John Cleese on Political Correctness and upsetting people

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I stumbled upon this very enjoyable short video interview with John Cleese on Youtube:


The interview includes an absolute gem of a comment from John:

"If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people's behaviour."


I very much agree with John's point that a culture of not wishing to upset people becomes a dangerous form of censorship. I talked about free speech in
a previous blog post and emphasised how important it is for people to be able to say virtually anything because without that freedom, we are very close to a society with many of the features of 1984.

For those readers that think upsetting someone is always bad, here is a scenario: You find out that your best friend's wife is having an affair. If you tell your best friend, he will be very upset but many people would agree that you should tell him regardless because he will eventually, after gaining a greater understanding of what is going on in his life, appreciate what you've done even though it has brought him a period of misery. Upsetting one or more people
because you care about them and that you believe they need to know that news can be applied to many other matters, of greater and lesser importance. It might not make you very popular but if you instead put popularity before moral duty, that places you in the realm of sociopathic narcissists and/or cowards. It's the unpopular, difficult but caring actions that help move us forward as a species. Long may they continue.