The tyranny of the trans movement
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
It’s often been observed that revolutions that profess liberty end up as tyrannies. It’s what Edmund Burke predicted in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). It’s the central message of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945). ‘All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the state’, reflected Albert Camus in L’Homme révolté (1951), ‘1789 brings Napoleon; 1848 Napoleon III; 1917 Stalin; the Italian disturbances of the Twenties, Mussolini; the Weimar Republic, Hitler’. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
This is because revolutions are driven by the desire for power, and once this power is tasted, the thirst for it can never be satiated. Were the Star Wars films to accord with the rules of history, having defeated the Empire, the rebellion would itself eventually become corrupt and despotic. All noble revolutionaries eventually become seduced by the dark side.
Movements that begin with dreams of liberation end up in bullying and the pursuit of vengeance. It is thus with grim inevitability that one observes how the struggle for sexual liberation on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has started to assume illiberal tendencies.
There was a need for gay liberation when homosexual acts were illegal and gays were beaten up on account of their sexuality. But ever since homosexuality became normalised – gay marriage cementing this transformation – and now homosexuality and gender fluidity is fashionable among the young, there is no rational need for a sexual liberation movement any more.
Yet still it continues, driven by its will to power. This momentum made itself evident some years ago with complaints about bakers refusing to make cakes for gay couples, and Christian owners of bed and breakfasts turning down custom from homosexuals. Such complaints seemed petty, which is why only a modicum of fuss was made about them at the time. It’s a shame the law should be invoked to punish small businesses run by people with antiquated prejudices. But in the end, so what?
This year, however, the LGBT movement has turned to the dark side in earnest. The corporate, governmental and celebrity bullying of North Carolina’s decision to forbid people with penises using public toilets designated for women might prove to be significant. And now, this week, news comes that businesses in New York City will face fines under a new law that makes it a violation of someone’s human rights not to use their preferred gender pronoun. Henceforth, employees, landlords and businesses who refuse to refer to transgender people with terms such as ‘ze’ and ‘hir’ will be in violation of the New York City human-rights law.
‘Where will it end?’, you may ask. To which the answer is, ‘it won’t’. Christian churches will be next in line, then gender differentiation in schools and hospitals. Those who fight in the name of liberation will always demand more, even when the revolutionary movement has surpassed the boundary of reality into fantasy – in this case, the state enshrining in law, with penalties for those who disobey it, someone’s belief that ‘he’ is a ‘she’ because he simply believes it so.
The impetus for change and the desire to seize power is inherent to revolutionary movements, whether they be communist, Nazi, Islamist, trans or animal rights. Once human beings become subordinate to abstract notions of equality and the future, people become expendable. ‘The future is the only transcendental value for men without God’, said Camus. Thus revolutionaries must forever meddle with the present, because tomorrow never comes.
The BBC should stick to what it does best
The BBC’s mission, said Lord Reith, is to ‘inform, educate, entertain and teach middle England how to cook’. Or, at least, this seems to be the belief of those across the country who have been outraged by reports this week that the BBC is to remove recipes from its website. ‘Why cuts to the BBC’s recipe website could be the final straw’, was one hysterical reaction in the Guardian.
Imagine if the BBC ran its own national newspaper, funded by the taxpayer. I’m sure the Guardian would take a different attitude to such an extension of its powers, regarding it as monstrous effrontery. Likewise, people and businesses who devise recipes for a living should rightly feel aggrieved by the BBC’s culinary expansionism.
So why the hullabaloo? It’s because the BBC, like the NHS, is ludicrously held up as ‘the envy of the world’. In fact, BBC-worship is more ludicrous and, now, anachronistic, what with the digital revolution having transformed the way television is produced and consumed.
I have no time for ideologues, left or right. Libertarian puritans and neoconservatives who want the BBC to be sold or abolished wantonly ignore what’s good about it: its impartiality (on television, at least), its television comedies, its drama, its news, its unrivalled documentaries.
The best way to protect the public sector is to make it leaner, accountable and fit for purpose. There are many non-partisan people, such as myself, who would defend BBC if it stuck to what it does best.
Why lefties ♥ the EU
Why are there so few people on the left voicing their support for Britain leaving the European Union? It’s a question I often hear from my intelligent left-wing friends.
I blame it on the identity politics that have helped to create our culture of narcissism. In the 1970s, when the British left, for all its faults, had sincerity and conviction, it was common to denounce the then European Economic Community (EEC) as a club for capitalists. Tony Benn was a rare prophet on this matter. Then, as now, the EEC was seen as serving the interest of big business, not the little man. Hence Tories with ties to the City have always supported the EU in its various guises.
Yet now, to profess oneself as left wing goes in tandem with declaring how caring and compassionate one is – the political has become the personal. Hence today’s profusion of liberal-left virtue signalling, declarations of ‘I ♥ the NHS’ on social media and Labour and Green placards everywhere outside homes in North London come General Election time. To speak out against the EU might be misconceived as being xenophobic or racist. To out oneself as a Brexiteer is to risk losing face in polite society.
Patrick West is a spiked columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @patrickxwest