Religious hatred, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, ageism. disabledism? We fear all of these labels. They make us question our feelings, our values and force us to comply with a new, uber tolerant social ideal.
What we are heading towards is nothing short of Orwellian compliance with a system where we question nothing and tolerate everything we are told to do.
It's a society full of taboos, with subjects that are off limits for open discussion and are only jested about by close friends or complained about with family.
What is happening right before our eyes is the self destruction of free speech. Not just government censorship but an almost self inflicted censorship of free speech and also free thought.
One of the hottest topics floating around the Western World at the moment is Gay Marriage. I see it mentioned on Twitter every few minutes and more people in the public eye are bowing to pressure and coming out in support of the rights of people to have a same sex marriage.
I don't see many people debating the idea but because it's a contentious issue. There are some, notably Christians, who are coming out strongly in opposition to the idea. What that tells me is that the middle ground is silent for fear of the army of Political Correct Zealots, who are making it into a taboo subject and therefore giving it on a plate to the Pro Gay Marriage camp through the tactic of divide and conquer.
If it were as simple as just two people entering into a same sex relationship and signing a contract which would give them similar legal rights to property, it should be fine in my opinion and many others but it is more than that. What is being sought is for same sex marriage and gay sexuality to be given equal status to what has been considered normal for a very very long time.
Schools are being asked to teach our children that heterosexual and homosexual relationships are equal and at all costs are avoiding use of the word normal.
For many people that is a bridge too far and I personally think that it is territory that schools should keep out of.
Another hot potato is Islam. I make no secret of the fact that I am an atheist and I am often outspoken about religion and it's place in society. I frequently criticise the Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole and occasionally dig out a defensive Christian on Twitter but mention Islam or use the word Muslim in any negative way and there are immediate outcry from people with accusations of racism.
I find that quite astonishingly ignorant and I also see it as further evidence that people are sucked into erroneous feelings of outrage because someone said something against Islam. For a start, both Christianity and Islam are religions which cover all races and have various different sects within them. No matter how I criticise Christianity, nobody ever thinks of that as racist but almost everyone does when I criticise Islam.
Immigration is another taboo subject where any critics are considered racist and most people who are called it deny it immediately. How many tweets begin with the words "I'm nit a racist but...?"
Race, culture, immigration and all of the other contentious subjects need to be openly discussed. People are using political correctness and the pretence of being offended, as a means of sweeping a subject under the carpet where it festers until one day it will explode.
In the Balkans, racial and religious tensions had been bubbling away for centuries until one day, the boil burst and what ensued was nothing short of horrifying. Better to thrash these things out by discussing and addressing problems, rather that let that happen again and again.
Patriotism has also been made to look dirty and wicked. What patriotism means to me is understanding my history and respecting the people who shaped my country. My ancestors and their friends who worked in the fields, the factories. People who lived their lives in service to their country and the millions who died doing it.
When patriotism and immigration are mentioned in the same conversation, the atmosphere is blackened by the shadow of political correctness.You either have to plod on regardless or try your damnedest not to sound like a racist.
This stupidity needs to change. We should be able to express our feeling and our wishes. We shouldn't shrink away from our inner feelings even if it does mean that we are racists or homophobes because if homosexuals have a right to exist then so do homophobes. Instead of squashing freedom of expression it gives us a chance to align ourselves with others who feel as we do and should not make us fear that The Zealots may have reported us and have to worry about a knock on the door.
Disability is one of the biggest problems in our society at the moment. People are living longer and because of our life styles, many are not in good health. This is another social problem where many people feel that they are picking up the bill and are not happy about it. This brings forward the question of why is someone disabled. Is it bad luck or has their own lifestyle caused them to be a burden and an inconvenience to everyone else? This is another taboo subject for the simple reason that almost all of us are related to someone who has a disability and nobody wants to talk about blaming people for lifestyle related disability.
I watched a thread on facebook descend into all out war recently because of a throw away remark about what may have been a self inflicted disability giving someone the ability to throw their weight about at the expense of others.
I am an Englishman. I can take almost anything which is said about that on the chin. I am not offended if I am called white. Most people from Europe are the same in that. We teased one another over the years. The Roast Beef quips from the French. We called the Germans the Bosch and the French, Frogs. The Jocks the Paddies & the Taffies all take the banter well but of late we are awash with people who have no sense of humour about their origin, their sexual orientation, their weight, religion or even their hair colour. I think it is what the title of my blog post says. A modern disease of society and it's time we healed ourselves.