Saturday, 5 December 2009

The Equality Bill

(I've just posted this as a comment on Cranmer, but for those of you who don't read Cranmer, I thought I'd post it here as well.)

I believe that the Equality Bill being proposed by Her Majesty's Government is wrong.

In fact, I am less than enthusiastic about Mr. David Drew's amendment, which was voted down this week, because it doesn't go far enough. It only seeks to make certain limited exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination. In fact, I believe that non-discrimination legislation should only apply to government, and that all non-governmental organisations should be free to employ whoever they want. Anti-discrimination legislation is an attack on freedom of association.

That said, I'm not sure that this dire Equality Bill needs to be such a big problem for religious organisations.

As Cranmer says, "churches are by definition primarily concerned with theological enlightenment and spiritual development."

If a church believes that homosexual activity is wrong, its main concern should not be whether a job applicant is homosexual or heterosexual, or whether the applicant is celibate or non-celibate. Its main concern should be with whether a prospective applicant believes and publicly affirms and teaches that homosexual activity is wrong. And my understanding is that even if the Equality Bill is passed, they will still be able to ask about such matters in job interviews.

Edit: I have also written on the subject of anti-discrimination law here.

56 comments:

indigomyth said...

I confess, from my neo-liberal background, I would have been an ardent supporter of this bill. Now I consider it to be an unwelcome infringement on liberty.

It can be one of the most difficult things, as a libertarian, to have something you utterly hate, and not strike against it. For example, forcing the BNP to accept non-white members. Every fibre of my being thinks it hideous that they discriminate in this way, however I know that I must not infringe on their liberty.

Young Mr. Brown said...

It's the principle of tolerance: "I will defend to the death your right to do this, but I unequivocally condemn you for using your freedom to do something that is completely wrong."

And to be honest, tolerance does not come naturally to most of us.

indigomyth said...

Though, what do you think of government employees not doing their job, based upon their beliefs? For example, a civil marriage registrar refusing to marry a black and white couple, because they do not believe in mixed-race marriage, or someone refusing to wed a jew and a christian, because they do not believe in mixed-faith marriages? Do you think the government / council should try and accommodate the person's beliefs, or do you think that they should be made to go against their faith, or be fired?

bethyada said...

Of course the intention of a law is not the same thing as how a law will be misinterpreted, and how a law will be abused to mistreat people.

Young Mr. Brown said...

indigogmyth

Though, what do you think of government employees not doing their job, based upon their beliefs?

You didn't mention the registrar who refuses to register a civil partnership between a same sex couple!

If I accept a job, and the job says that I must, as part of my job, do "X", and I don't want to do "X", I was an idiot to accept the job.

It is slightly more complicated where my contract says nothing about doing "Y", but after I've been working a few years, my job description changes, and I am expected to do "Y". I think that it is probably good to have some sort of adjudication procedure where an independent panel can say whether or not it is reasonable for them to ask me to do it - or whether it is reasonable for me to refuse.

I also believe that in general, it is good when there is a bit of accommodation and flexibility in the system that allows people to opt out - or move sideways into a related job. But that sometimes causes a lot of hassle and is not practical.

In other words, I think employers should be generous and understanding with their employees. But in the end of the day employees are expected to do what their employer says - and if they don't like it, they should resign. No-one, after all, has a right to a job.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Hello, bethyada.

Too true. I tend to take the view that the intention behind a law should be a key to interpreting it - but that position doesn't seem to be very widely held these days.

Stewart Cowan said...

indigomyth,

If you're referring to Lillian Ladele, I believe she had the job for the best part of twenty years. She obviously accepted the post because it involved the marriage of man and woman.

Clearly, she had no issues such as the ones you describe, because the marriages were between a man and a woman, as God and nature intended. However, the invention of civil partnerships changed her role and she was asked to deal with 'gay marriage', which is a contradiction in terms.

It seems to me that few people like the way the country is going, yet not many put their money where their mouth is. I guess the 'equality' bill will be used to try to persecute the remaining dissenters.

indigomyth said...

Stewart,

//Clearly, she had no issues such as the ones you describe, because the marriages were between a man and a woman, as God and nature intended. However, the invention of civil partnerships changed her role and she was asked to deal with 'gay marriage', which is a contradiction in terms.//

She was not asked to perform gay marriages, but rather to perform civil partnerships. However, what any particular person believes about what valid marriage is and is not is largely irrelevant, if they are employed to do a job.

I confess, I have no sympathy for Ladele, and think it was correct for the council to fire her. She did not want to do her job. Can their be any more basic just reason for firing someone?

What her particular beliefs were are irrelevant, Stewart. And the fact that you happen to share her view is also irrelevant. It does not matter what you think marriage should and should not be, for the state has no business enforcing one definition of marriage.

It is like becoming a Catholic priest, and demanding to marry same-sex couples. Or becoming a Muslim becoming a superstore clerk, and refusing to serve alcohol. It is ridiculous.

