BRUCE LOGAN says that the doctrine of diversity, inclusion and tolerance is a matter of politics and not of conscience. It’s power and reach are determined by law and not by character. That’s why it’s in love with hate speech. Obeying the law is not a matter of good character, it’s a matter of power. Evidence of the fever is everywhere. The Israel Folau affair is the most recent high profile example.
12 July 2019
The contemporary obsession that accuses everyone “not like me” of extremism is a ruinous moral and social myth. The obsession has been given its self-righteous passion by an ideology that thought it would achieve the opposite. The cultic diversity, inclusion and tolerance dogma sought social cohesion while its raison d’être grew out of a philosophy of extreme individualism. It had no philosophy of civil society or nationhood and it continues in its misunderstanding of both to the point of hostility.
There was a time, when I was a young man, when those we might now call social conservatives would have kept the Hydra-headed cult of diversity, inclusion and tolerance under control. We were all conservatives then without knowing it. “Faith, flag and family”1 were meaningful. We were a nation who had been educated in the importance of kindly duty to each other. Certainly that concept had its roots in the Christian faith, but one did not need to be a Christian to appreciate its value.
Most of us hadn’t heard of Edmund Burke, but we would have understood instantly, had someone explained to us his idea of “little platoons.” Before any idea of freedom entered our heads we knew that there were some fundamental and permanent truths. “Faith, flag and family “we would have understood to be an instructive shorthand describing natural law insofar as we understood it. Had we been asked, we would also have thought the trilogy in harmony with human nature. Life, church, nation and family were all there. None of these, in our democracy, were created by the state; they were there for the state to protect.
In all of this we had a fairly clear idea of what it meant to be a human being. It came to us through centuries of Christian teaching. We had all been created in the image of our Creator male and female to eternal life and the imperishable glory of divine love. On the other hand we all still have an unlimited capacity to be untruthful, vindictive, envious, lustful, covetous, greedy and brutal. If anything, the Christian and the conservative minds understand that one’s life is a complicated uneven, sometimes erratic business relieved by the reality of genuine regret and the consequent joy of forgiveness. In the real eternal world there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.
In short we are profoundly flawed; the Bible says men and women are sinners. We were nevertheless optimistic about the future because we believed that we could be forgiven, learn to forgive others and generally live out life hopefully and dutifully. Indeed it’s probably true to say, whether we understood it or not, the doctrine of original sin shaped our understanding of social order. Evil had a potential dwelling place in everyone’s heart; it was not just a social construction to be remedied by passing another law.
The conservative mind, shaped as it was by Jewish and Christian Scripture, understood that freedom, if it was to have any kind of real meaning, depended on the good character of each citizen. What we presumptuously come to call autonomy was real enough but restrained by the authority of family, church and all the other institutions of civil society. Freedom was a matter of conscience not a matter of politics.
Which of course is the point. The doctrine of diversity, inclusion and tolerance is a matter of politics and not of conscience. It’s power and reach are determined by law and not by character. That’s why it’s in love with hate speech. Obeying the law is not a matter of good character, it’s a matter of power.
Evidence of the fever is everywhere. The Israel Folau affair is the most recent high profile example. He has reminded everyone freedom is a matter of conscience. Rugby Australia and its sponsors are quite sure it’s a matter of politics, which, if we were to accept their spin on the world, is entirely consistent.
Freedom, they are saying, whether they realise it or not, is something that is created and modified by the state. They do not understand, or refuse to believe, that freedom is something human beings have because they are created in God’s image. It is the state’s job to protect that freedom, understand its nature and not manipulate it.
It is quite beside the point whether the state believes that every human being is created in God’s image or not. It must operate on the basis that He has, otherwise the state will think it’s the creator. And we all know where that goes.
Rugby Australia and its sponsors are mini tyrants because they think they know what a human being is and how he or she should exercise conscience. The CEO of Rugby Australia even goes as far as to suggest she knows the difference between the “good bits” and “bad bits” of the Bible.
Nothing new here. Rugby Australia and its sponsors are being consistent with the dictatorship of diversity doctrine and the mushy contradictory centre at its heart. On the one hand they are quite sure that freedom is all about the realisation of each person’s autonomy. But in order to realise that autonomy they must silence the unbeliever. Conscience is transferred from the human heart to the bureaucrat.
Bruce Logan is a board member of Family First NZ
1 The term “Faith, Flag and Family” comes from an interview with Tony Simpson and Simon Heffer on BBC Radio 3, Social Conservatism. 27/8/17.