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Scotland is leading the way to totalitarianism A bill brought forth by the SNP aims to police what citizens say at home

Protestors in Edinburgh demand free speech. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Protestors in Edinburgh demand free speech. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images


October 30, 2020   5 mins

In the Soviet Union, not even the home was a refuge from the ears of the totalitarian state. Historian Orlando Figes, in his 2007 book The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia, quotes one Soviet woman’s memory of her childhood: 

“We were brought up to keep our mouths shut. ‘You’ll get into trouble for your tongue’ — that’s what people said to us children all the time. We went through life afraid to talk. Mama used to say that every other person was an informer. We were afraid of our neighbours, and especially of the police 
 Even today, if I see a policeman, I begin to shake with fear.”

Decades from now, will a Scotsman brought up in Edinburgh or Glasgow offer a similar testimony to historians documenting our era? The question is by no means absurd, not in light of the Hate Crimes and Public Order Bill brought forth by the ruling Scottish National Party. In testimony before a parliamentary committee this week, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said that he believes the reach of the proposed law should cover words spoken in the privacy of people’s homes.

If this were to become law, parents would learn to fear their children, trained in schools in the rigid catechism of “social justice” orthodoxies. And not only reading the Bible or the Koran to one’s children, but simply owning one could land a Scotsman in the dock on charges of “possessing inflammatory materials”. J.K. Rowling would in principle stand to be imprisoned simply for having stood up for biological women in the face of transgender militants — and her Left-wing political convictions would not spare her.

The proposed bill has drawn harsh criticism from across the Scots political spectrum, such that it is all but unthinkable that it would become law. A poll this past summer found that over two-thirds of Scots voters oppose the law  — yet the Scots Parliament last month voted down a Conservative attempt to table the legislation entirely. Clearly this legislation matters to the government, and those who oppose it risk being tarred as bigots.

Even if the hate crimes bill does not become law, the fact that legislation so shockingly illiberal has come this far is a very dark sign of the times. The bill is yet another instance of “soft totalitarianism” marching through the institutions of Western liberal democracies, rewriting  laws, regulations and social codes according to a therapeutic rationale: to make life “safer” for racial, sexual and religious minorities.

What is soft totalitarianism? Five years ago, émigrés from the Soviet bloc began telling me that they were seeing emerge in the West the same kinds of things they once fled from in the communist East. This initially struck me as alarmist, but the more I talked with them, the more I came to understand they were right.

What are they seeing? Broadly speaking, the rise of ideological Left-wing hegemony within institutions — especially academia, where many of them work — and the stifling of free speech and free thought by a punitive regime of censorship.

For example, a Cambridge don told me that the eagerness by many on the political and cultural Left to police expression, and to stop at nothing — even telling lies — to ruin the reputations of those they identify as enemies of the people is one primary manifestation. The 2019 scandal in which a journalist from the New Statesman twisted quotes from Sir Roger Scruton in a briefly successful effort to ruin him is but one example.

They also see the Left’s categorisation of people according to the standards of identity politics, and judging them based on those categories, as a replay of Marxist totalitarianism. In the Soviet bloc, your social class determined your status and your fate. You were not judged on the basis of your individual character and actions, but rather as a representative of your class. In our time, social class has given way to racial, sexual and other forms of identity.

There are other facets, but the core of it is the total politicisation of all aspects of life — even, as we now see in the Scots case, life inside the home. This is the essence of totalitarianism. Authoritarianism is a condition in which political life is controlled by a single leader or party, but people are more or less free otherwise. Totalitarianism is an extreme form of authoritarianism, in which all of life is considered to be political. The authoritarian only wants your political obedience — but the totalitarian wants your soul.

A society in which family members have to fear each other, and in which people are not free to say what they think even inside their own homes, is totalitarian, even if it does not have secret police and gulags. I have called this new totalitarianism “soft” primarily because it presents itself in therapeutic terms — as motivated by caring for victims of society’s prejudices. The cultural critic James Poulos predicts the coming of the “Pink Police State”: a polity in which people will willingly trade political liberties for guarantees of personal pleasure and security.

First, unlike the hard totalitarianism of the Cold War, and of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, this new threat to liberty does not depend on inflicting pain and terror, but rather, as in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the managing of comfort, pleasure and entertainment. The fact that this soft totalitarianism doesn’t look like Orwell’s dystopia makes it hard for us to see it for what it is. In fact, a college literature professor told me that when he teaches Brave New World, few of his students recognise it as a dystopia at all.

