The Thin Line Between Equality and Insanity

Posted on October 6, 2010


The Earth viewed from Space: Should beliefs about man-made global warming be given equal status with religious beliefs?

Way back in 2007 David Cameron announced that a Conservative government would put an end to the ‘compensation culture’ which he claimed had been blighting Britain’s schools. He argued that children need ‘play, adventure and excitement. But, today, fear of litigation means school trips and adventure holidays are abandoned.’ A laudable ambition perhaps, which makes it all the more puzzling that the current government has declined to extend the logic of Mr. Cameron’s argument outside the educational sphere, for ministers announced recently that they planned to implement the previous government’s Equality Act, which contains a number of highly objectionable provisions.

The Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group has pointed out that, based on the government’s own impact assessment, the legislation will carry an initial cost to businesses of £189.2 million. This is just to understand the new legislation, with businesses having to get to grips with all sorts of politically-correct jargon relating to ‘indirect discrimination’, ‘third party harassment’, ‘protected characteristics’, and so on. Further costs of approximately £11.3 billion are expected between now and 2014, and this in a time of recession. On top of this there will be the cost to the taxpayer when courts and tribunals begin dealing with discrimination claims brought under the Act. The only sector likely to be booming as a result of the implementation of the new laws is the veritable industry which has mushroomed in recent years, employing ‘Equal Opportunities Officers’, ‘Diversity Specialists’ and ‘Inclusion Managers’, usually with attractive salary packages plus benefits.

Most worryingly, whilst some of the provisions may look relatively benign, there are serious doubts about whether certain measures will be implemented in an impartial manner. It should be clear by now that these so-called ‘protected characteristics’ (race, colour, nationality, disability, religion, belief, ‘sexual orientation’, and so on) are likely to be viewed through an ideological prism which will result in an arbitrary use of the law to persecute those who disagree with the prevailing social consensus. Real problems will present themselves, for example, when one ‘protected characteristic’ conflicts with another. What will happen when one man’s ‘protected’ belief that homosexual lifestyles are immoral clashes with another man’s apparent legal right to the protection of his ‘sexual orientation’? Recent events in the courts give us some indication of where we may be heading…

Earlier this year a senior Judge, ruling in a case concerning the dismissal of a Christian counsellor who had refused to offer relationship counselling to homosexual couples, stated that ‘the protection of a position held purely on religious grounds’ was an unjustifiable and irrational idea. The fact that the Judge does not seem to have thought that the most ‘irrational’ aspect of the case was the idea that a homosexual couple would want relationship counselling from someone who considered their lifestyle immoral raises doubts about the judiciary. One must also bear in mind that last year, in an unrelated case, another Judge ruled that the ‘philosophical belief’ in man-made global warming should be considered equivalent to religious beliefs and given legal protection. In other words, the law designed to protect people against religious discrimination operates in a way that protects your beliefs provided they are not actually based on religion.

As George Orwell might have put it if he were alive today, in modern Britain ‘all beliefs are equal, but some are more equal than others’.

(Photo credit: NASA. No endorsement implied.)