Law came into existence for practical purposes. By offering peaceful resolution of disputes, it reduced violence; for example acts of revenge and feuding. By prohibiting force and fraud it facilitated peaceful trading and made the modern world possible. The post-Enlightment West – certainly the Anglo-Saxon Common Law part of it – has therefore usually operated under the practical principle that;
If it is not necessary to make a law, it is necessary NOT to make a law.
The 20th Century may one day be analysed by historians in terms of its retreat from that principle. In Common-law countries, "judge made law" (we Common Lawyers prefer to think of it, quasi-mystically, as "discovered" by the judges rather than made) still develops incrementally for practical reasons, but many modern statutes in both Civil and Common Law jurisdictions are now essentially didactic in purpose. They set out to change "wicked" minds, not inhibit wicked behaviours. Very often they are designed to appropriate an emotional word (e.g. "hate" or "discrimination" or "racism") and constrain its meaning to fit leftist ideology. Or to invent new words like "islamophobia" or "transphobia" to suit an ideological purpose.
As The Diplomad recently observed,
Words have meaning, and the left is very good at ever so subtly altering the meaning of words so that over time those words no longer mean what they meant. Words, of course, are the bullets of intellectual debate. If you allow your opponent to select your ammo for you, well, let's just say you are at a disadvantage.
So-called "Hate Crime" is a classic example. Why does it matter what motivates someone who offers you violence? Is your injury worse? Are the consequences greater? Of course not. If you are dead the killer's motives (while analysis of them may help the police to catch him or her) scarcely matter to your loved ones. They certainly won't care whether the killer's reason was logical or not. If you are injured it doesn't matter to you either. As folk-singer Tom Paxton used to joke about his military training in the use of the bayonet,
Oh no, here comes someone with a bayonet! What'll I do if he yells at me?!
The purpose of "hate crime" is to promote the political view that the life and safety of protected group x, y or z is more valuable than that of group a. In one of those dog-chasing-its-own tail contradictions that only leftist "intellectuals" can truly enjoy it is (by their own warped logic, which I deny) hate speech against group a — the group it implies is comprised of "haters" unworthy of the law’s fullest protection.
Let's say my gay pal and I meet some anti-social gentry on our way home from the pub. They call him "queer" and me "fat". Both statements are meant to be hurtful and both are accurate. Then they knife us and we die. Or maybe they call him queer and say nothing to me. Maybe they just kill me because I am a witness. Am I less dead? Is my murder less heinous? Of course not. In the classic Age of Reason formulation all humans are equal before the law. The very idea of "gay rights" is offensive in those terms, because one only needs to be human to have equal rights. No other attribute is required. It's perfectly reasonable, if a society discriminates legally against a type to eliminate that error. As chairman of my University's Conservative Association in the 1970s I led my colleagues to take part in a "gay rights" march calling for the remaining crimes pertaining to homosexuality to be repealed in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We were protesting, very rationally, a shortfall in legal rights for homosexuals. But it's the very same error we opposed to go on from that to demand gays acquire greater rights.
The law in Western social democracies now differs from that rational, even commonsensical, view. My gay chum's murder is a hate crime and more serious than mine. If he were black, brown or yellow, the same. And what if they are themselves gay or black and kill him for fraternising with me? Is it hate crime then? Oddly, no. That, in modern left-wing thinking, is just karma.
Hate crime is a legal concept born of the Marxist social “sciences” (sneer quotation marks entirely deliberate). Like all the social “sciences” it is designed to create contradictions in society that can only be resolved by deploying state violence to raise funds with which to employ social “scientists” in unproductive jobs with fat pensions. This rot should have been stopped decades ago. No lives have been saved by it. Some may have been lost. Certainly the affection for groups thus "protected" has not increased. The people who promoted the concept however have achieved their sinister goals. They have dubious statistical evidence that hatred is (a) endemic in the majority population and (b) rising as they constantly tweak the definition to that end.
In reality, the purpose of the “hate crime” concept is to generate hate. Committing such a "crime" is pointless to an actual bigot. If you are a bigot with power, you will silently exercise it in line with your bigotry. If you are a bigot without power, you don't matter. Such actions benefit instead the class of "victims", whose elevated legal status it justifies and the class of government-employed busybodies and academic social "scientists", whose parasitical existence it supports. Which accounts for the phenomenon of "fake hate crime".
