Empire of supposed virtue

Amsterdam City Hall

Dalrymple reports that Amsterdam’s city council has forbidden the use of the locution ‘ladies and gentlemen’ in its halls and precincts, so as not to upset those who consider themselves neither male nor female, or consider themselves both. He comments:

No evidence that the locution caused any widespread distress, let alone harm, needed to be adduced. The prohibition was an exercise in power, not an expression of sensitivity. It was a Lilliputian step in the creation of an empire of supposed virtue, in which the rulers will enjoy simultaneously the awareness of their goodness and the pleasures of bullying.

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