Second, in the United States, soft totalitarianism is not chiefly manifesting through actions of the state, but through policies of civil society institutions: universities, corporations, news and entertainment media, and others. This is another reason to think of it as soft, though after I posted something about the Scots hate crimes bill on my blog, a Czech Ă©migrĂ© friend emailed to ask, “Would you still define this — prosecuting people for private speech — as ‘soft,’ or is it firming up a bit?”

True, the velvet glove over the iron fist is bound to wear thin, especially in Britain, which does not have the constitutional protections afforded by the American First Amendment. But the ethos of soft totalitarianism is growing ever more powerful within the private sector. If a society internalises the ruling ideology, whether out of fear of prosecution or persecution, or because people come to understand that dissenters will remain economically and socially marginalised, the controllers have less need to criminalise dissent.

Those who lived under Soviet-bloc communism are convinced that we in the West are going to surrender to soft totalitarianism, because we lack natural defences against it. The Scots hate crimes bill is a bright red line. When I was in the former Soviet bloc interviewing ex-dissidents about how we in the West should prepare to resist, Kamila Bendova, who worked with her late husband Vaclav Benda in the Charter 77 leadership, strongly warned against surrendering privacy, especially inside one’s home.

In her Prague apartment, where she and her husband held dissident meetings, and counseled people on their way to the secret police headquarters down the street for questioning, Bendova said she could not understand why so many people today are willing to surrender their privacy for consumer convenience (via smartphones, Alexa smart speakers and the like). She pointed to the scars on the walls where, after communism’s fall, she and her husband had ripped out the wires the secret police had installed to bug their flat.

To stay free to speak the truth, she said, you have to create for yourself a zone of privacy that is inviolate. “Information means power,” Bendova told me. “We know from our life under the totalitarian regime that if you know something about someone, you can manipulate him or her. You can use it against them. The secret police have evidence of everything like that. They could use it all against you. Anything!”

The Scots Parliament has the power to prevent Hamza Yousaf from becoming a commissar whose Pink Police State writ extends even into the intimacy of homes and families. Will it? One could not have imagined that such a question would ever be asked in Britain. But then, 2020 has revealed much about who and what we have become.

Rod Dreher’s Live Not By Lies is published by Penguin Random House


Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative and author, most recently, of “Live Not By Lies” (Sentinel)

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Bronwen Saunders
Bronwen Saunders
3 years ago

There is a clear pattern emerging here: Islamists cannot countenance the idea that someone, somewhere might be making fun of their religion even if they themselves are treated with politeness and respect; radical transgender activists believe they have the right to dictate the third-person pronouns we use to talk about them even when they themselves are not present; and now the SNP wants to control not only public discourse, but what we say in the privacy of our own homes. What all three examples point to is not an exponential rise in racism and bigotry in society at large, but rather the feeble personalities and deep-seated insecurity of just a few small groups of fanatics, who, lacking any true sense of self worth, try to fill their empty souls by demanding the obeisance of others. They must be resisted.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago

Recently I find myself catching more and more of the radical political correctness thought in everything I see. Maybe it’s from watching older tv shows since lockdown where I can see the early phases of this.

We have been the frog in the pot, slowly being immersed in cultural insanity through HR poilicies, school policies, TV/movies, MSM… We need to be doing more of this parsing out and forcing ourselves to evaluate everything being forced on us as normal. If not, we will all find ourselves with legislation like Scotland is currently facing. Sounds so simple, yet here we are.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

Interesting what you say about the older TV shows. I’ve been watching some on YouTube from about twenty or twenty-five years ago, and some of the stuff on them would probably get the producers arrested for so-called “hate crimes” today. Note that I’m not saying those shows were wrong, by the way.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago

If you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear. I’ve said for a long time that there should be CCTV in every home. And words have consequences.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Disturbing that many appear to agree with this thinking.

Stuart Harris
Stuart Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Are you really that naïve? Perhaps you would be at the front of the queue to broadcast your life to the SNP but don’t expect the majority of right thinking people to join you!

holmes.david61
holmes.david61
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

I’m guessing this is sarcasm.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  holmes.david61

Here’s hoping…

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Clearly you should consider moving to a more enlightened nation…

Valerie Killick
Valerie Killick
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Yes, Saudi Arabia springs to mind.

Iain Hunter
Iain Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Surely a troll.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

You are bang on right. We can’t have people muttering badness to themselves when they are on the toilet.

Steven James
Steven James
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

You didn’t mean that, so stop showing off,this is serious and no time to be trolling

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Steven James

I’d prefer to call it playing devil’s advocate and I think it does us all good to examine our positions.