An employer has a right to alter the terms of employment. They are the ones supplying the job!

indigomyth said...

But then, Stewart is no fan of liberty. I found this on his blog, which seems to neatly sum up his stance.

//Sin should not be tolerated. Once it gets a foothold, either in a person’s life or in society as a whole, then it becomes very difficult to reverse the situation.//

And he complains about authoritarianism!

indigomyth said...

Oh, and he also supports the recent Lithuanian law which criminalised the positive portrayal of homosexuality. So he also does not support Freedom of Speech (except, of course, when it is his speech that is being restricted).

Stewart Cowan said...

indigomyth,

Your comparison with a Muslim is invalid. There is nothing normal about two men settling down to spend the rest of their lives together. This is NOT what the woman was taken on to arrange.

It's that simple. She didn't change: the job did.

Looks like you scoured my for things to complain about! That's your right. I replied to your comments about sin on my blog.

And Freedom of Speech does not mean teachers should be allowed to lead children astray by paining a rosy picture of the homosexual or bisexual lifestyle.

indigomyth said...

Stewart, I replied on your blog.

//There is nothing normal about two men settling down to spend the rest of their lives together.//

Again, utterly irrelevant to this discussion. What you believe about "normal" or "not normal" is compeltely unimportant. What matters is individual liberty.

//It's that simple. She didn't change: the job did.//

And, as I stated before, employers have the right to change the terms of employment, and employees have to either comply, or find a different job. As noted in the post "there is no right to a job". Given the fact that she took on a job that was inherently illiberal to begin with, as it was based on the idea that the state was the right to define what marriage is and is not, the liberalising of the governments position largely necessitated the firing of people who refuse to serve tax-paying members of the public, because it goes against their beliefs. or convictions.

//And Freedom of Speech does not mean teachers should be allowed to lead children astray by paining a rosy picture of the homosexual or bisexual lifestyle.//

And here we see your waver thin commitment to parental choice. What if parents want their children to be taught that homosexuality is positive, or neutral? Do they not have the right to educate their children in accordance with their beliefs? According to your own principles of parental choice, they must be able to.

And the Lithunaian Law did not also apply to teachers, it also applied to anyone in the public sphere. That is a violation of Free Speech. If parents do not want their children to hear or see something, then they can control their what their children watch and read. They do not have the authority to turn the public sphere into some kind of giant creche. The public sphere is for the articulation of any and every idea and thought. To start to define limitations on that is a violation of the human right to Free Speech.

indigomyth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
indigomyth said...

//Looks like you scoured my for things to complain about!//

There is an awful lot not to like on your blog. It is full of illiberal, authoritarian, statist nonsense. It required no scouring to find the little nuggets I have put forward. You deny principles of free speech, individual liberty, free association, parental choice; those things which are the bread and butter of libertarians. You are almost as bad as a Labour apparatchik.

Stewart Cowan said...

Indigo,

You are clearly a completely liberal libertarian, but there are problems. I have replied also on my own blog.

"What matters is individual liberty."

It's very important, but so is right and wrong. If people act wrongly then it can be the direct cause of another's liberty being interfered with. (As with Ms Ladele.)

You say you don't want the state to interfere and yet you allow them to define what marriage is.

That definition is thousands of years old. It is changing - the state is changing the meaning of words in order to promote hedonism in order to weaken the country morally and spiritually.

The result, you will be aware, is that your liberty is being eroded continually and this will keep on until we regain sense in this country.

"You are almost as bad as a Labour apparatchik."

Just because I don't approve of crimes against nature?

But they DO!

indigomyth said...

//If people act wrongly then it can be the direct cause of another's liberty being interfered with. (As with Ms Ladele.)//

Ms Ladele did not have her liberty interefered with though, did she? She had a job, which she refused to do. She had no RIGHT to that job, therefore her rights, her liberty cannot have been infringed by her being fired. It is like me complaining about not using the computers at work for a variety of purposes - that is not a limit of my liberty, because I choose to be there. As soon as Ms Ladele starts being forced to work for a council, under threat of violence, then she will have a complaint against her liberty, not until then.

//You say you don't want the state to interfere and yet you allow them to define what marriage is.//

No, I am saying that the state should allow every definition of marriage, and recognise them all equally.

//It is changing - the state is changing the meaning of words in order to promote hedonism in order to weaken the country morally and spiritually.//

No, gay people, liberal people, are saying that same-sex couples can be married, and that they want that recognised. The Quakers, I believe, have recognised same-sex marriages. However, what you want is the state to impose on them your definition of marriage, which is an invasion of their religious liberty. And even if we are only talking about two individuals, what right has the state to say that they are not married, based upon what "most people" want. It is illiberal.

//The result, you will be aware, is that your liberty is being eroded continually and this will keep on until we regain sense in this country.//

Not because of gay marriage. Indeed, you would interfere more, and reach into peoples lives, and get the state to declare the way they live is abhorrent and evil, or that their relationship is not marriage. That is interference.

