Here it’s the debate about the “right to offend” sparked by the recent Sikh religious debate over the content of the play at the Birmingham Rep.
This is at the highest political / public / human / artistic rights level, but Chris Argyris showed that avoidance of offence (and embarrassment) was at the root of misinformation in day to day business communication too. It’s what Brunsson is referring to by “hypocrisy” in business management. I call it political correctness – the enemy of truth if you like, causing facts to be obscured, and bad decisions made, at the very least.
Religion is, almost by definition, about being politically correct – choosing what to believe, based on prejudice. The balance between a right to offend and the incitement of religious hatred is a necessarily subjective line, hatred being the key word – emotional intent behind a message, not its actual content.
Fate doesn’t hang on a wrong or right choice,
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice.
Says Neil Hannon.
Divine Comedy again, this time Songs of Love – ironically, talking of religious offence, the theme tune to Father Ted. Just think of those e-mail exchanges that might have gone better if only you had remembered to insert an emoticon. This is crucial stuff, not minor nuisance.