Julian Hartley
Julian Hartley
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

If we are so immature that examining our positions is a novel idea, then yes.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Julian Hartley

What?

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

You are right to go down the reductio ad absurdum route.

Unfortunately, you won’t draw out any extremists into agreeing with you. The extremists don’t believe in CCTV in every house. A much more likely outcome is being booted from Amazon delivery if Alexa picks up verbal malfeasance, and this action being upheld by the courts.

The woke extremists believe in ‘calling out’. They get their kicks from actively being morally superior, not from passively delegating that responsibility to a CCTV monitoring government outsourced provider. They are much more interested in having the ability to:
a. Report you to the police for things you said or didn’t say to your kids
b. Announce on social media that they, painful though it was for them, did the right thing and reported you to the Stasi

Unfortunately most minorities in this country have the ‘wrong’ views, not having had the benefit of an Oxbridge education. They will have to learn to avoid the educated middle classes and the police service and get their information from firebrands (of all stripes) on the internet, and get their justice implemented by the young men in their family.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

A good appraisal of where we are right now but in the long term, I wonder if CCTV in the home might be seen as justifiable. Here’s something to think about. Before industrialization, people lived in small settlements where everyone would have known where everyone else was and what they were up to virtually all the time. That’s actually the natural state for human society. So monitoring everyone would get us back to basics; bring back something we’ve lost.
My aversion to the idea of being monitored is primarily emotional. It feels wrong but logically it makes sense. Fifty years ago, most people in Britain would have baulked at the idea of every street being monitored but after being introduced to stop the biggest threat to the country in the mid-eighties (football hooligans, of course) CCTV has become part of life. And look at the terrorists, murderers etc it’s helped bring to justice. Now think about all the crime being committed and plots being hatched behind closed doors. The line we’ve reached i.e. not in private homes is arbitrary; we just don’t like the thought of it.

Jon Luisada
Jon Luisada
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Bearing in mind that the murder rate (just to use one metric for the moment) is higher than in the sixties , I would say it is more down to social ‘buy in’ then than now that is the real preventative.
It hasn’t gone even now, the level of social trust is unusually high here by world standards which is what makes us so vulnerable to those who come from societies that operate more suspiciously then us.
A large part of that erosion of social trust is due to the erosion of trust in the various institutions that enable that. The sheer stupidity we are all seeing in those institutions is making it more necessary to provide our own local defences (increasing ‘street patrols, not calling the police when you find somebody robbing your house etc.)
And, who watches Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf when he is watching me…and you…
When somebody as normally disinterested in social and political issues as I naturally am realises the brown stuff is about to hit the fan an is motivated to get involved then we really are in deep trouble…

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Luisada

Yes, one of the key questions is, ‘who’s watching the watcher?’, not to mention ‘who’s making the rules?’ The huge difference between a post industrial society and a hunter-gatherer tribe is the sheer number of different viewpoints. Somehow, we need to manage that.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Truly…but we must remind ourselves to always think “green”. If we were implanted with microchips, we could be tracked, and the cameras, instead of always being on, could be triggered by our chips, and we could be assured that all of our movements were acceptable and approved.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

I just scrolled down-my goodness, you beat me to it. Time for a beer or a bullet…

Bob Green
Bob Green
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

Who decides what “nothing” is.

For sure, it won’t be you.
.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
3 years ago

‘Small groups of fanatics’ – like the Nazis? In filling ‘their empty souls’ they succeeded in sucking dry the soul of half of Europe. Nie wieder? How quickly we forget the lessons of history, or more likely never learned them, at least from the 1980s on. We could also ask, who benefits financially from a culture of self-centred comfort?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago

