MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More on Equality Law

In today’s Daily Mail, Melanie Phillips points out the fundamental illiberalism of New Labour’s new ‘Equality’ law:

For with this decision, the country that first invented the concept of liberalism — the land of John Locke and John Stuart Mill, who fashioned the model of a free and tolerant society for the world — is now set to destroy the concept at its very heart.

That concept is freedom of conscience, the right of religious bodies to organise their own affairs in accordance with their own religious and moral precepts. For that is the real issue at the heart of the gay adoption row.

My views on the adoption row have been widely disseminated, and are fairly similar to Melanie's – I also believe it’s an attack on freedom of conscience. And like me, Melanie has also likened the behaviour of modern 'secular moralists' to the behaviour of Medieval Inquisitors.

The other issue involved in this debate, which I did touch on in my post but only briefly, was the refusal by some landlords to accept homosexual couples to share a room in their B&Bs. Now this is to be outlawed, and is plainly viewed as discrimination, not just to leftists, but also liberals and so-called conservatives. Yes Matthew Parris, I am talking about you.

The argument about this has tended to be brought out by supporters of the bill when they’re losing the argument over the adoption row.
As soon as the illiberal nature of it is pointed out to its supporters, the cry comes up “well what about the B&B’s? Surely by supporting the exemption for adoption, you believe that there should be an exemption for them, too”. This is an attempt to lead into "well then, you would probably agree with discrimination on a racial basis as well".

The thing is, to call this discrimination is outrageously disingenuous. Because, quite simply, the individual cases are not about withdrawing services based on sexual preference, it’s about the acts involved within the landlords own premise.
The landlords have no problem with the people involved staying at their premises, therefore they are not discrimining, but they do not wish to condone homosexual sex under their roof. That is why Tom Forrest disallowed homosexuals from sharing a bed together.

The crux of the matter then, is not whether you believe gay adoption is right, but whether you believe that everybody should be forced to condone your beliefs by threat of law.
And, the same thing stands for the landlords of B&B’s; they are not discriminating against the individual or barring them from staying, but are unwilling to allow homosexuals to have sexual intercourse on their premises. If you believe that the person has no right to their own beliefs in this matter, then fine, go ahead and support this act. Just don’t use the word ‘liberal’, in the classical sense, for you are not a social democrat wearing liberal clothes.

All social democrats hate morals and ideas opposed to their own form of secular morality. Inevitably, they attempt to crush these rival ideas in the same way that most totalitarian states do: by state coercion. This is the point we have crossed over into, we’ve become another ‘one-idea state’. So, before British people take the moral high ground about dictators of the world, they should remember that one-idea states are, in their methods, at least as totalitarian and authoritarian as those we regularly accuse of being ‘undemocratic’.

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At 8:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann Widdecombe said today in the Daily Express (against the new gay rights law), that it is not right to discriminate someone on account of WHAT they are (i.e. skin colour), but it is well within the rights of people to express their opinions on others on account of what they DO.

I actually feel quite ashamed that the Conservative Party isn't collectively assuming an assertive line for the individual against this repressive form of social cohesion.

At 10:28 pm, Blogger Michaelcd said...

The lack of opposition from the Conservative Party is puzzling. I suppose a free vote does allow MP's to vote with conscience, so perhaps there will be a resounding rejection of the law.

At 12:04 am, Anonymous j said...

One thing, you wrote in your post that in this case (the B&Bs) there was no discrimination. Is your point that the law is wrong because it over-extensively defines “discrimination”, or is it that the landlord -- or for that matter any private business -- should be allowed to “discriminate” (i.e. choose to whom he is willing to extend his services) regardless of the “immorality” that there may be in such act?

I ask because I thought your post was a little ambiguous in that respect, and I consider the act of freedom of association by private entities (as opposed to acts of discrimination committed by the government against its citizens) a very important element in a free society; not to mention the level of obnoxiousness which the enforcement of such “discrimination laws” cause.

Lastly, in some cases it may not even be morally wrong (in my opinion, anyway) to discriminate if who they choose to extend their services directly affects the product they are offering, examples of this might be gentlemen’s clubs (both the respectable kind and the not so respectable) which do not let women inside; also nightclubs who screen off the “un-cool”, etc.

At 6:05 pm, Blogger Michaelcd said...

I understand what you are saying about my post; the same thing came across to me as well. The reason for that was that I do agree with the argument about the freedom to discriminate. To talk about defending ‘traditional liberties’, and then denying that right, would be hypocritical on my part.

My point here was slightly different, however. Because it is clear to me that Parliament and politicians do believe that it is perfectly right for the state to say to private businesses: “you cannot choose who you want to sell your goods to.” The point I was saying was that even if you agree with that statement, in this case the goods, a nights lodging and breakfast, were available to the guests. Therefore, it should not be viewed as ‘discrimination’ on basis of sexual preference, but as an attempt by the state to control how this business should operate, with regards to how they allocate rooms.

The only people who would endorse such a use of the state’s power are socialists or their milder variant, social democrats. That’s why I object to those people, who agree with this legislation, from calling themselves Libertarian, Liberal or Conservative.


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