The British philosopher Roger Scruton has claimed, “the first move the totalitarian mentality makes is to stop free-minded, open scholarship in pursuit of truth”.
Right now in New Zealand a totalitarian mentality in thrall to hate speech legislation is looking like the architect of bondage. Hate speech legislation is the tribal designer’s major tool as the diversity, inclusion and equity trinity (DIE) becomes Aotearoa’s civil religion; a religion that demands submission; mind first, body second. Hate speech legislation is necessary to punish the blasphemy of unbelief.
“Free-minded open scholarship” is not possible in the “decolonialising Aotearoa” because freedom is grounded in the existence of permanent and objective truth ordering the material world. DIE, instinctively suspicious of scientific method with its concept of falsifiability, would rewrite history to ideological fashion.
The difference between “free-minded open scholarship” and “the totalitarian mentality” images the difference between child and adult. The child insists that the world should accommodate his or her desire. A wise adult knows better. For example, the free minded rational scholar believes everyone profits by learning to adapt to an ordered world.
The totalitarian mentality, like a petulant child, depends entirely on the authority of the subjective (my feelings) for its supremacy. It must always be able to adjust truth to pursue its own ends. Indeed the ends will justify the means. The cult of fluid sexual identity is the most pervasive contemporary example.
That’s why cancelling the dissenter is essential. Convinced of its own self-righteousness DIE must permit no criticism. To do so would be to admit that the authority of its submission to subjectivism is flawed. DIE’s house of cards would be exposed as a parody of itself. The rest of us would see, what we already suspect but are not allowed to say, that it is a description of a fantasy that, in order to survive, must be imposed by the state on all citizens.
So civil religion preaches its own irrefutable strategically positioned doctrine of cultural pluralism, that creator of “designer tribalism”. The redeemed believe that their salvation will be found in the cultural medication of DIE. It has its own indoctrinating priesthood of bureaucrats, dissent is the unforgivable sin. Even if an unbeliever confesses his or her trespasses atonement must yield to the totalitarian’s pleasure.
The civil religion is aptly labelled DIE because that’s exactly what it will bring about; a seedy kind of justice and the accelerating decay of democracy: an end to freedom of religious expression and speech. The demand for hate speech legislation is nourished by the self-righteous politics of politicised identity. Poisoned by subjectivism it must be protected by the bureau of increasing regulation.
The faithful believer embraces regulation; indeed, it is regulation that shapes public morality and the new social order demanded by the civil religion; the church of cultural relativism and the state in cahoots.
The demand for hate speech legislation camouflages the true nature of “social justice”, that uniform state redistributor of society’s advantages and disadvantages; about getting people what the state says they should have and not about anyone getting what he or she might deserve.
Hate speech legislation is social justice’s camouflaged bullet-proof vest. It hides under the canopy of the “common good”. Aristotle might have known what that is but in a decaying civilisation seduced by the poison of subjectivism who decides what the common good might be. Certainly not the common man or common woman.
Ultimately the common good must collapse into total state control. Having lost the conviction of a shared permanent and transcendent public truth vital to social harmony the “common good” can only be achieved by faithfully practising the religion of DIE. Ironically DIE’s fulfilment of individual desire and reinforcement of its fantasies, will be snowed under by the onset of an everlasting totalitarian winter.
Bruce Logan is a former teacher, a conservative Christian and founder of the Maxim Institute