//Just because I don't approve of crimes against nature?

But they DO!//

No, but because you want YOUR definition of marriage enforced upon everyone, and you want to curtail free speech, and you want to control what people do with their bodies, and you advocate the "common good", and you want the state to curtail freedom of religion. I think, I think, that many of these things Labour do, and which you would support, if only they were aiming at the right sector of society.

indigomyth said...

I have also replied, at greater length, on your own blog.

Out of curiosity, you keep on referring to Ladele having her liberty restricted. Could you say how that has happened?

indigomyth said...

Sorry Marmalade (what contraction do you prefer? MS?) for being aggressive on your blog, but I just cannot be civil to someone that wants the state to initiate violence against innocent people. It just makes my blood boil.

Stewart Cowan said...

Indigo,

The whole point is that a marriage is not just any two people, it is two specific people. That's why Ms Ladele and many others felt comfortable in their job, but no longer do, as things have gone BONKERS!

If they were asked to marry a man and a goat, I reckon most registrars would still go along with the madness. And people like you would no doubt be scathing of the Ladeles out there because you believe in personal 'choice' and 'liberty' above society, common decency and truth.

To reiterate, it is not *my* "definition of marriage," it is *the* definition of marriage. One man and one woman. That's a marriage. That is what it is!

I don't want to curtail free speech. Freedom of speech involves *responsibilities* and *sensitivities*. Would you tell a four year old that Santa Claus doesn't exist? Perhaps you would.

:-)

Stewart Cowan said...

Indigo,

I've also replied to you chez moi.

>>>Out of curiosity, you keep on referring to Ladele having her liberty restricted. Could you say how that has happened?<<<

She was expected to go against her conscience. That's one of the worst things you can ask of decent people. Sure, she has more 'liberty' now she doesn't have to go into work!

I'm still confused as to why you think I am calling for the "state to initiate violence against innocent people".

I've never knowingly suggested such a thing in my life.

indigomyth said...

//To reiterate, it is not *my* "definition of marriage," it is *the* definition of marriage. One man and one woman. That's a marriage. That is what it is!//

Well, thousands of people disagree, and you believe it is correct to force obedience on those people, merely because they have a different definition of marriage?

//And people like you would no doubt be scathing of the Ladeles out there because you believe in personal 'choice' and 'liberty' above society, common decency and truth.//

Yep. Freedom is more important than common decency, and it is only your version of the "truth" - millions of Muslims think that the truth is that Jesus Christ was not divine. Does not make it correct, or permissable to force others to act like he was not.

//I don't want to curtail free speech. Freedom of speech involves *responsibilities* and *sensitivities*. Would you tell a four year old that Santa Claus doesn't exist? Perhaps you would.//

It comes with the responsibility of accepting that people will judge you and criticise you. Not that the state will take away your liberty for saying something that offends people. Sensitivities are likewise irrelevant to considerations of the law. Muslims are very sensititive to denial of Muhammed being Allah's prophet. Does not mean that they have the authority to restrict the speech of Christians, does it? If you want to put state limitations on speech, then speech is, by definition, not free, is it? So be honest, you either want free speech, or you want speech restricted to things that take account of your sensibilities and sensitivities

//.She was expected to go against her conscience. That's one of the worst things you can ask of decent people. Sure, she has more 'liberty' now she doesn't have to go into work!//

So? So what? She was not threatened with loss of her liberty, her life or even her property if she did not, was she? She merely lost her job - and, as we have established, there is no right to a job. She was not forced to go against her conscience, was she? No one held a gun to her head, no one threatened to take her purse, no one threatened to remove her children. They asked her to do her job, and she chose not to. Simple.

//I'm still confused as to why you think I am calling for the "state to initiate violence against innocent people".//

Because you want to make gay marriage illegal, which would necessitate punishment, and punishment involves the loss of either life, property or body sovereignty. Would you not say that imprisonment, the forcible taking of freedom, is of horrendous violence? And the forcible taking of property, more commonly called theft, is also violent. Everytime you ask the state to make something illegal, you are asking them to initiate some form of violence against those that break the law.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Sorry Marmalade (what contraction do you prefer? MS?)

YMB will do nicely, indigomyth.

I do hope that your blood has returned to normal temperature. The thought of blood boiling away in my (or your) veins and arteries is most alarming.

Freedom is more important than common decency

I would not like to have to choose between them.

Because you want to make gay marriage illegal, which would necessitate punishment, and punishment involves the loss of either life, property or body sovereignty.

I'm not sure that it necessarily would. The state in this country does not recognise same-sex marriage, but I have not actually noticed anyone being punished by the loss of either life, property or body sovereignty.

indigomyth said...