I strongly suspect on the basis of Cui bono? that much "hate crime" is of this type. The Left has a supply-and-demand problem with bigotry: there isn’t enough to go around to support their world view – and the "equalities" industry on which so many of them fruitlessly live. Given that they claim that US college campuses are more rife with rapes than war zones, they make those up too. "The Patriarchy" is the most widespread conspiracy theory in the world and as laughable as Icke's lizards. As a former partner in a City of London law firm I think, if it existed, I would have been invited to the meetings.
As socialism itself is hate-driven ideology (the National variety based on race hate and the International variety on class hate) perhaps it's not surprising that the Left promotes the concept so ferociously. As I noticed in decades of practice as a commercial lawyer, the wrongs people most fear are the ones they are themselves most likely to visit on others. The violent conduct of the "Love Trumps Hate" protestors across the United States at the moment suggests that it's still best to characterise people by their actions, not their words. If the current insurrection against political correctness in the West achieves nothing else, let's hope it makes the law once more reflect that simple truth.
In my last post I made a rash promise to address the abuse of language by the Left; the way in which they weaponise it to undermine opposition to their ideas. Most friends of Liberty are naggingly aware that it's going on and routinely irritated by it but when I started to research it, I realised it was a big, difficult subject to sum up in a blog post. If there were enough liberty-minded academics to fill a faculty, it could be that faculty's sole field of research.
...the purpose ... was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever...
This decision was taken following contact from the Department For Education’s counter extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public and our overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community.We note that within 24 hours of advertising the event, more than 220 Langton sixth formers had, with parental consent, signed up for the event and that objection to our hosting Mr Yiannopoulus came almost entirely from people with no direct connection to the Langton.
What as opposed to one of those I-really-really-like-you sort of murders?
"... if you're voting for Trump, it's time for the urn"
Bill C-16 writes social constructionism into the fabric of the law. Social constructionism is the doctrine that all human roles are socially constructed. They’re detached from the underlying biology and from the underlying objective world. So Bill C-16 contains an assault on biology and an implicit assault on the idea of objective reality. It’s also blatant in the Ontario Human Rights Commission policies and the Ontario Human Rights Act. It says identity is nothing but subjective. So a person can be male one day and female the next, or male one hour and female the next.
Some ideas are so stupid than only intellectuals believe them
So with the hate speech issue – say someone’s a Holocaust denier, because that’s the standard routine – we want those people out there in the public so you can tell them why they’re historically ignorant, and why their views are unfounded and dangerous. If you drive them underground, it’s not like they stop talking to each other, they just don’t talk to anyone who disagrees with them. That’s a really bad idea and that’s what’s happening in the United States right now. Half of the country doesn’t talk to the other half. Do you know what you call people you don’t talk to? Enemies. If you stop talking to people, you either submit to them, or you go to war with them. Those are your options and those aren’t good options. It’s better to have a talk.
For the first time in decades I am optimistic we can win the battle of ideas against statists in general (difficult) and Leftists in particular (beginning to look easy). It will involve a journey that Jeremy Corbyn will never make; from the cosy mutual warmth of opposition, where all policies are theoretical and all consequences are optimistically imaginary, to the harsher land of reality.
We must avoid Corbyn's main error and engage with both doubters and opponents. We are true democrats; enemies of violence and no revolutionaries. We accept we must win votes from people of all walks of life. Our younger folk must be careful what they say and write in actual and virtual public, for it will be used against them if they ever run for office.
When we have no TruLib™ candidates in an election we must needs compromise by engaging and working with anyone whose policies are less hostile to our principles. They may be Hannanite Conservatives, Lbertarian-wing Kippers, Gladstonian LibDems or even John Mortimer or Frank Field-type Labourites. Most of my Labour-voting family and friends up North hate being bossed around by snooty people with meaningless degrees as much as we could wish – and are more likely to do something about it!
Voters for both Brexit and Trump transcended traditional divides of class, ethnicity and even sexual identity. If there is a single issue that unifies them, it is not ideological (though some ideologues will struggle with it more than us). It is really a matter of respect. They want their political "leaders" to stop condescending to them and taking them for granted. This is democracy. They are the demos. They want their supremacy acknowledged and their political servants to stop being uppity, distant and divorced from their everyday reality.
If your child's education is poor. If it takes you and your life partner's full-time effort to meet everyday expenses, you want your MP and your PM to be focussed on that, not on the "rights" of mongers of imaginary grievance. If you see a spoiled brat in college weeping, or a pop star bleating that all women are "in fear", because of the outcome of a free election, you expect your representatives to ignore them, or even laugh along with you, not take their fantasies seriously.
If I am right, this is therefore a dangerous historical tipping point. It's perfectly possible that the Left will be the first to figure this out. Watching them froth and rage at "ignorant, bigoted" proles like Empire Loyalist colonels of the 1950s I grant you it seems bloody unlikely at present, but it's a risk.
