It is so stupid how this stupidity has got into the West and it will leave the people who have to suffer it poor as they see the wealth and opportunities disappear day by day. Sensitivity = poverty. Victim narrative = poverty.

  37. Political Correctness is a system used for Globalists to control a Countries Population ! Project Fear !

  38. Political corrctness only exists to protct easily offended people, aka the faint-hearted's. Because it limits the speakers expressions by confining them to langages that sound polite and frienlly towards their ears, preventing them from knowing whats actually happening as speakers are expected to say what those faint hearts want to hear and NOT what they wanted to say. Im not a godamn expert to sculpt up a citical argument against this nonsense, but from my POV political correctness only shuts the peole down from actutlly learning the truth, Politeness sometimes literally butchers honesty

  39. Can I please humbly ask why has this incredibly well spoken obviously learned man not been nominated for a Nobel? He humbles me with his Humanity….

  40. But Stephen you have made multiple youtube videos.
    Anti brexit, pro EU videos?
    The US healthcare system?
    All of which have left wing, cherry picked, videos, emotion tugging pictures.

    C Hitchens would be utterly horrified by the EU as it is now, and prob would still be agreeing that the US medical system needs much reform.
    You still use your ‘gayness, religious history’ as a lever, and yet your good friend would NEVER of used it to try and virtue signal.

    It is ONLY the left that WANT political correctness, it is now EVER MORE so.

    The left has now got so toxic that 4 women in the US representatives are so far left that the democratic party are worried about them.

    The left has risen again.
    Antifa just committed an act of terrorism, and NOBODY in msm left wing bias ever mentioned it.

    For gods sake man, be like Hitch and call ALL OF IT OUT

  41. Hi All!
    Not sure this is the right place, but it is VERY concerned with arguments against political correctness:

    "Religion Without a God, A Novel" is a novel I've written condemning political correctness and the Left. It also has a major gay character, but he is NOT based on Stephen Fry… (or Milo, as I made clear elsewhere) 🙂

    It is FREE in the Amazon Kindle Store from 23rd July to 25th July 2019….

    I don't know the best place to announce this for who may be interested, so you are all welcome to pass the information on wherever you think might be helpful 🙂


  42. I am not left or right. I am not even political.
    I want love and peace in the world but I don't see PC culture as either of those things.
    They just attack and shame people.
    How is that going to solve racism, sexism and homophobia.
    You are fighting hate with hate.

  43. I cannot take a lecture from Fry seriously…. PC is everything he has ever been… he is the icon – the linchpin of all that has gone wrong with my once beautiful country… he is the figurehead for PC culture… that control by a leftist, thuggish 'new' establishment – brainwashing our young with his sickening, BBC propaganda. There is nothing very decent about him to me

  44. PC is all about the one and only thing the left is all about: ever-widening control of other people.
    PC is shit, basically.

  45. How astonishing it is to discover that this popular comic actor is as brilliant as he is. But more than that how humane, how deeply principled and indeed, how wise is he. This immensely engaging talk of Stephen Fry's is totally imbued with nothing less than wisdom.

  46. Im really disappoint : common interest and human connection are conservative. Individual selfishness : thats liberalism.
    Western hemisphere really lost the definitions….

  47. Doing a Progressive Tax on (Just) the “Greedy Part” of Wealth & Conservatively Spending (Just it) on Social Programs gets us a “Stable Society” (the “True Creator” of All Wealth!!) AND we do it with “Direct Democracy” where WE Directly Propose, Enact & Enforce “Merit Based Standardized” Laws & “Money” isn’t a factor!! – "Like" this so we all See & Do this!!

  48. It's the one thing I totally disagree with Stephen Fry. If you allow people to say what they like, then you end up with a mess like America and the growth of extremism.

  49. Couldn't agree more. Don't even get me started on cancel culture which is such an idiotic thing sometimes…I really hate that labels like "feminism" and "liberals" have morphed into a labels of people who are offended for the sake of being offended… Feminism and left wing politics used to have good causes too… Not it's all lost to this screaming match between both sides.

  50. stephen fry did more for the acceptance of gay people than all the activists movement fighting prejudices directly – combined

  51. Nowadays people are being "offended" because they know it can be "justified" to be so – not because they are genuinely offended. It's fair to say the true meaning of the word has been lost, like many others.

  52. I say that true “political” correctness is an oxymoron. Politics is a debate and in a debate both opinions are correct in the minds of the debaters. People who engage in PC want to end the debate or run from it. This is not politics it is just
    Self proclaimed “correctness”. People who subscribe to the idea of PC are not pompous. They are intolerant of politics.

  53. Fry, WTF is wrong with you! Don't feed these right-wing, fascist, nits! You don't even understand what PC is supposed to be in the first place, and you excepted the definitions from the fascist opposition!

  54. I’m late to the party. Not very familiar with Mr Fry’s work as an actor, but his thoughts, his values, his manner of expression are all just awe-inspiring! Much love ❤️❤️❤️

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