Like Sean, I have some level of respect for Peter Tatchell. However, these troubling statements of his indicate what I have always said, i.e. that any ideological system, no matter how much it may seem to represent “good causes,” can be twisted towards state-centric and authoritarian ends. Additionally, the evidence is overwhelmingly clear that when former outgroups become powerful they tend to replicate many of the same authoritarian power systems that they previously opposed. Instead of having school kids salute the flag and read the Bible every morning, Peter Tatchell instead wants kids to pledge allegiance to the new state legitimating ideology of democratic, egalitarian, multicultural diversity.
What is most regrettable is that so many anarchists and libertarians (the majority of whom are cultural leftists) cannot see this for what it is. This is the same problem that early anarchists warned about with regard to Marxism and state-socialism, and the same problem that has generally plagued modern revolutionary movements since at least the time of Jacobin France, i.e. “Meet the new boss. He’s the same as the old boss.” Plenty of people who really ought to know better simply regard anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, anti-xenophobia, etc. as such good causes that they cannot see this rising new form of authoritarianism for what it is.
What kind of opposition do anarchists and libertarians think they will be able to offer against the system in a few decades, perhaps sooner, when the old, rural, white people who comprise the Republicans’ constituency die off, and “conservatism” begins to look a lot like today’s Clinton Democrats and “liberalism” begins to look like today’s university administrations? Regrettably, the Left seems to be in a permanent war with the Western culture of the 1950s, a culture that is long since dead. Any serious critique of statism, capitalism, or imperialism in 21st century Western societies must necessarily include a critique of the emerging ideological paradigm of the ruling class, i.e. what I call totalitarian humanism as espoused by what Joel Kotkin calls the New Clerisy.
By Sean Gabb
Ludwig von Mises Centre
I have some respect for Peter Tatchell. He campaigned against the anti-homosexual laws before this was a safe thing to do. He has shown courage on other issues. This being said, I am troubled by his latest set of recommendations. Writing on the 8th January 2018 for The Friends of Europe blog, he declares that “equal rights are not enough.” It is not enough for people to be treated equally before the law. It is also necessary for children to be brainwashed into agreeing with him. He says:
To combat intolerance and bullying, education against all prejudice – including racism, misogyny, disablism, xenophobia, ageism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia – should be a stand-alone compulsory subject in every school. Equality and diversity lessons should start from the first year of primary level onwards, with no opt-outs for private or faith schools and no right for parents to withdraw their children.
…. These lessons should be subject to annual examination, ensuring that both pupils and teachers take these lessons seriously; otherwise they won’t. A pupil’s equality grades should be recorded and declared when applying for higher education and jobs, as it is in the interests of everyone to have universities and workplaces without prejudice.
To see what Peter means, let us take a number of issues:
- Whether the various races are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;
- Whether the sexes are of equal intellectual or moral capacity;
- Whether sex outside an exclusive relationship with a person of the opposite sex is right or advisable;
- Whether changing sex, with present levels of technology, is advisable;
- Whether mass-immigration is good for a host community.
I could mention other issues, but these will do. No side in any of them is self-evidently true. The truth of each side must therefore be a matter of argument. In all cases, argument either way rests on assumptions that are themselves matters of argument. For the authorities to classify one side in any of these issues as “hate” is as much an abuse of power as criminalising particular views about the Nature of Christ or the sources of religious knowledge. Let attacks on life and property be punished according to law. But let any opinion stand or fall by the appropriate evidence.