//I'm not sure that it necessarily would. The state in this country does not recognise same-sex marriage, but I have not actually noticed anyone being punished by the loss of either life, property or body sovereignty.//

Good point. Of course, now that the government has cut the tax breaks and allowances that married couples used to get there is far less financial damage to those that do not marry. I would be interested to see what would happen if some liberal group decided to start recognising same-sex marriages, and calling them as such.

There is, of course, a recognition of certain legal obligations and duties associated with marriage - such things as inheritance and property ownership.

However, in countries where marriage does confer significant financial and legal advantages, those not in marriage all suffer the same loss. Those that are married are granted money by the state, which is taken from other people. If the married couple receive tax cuts, then they are not paying their own way, and non-married people have to foot the bill. The deregulation of marriage would mean that people could get married to those people that they wanted, and still receive the same "benefits".

Though, TBH, I recognise that my point is more directly that I do not think the state has much business being involved in marriage at all. When you actually analyse what state recognised marriage is - the forcible taking of one persons property, to give to another, on the basis that they have decided to live together - it actually starts to seem very illiberal. If two (three, four) people wish to be wed, then let that be a matter for individual communities. I would love it if the Catholic church retracted all opposition to gay marriage, and started to fund Catholic different-sex marriages from its own coffers.

//I would not like to have to choose between them. //

I know, but everyone has different standards of decency. Look at the Muslim protests in London - disgusting indecent displays, yet it is our job, as libertarians, to tolerate such activity, even though it repulses us.

Each individual is perfectly at liberty to be as decent as they wish, however, when it comes to forcing other people to act decently, then there is a problem. Indeed, if one person forces another to act "decently" they may, in fact, be making them feel indecent. Like a Muslim women being forced to reveal her face to a stranger, or a non-Muslim having to wear the veil.

Stewart Cowan said...

Indigo,

I understand now. You think it is wrong for lawbreakers to be deprived of their liberty. At least, if the crimes they have committed are against nature, even though these are serious enough to destroy nations. You don't seem to appreciate the effect one person's sin has on everyone else. It has always been so, because when a society values nothing but carnal pleasure, gossip, sport and entertainment, it's on its way out. We're on the way out. There will be no liberty for anyone once we're sucked into a global system of government - this is the dreadful irony of your ultra-libertarianism/anarchy.

indigomyth said...

Stetwart Cowan,

//it has always been so, because when a society values nothing but carnal pleasure, gossip,
sport and entertainment, it's on its way out.//

Again, your error of collectivisim. Some people will only value those things, however, if the other things in life are truly pleasurable and satisfying, then people will do those other things.

//You don't seem to appreciate the effect one person's sin has on everyone else//

And you have yet to supply a single example.

//You think it is wrong for lawbreakers to be deprived of their liberty//

If their only crime is to break the moral law of your God, yes.

And, again you have a very tiny view of what it means to be a nation. The very idea that granting people the freedom to do what they want with their own bodies as being the agent which destroys nations. Quite pathetic. And, as I have said before, a nation that feels compelled to deprive human beings of their freedom on the basis of what they do with their own bodies, is no nation that deserves to survive.

You really must try harder.

indigomyth said...

YMB,
Am I being very dense?

http://www.realstreet.co.uk/2009/10/labours-obsession/comment-page-1/#comment-3281

Young Mr. Brown said...

Hello, Indigomyth

Sorry about not replying sooner to your question. Not that it is an easy question to answer. When I tried to read that thread, it had my head spinning, so I'm definitely not qualified to comment on anyone else's density!

I do think that some of the time, you and Mr. Cowan were arguing at cross purposes.

Some examples.

1.You said "I believe that the state should not draw any lines in sexual matters that are conducted between mutually consenting adults."

Mr. Cowan replied "Every society has boundaries . . . ,"

Both statements are true, because society is not the same as the state. You, however, don't pick up this point, because you reply "Yes, they do, but they should not."

2. Mr. Cowan says "Societies that descend into hedonism cannot last long."

I think that there is a certain amount of truth in that. But in every society in this world, there will be an element of hedonism. And I since libertarianism encourages people to take the consequences of their own action, I would have thought that in some ways, libertarianism helps prevent descent into hedonism.

You, in response to Mr. Cowan, wrote "I have no concern for “society”. I care only about the freedom of the individual to be free from coercion and violence at the hands of the state."

I would say "But surely whether we are free or not depends on society, because the state is an element of society?"

Mr. Cowan is sympathetic to libertarianism. One can tell, because one of the very few blogs on his blogroll is Leg-Iron's excellent blog.

He does occasionally say things that leave me a little uncertain as to exactly what he means - and hence uncertain as to whether I agree with him. Which might make me rather dense.

I doubt that I've answered your question fully, but I've had a bash.

Feel free to ask more specific questions.

Stewart Cowan said...

I must have the shortest blog roll in Blogland! Leg-iron is a must-read and I agree with almost everything he says. Does this make him anti-libertarian and 'big state' like I'm alleged to be?

Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave."

