...free to think freely


20th April 2022

Threats and what they tell us

Yesterday the BBC reported that a propaganda play aimed at children had been cancelled after staff of the venues at which it was planned to run were intimidated by threats to themselves and the venues. While pleased that this apparently pernicious targetting of children will not now go ahead, I am nonetheless shocked that it should have been silenced not by the petition raised against it with over 38,000 signatures, nor by legal or ethical scrutiny, but by threats to individuals or buildings only loosely associated with it.

Even if the threats were made only to the authors or the performers themselves they would not be acceptable in a free fair society. Freedom demands people should be able to express opinions without fear and nobody should be afraid of their position. While expressing opinions cannot extend to harmful actions, harm or threats thereof can never be a legitimate response. It is for law, brought about after proper consideration of the facts, to defend rights. Direct action (“Taking the law into ones own hands”) is itself an infringement of rights.

Diverse Diversity has always maintained that it is methods rather than positions which should be controlled by law and unacceptable methods remain equally unacceptable irrespective of the cause in which they are used. That is why we can never condone threats and intimidation.

Why do people seem to think these kind of tactics are appropriate? What has happened to us as a society that people behave like this? I think we only have to look at the wider world, particularly of politics, to understand what has happened. There has been a cultural change, away from a reverence for the Rule of Law and democratic participation, to a Nietschian idea of the powerful hero figure who is above law and sweeps all opposition away. We saw it in the Trump presidency in America and it is clearly there in the way President Putin has presented himself to the Russian people and on the world stage. Since Margaret Thatcher it has been evident in British politics also, the latest example being Boris Johnson refusing to do what his office requires when he has been caught out breaking his own rules and misleading Parliament about it. It has long been a cultural trope; the action hero, the maverick detective, and many other types who overcome by ignoring the rules which bind lesser mortals. All this creates a cultural ethos of direct action being the way to get things done. All this is exactly counter to the principles on which Diverse Diversity is based.

For this direct action is what creates Wokeists, alongside Fascists and other bullies. It is what intimidates minorities alongside the silent majority who fear to speak their mind. It is what makes politics so toxic most people shy away. In short, it is a form of lawlessness which can only lead to a less peaceful, more dangerous world. It is something we must resist, something we must stand against, and the way to do that is to get involved with proper political means.