An excellent article which describes with pinpoint accuracy the current direction of cultural travel. Like all such “soft revolutions” it has deep roots, both in terms of the increasing burden of oppressive law and the lack of will among the public to resist. To give an important and – nowadays – neuralgic example: Holocaust denial. Thirty years ago it was commonplace for the issue to be discussed quite vigorously. The late Auberon Waugh opposed its criminalisation, because the far right would characterise any such move as an “admission” that the truth alone could not refute the deniers. Would any journalist today dare to argue this case? There are two more points to be made. In the first place it offends against free speech; in the second it singles out one example of mass murder in such a way as to veil or downgrade all the others – including, conveniently for our Marxist masters, the oceans of blood shed by Stalin and Mao. Indeed, in the Telegraph the other day, reviewing a comparison of German with Soviet Totalitarianism by Laurence Rees, a journalist was quick to assert the “singularity” of German abominations. Really? I recall that when the Soviets “purged” Meyerhold in the thirties, they broke his arms and urinated down his throat. And this was by no means unusual. The notes of “interrogations” kept by Iezhov were stained with the blood his many victims. In the Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of starving families were reduced to eating the corpses of their dead. Not “singular” enough? Of course, this legislation is just one example – but it is foundational because it was among the first steps towards criminalising utterance and because it subtly tips the scales against nationalism of any kind. Our crimes were terrible, say the Reds – when push comes to shove and after a lot of squirming – but yours were worse. In short, they do precisely what they accuse their few opponents of doing: they “relativise”. And the demands of the heresy investigators on this subject go very deep. For them it is not enough to say, as I do, that Germany in the thirties and forties plumbed the very final depths of human depravity, but that Stalin did so as well. No, you are obliged to say that Germany was “worse”, was “singular”, “unique” and so on. James Hawes, in his otherwise illuminating short history of Germany, makes the same claim. It is almost a necessary public ritual. But finally, how can such a “gradation” be made? It is literally insane and depends purely on the enforcement of an immoral, ideological orthodoxy which holds one act of sadism better than another because of the political motive! Asked to adjudicate between the supposed evils of Voltaire and Rousseau, Dr Johnson replied, “Sir, it is difficult to settle the proportion of iniquity between them.” That should be our attitude to the German and Soviet abominations of the last century. That an ideological preference of one over the other is now all but legally enforced tells you all you need to know: the left is in charge; it has been in charge for years and it still decides where we are headed – unless we do something.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

One point; you use the term ‘German’ and Germany’, but I have noticed that when describing those times, the media don’t now use those words; they say ‘Nazi’. I don’t object. A whole generation shouldn’t need to bear the weight of the crimes of some members of a previous generation.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

I object. The great majority of the German people were very happy with Nazism when it brought them military victories, suzerainty over foreign lands, “reparations”, slave labour etc. We fought Germany, not a political party.

Call a spade a spade

I note that while people bend over backwards to excuse Germany of the sins of its fathers, the British (and the English in particular) are still blamed for the Irish problems, slavery, colonialism etc of 100, 200, 300 years ago.

Iain Hunter
Iain Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

Wrong. Support for the Nazis was never high in some parts of Germany e.g. Westphalia.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago
Reply to  Iain Hunter

From my Grandfather’s diaries in Hamburg in the 30s support was high but not overwhelming.

Jon Luisada
Jon Luisada
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jory

I suspect that after the post ww1 the 30s looked pretty good and the nazi’s were delivering.
I’m sure they were having second thoughts when it all started to turn to worms in late 30s and the war..

Janet G
Janet G
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

The descendants of the British who enacted those things continue to benefit from the land, privilege, power and wealth thus handed on to them. If you want to eliminate the blame, then eliminate the spoils.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

In the same way that it’s unfair to burden British people now with the crimes of historic slavery, not that it stops the virtuous and the weaponizers

Ray Pothecary
Ray Pothecary
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Sorry for going a bit off-topic but you should try and make that clear to Americans … some of whom seem to think that white Caucasians now are obliged to donate their homes and belongings to make reparations for slavery and for the ‘crime’ of being born ‘white’. Sad but that seems one of the thought processes popular right now. Oh dear.

Drew
Drew
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Totalitarianism hardly wants its Satanic deeds talked about…..

This is not rocket science. (Not casting aspersions or trying to belittle the historical post above.)

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Paragraphs man. Paragraphs. For pity’s sake.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Otherwise a very cogent post

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Adrian, man, you are fighting a losing battle; at least his post was punctuated correctly.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago

I never fuss over punctuation, spelling, idiom or grammar. As long as I know what someone meant I’m happy.

But without paragraphs my tired old eyes bleed.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

LOL

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Is this Lot of Love
or

Laugh out loud

or even
L’l ol’ lady?

God! How I hate acronyms unless defined the first time they are used in any given text.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

I’m laughing…twice now.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

The current fashion for acronyms is absolutely doing my head in. Nevertheless, I do think ‘LOL’ is well understood.

Iain Hunter
Iain Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Marxist-Leninism and Nazism. Both murderously authoritarian and collective. The one tortured and killed on the basis of class, the other on the basis of race and disability. Two heads of the same monster.

Modern Marxists should NO LONGER be given a free pass but should be shunned wherever met.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Iain Hunter

I’d agree with with that when you add Leninism or Maoism to Marxist. Just being Marxist, however, may be more acceptable. (I’m none of them, BTW, so I’m not speaking out of self-interest.) After all, Marx wasn’t alive to approve or condemn the revisions of Lenin, let alone those of Mao.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Iain Hunter

“Modern Marxists should NO LONGER be given a free pass but should be shunned wherever met.”

