During the previously mentioned afternoon out my good friend Kirk and I figured that that there was something in the old saying "if you can't beat em, join 'em". We may be men of honour and principle, but in this day and age that will only take you so far - the reality in 21st century Britain is that if you want to get on in life there are precisely two ways in which you can do so. One, to put it bluntly, involves not being frightened of a bit of hard work. Alternatively, you can portray yourself as a victim of some sort of historical 'oppression' and form an advocacy group to lobby the government for handouts and special treatment.
After much deliberation, we chose the second option.
Having decided that we were victims, Kirk and I now needed a reason to explain our inate sense of being persecuted. After about ten minutes, we realised that some of our teachers in formal education were clearly believers in culturally Marxist ideas and had taught us in a way that made very little serious attempt to conceal it. This, we decided, was brainwashing, an assault on our consciences that had left us traumatised and unable to cope in the modern world. The only way to seek restitution was to form Victims Opposing Institutional and Cultural Egalitarianism (VOICE) and ensure that the cause of our fellow Voicers was fully represented.
VOICE has three basic demands, which form our reason for existing (until they are met, at which point we will simply make new demands). Firstly, there will be compulsory political studies classes at high schools up and down the country, with the content regularly reviewed for bias by the Political Information Subject Specialists (PISS). Their own institutional integrity will be overseen by the Working Arbiter for Neutrality of Knowledge (WANK). This body will hold regular meetings with VOICE, with whom their reports and findings will be shared. However, they will not be disclosed to the wider public.
The second requirement is for the State to tackle Voxphobia, which has no place in 21st century Britain. Governments of all persuasions as well as the Church of England have persecuted the Vox community over several decades, and we will not rest until a symbolic and utterly meaningless apology is made by a sanctimonious and self-seeking Prime Minister and Archbishop of Canterbury. Voxphobia needs to be recognised as a form of prejudice, prosecutable under 'Hate Speech' legislation and regarded as an aggrevating factor when sentencing for attacks in court. Judges need to make an example of all who commit Voxphobic violence.
Our third and final demand (at least for now) is reparations. Yep, hard cash. Lots of it. All that hypnosis to 'de-program' ourselves won't pay for itself.
Without doubt the highlight of the Vox calendar is our annual NOISE festival, which takes place in towns and cities throughout the Uk. Funded by ratepayers in exchange for the closure of their local Leisure Centre, NOISE involves us stuffing a milkfloat full of the works of Karl Marx and setting the offending literature on fire. This mobile inferno then moves down the high street (whose businesses are forced to close that day on Health and Safety grounds) behind a bunch of blokes in military uniform while the onlooking crowd whoop and cheer. Those who 'don't get it' or fail to participate will be branded 'Voxphobes' and arrested for 'Hate Crimes' accordingly.
So...are YOU a victim of Institutional and/or Cultural Egalitarianism?
Were YOU suspended from school for refusing to wear a dress on 'Trans' Day?
Alternatively, do YOU want to appropriate the suffering of others at the hands of Institutional and/or Cultural Egalitarianism despite never having suffered it yourself?
Would YOU like completely unmerited levels of attention and money from arms of the State for no apparent reason?
Would YOU like to become a 'celebrity' campaigner against 'injustice', appearing in all forms of media, usually with people asking "who's that stupid cow?" afterwards?
Well, what the hell are YOU waiting for? Join VOICE today and hashtag #V2 on Twitter to register that you're a victim too.
If you've just done the #V2 thing on Twitter, or googled VOICE with a view to joining then as much as I appreciate that (actually I really don't) the joke is of course on you. Much as starting the advocacy group equivalent of Spinal Tap sounds like a laugh, I have neither the time or the inclination to deal with the utter wankstains who would think such an organisation were serious and join it. That said, a few of our tutors were decidedly 'red' in their outlook on life, of that there is absolutely no doubt. Nor was any serious attempt made at presenting both sides of arguments with equal weight and for equal lengths of time. Still, we'll file it under 'shit happens' and crack on.
The serious point is that advocacy groups (such as trade unions and any 'rights' campaign) will tell you that their principle aim is 'equality' or 'fairness' when in reality that tends to be the complete opposite of what they end up campaigning for. Where was the 'equality' or 'fairness' of Trade Unions in the 1970s and first half of the 1980s, whose leaders behaved like thugs, often using actual violence against 'scabs' and dissenting members who urged caution? How can years of inflation-busting pay rises for union members (including news print workers being in the top 2% of earners in the country) be fair on the consumer (or the taxpayer in the case of nationalised industries)?