If they're encouraged to sit back, eat pizza, drink beer, watch the X Factor and vote for the Lib/Lab/Con Party, that's what they'll do. Unfortunately, this is the sort of decadence we're faced with.

"And you have yet to supply a single example [of how sin affects others]."

I think on my blog we've given you examples. English Viking introduced the concept of bad neighbours. There are tons of examples borne out of selfishness, laziness, lies, adultery...

Young Mr. Brown said...

I must have the shortest blog roll in Blogland!

Well done, sir! There a lot of good blogs out there, but one must be disciplined with one's time. I don't read enough blogs to be a good blogger, but I read too many for my own good.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said ...
I'm not sure that I would take him as an authority. Is he right? I'm sceptical. As a Christian, I'd say it is actually 100%. But if he is speaking in political (rather than moral) terms - as I suspect he is - I find the statement to be rather patronising - even authoritarian.

stewart said...

YMB,

I guess most people can read much faster than I can. :-)

I think Arnie's probably about right. I also think he's authoritarian. He's banned large tellies in California. Got to save the planet...

indigomyth said...

YMB,

You remarked on the fact that libertarianism helps curb the descent into hedonism, by getting people to take responsibility for their own actions. This is something that Stewart denies, instead seeing it as necessary for the state to intervene in order to stop people being hedonistic. Stewart seems to believe that hedonism has no cost to the individual, and therefore there is no reason not be to hedonistic without the state imposing repercussions.

You highlight the difference between state and society, which I did not do. However, that is because I do not think Stewart makes the distinction - he sees the state as being the arm of society that enforces moral conduct. I should have done so.

However, I would say that if the state is viewed as the apparatus that society uses to draw boundaries, and the state is an aspect of society, then I stand by my point regarding the fact that society, as in the state, should keep itself out of personal affairs.
---


Stewart,

You have given examples of how sin affects others, but not how sin restricts the liberty and denies the rights of others. As I have explained, affecting someone is not the same as restricting their liberty, or infringing their rights. As I pointed out, you affect me by writing illiberal things on your blog, but they do not infringe my rights, and therefore do not give me the right to infringe upon you.

Or, another example. A Muslim may change religion, and this will affect her family - her parents could feel ashamed and dishonoured, her community could feel rejected, her children could feel alienated. However, none of these "affects" are relevant to whether it is or is not the woman's right to change religion.

So, to "affect" someone, is not the same as to "restrict the liberty" of someone. You see?

//Unfortunately, this is the sort of decadence we're faced with. //

And your solution, apparently, is more state intrusion and restriction. Rather than try and persuade people, you indeed for the state to beat them into submission.

indigomyth said...

YMB,
You did say,
//Mr. Cowan is sympathetic to libertarianism//

Well, of course he is. Everyone can be sympathetic to libertarianism. Libertarianism is about people being allowed to go about their business without the state being involved, and about having your liberty protected. The problem comes when it is other peoples liberty, their freedom of speech and expression that is put to the test. Then people like Stewart could not give two hoots about liberty and freedom - they talk of restrictions and prohibitions. Being sympathetic to libertarianism is no comfort to those people that would have their liberty curtailed by Stewart if he got his way.

indigomyth said...

This is the man you think is sympathetic to libertarianism!?

http://www.realstreet.co.uk/2009/12/love-hate-and-the-threat-to-internet-free-speech/comment-page-1/#comment-3372

The man that wants to outlaw buggery, to restrict speech, to stop parents educating their children the way they want!? How can he possible be considered sympathetic to libertarianism!?

Stewart Cowan said...

Indigo,

Buggery is outlawed in N. Ireland and many other places, because it is such gross, dangerous behaviour.

You are being a bit dishonest when you say I want "to stop parents educating their children the way they want!" when what you mean is that I don't want homosexuality promoted to children.

I am a fan of home-schooling because the children will be away from the conditioning of the state.

Children should be taught the truth - and that includes the truth that marriage is what they should aspire to.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Hello, Indigomyth.

"This is the man you think is sympathetic to libertarianism!? . . . . The man that wants to outlaw buggery, to restrict speech, to stop parents educating their children the way they want!? How can he possible be considered sympathetic to libertarianism!?"

I didn't say that he was a libertarian - because in my opinion, he most certainly isn't. (And I'm guessing that he wouldn't dream of calling himself a libertarian. But if he agrees with almost everything Leg-Iron says, then he must be considered to be sympathetic.

Hello, Mr. Cowan.

You are, I believe incorrect about buggery being illegal in Northern Ireland. It was legalised in 1982.

Stewart Cowan said...

YMB,

I am a conservative libertarian, or perhaps a libertarian conservative. Is there such a thing? There is now!

That's 'conservative' with a small 'c'. I totally reject Cameron's cop-out version.

Thanks for correcting me on buggery in N.I. Perhaps I was thinking of buggery of women, which I believe is illegal (and in the rest of the UK?).

So, YMB, tell me this: what sort of society would we have were Indigo's vision realised?

indigomyth said...

