Somebody just sent me a story from the UK-based Daily Telegraph about two little boys who got in trouble for playing army at school. You may think I’m joking, but here’s a blurb from the report.
Staff at Nathaniel Newton Infant School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, reprimanded the two boys after they were seen making pistol shapes with their fingers. Teachers broke up the imaginary classroom shoot-out and contacted the youngsters’ parents, warning them that such behaviour would not be tolerated. …Parenting groups condemned the school’s reaction to the children’s game of soldiers… Margaret Morrissey, founder of the family lobby group Parents Outloud, said: “It is madness to try to indoctrinate children aged seven with political correctness in this way. “Children have played cowboys and Indians like this for generations and it does them absolutely no harm whatsoever.” …The case follows a string of similar incidents in which children’s playtime activities have been curbed by overzealous staff over health and safety concerns. Earlier this year, a Liverpool school banned youngsters from playing football with anything other than sponge balls amid fears youngsters might get hurt. Research last month also found that one in six British schools had banned conkers over concerns of pupils being hit in the face. Other traditional playground games such as British bulldog and even leapfrog are prohibited at 30 per cent 10 per cent of schools respectively, a study by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers union found.
This is mind-boggling stupidity and jaw-dropping political correctness, and my first instinct was to wonder how a nation that once ruled much of the world has descended to such a pathetic level.
Then I wondered whether, as an American, I was guilty of throwing stones in a glass house. There certainly have been lots of dumb examples of political correctness in the UK.
o A job-placement center that got in trouble for discriminating against incompetent people by seeking “reliable” and “hard-working” candidates.
o A women who was being threatened by thugs got in trouble with the police for brandishing a knife in her own home.
o The government wanted to require “competency tests” for pet owners.
These surely are laughable examples of bureaucracy run amok. But is the United States any better, given these examples?
o A Rhode Island boy getting in trouble for bringing toy soldiers to school.
o A student in San Diego who got in trouble for making a motion detector for a science project, simply because someone decided it resembled a bomb.
o The military was criticized for giving Osama bin Laden an Indian code name (Geronimo) as part of the operation to exterminate the al Qaeda leader.
o A Florida student was expelled for having a toy gun on school property.
o And how can we omit the politicians in San Francisco, who decided that banning happy meal toys was an appropriate use of government coercion.
I’m not sure which country produces more stupidity, but we can safely conclude that governments do stupid things in all countries.