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The antidote to political correctness is laughter. The following letters follow on from a brilliant column by Bill Leak in the Weekend Australian about life as a political cartoonist. New conservatism of Western progressives is killing humour

Western civilisation is shrivelling because it is not allowed to laugh, to offend, to make value judgments or to disagree with revealed truths. There is an alliance of fundamentalist Islam and the arrested adolescence of the PC crowd that should be challenged and shown to be the inconsequential frauds that they are.

Bill Leak has done that, and the rest of us should rally to his banner (“You’d laugh if this weren’t so absurd”, 11/6). Our enemies have captured many strategic positions: the universities and schools, much of the media — especially the ABC — politicians of all stripes, and now the Australian Defence Force.

Why are we so afraid, so cowed by this bunch of little dictators? Like all totalitarians, these people have to create a climate of fear because their so-called truths are, as Leak says, absurd. So let us laugh at these people, give offence and demonstrate their absurdity. The antidote to fear is laughter.

Jim Wilson, Beaumont, SA


Bill Leak makes a very cogent argument that cartoonists have a right and perhaps duty to poke fun at the absurd and perhaps even to be offensive and insulting in doing so. Yet in claiming that this important duty is under threat by hipsters, that our “way of life is threatened”, Leak gives merely two examples, one an academic who abused him at a dinner party 38 years ago for telling a joke, and a “blistering” column by Rebecca Shaw explaining why Tim Blair’s column wasn’t funny.

What threat? Surely the freedom to liberally offend invokes a corollary freedom to be offended and to talk and write about it, even in an offensive manner.

Richard Abram, Marrickville, NSW

Bill Leak’s powerful article describing Australia’s loss of its ability to portray politically incorrect humour tells us about the wrong direction this country is taking. The Left is strangling our way of life by taking themselves seriously rather than taking the mickey out of each other, in the process acknowledging our shortcomings.

We are seeing a wowser mentality, do-gooders tut-tutting and people lining up like sheep behind leaders who espouse all things good, yet nothing is real. Meanwhile, the average person has had enough of political correctness.

The thought police have taken control. It’s time to wrest it back.

Tony Griggs, Palana, Tas


I laughed out loud at Bill Leak’s insightful rebuttal of the PC crowd and would have laughed more if it weren’t so serious. Instead of tolerating the nonsense peddled by these anti-West people, we should laugh when they tell us it has nothing to do with Islam, that we can replace fossil fuels with renewables that provide 1 per cent of world power, that gender is all in the mind, that it’s OK for pale skinned people to declare they are black and not OK to question their motives for doing so, that acting in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution overrides facts in our universities, and much more.

Doug Hurst, Chapman, ACT


Perspicacious Bill Leak has nailed his thesis to the door of postmodern social theory by highlighting the absurdity of political correctness. Sigmund Freud said that neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity, and it is evident that politically correct notions are manifesting an increase in the neurotic processes of individuals in society to the extent that the nation’s mental health is being compromised. I call on the Health Minister to address this issue and to appoint Leak the grand vizier of humour.

Robert Bright, Yorkeys Knob, Qld


It was great to see Bill Leak cut through the static. Leak rightly targets the absurdity of worryingly influential opinionistas, perversely intent on stifling our important hard-won core values that evolved from the Age of Reason and Enlightenment. Our source template inexplicably needs defending against barbaric attack.

Feiko Bouman, Rozelle, NSW


Keep up the good fight, Bill Leak, some of us are still laughing with you. To be able to laugh at oneself, as well as the absurdities that constitute the human condition, is an antidote to self-importance which is the scourge of PC and fundamentalist thinking. We are relieved when a child has a sense of humour, as distinct from just being happy. It’s one of the markers of healthy development in that it denotes a capacity to see another point of view. Ditto for adults.

Rachel Falk, St Leonards, NSW