Stewart,

//I am a conservative libertarian, or perhaps a libertarian conservative. Is there such a thing? There is now!//

You are not, in any sense, libertarian. You believe that people do not own their own bodies, that speech should be restricted, that the state should have the power to intercede between consenting adults. You are authoritarian.

Look at your responses on your blog - you think there can be legitimate curtailing of speech, but do not think that those restrictions, restict speech. You actually believe that if a state restricts speech, then that society still has free speech!

//You are being a bit dishonest when you say I want "to stop parents educating their children the way they want!" when what you mean is that I don't want homosexuality promoted to children.//

Yes, but if parents want their children to be told that homosexuality is normal and acceptable, then you want to dictate to parents what they can and cannot have taught to their children, which is directly in contradiction to your claimed desire for parental control.

//Children should be taught the truth - and that includes the truth that marriage is what they should aspire to.//

Again, you do not believe in parental choice in schools! You want children taught YOUR version of the truth, your ideology about marriage, and the "truth" of the Bible. And you want the state to stop schools teaching things that are opposed to your beliefs, even if the parents want it. I repeat, you are as bad as a labour apparatchik - someone who wants to control what children are taught.

Tell me, you are creationist, does that also mean that you want schools to only teach creationism? After all, you believe it to be true? What about Jesus and the Bible? Should parents be able to teach their children that God does not exist, or that god is Allah?

It is quite simple - Do you believe that the state should dictate what children should be taught? In relation to ANYTHING. Homosexuality, marriage, environment, ANYTHING. And, if you do, how to reconcile this with your utterly fatuous claim that you want parental choice to be front and centre?
---

//But if he agrees with almost everything Leg-Iron says, then he must be considered to be sympathetic. //

But he does not even believe in free speech! He does not even believe people have the right to do what they want with their own bodies. It is by trying to make peace with the Stewart Cowans of the world that libertarianism is brought into disrepute.

He only favours freedom, when it is himself that is being hindered.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Mr. Cowan,

(Or do I now know you well enough to call you Stewart?) I think of you as a conservative with libertarian tendencies. But I have only recently gotten to know you, and it has taken me years to try to figure out how to describe myself!

Or perhaps you could be described as a conservative classical liberal. But if you read my posts of the 20th and 30th of November, you will, I think, see why I don't think you can be described as a libertarian. Making consensual buggery or adultery or fornication illegal is not consistent with libertarianism. In fact, I would have thought that there is a better case for criminalising adultery than buggery. As a Christian, I can say that I believe that buggery, fornication and adultery are wrong, but as a libertarian I take the view that just because something is wrong does not justify making it illegal.

Perhaps I was thinking of buggery of women, which I believe is illegal (and in the rest of the UK?).

If you look at the link to the Christian Institute in my comment, you will see that the buggery of women has also been legalised.

what sort of society would we have were Indigo's vision realised?

I am neither the prophet, nor the son of a prophet, and I cannot tell you what sort of society we would have if his vision (which seems to be pretty much the same as my vision) was realised any more than I can tell you what sort of society we would have if your vision was realised - at least, if we are talking about the realisation of legislative visions. However, I suspect that the results would not be very different.

The difference, as I see it, is that Indigomyth would permit you to do the things you want to do that he considers wrong, whereas you would not allow Indigomyth to do the things he wants to do that you consider wrong.

Well, that is my guess. I'm open to being corrected.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Stewart

By the way, I'd be interested to know if you perceive a difference between myself, Indigomyth, and Leg-Iron in terms of our political visions.

indigomyth said...

YMB,

//Well, that is my guess. I'm open to being corrected.//

Absolutely correct, Young Mr Brown. I could not care less whether Stewart wants to have a church that discriminates against people that perform homosexual acts - it is a private institution that can do as it wishes. I also support his right to say all of the truly terrible things he has. However, were he to have his way, he would invade people's homes, their jobs, their churches, arrest them, brutalise them, all for his idea of what is "good" for society (curious that he does not think that these terrible actions are themselves destructive). He sickens me to a depth that I never thought possible (for someone that has never actually murdered anyone, nor orchestrated anyones murder).

I can foresee that if the libertarian movement is associated with people like him, then its ideology of individual freedom will never flourish. To put it to the extreme, if he is considered "conservastive classical liberal", then I am happy to be called a neo-liberal, but one that hates socialism. I would sooner get in bed with the Lib Dems, rather than an LPUK that courts such unpleasant illiberal individuals.

indigomyth said...

In fact, I know you do not like swearing, but I think that Stewart is actually a social Communist - someone who believes that there is no such thing as the private sphere in society, and that the state, and "the people" have ownership over everyone to be able to dictate how they live, what they say, and how they educate their children.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Indigomyth,

"He sickens me to a depth that I never thought possible"

I'm sorry to hear that you feel ill. I assume that you are of a sensitive disposition. However it might be best if you didn't say so publicly, since if Stewart Cowan is sensitive, this might hurt his feelings.

