LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Some Animals . . .

You may remember that line at the end of ‘Animal Farm’ : ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’.

Well, I was listening yesterday to a discussion programme on the radio, in which someone was saying how splendid it was to have a Minister with responsibility for ‘Equality’; one of whose responsibilities, apparently, will be to ‘protect’ people from various forms of bullying.

Now : so far, so good – I’m all in favour of protecting people from being bullied (I was, myself, once or twice at school); and I have no problem with ‘equality’ as an ideal.

However; as the discussion developed, it became apparent that what the speaker meant by ‘equality’ and what I understand by that word are two very different things – she was adopting the modern position on this subject, namely that of explicitly protecting the rights of certain groups and interests : and it led me to reflect on what is clearly a (potentially, at least) very divisive issue.

To me, equality means that anyone, regardless or their age, sex, race, religion, sexuality, political opinions, or any other characteristic should be entitled to equal treatment in every area of life except where those specific things may properly be relevant. In other words, irrelevant factors are irrelevant, and should not be considered – but that doesn’t mean that relevant ones shouldn’t be.

Let me give you an example. If you apply for a job as a bus driver, your age, sex, hair colour, religion, etc clearly don’t matter : so considering them is clearly unfair, and discriminatory. Whether you can drive a bus, on the other hand, is clearly something which it is entirely proper for the people making the selection to consider.

Similarly, to extend the logic a bit further, the fact that you suffer from flat feet, or sinusitis, is equally irrelevant, because they don’t interfere with your ability to drive a bus; but the fact that you suffer from epilepsy wouldn’t be irrelevant, because that could affect the safety of your passengers.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be how it’s viewed, nowadays.

My understanding is that if, for example, you’re a gay organisation, you could refuse to employ someone who is a practicing Catholic, on the grounds that their attitude is ‘homophobic’ : but a Catholic charity apparently can’t refuse to employ someone who is a practicing homosexual on the grounds that such conduct is contrary to the teaching of the Church – because steps must be actively taken to ensure that the ‘equality’ of homosexuals is protected . . . although the ‘equality’ of Catholics is apparently unimportant.

This is, ultimately, nonsense.

Equality might mean quite reasonably mean that everyone is, in every circumstance, treated the same : but as I have said, that is probably not appropriate in all circumstances. Absolute fairness of treatment, however, is; and is clearly possible – but it is obvious that today fairness is no longer seen as relevant : ‘equality’ is no longer about a lack of discrimination, but rather about a positive discrimination in favour of certain groups and interests . . . which isn’t quite the same thing at all.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, that's the trouble with all these sorts of things-- sounds "fair" on the surface, but believe it that it is THEY who will decide what's relevant. It's THEY who will decide what's "hate speech." It's THEY who will decide if you can have a private organization or not.

    For instance, in the US some years back "they" tried to say that the Hibernian group which had for long time organized the St. Patrick's day Parade in NYC were sued for wanting to exclude gay pride type organizations from the parade. Now, no matter where you stand on the issue of "gay rights" SURELY the right of free association of people trumps that as far as a club goes. Why could the "gay rights" people have formed their OWN parade if it was so important to them. But try and suggest that the NAACP be required to accept practicing KKK members as having the right to attend events hosted by the NAACP and the left would be hysterical.

    As regards "anti-bullying laws" whatever happened to being taught "be polite to everyone?"

    All a "ministry of fairness" does is to create a new government black hole division -- the only tangible function of which will be apparent is that you'll be able to see more money sucked from your pockets down the rabbit hole of government waste.

    Just because it *might* be a good idea to do something about an issue (i.e. minimizing kids being bullied) doesn't mean it should automatically be something "cured" by the government. We USED to have parents and teachers with common sense. Teacher saw Billy picking on Johnny, then Billy might have had to stand in a corner or pick up the trash on the school grounds and apologize. Or Johnny's dad might have said "son, next time he puts you in a headlock, bust him in the mouth, you MAY lose the fight, but 10-1 he's not going to start any crap with you again." Result? Possible school yard fight (to which the teachers may have turned a blind eye) if it ended up where Johnny busted Billy right in the mouth an they ended up being friends.