My post “Unequal Under The Law” looked at the arbitrary application of hate speech laws in Europe.  I pointed out that these kinds of laws end up penalizing certain groups of people based on their opinions, and exempting other groups based on their membership in some “protected” group, for similar actions.  I compared that process to the institutionalized racism of the Jim Crow laws in America, which made racial discrimination public policy.

Today I have an example of the pernicious consequences of this kind of institutionalized discrimination in Britain.  Melanie Phillips tells the tale of two women:

Carol Thatcher, the daughter of former Prime Minister Lady Thatcher, now faces being banned from the BBC after reportedly referring to an unnamed tennis player as reminding her of a ‘golliwog’.

Carol, who was crowned Queen of the Jungle in the 2005 reality series I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, has been a regular presenter on The One Show — a daily magazine programme on BBC One — for three years and is described as part of the family on the BBC website.

But yesterday the BBC threw her out by announcing in the wake of the ‘golliwog’ row that it now had ‘no plans’ to use her again in her regular presenting slot.

I have no idea what a “golliwog” is, so I can’t gauge how racially offensive this might be.   The point, however, is that she made this remark in private.  Phillips says:

We can’t gauge whether or not this really is a hanging offence or a trivial aside of no consequence, because she made the remark after several drinks in the show’s hospitality room to the presenter Adrian Chiles, who is said to have been ‘outraged’ by it.

So outraged that it seems it is being used to hang her out to dry. But it was a remark made in the course of a private conversation — which has now been used to sack her after someone involved in that lighthearted banter passed it on to BBC executives in the form of a complaint.

…It is hard to think of anything more despicable than snitching like this on a private conversation. People say or do all kinds of things which are perfectly acceptable in the context of drinks with friends or colleagues, but which would cause a very different impression if they occurred in public.

If we were all to be treated in this way, how many of us would remain in our jobs? Is there anyone who can honestly claim never to have uttered an injudicious remark when sharing a drink with friends?

And then there’s the case of the prayerful nurse:

Community nurse Caroline Petrie offered to pray for an elderly patient who was being treated at home. The following day, Mrs Petrie was confronted over her offer by a nursing sister.

The day after that, she was told that she was suspended while disciplinary action would be taken against her which might lead to the sack.

But although the patient had turned down her offer of a prayer, she said she was not the slightest bit offended and certainly had not made a complaint.

As with Carol Thatcher, it was this nurse’s colleagues who were offended that Mrs Petrie had transgressed codes of ‘equality and diversity’ — which apparently preclude a nurse offering the Christian solace of prayer.

Both the BBC and the National Health Service are government-financed operations.  A comparable situation in America would be paying, directly through taxes, for the privilege of listening to CNN’s or CBS’s lefty propaganda, or being engulfed in a one-payer national healthcare nightmare.  Or trusting a federal bureaucracy so much, based on past performance, that we don’t mind having the Federal government set CEO salaries.

Whoever pays calls the shots.  How long before the trickle-down effect of censorship in the name of “diversity” turns into a cottage industry of telling tales, with an official seal of approval?

You say that companies have a right to set their own rules for behavior?  Yes, a private company does.  But a good chunk of the banking industry is now nationalized, and so belongs, in part, to the American taxpayer.  Whose views will form the basis for what is acceptable behavior for them?

The criminalization of workplace speech in the area of sexual harrassment is so entrenched that employees must attend seminars on it to keep their jobs, or, as I’ve heard them called, re-education camps.  I have no problem with people being called out and penalized when they’ve done something wrong, or even to be required to undergo sensitivity training as a requirement for keeping their jobs, as a result of their own actions. But I’m talking
about people who have not done anything wrong being forced to listen to politically-correct preaching in order to keep their employment.  One professor conscientiously objected to this insult of his character, but his effort is a candle in the wind.  What’s next?  Your waistline measurement will
determine your employment status?  Oh, wait, Japan is ahead of the curve on that one.

Do we really want to continue down the road that ends in a culture of philosophical clones?  I don’t.

The endgame?  Control:

Ostensibly designed to protect disadvantaged groups, it is actually all about advertising the moral purity of those who enforce it. It’s a dogma enforced with the zealotry of a secular inquisition and is profoundly totalitarian in character. Indeed, behaviour such as this has always been a key feature of police states and totalitarian regimes.

The Stasi or the KGB gained much of their power over the population they tyrannised by getting people to inform on each other, using such informers to bring forward evidence of ‘thought crimes’ from private or overheard conversations.

Such use of informers sets people against each other in a climate of permanent and corrosive suspicion. Destroying the trust which is the basis of relationships, it is thus a principal means of controlling the population.

Welcome, brave new world.


Caroline Petrie keeps her job–this time.
‘Praying’ nurse back to work as row grows over guidelines

H/T slugger o’toole
via Samizdata