"I can foresee that if the libertarian movement is associated with people like him"

I do not think that it is at all likely that the libertarian movement will become associated with the views that Stewart Cowan currently holds. (I mean can you really imagine Chris Mounsey adopting those views???)

Nor do I think that it is at all likely that Stewart Cowan will join the LPUK unless his political opinions change. But perhaps his opinions will change. I have changed my mind about things, and so have you.

"In fact, I know you do not like swearing, but I think that Stewart is actually a social Communist"

Whew! I thought you were going to say "fascist".

indigomyth said...

YMB,

(are libertarians all night owls?)

//I'm sorry to hear that you feel ill. I assume that you are of a sensitive disposition. However it might be best if you didn't say so publicly, since if Stewart Cowan is sensitive, this might hurt his feelings.//

Perhaps. However, he wants to the state to invade peoples homes, brutalise them, take away their freedom of speech, and stifle political debate, so I think a few hurt feelings are the least he deserves.

//(I mean can you really imagine Chris Mounsey adopting those views???)//

Very good point. I like DK. As I said before, he first introduced me to libertarianism.

//I have changed my mind about things, and so have you. //

True. However, I was receptive to change, and was never that neo-liberal. I spent a year as a UKIP member while I was in college! I have tried reasoning with Stewart on his blog. I have tried logic, utilitarianism, appealing to common humanity, and the notion of "live and let live", and he shows no interest in coming together to reason, no common ground to start from. I feel like I am talking to a brick wall, except a brick wall that wants to throw its bricks at me.

//Whew! I thought you were going to say "fascist".//

Yeah, Fascism is so passée. Having looked at the diagram on your blog of the square of political opinion, I think he is very statist. Though he may be more towards the "Absolute Monarchy" end of the spectrum. Interestingly, your diagram does not indicate theocrats.

NB. Why does the embedded comment section of your blog not permit copy and pasting from other text, nor auto spell check as provided by Firefox? I have to open the frame in a new tab in order to be able to copy and past text, and to have spell check function. It is different to anything I have found.

Stewart Cowan said...

Indigo,

Maybe we could somehow wrap up this whole shebang with closing summaries or something.

Would you agree that we are basically arguing about homosexuality, or rather, the freedom to do and promote it?

I already said that I wouldn't be able to prevent parents teaching their children that crimes against nature were normal. Why on earth would they want to?

Same with religion. They can teach their children to worship pork pies if they get the urge, but when it comes to state education, there obviously have to be lines drawn.

Or should teachers have the 'freedom' to teach whatsoever they desire?

Yes, Creationism should be taught in schools. Let the youngsters learn about the two major worldviews and not just the one that suits the establishment. Shouldn't that be the libertarian's answer too?

For the record, I am nothing whatsoever to do with the Libertarian Party. I am not a member of any party.

And also for the record, I have no wish to 'brutalise' anyone, so stop saying it please.

stewart said...

YMB,

I don't like attaching names to myself. I leave that to others, and boy do they call me names! Stewart is fine. You are a polite bear.

Sorry to hear buggery of women is legal. I should have guessed it would be in Sodom.

I think if my vision were realised, every day would be the first day of spring! Homosexuals could get free treatment to bring their behaviour out of the sewer.

//By the way, I'd be interested to know if you perceive a difference between myself, Indigomyth, and Leg-Iron in terms of our political visions.//

Well, I don't know that much about you, so the feeling is mutual there. Indigomyth is dreaming of a world that can never be. It won't happen. My vision won't happen either, this side of the Saviour's return.

How do we muck along the best we can in the meantime? For me, probably less blogging would be useful, or else more fruitful blogging, which is why I asked Indigo to wrap this thing up, because I think to change his (or her; do we know?) mind is on a par with getting Oliver Read to refuse a drink.

Leg-iron knows a lot of things that Indigo doesn't and so he is more sensible and realises that we do need some rules and pay some taxes. He would allow me to worship the Almighty and not even grudgingly. I don't know what he would consider taboo.

I'm wondering YMB, is libertarianism compatible with Christianity? We know that the truth will make us free and that behaving however we want will lead us into sin and enslave us.

indigomyth said...

Stewart,

//Or should teachers have the 'freedom' to teach whatsoever they desire?//

They should have the freedom to teach whatever the parents of the children want. Otherwise, you are forcing parents to have their children taught whatever it is you want.

//Yes, Creationism should be taught in schools. Let the youngsters learn about the two major worldviews and not just the one that suits the establishment. Shouldn't that be the libertarian's answer too?//

No, the libertarian answer is to allow parents to choose whether or not to allow creationism to be taught in the school that they send their children to. If you impose Creationism on a school where the children's parents do not want Creationism taught, then you are ignoring the parents wishes. The same with evolution. It should only be taught in schools by parents that want to have their children taught it.