Absolutely right. We should be treating communists and marxists exactly as we treat other fascists.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

And become like them? I prescribe a healthy dose of dialogue topped with a sprinkling of love.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  bsema

‘Hug a hoodie’ I sort of understand. ‘Hug a Stalinist’ not so much.

bsema
bsema
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

ROFL

markjustinearl
markjustinearl
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

‘Shunned’ can easily devolve, or equate to ‘cancelled/no-platformed’. Their assumptions should be challenged at every opportunity, surely?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  markjustinearl

Actually yes, you’re right. Ignoring them has facilitated their parasitic infestation of our civil institutions.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

A woman was asked (after living through both regimes) :”you lived under the National Socialist and Soviet flags-what was the difference?”. ” The flags” she responded.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

I posted this previously, but used the common acronym for National Socialism, and Unherd deleted it…perhaps the wolf has entered the fold…

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

The Left have a long history of disguising oppression as a concern for public safety and welfare. It’s an effective way of creating widespread consent to intrusive state control. Particularly successful in feminised Western societies where the obsession with health and safety trumps all.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

i have actually been told to use a different word when using “trump” properly, as you have…apparently now a “trigger”-feminised indeed. No offence meant, ladies.

AC Harper
AC Harper
3 years ago

“Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said that he believes the reach of the proposed law should cover words spoken in the privacy of people’s homes.”

Presumably he must also support the proposed law should cover words spoken in a mosque, synagogue, or church?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Certainly not!

That would breach “religious freedom”, would it not? Tut, tut.

Stuart Harris
Stuart Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

What about legal, medical and religious/confessional privilege- are these all now fair game to be swept away?

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It’s a political trick.

You want to kill everyone wearing a pink shirt? You declare war on coloured shirts and let your opponents haggle you back down to pink shirts only.

We should be fighting the idea of restricting freedom of speech everywhere, and by calling out this trick we can strike the law out in it’s entirety.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I can’t help thinking that mosques would be exempted from such rules, but churches and synagogues would not. Remember Rotherham for an example of how tenderly Muslims are treated by British law.

Jon Luisada
Jon Luisada
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Wot? Like kuffar? Or abed (pretty much the ‘N’ word..)
both are in very common use and even within the texts, so , part of the faith…

Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
3 years ago

As a student: the far left activists knew that the future progress of society would give them power. After graduating: the muslim activists living around me knew that the future progress of society involved Britain coming under sharia.
So Hamza Yousaf appears to embody both forms of activism. This, of course, begs the question of which takes precedence. Take the issue of homosexuality: will the SNP be throwing homosexuals off the top of tower blocks? Will the imams start blessing homosexual marriages? The Scots should be told what they are gettting into.
Attempting to drag society away from plurality leads to the episodes being seen in France. They are horrible there and I do not want them in Britain. To his credit Macron is standing on principle and the rest of us should not remain silent. In such a silence, the seeds of resentment and extremism grow rampantly, and they should have no place here. We should each speak out and not be cowed; perhaps in the spirit of Spartacus.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Fred Bloggs

Spartacus lost and Crassus won.
I would prefer Thomas Paine for this job. One of the greatest Englishmen ever.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Fred Bloggs

France..? Where are the Lee Rigby marches?

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

It’s all about banning criticism of Islam.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

It also bans Muslims from talking to non-Muslims, on pain of imprisonment.

We’ve managed to create this apartheid without enshrining any consequences in law, yet the Scots want to push it further.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago

It amazes me that the Scottish people do not appear to see the SNP for what it is – an authoritarian party determined to crush all dissent to its political vision. It is the inevitable result of its having spent years as a minority campaigning group on the political fringe – cf. the Bolsheviks in 1918. Wake up Scotland!

Ellie Gladiataurus
Ellie Gladiataurus
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

If only we had a viable alternative. The snp know that we haven’t. Which is why they are so brazen.

Thankfully there was robust opposition to the proposed law, but that it got so far, should be a serious warning to all Scots.

No point voting for independence, only to lose one’s freedom to one’s countrymen & women. It really says something about Ms Sturgeon, that she did not stop this abomination in its tracks.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago

In my youth, Scotland was a socially conservative nation. Politically the Central belt returned more Labour MPs, but most were also social conservatives in the mould of the Great Jim Sillars. If our intention under Mss Sturgeon is to return to the EU, then all talk of freedom is delusional.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

If only! The “liberal” future envisaged by Mss Sturgeon and her accomplices will produce a more horrific scenario than the excesses of Soviet Communism…At least Lenin did not attack the laws of nature.

