Monday, December 19, 2005

The Tyranny of One (or a Few)

Regularly I shake my head when I hear news discussing how someone was "offended" and, as a reaction to the "offense," what can no longer be done by most of the rest of the community, country or poulation... I call this "the tyranny of one." It is the unfortunate extension of political correctness run amok. Instead of a community, via what ever mechanism (city council, elections of boards of various affilations), deciding what is acceptable from a majority stand point, now it seems in many cases, only one person has to say they don't like something. The reaction, in order to cease and desist in further "offending," the behavior/display/language is then banned by proclaimation. I believe the first time I saw this creep into the culture was sometinm in the mid-80s, when the Navy decided that smoking was offensive. (Note: I'm not a smoker, and don't like it, but certainly, for 20 some years of my life, I was around 2nd hand smoke) I can't recall where I was assigned, but I recall the word came down that if any one person in a space objected to smoking, then no one could smoke. That was a tough transition time, as even a junior seaman now was given the power to speak up and control those around them. At first, the rank structure pretty well controlled who made the call, but as years went by, the clear support for any one who didn't like smoking became more and more effective. I know there are times when the majority can gang up and vote something egregious into effect, but I don't think the balance to that is to allow single people overrule everyone else around them, but, in many cases today, across our country, "the tyranny of one (or a few)" is a live and well.

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