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Illiberal Liberals

Tolerance and freedom were at the heart of liberalism. Where did it go wrong? Why at some stage did people who called themselves ‘liberals’ end up being so intolerant of people who didn’t share their views, and embark on a mission to suppress their freedom to share those views?

It seems that in the UK if you express a view that doesn’t conform to some politically-correct consensus of what you can and cannot say you could be performing a type of cultural, professional and career suicide.

It was Pearce Morgan’s ‘Wake Up!’ book that made me consider the intolerant nature of liberalism at least in the UK, but I dare say in much of the world.

Let’s get to the point. The natural outcome of liberalism is illiberalism, which is exactly the opposite of what liberals want. Why? Whenever people reject any objective truth or boundaries then it’s simply left to those who shout the loudest to define what is true or false, what should be tolerated or not.

When this noisy chaos ensues, the state is called upon to be the arbiter of enforcing the rules. This will mean the state has to take a greater stance in restricting the freedoms of those people who do things that don’t comply with the general thought of what is OK or not.

Here’s an example. Marriage used to be defined as a union between a man and a woman. Civic partnerships were created to grant the same rights to homosexual couples. I totally believe in the equal rights and value of any human being. Yet without any objective definitions to work as a foundation, then anything goes. Why should marriage be defined as something that happens between any two humans irrespective of their sexuality, and not between say a human and a dog or a tree? Where does the line get drawn?

It seems absurd doesn’t it? Yet once you abandon any objective truths, it’s a slippery slide into a chaotic world where anything goes and people demand their ‘rights’ need to be upheld.

Along the way, if you express a view that marriage for example should be restricted to something that happens between two humans then you run the risk of being labelled, cancelled and abused, in the name of liberalism.

What happened to debate? What happened to the idea that people can get together and discuss ideas that are contrary to their own views? This is healthy for examining what is true or false, what is good or bad, what is helpful or not? Surely, the freedom to openly consider opposing views is one of the best bits of living in the UK?

I know we take it for granted here. Yet that very thing we take for granted is under threat in the UK. People should be free to express views, even if it challenges us all. Just because it is challenging is not a reason for suppress the things that challenge us.