Jon Luisada
Jon Luisada
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

If you had asked me 30-40 years ago I would have said that the scots had more bloody sense..
It would seem the sensible ones have left and we are left with what’s left…
From highly regarded to highly retarded in one generation.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago

Excellent summary of the difference between authoritarianism and totalitarianism, especially “The authoritarian only wants your political obedience – but the totalitarian wants your soul.”

John Mcalester
John Mcalester
3 years ago

On one hand I feel sorry for the Scots as they seem to be sleep walking into the erosion of their civil liberties, on the other I’m just relieved I don’t live in the new Scotland.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

Time to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall..?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

The Antonine Wall would be better.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

No need. As the East Germans showed us, I’m sure the Scots will build their own wall.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Yes-keep the good bits…

Pat Davers
Pat Davers
3 years ago

One of the unintended consequences with “devolution” as opposed to full independence, seems to be that governments, frustrated at not having full power, seem to go overboard in those areas over which they have jurisdiction. Or at least, so it seems in Scotland.

Andrew Russell
Andrew Russell
3 years ago

He should be removed from his post as a clear threat to freedom in Scotland. It’s becoming like East Germany.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago

I remember years ago in the time of Soviet Russia, I read about life there and realised that if someone said the wrong thing, the state did not need to imprison that person, because he or she would simply lose his/her job and find it impossible to find a similar one. Does this sound familiar?

Drew
Drew
3 years ago

IF YOU LOVE AND CHERISH YOUR CHILDREN, STOP:

1. Sending them to universities and avoid those who do. Teach your children at home as much as you can. (*MOST* UNIVERSITY GRADUATES END UP IN MADE-UP, USELESS-PAPER-PUSHING JOBS.)

2. Stop participating with ‘high tech’. You don’t need the latest, “customized” ‘soap opera’ delivered to your smart phone. And you don’t need an ‘app for that’. Stop infantilizing yourself and your children.

3.Stop buying from large corporations. Amazon Prime is the nadir of civilization. You don’t need useless tat, made by an even more desperate soul in the East, delivered to your door in so many days.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

1. How many could educate their kids at home to become doctors or engineers? This proposal, if widely adopted, would lower the general level of education even further.

2. You seem happy enough reading an online article and replying to it. How much ‘high tech’ does that involve?

3. Where should we buy our electricity? Drugs? Or petrol, given that electric vehicles are not yet the norm – and when they are, they’ll be made by large corporations?

Three impractical and half thought through suggestions I doubt even you follow.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

There is a lot of truth here, but your no. 1 is difficult. How do you stop ’em? They get loans – places are automatic – and off they go, attracted by the idea of a young environment with hundreds of potential partners to meet. By the time they go, they are already brainwashed from the schools …

Drew
Drew
3 years ago
Reply to  Jos Haynes

“….attracted by the idea of a young environment with hundreds of potential partners to meet. “

I don’t think many kids want to go dormitory prisons where their every move is tracked and traced, and their recent acquaintances are on suicide watch or heavily medicated.

Just a guess…..

Universities are being hung by their own petards, and their demise can’t come quickly enough.

(This is not an anti-intellectual rant. On the contrary. Anyone who views the modern university humanity curriculum as representative of any sort intelligence needs serious and immediate psychological help.)

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

If I may add:

4. STOP giving to your alma mater, colleges & universities – a tradition in the USA which has to stop until this foolishness passes.

5. If your children insist in being totalitarian / socialist dolts and approve of the cancel culture donate their inheritance to conservation or just burn the funds outright. Bonfires are fun.

6. Don’t spend time with progressive ninnies who have nothing to offer to society. Use the time to read, go for a walk : )

Gavin Stewart-Mills
Gavin Stewart-Mills
3 years ago

Remember, freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences of free speech.

Have spent all year watching in horror as people I know wheeled out this sinister trope – but never imagined an administration would seek to enshrine it in law.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

I doubt many envisioned prison to be among the consequences. Usually, consequences mean that someone disagrees with you or something similarly benign.

Lady Marchmain
Lady Marchmain
3 years ago

A chillingly insightful article with echoes of the observations made by Neil Postman regarding Orwell vs. Huxley in his book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death”:

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture.”

Drew
Drew
3 years ago
Reply to  Lady Marchmain

Books in Welsh Tesco’s ARE BEING BANNED FROM SALE.

And Bill Gates, the “epitome” of “information”, a college dropout who spent years shlepping stolen code (from Xerox) and building a monopoly in Microsoft – now a “philanthropist” – is your new, scientific Great Leader.

