Editorial – Being honest has caused Liam Neeson a lot of grief

Tom Henihan

At one time, political correctness was a marginal annoyance, a self-righteous display of moral superiority and unshakable certainty, the kind of certainity that emanates from willful ignorance.

Political correctness is still a willful display of ignorance, but it is no longer a peripheral annoyance having established itself as a force to be reckoned with especially through social media, that wellspring of rushing to judgment and shrill indignation.

There are a number of current issues: gender politics, racism, global warming and the environment, where the politically correct will pillory anyone who attempts to examine these pressing issues from a moral, intellectual, emotional or societal perspective.

It has to be so, because to examine anything honestly and courageously one has to, by necessity, veer from the PC, pre-approved script.

People in public life, such as politicians or those with a public profile such as actors and musicians are particularly vulnerable to the relentless onslaught of these self-ordained custodians of so-called correctness.

Political correctness expresses outrage with any position that does not concur with its standpoint: There is no such thing as agree to disagree; there is no room for the benefit of the doubt. In the politically correct environment, justice must be swift and severe.

The actor Liam Neeson is the most recent high profile individual to be ensnared by the political correctness.

In an interview with the British newspaper, The Independent, Neeson guilelessly recounted an incident from over forty years ago, where he admitted to violent impulses in his response to being told by a close friend in Belfast that she had been raped while he was out of town.

“I will tell you a story… this is true. I am not going to use any names. I was away, and I came back and she told me she had been raped,” he began.

Neeson says that his friend’s handling of her rape was “extraordinary” but that his immediate reaction was to seek some kind of reprisal and learning that the rapist was a black man, Neeson walked Belfast neighborhoods with a cosh (bludgeon) hoping to be put upon by a black man so he could “kill him.”

While not to be encouraged or minimized, the petulance and blinding anger of a young man in his twenties is not unusual, and in extreme circumstances, that aggression can be exacerbated.

Neeson goes on to say that he is ashamed of how he behaved, that “it was horrible, horrible when I think back, but I did learn a lesson from it,” and saying that he understands that primal urge for revenge, he also saw that revenge leads to more and more killing.

Having grown up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, Neeson says that he has seen proof that revenge and violence breathes more revenge and more violence.

For whatever reason, most likely, a fortunate twist of fate, Neeson never acted on these negative impulses and no one got hurt. However, the PC thought-police have decided that, due to the petulance feelings of a young man in his twenties, that the sixty-six year old actor is a racist.

Calling Liam Neeson a racist because of this story is absurd. His story is of a young man who had violent, racist impulses, but in sober second thought saw the futility of such an attitude.

If anything, it is a cautionary tale or a tale of redemption.

 

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