Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Our world going mad

By James Kyle

In the past I have been perplexed when people insisted we couldn't use such phrases such as "the pot calling the kettle black". The implication of course was this had some racist undertones. But wait a minute - exactly what is racist about using a metaphor of the colour of kitchen cooking vessels being exposed to gas rings on cookers?

However from being mildly puzzled and slightly amused I have went to incredulous disbelief. From the 21st December 2012 an EU directive came into force that impacts the amount of money anyone can expect to receive as an annuity on their pension. Before this date insurance companies quite sensibly used the fact that women on average live longer, and therefore for the same amount saved their annual annuity rates would be lower than their male counterparts. This is the bread and butter of insurance work - rationally applying statistics to calculate appropriate amounts to take in and pay out. In March 2012 however the European Court of Justice ruled that insurance companies would be barred from using gender as a factor when pricing their products. Good news for women as this will boost their expected annuity returns by about 8%. At the expense of men of course. Yes that is right, now due to political correctness myself and all the other men in the EU will be losing very significant amounts from their pension income if they choose to opt for an annuity.

Ridiculous PC thinking is no longer a laughing matter.

It occurs to me that this example of insane political correctness is based upon allowing a specific principle to take unjustified pre-eminence in a mental map of the world at the expense of other mental constructs. The principle becomes so over arching that other considerations get simply obliterated. Moreover, in our day to day lives we can be victims of this poor modelling of reality in more ways than that described above. All of us have cherished fundamental principles that have been conditioned into us by our parents, our religious upbringing, our social education. As in the example of this deranged political correctness, these fundamental principles if left unchallenged often lead us astray, our self-honouring choices being overruled by the ingrained dogma.

As Socrates said: "an examined life is not worth living". What personal principles are disempowering you?