Your points aren’t “observations” in a future sense: they’re observable, present facts.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

Gates dad was a partner in the most powerful law firm in Seattle. He taught him patent law and how to use it to build his monopoly. He bribed. Stloe. Threatened. Bought up. All the IP for his software empire. He was the muscle. Paul Allen was the idea man. He is building up his biotech empire the same way. He is demanding all the world to be his customer. What an ego!!!!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The SNP is evil, pure evil, and controlled by Islam. But we have known this for some time.

Rod”s book – Live Not By Lies – has been discussed extensively on the Dark Horse podcast with Bret Weinstein and Heather Heyrig. You won’t be surprised to learn that Facebook took down Bret Weinstein Facebook account last week.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“The SNP is evil, pure evil, and controlled by Islam”
You are talking about the Scottish Nationalist Party aren’t you Fraser. Or are there cross wires of some sort here?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Interesting how quickly the original caption photograph has been taken down?

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I noticed that too.

Addie Schogger
Addie Schogger
3 years ago

Will the English get a chance to vote in an Independence referendum? If so, it will surely be ‘yes’.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Addie Schogger

Personally I’d tick the f*&k box if it were there

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Addie Schogger

Wee Cranky does not want independence. She want’s power with the backstop of the rest of the UK (basically those of us paying taxes in England) providing the money.
In 2014 Cameron bribed the Scots with more money.
Give the rest of the UK a vote and it will be 80/20 for an independent Scotland.

I speak as a proud Welshman and Unionist who lives in England.

Devolution is a mess. Give me a 3 way choice:
a) Scrap devolution and govern the UK as a single nation.

b) Scotland leaves.
c) The mess we have now.

My choices, in order are: a, b, c

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago
Reply to  Glyn Jones

You’re mistaken . She really does want independence and so does her entire party . They are motivated by hatred and juvenile resentment . They lash out at what we have built together as Britain and wish to bring it all crashing down as some sort of cleansing . Then they fervently believe that some sort of deus ex machina will arrive to sort out the economic and social problems they have created – whether new , undiscovered oil-fields , the EU spreading largesse or whatever .

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Healy

The WEF, Bill Gates. The Great Reset. Build back better

ehyslopmargison
ehyslopmargison
3 years ago

Yet one more example of the inexorable creep of left wing totalitarianism eroding the foundations of liberal democracies. From the routine censoring of social media posts to a media driven by ideological agenda rather than journalism, it all points in the same troubling direction. Brace yourself for what’s coming.

worldsbestbrewer
worldsbestbrewer
3 years ago

Classic example of the illiberal liberals using the democratic process to get rid of democracy.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

Democracy only works when it is linked with laws to severely limit the power of the state.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

parents would learn to fear their children,
some guy named Orwell wrote about this.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

One way to nip that in the bud is to give away any inheritance : )

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago

“…marching through the institutions of Western liberal democracies,
rewriting laws, regulations and social codes according to a therapeutic
rationale: to make life “safer” for racial, sexual and religious
minorities.” In the U.S. we have so much of this going on, I cannot see a way for those who want to be “safe” and those who enjoy living in freedom with informed risk can ever coexist.

Google TV ads are coming on as we watch TV, I imagine this will suggest having a Google echo for “best suggestion” results! We are seeing Public Service Announcements posted on the screen warning about vaping. All tactics to get inside your home and mind to give over your privacy and right to make your own decisions to those who “know what’s best for you.”

I watched a documentary (can’t recall the name right now) which said that the strange “coincidences” of things you just talked about coming up as ads on your phone or computer are based off algorithms that accurately predict behavior etc. I would say it’s more like “ears” are everywhere and like the article says, “…she could not understand why so many people today are willing to surrender their privacy for consumer convenience (via smartphones, Alexa smart speakers and the like).”

Saying people are conspiracy theorists when they still believe things based on supporting evidence is sounding more and more ridiculous.

Life has never been safe, we all take risks every day. It is sad that so many have been made to be afraid of living that they are willing to give up all that makes life interesting and actually more safe. I don’t think those under totalitarian governments would say they ever felt “safe.”

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

to make life “safer” for racial, sexual and religious minorities.”
to which I would ask – when has life ever been safer for these minorities? There are no wholesale attacks by random people on these groups. The biggest threat to life and property among minorities comes from other members of the same group. What religious attacks occur involve Jews and Christians, not Muslims, and certainly not any other religious minority in the country.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

So true. Just watched The Adam’s Family movie last night and noticed a nun was one of the villains. I doubt the Catholic church went after the creators.

philipthood
philipthood
3 years ago

The SNP and many Scots will favour policy that differentiates or divides from the UK government, particularly if that policy can be spun to nurture the Scottish superiority complex. Perhaps the hate crime bill is making Scots a bit uneasy, but I am sure that the warmth they will feel from being “nicer” that the rest of the UK will go some way to assuage their unease.

