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.
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
I love a good Ted talk even though most share the leftist bias of Western academia. This one was particularly interesting. Consider this finding, in particular;
A year after losing the use their legs and a year after winning the Lotto, lottery winners and paraplegics are equally happy with their lives.
It seems shocking but is really just a confirmation of President Lincoln's wisdom that 'most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be'. This homely thought is revolutionary. If happiness is up to the individual, how can you justify the use of force to compel behaviours you think (by definition, wrongly) will make him or her happier?
The defectiveness of our pre-frontal cortex's 'experience simulator' when predicting 'hedonic impact' may explain why so many people buy lottery tickets despite being more likely to die in an accident on the way to the newsagent than to win. Perhaps the power of our 'experience simulator' may also explain why political debate changes so few minds?
For example, the NHS is - to me - clearly a life-threatening failure, yet a majority of Brits have synthesised such happiness around it they are convinced benighted foreigners live in miserable envy of its death factories. During the murderous, oppressive life of the Soviet Union, many of its citizens synthesised plenty of happiness too - and who can blame them? Yet how do we persuade people to support change if they are busy synthesising happiness around whatever outcome they are enjoying or enduring?
Consider also Professor Gilbert's conclusion that freedom of choice is the friend of 'natural happiness' but the enemy of the 'synthetic' variety. I would be worried about that, but perhaps I should just decide to be happy?
I am confused.
she was deemed to have had no "capacity" to instruct lawyers
...even if the council had been acting in the woman’s best interests, officials should have consulted her family beforehand and also involved Italian social services, who would be better-placed to look after the child.
"Standing up or lying down, it's a zloty an hour" and "You are stealing from your family if you're not stealing from the State."
After four-and-a-half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding, I was fired today ... As CEO I'm accountable.
That, dear girl, is called acting. It is an art that requires, above all, empathy; the ability to put yourself, in imagination, inside another personality. Acting is not about the audience "learning what it was like to be raised in a different era" or indeed, necessarily, about learning anything. Acting is an art and, like all art, is about the human condition. You don't have to be authentically fey to play Tinkerbell or to have experienced Auschwitz to portray a victim of the Shoah. As someone suffering with an illness of which a key symptom is "limited empathy", you can be forgiven. Your mother however, by your own logic can't understand your point and is, therefore, merely on the make.That it is now considered offensive for a white actor to "black up" is ridiculous. Acting is about portraying artistic truths about humanity. Only the simple minded, or the craftily malicious exploiting the simple minded, could confuse that with banal truths about the actor. Olivier's Othello was a triumph; a triumph these idiots would have prevented. Having killed those opportunities for artistic expression they are now determined to ensure there is no repetition of my favourite performance in the history of cinema; Al Pacino as blind ex-serviceman Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. Not to mention Dustin Hoffman's performance in Rain Man.
The natural father of Peter Connelly, "Baby P", with no apparent sense of irony, is suing Haringey Council for negligence in the discharge of its duties. The council's social workers, he says, failed to protect his son. For shame.
Relationships end, of course. Fathers often have to leave their children in the care of their ex-partners. Indeed, due to what Harriet Harman might (if she were at least consistent in her foolishness) call "institutional sexism" on the part of the family courts, men can seldom obtain custody. Yet if ever a father could have done so, it was this man. If there exists a mother less fitted to the care of her child than Tracey Connelly, I hope never to meet her. His father must have known the true character of Peter's mother. Knowing it, how could he leave his son in her care?
Peter's parents lived together for the first three months of his tragic life. After their relationship ended, and the monsters who killed Peter moved in, the father had continued access to his son. Given what we know now, it is hard to conceive that a loving parent could have failed to notice his distress. A loving father with occasional sole charge of the boy had more opportunity to clean off the chocolate smeared on Peter's injuries than a social worker. We are told that Peter reached out to him, screaming "Daddy, Daddy!" when handed back to his tormentors shortly before he died. The best that can be said for this hopeful litigant is that Peter thought him a better carer than his mum. It's hard to think him more than slightly better.