//And also for the record, I have no wish to 'brutalise' anyone, so stop saying it please.//

Really?! What else can arrest and imprisonment be, other than brutalising people? When those people have done nothing to hurt ANYONE else, and you want to take away their freedom, based upon your belief in "societal well-being".

//because I think to change his (or her; do we know?) mind is on a par with getting Oliver Read to refuse a drink.//

Well, I open to logical, rational debate. But you have consistently refused to engage with me on this basis.

//I think if my vision were realised, every day would be the first day of spring!//

A spring with Storm Troopers to kick down peoples doors on suspicion of illegal use of genitalia. What an utterly ghastly spring that would be.

//He would allow me to worship the Almighty and not even grudgingly.//

I would not do it grudgingly. I would gladly allow you to worship whatever God you want. And I would gladly allow you to promote your faith to your hearts content. You, however, would restrict speech to what you yourself want.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Indigomyth

NB. Why does the embedded comment section of your blog not permit copy and pasting from other text, nor auto spell check as provided by Firefox? . . .

I have no idea. Bears are not very good at technology. To the best of my knowledge, the settings on my blog are fairly normal. One other commenter (Mr. Walker) remarked that he had difficulty commenting on my blog, but I think that when he updated his browser, things improved.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Stewart

Leg-iron knows a lot of things that Indigo doesn't and so he is more sensible and realises that we do need some rules and pay some taxes.

Well, Leg-iron is a brainy chap, and knows a lot of things that you and I don't as well. But while I may be wrong, I cannot see any difference between the politics of Indigomyth and the politics of Leg-iron. Maybe Indigomyth doesn't think we need any rules, or that we need to pay any taxes, but that's not the impression that I get.

My vision won't happen either, this side of the Saviour's return.

Quite. Which is why I used the phrase "legislative vision". When the Saviour returns, we aren't going to need laws, because in the Kingdom we will be free from lawlessness. By "legislative vision" I mean the laws I would like to see in this imperfect world that we have to live in. "Legislative vision" is not vision for perfection - it is vision for making the best of a bad world.

I'm wondering YMB, is libertarianism compatible with Christianity? We know that the truth will make us free and that behaving however we want will lead us into sin and enslave us.

I agree with your second sentence. Libertarianism is about political freedom, not ultimate freedom. Politics cannot make anyone free, and operates in a completely different realm from the gospel - though politics can bring political freedom. So I'm not sure what the connection is between your first sentence and your second sentence.

If you can persuade me from Scripture that libertarianism is not compatible with Christianity, I shall be grateful. But my view is that it is more compatible with Christianity than any other form of politics in a sinful and fallen world.

But I think that is one for another thread, since we are now far from the topic of the Equality Bill.

I'll try to find time to start one later today.

Phil Walker said...

My name being taken in vain? ;-)

Owing to a confluence of circumstances beyond my comprehension, I'm still not able to post on your blog. Well, obviously I'm posting this, but I've used a different browser to do it. My upgraded browser *may* work on my home machine: I needed to order a new broadband connection at home, and it isn't up and running yet so I've not been able to do any extensive testing.

On my laptop, I can't post through Opera, but I evidently can post through Internet Explorer. This is all most vexatious.

It's the embedding of the comment box which causes the problems. If you disabled embedding, I'd be able to post, but at the cost of getting a new comment box rather than having everything on one page.

Technology is a trial, isn't it?

Young Mr. Brown said...

Hello, Mr. Walker!

You clearly have very good hearing! (That's enough exclamation marks, YMB. ed.)

It's the embedding of the comment box which causes the problems.

Ahhh, right. OK, I've now clicked the "pop-up window" option. I hope this helps everyone.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Wow! A half century! Fifty comments on one post! An amazing record for this blog.

I guess I owe this to the persistence of Stewart Cowan and Indigomyth. Both of you can have a large one on me.

A large mug of cocoa, that is. But then you knew that, didn't you?

indigomyth said...

//Maybe Indigomyth doesn't think we need any rules, or that we need to pay any taxes, but that's not the impression that I get.//

I do believe we need very very firm rules. Against murder, rape, theft, enslavement, rules can be written.

That is why I am a libertarian not an anarchist. I believe that the state needs to exist to protect individuals from coercion and violence from others, and to punish those that contravene those laws.

//A large mug of cocoa, that is. But then you knew that, didn't you?//

Mine is a cup of tea and a jam doughnut. Keeps the hunger at bay

Phil Walker said...

And there we have it. You really *are* stuck with me now.

Stewart Cowan said...

YMB,

How did you know I like cocoa? Thank you. I'll take it into the more recent thread with me.

Young Mr. Brown said...

Hello Stewart,

I just assumed that everyone liked cocoa. But if Indigomyth fancies a nice cup of tea, that's fine too.

I look forward to your comments on the other tread.

Of course, if I see any spilled cocoa there, you'll be the prime suspect.

:-)

Young Mr. Brown said...

p.s. I take it that you have found the other thread, Stewart?