The danger with not choosing a god for yourself, is that other people may choose him for you.
Beware the ‘equality-god’; he is becoming more demanding; recently he has made looking people in the eye considerably more dangerous.
Gangland culture knows all about the significance of looking. “Who are you looking act”, like so many challenges isn’t the question it pretends to be. The person asking the question knows very well who is being looked at. The real question is “who the **** do you think you are- looking at me straight in the eyes when you should be lowering them as a sign that you are inferior to me.”
One of the great differences between life in the city and life outside it, is what you do with your eyes. In the city, people usually shuffle past each other with eyes averted. In the country the greeting of a stranger as you pass starts with looking them right in the eyes. Catching someone’s eye is a matter of courtesy and respect in the country; in the city, it’s might be a challenge.
Looking has just got more complicated for students at Oxford University. The University’s ‘Equality and Diversity Unit’ has been directing students’ behaviour in its Trinity term newsletter. It has been telling students that if they fail to make eye contact with another student, it might constitute racism. More specifically than that, it might actually constitute a racial micro-aggression which could have the effect of undermining the other person’s mental equilibrium, and lead to actual ill-health.
University has been a place above all where all questions are encouraged. No longer. Now you dare not enquire of someone where they were ‘originally’ from. Because that’s no longer curiosity, that’s racism.
The equality-god has turned the inquisitive and shy into political deviants.
Words don’t always give the whole game away. Equality is not really about equality, any more than phobia is about phobia. But they are words that can be used to accuse someone of a thought crime.
Thought crime is really quite new. Frighteningly it is a symptom of totalitarian states. Until the 2010 Equalities Act, a crime could only be committed, if in the eyes of the “man on the Clapham Omnibus” to quote a famous judge, the accused was believed to have shown evidence of having intended a crime; “Mens rea” for the teckys.
Forgetting, the sexism of it being a man, and the ageism and elitism of it being an omnibus, the judge was really talking about average common sense.
But not any more. Now the State decides if you have committed a thought crime, a blasphemy against the equality-god. It doesn’t matter what you thought you thought. It only matters if the State, or its agencies, like the “Equality and Diversity Unit” say you thought.
Human religious instincts never go away under the weight of secularism, they just go underground. Get rid of the One God, and you just replace Him with other lesser gods. Disrespecting this lesser equality-god, has become a political blasphemy; and you can now be prosecuted for this blasphemy.
But the equality-god is growing in strength in our culture. His devotees pass more and more laws to enforce obedience. Laws which are supposed to defend our freedoms now threaten them; even our freedom even to have our own thoughts.
Instead, the laws that enforce obedience to the equality-god are authorised to determine what your thoughts are. Politics which should have been secular has become again a religion. Blasphemy which was struck off the statute books long ago, has been reintroduced. If you transgress with an ‘-ism’ or if you develop a ‘phobia’, you have committed blasphemy and become an outlaw.
Once where you could choose how and if you looked at a person, now someone else decides for you. Questions you thought you could ask because you wanted to know the answer, have been turned into mini-violent ‘micro-aggressions’.
Paradoxically Oxford is not a place of equality at all. It is a place filled with the intellectual elite. You would hope that being so clever they would notice the pseudo equality-god was threatening their freedoms. What happens in universities in one decade, filters through everywhere else, a few years later.
But if the students and faculty at Oxford don’t or can’t challenge the equality-god, perhaps more is needed than raw intelligence?
It may be that what is called for are virtues accessible to anyone who actually cares about freedom; – like common sense and courage. Amongst the lesser gods or values they will serve us better than pseudo-equality. Better to chose your gods than have others impose theirs on you.