A specter haunts the West, it is populism. Indeed, in recent years we have observed the growing popularity of this new kind of politician. Voters seem to increasingly appreciate outspokenness, identity defense, patriotism and the vertical embodiment of power in their leaders.
Whether we think of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson or even Doug Ford, their popularity, beyond the charisma of these different characters, is in large part linked to their rejection of political correctness. Political correctness, also known as the culture of censorship (cancel culture), has for several years shaken traditional politicians who have thus become masters in the art of weighing every syllable of every word when they speak of certain subjects.
These politicians please the people
By opposing political correctness, some politicians appeal to a part of the population who hear in their mouth what they no longer have the right to express.
Also, they see in them the brake on the deconstruction that certain left activists seek to undertake who consider Western civilization to be racist, patriarchal, sexist and colonialist. Faced with a world that has gone mad in its fight against discrimination, voters therefore seek to elect someone who will defend their more traditional values and their idea of the nation.
However, the reality of power is much less straightforward than some might hope. Once elected, those called populists seem unable to curb political correctness.
It suffices to observe the present saga at the University of Ottawa to see that it is always the apostles of censorship who have the balance of power.
The appeal of Prime Minister Doug Ford, who threatened to cut funding to universities that do not respect freedom of expression, does not seem to have been heard, while rector Jacques
Frémont prefers to defend the right not to be shocked to academic freedom.
South of the border, the culture of censorship is more prevalent than ever, especially in the media and universities. Rather than defeating them, President Trump’s election has fueled the movements at the origin of political correctness, the very movements against which he campaigned and who have waged an equally fierce war on him since the day. 1 of his presidency.
The reality is that this issue goes far beyond the political sphere. No law can instantly put an end to the busting of statues, boycotts or censorship campaigns.
The defense of heritage and freedom of expression is a long-term job that requires constant vigilance. It is no longer sufficient for any candidate to simply denounce the excesses of political correctness.
The few iconoclastic statements, which admittedly reveal a certain political courage, do not give the people back their haunts or their pride. From now on, politicians who wish to carry this fight credibly will have to present a real action plan to protect heritage and freedom of expression.
Antoine Laflamme 20 years old
Second year student in Political Science and History at the University of Ottawa