So, the more true his accusations against Haringey's social services, the greater his own guilt. If he is innocent because he was deceived by Ms Connelly (who would have to be considerably more cunning than she looks), so much more so (given their lesser knowledge of her and access to the child) are the social workers.If I were him, I would be too tormented with guilt to function, let alone to calculate the monetary value of my loss. But this product of the Welfare State is made of sterner stuff than me. He confidently denies all suggestions that he might be to blame. He believed his ex's explanation for Peter's injuries; that the child was "clumsy," though he had opportunities to observe Peter himself. Are we to believe he didn't know his son was on the child protection register? Are we to believe he could not discern the true nature of the brutes who lived with Peter and his mother?
I am sure he is as sincere in his claim as in his desire for £400,000 in damages. It makes sense in the warped logic of underclass Britain. How could he think himself to blame when the Welfare State denies the very notion of personal responsibility? The "caring" apparatus of the "progressive" British state deplores the concept, as witness the agonising over the cruel fate, not of the dead child, but of his killers. After all, they are not responsible either. They are the products of their social environment; mere automata to be successfully reprogrammed if only the taxpayers would not be so mean about employing enough social workers. Haringey Social Services may not like being sued on this occasion, but they share Peter's father's underlying objective; to supplant the responsibility of the parent with that of the state. If he wins his claim, they will soon realise they have been given a stick with which to beat the ungenerous taxpayers.
Not only the jobs, but the ideological integrity of its employees depends upon the notion that the citizen is a passive product of his environment; that he can't take care of himself, can't educate his children, can't look after his family without their benevolent intervention. By their own logic, as they are the only truly responsible people, this man's claim should succeed. But by the same logic, since in truth the health and welfare of every human depends on self-reliance and the loving support of family and friends, we are all damned to some (let's hope lesser) variant of Peter's fate.
Since man first evolved, have any decent parents doubted that their offspring needed "emotional support?" Isn't that, inter alia, what parents are for?
If Britain really has the unhappiest children in the developed world, perhaps it has something to do with the need, in many cases, for both parents to have at least one job? How else, these days, are ordinary mortals to service a typical mortgage and pay the taxes which have doubled under Labour? Perhaps it has something to do with the incessant messages of doom (war on terror, climate change, paedophile scares, identity theft) used by this Government to make the governed docile? It might even have something to do with most of our children attending
indoctrination centres schools where the teachers struggle to maintain the merest pretence of order. In short, it might have much to do with the failings of the British State. So who does NCH think should provide "emotional support?" Go on, guess.
It's not news that children (or indeed any humans) need emotional support. That's why we have families and friends. It IS news that there is still someone dumb enough to suggest the State Apparatus might provide it.
I googled "NCH governance" to find who runs this charity. To my initial surprise the "chair" is not one of the great and the good of the NuLab Scottish Raj. She is (if I have the right Pam Chesters) an Englishwoman on the Conservative candidates list. She was formerly a CEO of a BP subsidiary; is on the board of the Royal Free Hampstead Hospital Trust; chairs the English Churches Housing Group, a social (as opposed, presumably, to an antisocial) landlord and is on the board of the Riverside Housing Group.
Why does such a woman lend her name to such piffle?
NCH had a proud history, but is now an independent charity in name only. It gets more than 70% of its income from the State. While Chesters is the figurehead, it is actually run by a model of Statist "virtue", Clare Tickell, who consistently backs the Government line. And why not? It pays her wages.
Comrade Tickell has
...held many non-executive and advisory positions in the voluntary and housing sectors, as well as in the Social Exclusion Unit, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Department of Health and the Audit Commission...
Just how big is the British State? Its paid agents are everywhere. The official statistics as to state employees merely scratch the surface, even before you consider how many people in "private" employment serve the government, rather than their employers (collecting VAT, serving as "compliance officers" etc.). When next you read an article in the Guardian about an "independent" figure from a charity headed by a Tory mug promoting the role of the Socialist State, please consider whether she is, in practice, an apparatchik on the State payroll.