If we are to engage with the ordinary voters who have better things to do or needs too urgent to address than to have time to obsess about politics, we must speak to their concerns in their language. They have seen through the warped words of the Left at last and this gives us an advantage to be seized and exploited – or lost.
Reading like-minded blogs, I think we have learned at least one thing in the long dismal night of the Left. We understand better than most how they warp language itself to serve their ends. I will address that in my next posts.
In the wake of Brexit and Trump, I am becoming a little tired of all the accusations of hatred and division being thrown at those who voted the "wrong way". Leftists are utter hypocrites when they use these words of their opponents.
Their ideology deliberately sets people against each other by class, ethnic group, gender and sexual identity. Markets don't give a stuff about any of that and nor do employers. They only care if a given individual, regardless of skin tone and reproductive apparatus, has some economic value to add and is prepared to show up to do it.
Show me a shrieking hater divisively accusing others and I will show you a leftist. When they scream that anyone who opposes them is a hater, they are projecting. When they complain about division, they unintentionally reveal that the only way to have unity in their terms is to agree with every word they say. That same totalitarian tendency leads their intellectuals to "no platform" their opponents.
They're obsessed with hatred and division precisely because theirs is a hateful doctrine predicated upon social division. Without setting one group in society against another, they can never win or keep power. Which is why when they're in power the hatred and division never goes away.
It is time to call them out on their dishonesty. They are not the principled, ethical people they virtue signal themselves to be. That are not kindly or idealistic. They foment envy, hatred and division selfishly to give themselves the chance to live without producing.
Politics is show business for ugly people. Leftism is economics for parasites.
Trump made gains among blacks. He made big among Latinos. He made gains among Asians. The only major racial group where he didn’t get a gain of greater than 5% was white people. I want to repeat that: the group where Trump’s message resonated least over what we would predict from a generic Republican was the white population.
islands of repression in a sea of freedom
Much of what they say is relevant to the current storm on social media in the wake of Brexit. I suggest it may partly account for the division between "educated" and "uneducated" in the referendum vote. I would love to see a breakdown of the Remain vote (but no academic will research it and no productive person would waste the time or money) between what Americans call "liberal arts" graduates and those from harder disciplines such as STEM, law and accountancy. Most of our "education", particularly since Blair forced up the numbers attending "uni" (as those on whom it was wasted always call it) is actively damaging to its victims' intelligence. They come out stupider than they went in.
"In comparison", as Hoff Sommers puts it, "to what?!"
Thou shalt teach both sides of the argument
Russia and China were still feudal societies and their revolutions came too soon. We will now have to wait for them to go through their capitalist and monopoly capitalist stages before we can have a socialist revolution followed by true communism. Next time, we will get it right.
This is admirably consistent, but still involves all living socialists going back to proper jobs for the foreseeable future. It's no more attractive for them than the first option, except that they can dream of a "better future" for their grandchildren as they work as Moscow tourist guides or whatever.
Liberals: the problem with putting Muslims at the top of your victimhood hierarchy is that THEY WANT TO KILL EVERYONE ELSE ON THE LIST
Nothing could be more ridiculous than a leftist campaign group called "LGBT against Islamophobia". And yet the group was formed. If we capitalists wanted to (and why should we play their stupid game?) it would be hard to be vile enough to persuade forces so divided to unite in the face of our "threat"!
The old Left, with which I grew up in the one-party North and at my redbrick university, was famous for its splittism, as beautifully satirised in Monty Python's "Life of Brian". The People's Front of Judea was far more likely to fight the Judean People's Front than any actual Romans. The Left hated each other so intensely that they sometimes forgot to hate the wealth generators upon whom they all plotted to live as parasites. This characteristic seems to have re-emerged in cultural Marxism as the victim groups proliferated.
The Orlando killer drew a terrible hand in victimhood poker. It seems he was a homosexual raised in a Muslim family. They would have thought him fit only for death had they known. Had he killed himself in his sexual and religious torment, I would have felt very sorry for him. Had he become a happy gay atheist, Christian or Hindu, I would have smiled for him. But he chose to redeem himself by killing others and must now go down in history as one of the worst of us. Not to be vindictive, at this moment I rather wish there was an Allah or Jehovah to give him the justice he escaped. Now that we know he was a regular patron of the gay club where he went amok and a user of Grindr and similar apps, it seems even more disgusting that Snowflake Owen Jones is still more concerned with ranking the relevant victim categories correctly than with the actual horror of innocent lives lost.
