Article 17

A Question Of Tolerance.

In an article under the above title in The Spectator of 13/6/20, Douglas Murray states that ‘our public figures must rediscover the true spirit of liberty’. After citing a few examples of the absence of liberality such as ‘the Black Lives Matter actions of those who attacked the Cenotaph and the statue of Winston Churchill’; and of those ‘who want to rename the Gladstone halls of residence at Liverpool University because his father had owned slaves’; and ‘who have taken Gone with the Wind out of their streaming services’: he goes on state that ‘we are seeing nothing more or less than the death of the liberal ideal’, though he admits that ‘liberalism was always a broadly defined term; a definition made only vaguer by Americans making it synonymous with Left-wing’. In contrast, he claims that ‘in its truest political sense, it encapsulates most of the foundations of our political order, including (though not limited to) equality, the rule of law – including the freedom of speech that allows good ideas to win out’.  He then proceeds to claim that ‘in our own country, the much more serious assault on political liberalism comes not from the conservative right, but from the radical left’; that ‘over the past couple of weeks, well-meaning people have poured almost a million pounds into the coffers of Black Lives Matter UK, in the belief that they are helping a movement that will help black people, when in fact they have funded a deeply radical movement, the fund-raising page of which describes its aims as to dismantle imperialism, white supremacy, patriarchy and state structures’.  He then concludes the foregoing preamble by stating that ‘as well as dismantling a non-existent menace (imperialism) it intends to bring down the economy and completely alter relations between the sexes (negatively characterised as “patriarchy”)’; and that ‘this is not liberalism, but far left radicalism of a type that has become very familiar of late’.

In watching the events of recent days, he expresses his surprise and that of others at ‘how far and fast such intolerant sentiments have run’ as exemplified ‘by the sight of a mob in Bristol tearing down a statue and jumping on it’; ‘by a labour MP saying “I celebrate these acts of resistance” and expressing ‘the need for a movement which will tear down systemic racism’; and ‘by the ranks of British police who could find no way to respond to this behaviour other than (in a newly invented act of faith) to “take the knee” before it’. Again, Douglas Murray widens his comments to the media ‘which has chosen to provide cover for such violence and to purge from their ranks not just people who dissent from it but, in the case of the New York Times a few days ago, anyone who helps to publish someone who dissents’.  He then quotes Bari Weiss of that newspaper who explained last week that ‘the over-forties in the news business (like so many others) imagined that the people coming up under them shared their liberal world view’ only to ‘discover that these young people believed in “safetyism” over liberalism and the “right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe” over what were considered liberal values like free speech’. At this point, Douglas Murray opines that ‘the divide is even bigger than that, and now encompasses nearly everything’; that ‘where the liberal mind is enquiring, the woke mind is dogmatic; that ‘where the liberal mind is capable of humility, the woke mind is capable of none’; that ‘where the liberal mind is able to forgive, the woke mind believes that to have erred just once is cause enough to be “cancelled”; and that ‘while the liberal mind inherited the idea of loving your neighbour, the woke mind positively itches to cast the first stone’.               

Having provided the above analysis with which I agree, Douglas Murray then goes on to say that ‘when The Spectator first wrote about the Stepford Students, it was asked why its writers took this so seriously – surely the students would grow up;  He answers that ‘they did’, but that ‘they didn’t change; that when the magazine wrote off the growing legions of diversity officers and their implicit bias training  and the mandatory requirement in government to “prove a commitment to diversity” in order to be eligible for any public appointment, it was greeted with the same dismissal’; and that as the American journalist Andrew Sullivan (himself now seemingly muzzled if not cancelled) put it two years ago: “we all live on campus now”.  Thus, Douglas Murray states that ‘step by step, the UK came to have a public and private sector dedicated to the implementation of views which are barely distinguishable from those of the protesters who took to the streets in the past week or two’; that ‘it’s an ethic which demands that our society play a set of impossible un-winnable games of identity and “privilege” which ‘not only subvert but end any idea of tolerance’.           

However, while I agree with his analysis, I note as he ought, that it does not provide any resolution for what is no more than one side of a debate of belief/counter-belief and/or of opinion/counter-opinion which I have shown can be terminally concluded only by replacing belief and opinion with knowledge, as I have definitively differentiated these terms in my third book and in this website.                    9/7/20. 

© Against Belief-Consensus Ltd 2022
Website Design: C2 Group