Goethe’s saying that “there is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action” comes to mind as the government publishes its Autumn legislative programme.
Intuiting what motivates someone to make a controversial statement or commit a crime is a difficult task at times, with more and more of the chattering classes assuming extraordinary powers of divination in this regard when it comes to speech they disagree with or assaults that take place. So often those who express unpopular opinions are labeled bigots, whilst police, for instance, are accused of racism if they are heavy-handed with suspected criminals of a particular skin-colour.
Often the truth of what motivates expressions of dissent, or severe action by police, is not bigotry or racism, but more likely deeply held beliefs in the case of dissenters, and a nasty bravado in the case of some, not all, policemen. It is easier and more beneficial to the cause however to label your opponent in the worst way possible.
Ireland will soon be added to a list of countries that will heavily penalise those people who are guilty of “hate speech” and “hate crimes”, terms that are more propagandistic and ambiguous than implementable in a rational way. Who, after all, is not motivated by hate when they assault another person or viciously harass them for their identity? These of course are already punishable crimes in Ireland, but the latest move towards criminalizing persons with new laws on the basis of the supposed emotion felt, such as racism/xenophobia/homophobia/transphobia, is bordering on the ludicrous.
By creating new classes of people who enjoy special status under the law, our politicians are not just throwing out the idea that we are all “equal under law”, but also indicating that crimes like assault, when committed against minorities, are worse than crimes committed against the average citizen. This form of identity politics is now thoroughly mainstream in the popular imagination, so it’s not surprising that this legal change is almost upon us.
What legislators and the network of NGO’s calling for this also seek to outlaw is speech they feel offended by, intimidating those who would question the new prevailing orthodoxy around sexuality, gender and immigration. People who are genuinely harassed on these grounds are already able to find restitution in law as it stands, but the issue at stake is about cracking down on the remaining deplorables who refuse to toe the party line on these hot-button issues.
The potential for offense-taking is limitless, with biology books and nature representing existential threats to many shocktroops from the litany of LGBT and abortion-rights groups that have assumed vast cultural and legislative power. Women such as JK Rowling are among the biggest offenders in this regard, regularly being accused of transphobia for upholding basic science.
Because the heads of bill have not been finalised yet, it’s impossible to say how far-reaching the law will be in restricting people’s speech, but you can expect it to be as ambiguous as possible so as to deter the greatest number of dissenters from influencing others.
There are good arguments to be made in challenging modern views on sexuality, gender and immigration, but it is the very voicing of controversial opinions that is now under threat.
What we are creating, or allowing to form, is a police state where certain expressions that offend the ruling class will no longer be tolerated in a dystopian, ironically fascistic, state intent on moulding the minds of its citizens according to the doctrines of the grievance gospel. Make no mistake, what we are being herded towards is a new religion of victimhood, replete with heresies, excommunication and sacrificial offerings to placate our societal overlords.
There is little reason to believe that more than a handful of politicians scrutinizing the legislation will call out this irrational groupthink. The irony is that many of the champions of the upcoming legislation were the same people who incited quite a bit of hatred for children yet unborn when legalising their destruction.
That type of crusade most certainly won’t be outlawed with this bill.