Advocacy groups are there to look out for their own and could not give two shits about 1) what's right or wrong or 2) non-members of their own group. Unions care about their members' interests and the consumer/taxpayer can go hang. Group 'rights' campaigns will lobby for 'free stuff' or extra 'rights' for themselves and their own with zero regard for the difficulty, expense, or genuine sense of inequality this might impose on other people. If you are free to withdraw respect towards me for whatever reason or none, but I am 'forced' to respect you solely on the basis of some 'group membership' then is that not a rather Orwellian take on this whole 'equality' thing?
We're all equal, only it would seem that some are more equal than others...
What we have an objective reality about is equality before the law and a degree to which equality of opportunity exists. It goes without saying that any instance of people being deprived of basic and civil rights given to others simply on the basis of their colour, gender, sexual orientation or whatever is just plain wrong and it's actually in all of our interests to equalise the law on this level as far as is humanly possible. If we don't defend the rights of others (especially those we aren't that keen on) then we can't moan when one day it's our turn to suffer (copyright Martin Niemoller). Inequality before the law is never, ever a good thing, only an authoritarian tyrant would think otherwise.
Of course there are situations where people might have legal rights on paper that in one way or another they are actually being deprived of in reality. A good example is blacks in the Southern states of the U.S. who for many years had the legal right to vote but were being prevented from doing so by contrived (and often unlawful) practices from those who wanted to sabotage them. In this case the rights abuse owed as much to de facto lawlessness as it did to racism, aided and abetted by members of law enforcement who were Klan members themselves. When discussing rights, the rule of law, consistently and dispassionately upheld, is absolutely vital.
Once you have protected that then at least some degree of equality of opportunity takes care of itself. However, equality of outcome is harder to measure and can be explained by a whole number of factors, many of which are benign. Men and women often have different work-life balances and many women take 'career breaks' to start families, which explains the 'gender pay gap' to a significant extent. Immigrants (who make up a significant profile of any ethnic minorities measure) often take low paid jobs that our indigenous workshy can't be bothered doing. Citing sexism or racism as the sole reasons for these salary gaps is, to put it politely, an over-simplification.
Besides which, it's individuals and not groups who live lives and have unique existences. I can certainly think of a few lines of work where some of these designated 'minority groups' are distinctly over-represented. Maybe we should start an advocacy group to get a minimum number of white players into Premier League football teams? Or more heterosexuals in the arts? Of course, either suggestion would be absurd just as all group advocacy is. Ayn Rand once correctly identified a thread at the heart of all forms of collectivist thinking namely the pursuit of the unearned, a stubborn refusal to succeed or fail on one's own merits and accept the outcome.
Faced with the pressure of getting elected, politicians have to listen to these advocates, take them seriously and promise them either 'free stuff' some new 'rights' involving state legislated 'forced respect', a State apology for some historical wrong, or a change in the law. In a constitutional republic this would not happen. In a system where our representatives were chosen by random selection (sortition) rather than election, reps would be free to tell group advocates that we would be giving them exactly the level of respect they merited (i.e. none). What a dictator would do is obvious. Only representative democracy actually gives these idiots a voice (pun intended).
Advocacy groups will continue to exist as long as 'oppressed group status' is worthwhile in some way and as long as we have representatives who have little choice but to allow themselves to be lobbied by those advocates and take them seriously. Like most reasonable people I'm a passionate believer in equality before the law, no fear no favour and extending equality of opportunity as far as is possible without using coercion or force that limits the personal liberty of others. Conflating unequal outcomes with some sort of 'institutional bias' is reckless as is 'forced respect' by threat of punishment. We're all free to dislike whoever we want, for whatever reason or none.
Whether it's radical feminism, LGBT bullshit, the quite ridiculous Fathers 4 Justice or the English Defence League (a rather warped advocacy group all of its own) I refuse to demean myself by listening to this crap.
Hopefully those of you who care about liberty and the rights of the individual will be reaching for the mute button as well.
I'll be back on New Year's Eve to discuss something uncontentious like immigration, the Northern Ireland situation or Islam (wink).
Until then keep calm and here's the late Adrian Borland. RIP.