I was serious in what I wrote yesterday. It's really not enough to say "Aha! I told you so!" when discussing this awful story. The Left must address Milo's point. The NRA, as the representatives of responsible gun owners, must come forward with licensing schemes that ensure crazies can't get or keep guns or ammunition. The US Government must actually enforce the licensing regime they have. It seems bizarre that the Orlando killer could have been twice investigated by the FBI and yet retain his "G Licence" as an approved security worker, contracted to the government. G4S, the British multinational that employed him (as it once employed the late Mrs Paine's father - a former military and civilian policeman) must review its HR procedures for armed employees.
There are lots of practical lessons to be learned that can save lives in future. They will involve listening to each other calmly as adults, rather than just yelling the usual abuse. In the case of the Left's factions, they will involve listening to each other and realising just how crazy they all sound.
Trigger warning: This post is full of generational generalisations.
I don't share the general pessimism of my age group about the millennial generation. The Misses Paine are millenials. They are serious intellectuals, hard-working women who want to make a contribution to the world they live in and generally fine human beings. So are all their friends that I have had the pleasure to meet. I would go so far as to say that the millennials I know (admittedly a sample limited by my daughters' excellent taste and my former profession) are more sober, hard-working and serious than I was at their age.
In the wake of 2008, many millennials are having a much tougher time than the late Mrs Paine and I did at the beginning of our working lives. We walked, debt-free, out of university straight into employment. We earned enough to leave our parents' homes and pay our frugal way. We were able to marry at 23, rent a crappy flat for a couple of years and buy our first modest home. Neither of us were unemployed until we chose to be. We worked hard, took things seriously and struggled at times, but our lives look golden in retrospect compared to the struggles of the average millennial.
Nor do I join the Daily Mail and today The Times on reviewing this report (actually about post-millennials currently at university but I suspect reflecting similar beliefs), in fearing for them ideologically. They are not a political bloc any more than our generation was. They are socially liberal but they are also sceptical of politicians' promises to fix their economic problems. Some go so far as to criticise previous generations for having voted themselves unfunded benefits, incurring massive government debts now dumped on them. They are right. They have been screwed.
To the extent that they have scarily illiberal ideas, I think the interesting question is why? Based on my daughters' experiences at British universities, I blame lecturers of my generation. We may have won the debate in 1970s student politics about "No platform for fascists and racists" on a pure free speech argument. But then most of us on the winning side went into productive work and many of the "no platform" losers went into academia. They have indoctrinated subsequent students to the point where only 27% of them (and only 22% of women) believe that "Universities should never limit free speech".
Some of this is simple confusion about the difference between good laws and good manners. Laws should only prohibit real harms, which do not include hurt feelings. I might ban from my circle of friends someone who went off on a racist or anti-Semitic rant, but I would not call the police. Universities can make their own rules, just like me at my dinner table. But the consequences are very different because they are rather more important fora for intellectual debate.
If students are not prepared to confront the ideas they dislike in the comfort and relative safety of a university lecture hall, how are they going to deal with them in the real world? And what, whisper it softly, if some of the ideas they hate turn out to be right?
Leftists have divided society into a hierarchy of victim groups entitled to dismiss the views of their supposed oppressors. But in the tradition mocked in "Life of Brian" when the Judean Peoples Front fought the Peoples Front of Judea, they have also allowed their zealotry to divide them in frankly hilarious ways.
Feminists like Germaine Greer are now banned from campuses because of remarks like her infamous "transphobic" observation that;
Just because you lop off your penis and then wear a dress doesn't make you a ******* woman. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that won’t turn me into a ******* cocker spaniel.
An interesting phenomenon in this context is the emergence of the "licensed dissident." The only people who can easily challenge illiberal views are those from the Left's pantheon of the oppressed who as Milo Yiannopoulos puts it, "go off the ideological reservation". Hence the importance of his "Dangerous Faggot Tour" of American campuses in which he systematically "triggers" the "spoilt brat rich kid social justice warriors" and exposes their idiocy by posting videos of their screaming on YouTube.
It's ideology pretending to be scholarship. It's propaganda pretending to be fact.
Milo is even more amusingly forthright on that topic and more seriously says in the course of the discussion;
The violence is coming not from the right but from the left and it is informed and justified in the minds of activists by this zealotry.
Yes, I see millennials behaving as absurdly as my leftist contemporaries but I also see them arguing against such absurdities with great verve and skill. I also hope that soon the effects of 2008 will be behind them so they can start to earn properly and pay more taxes. Nothing produces economic liberals faster than excessive tax. So, once again, and perhaps to my own surprise I am on the side of optimism.