The Blair government is issuing regulations implementing a statutory prohibition against discrimination in the provision of “services.” The regulations say you can’t discriminate against homosexuals, no exceptions. Among other things, that rule will require Catholic adoption agencies to treat sex as irrelant to intimate human relationships (and consequently engage in PC child abuse) by placing children on an equal basis with same-sex and different-sex couples. The effect will be to shut the agencies down.
There are lots of things one could say about such a measure. Since marriage ceremonies are also a service, it’s not clear to me, if there’s really no religious exception, that it would allow the Church to deny a church wedding to a homosexual couple. However that may be, one point that particularly struck me was the mindless talk of “discrimination” by the Chancellor of England, Lord Falconer (Tony Blair’s old roommate and now a Labour life peer):
“We do take the view in this country that you shouldn’t be discriminated against on that basis and think that applies to everybody, whatever your religion.”
“[The Government would not accept] discrimination on the basis of religion…. We have committed ourselves to anti-discrimination law – on the grounds of sexual orientation – and it is extremely difficult to see how you can be excused from anti-discrimination law on the grounds of religion.”
(See here and here.) Similar mindlessness, with the essential moral fanaticism of the position made more explicit, can be found in the piece by Professor Grayling I cited yesterday. For some reason we’re all supposed to know that “discrimination”—different treatment of persons—is the ultimate moral horror, to be repressed and eradicated wherever found with the full force of state power.
What though can that possibly mean? We discriminate all the time. Every social institution is based 100% on discrimination, since social institutions exist by conferring different rights and obligations on different persons. If I decided to give a series of lectures at the University of London and told them about it they would discriminate against me compared with Grayling. That’s what it means to say he is a professor there.
What then does it mean to say there should be no discrimination based on race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation and the like, and rooting out discrimination is a primary function of government? Evidently, that no social institution should be allowed that has any connection with those things. The only institutions that can be allowed to exist are those that have been purged of all culture and all nonrationalized human connections like sex, faith and common heritage.
The only institutions that come to mind that would qualify under such a standard are global markets and neutral transnational bureaucracies. Everything else—family or nation, for example—has to become a strictly private hobby, to be squashed if it begins to affect, in more than a minimal way, other people who don’t choose to join in. For some reason that’s called freedom and justice. To me it looks more like totalitarianism.
Be that as it may, all of our leaders buy into it, because all of them agree that “discrimination” is the worst thing possible. If my view is right, then all of our leaders, in concept and implication at least, have accepted totalitarianism. Why shouldn’t they, when they’re the ones running things?