Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

An Occasional Guide to Modern Politics: The Illiberal Liberal

Posted by Jason O on Aug 29, 2014 in An Occasional Guide to Modern Politics |
Tis' Pity She's A Tory!

Tis’ Pity She’s A Tory!

In another time, he would have made a wonderful member of the Spanish Inquisition, or a Witchfinder General. It’s ironic given his loathing of Judeo-Christian beliefs, but he does share the love of the Inquisition for purity. Like his counterparts in the US Tea Party, purity is all. In his head is a clean black and white (that’s racist!) checklist that all are subjected to, and all either pass totally or are racists or bigots or fascists or homophobes or more likely indeed all at the same time.

Not for him the happy-go-lucky live-and-let-live of old fashioned liberals. He’s not just against bigotry or sexism, he’s against what HE decides is bigotry or sexism. That’s the difference. He will, like the Catholic Hierarchy of old, tell YOU what is acceptable to think and believe and feel.

Nor for him the liberal demand for equal voices debating the issues. Debate is, in his book, a risk. A risk that the simple folk, of whom he claims a desire to speak for, might not comprehend what is the right conclusion to come to. Like a loyal member of any number of authoritarian parties, he’s perfectly comfortable with the use of illiberal methods against the impure. He’s no problem with aggressively denigrating people’s religious beliefs, but how dare anyone write a book debating the welfare state! Heresy! It shouldn’t be allowed!

Yet, like vampires, he has his weaknesses, but the devil is in the detail. Watch his brain go into a malfunctioning feedback loop if he encounters a burka wearing Muslim woman campaigning against abortion, whereas he is quite happy getting stuck into a pro-Israeli gay rights campaigner. It’s all down to the Big Hate: hatred of X will always trump a desire for Y. And the US are always the baddies. Always. If Martians launched an invasion of Earth, he’d blame the Americans for “provoking them”. If Vladimir Putin suddenly u-turned on gay rights, this guy would be hailing him as a Man for the Age.

Real liberals struggle to tell him apart from almost the worse kind of authoritarian. He won’t execute you, but he will jail you for crimes against Gaia or crimes that your great great great grandfather probably committed against the native people of the Americas, or for that filthy Original Sin, being born a straight white man. But the prison tofu will be great.

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