Douglas Hamilton
Douglas Hamilton
3 years ago

Maybe we are missing the point here? The SNP, like all fanatics, are consumed with one goal to which everything can and must be sacrificed, viz ‘Independence’. Mr Yousaf’s Bill needs to be seen in that light. By publishing it, which groups does he inveigle himself with, to enlist them for the noble cause? He already has onside the Braveheart Bampots, the Indyrati in the meejah, and the PSY’s (Public Sector Yessers). This is about sweeping up marginal Indy voters who might not otherwise sympathise with him but who see their ‘protection’ – and the ability to silence others – as a good thing

Jon Luisada
Jon Luisada
3 years ago

I watched a video of Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf to give him his full title rant on about how there were so many white people in various positions of power and influence in Scotland….
If I were to find & replace ‘white’ for ‘brown’ and re run his rant about the political makeup of Pakistan , or, Iran, or Egypt, or…you get the drift, all hell would break out as it would be in breach of the very laws he is promoting!
Also, if this law is brought in , does that mean that ‘kuffar’ cannot be spoken by any muslim and that any book that has that written in can be destroyed?
…or is it that , er, phrase, ‘some are more equal than others’ is The Law….
Truly, Scotland doesn’t have to worry about the diminishing hydrocarbons in the North Sea…It is opening up huge fields of hypocrisy on the mainland.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago

I sometimes wonder whether we need our own First Amendment, but I fear that horse has bolted. I can imagine such a law emerging with so many exceptions – drafted by the kind of people who say ‘I believe in free speech but … ‘ – that it would be worse than useless. It would legitimise criminalisation of a wide range of speech already deemed beyond the pale and crystallise a narrow zone of ‘free’ speech.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

Far more concerning is that over the last forty years totalitarianism has seeped deep into the Scottish culture. Power to control and disrupt is now rewarded as social capital even at the lowest level of Scottish culture.There is no high/low – soft/hard totalitarianism, wherever totalitarianism is rehearsed it is an absolute soul destroyer.

Dominic Straiton
Dominic Straiton
3 years ago

Its really no surprise that the Scottish national socialist workers party turns out to be authoritarian nut cases. . Its time for the English to be given a vote on the continued union with the millstone north of the border.

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago

Thought provoking article highlighting the insidious nature of the proposed Hate Crimes Bill.

Sadly in Scotland the vast majority now think SNP policy= good
Anything counter =bad.

That is about as much thought that goes into it, the SNP tout themselves against the evil Tories and Boris Johnson, and the electorate sadly seem to buy the narrative, no questions asked.

We are sleepwalking into dangerous territory, the Gender Recognition Reform Bill also poses fundamental and contentious changes in law, which when questioned can draw scathing attacks if you happen to be on, what is deemed to be, the wrong side of the argument…

To quote from a great article from the Glasgow Herald..

” hate crime legislation is a form of thought crime. We are punishing people for having ideas in their heads that we do not like”

In Scotland sadly the we could be said to be the SNP

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

The caption photograph says it all. “A picture paints a million words”, and no need to say anymore, is there?

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Read, or re-read “We the Living”-Ayn Rand’s first book, an autobiographical account of life in the USSR.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

Yes, I read We The Living a couple of years ago. Actually, it’s the only book of hers that I’ve read. It’s very good. Most of the left-leaning publishers in the US refused to publish it because they didn’t believe it.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago

The witch’s coven ruling Scottish politics is perfectly capable of pushing through this legislation, don’t be fooled into thinking that there will be any conservative or liberal alliance against it , the sisterhood have the upper hand in Scotland since the attempted political assassination of Salmond. I still find it hard to understand that it is mainly women who seek to defile our children and tear the family to shreds…..I suppose it is rooted in generations of perceived discrimination; whatever the background, as the author says, this attempted legislation should be a bright red line for anyone who vaues personal freedoms, especially freedom of speech and thought.

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

“I still find it hard to understand that it is mainly women who seek to defile our children and tear the family to shreds…”

Not difficult at all … just check how many of those ‘political’ women are mothers. Teresa May, who pledged herself to Trans rights in England was not …. the two women allocated the job of seeing through her ridiculous Trans legislation were not mothers … the malignant dwarf currently dominating Scotland is not a mother …. nor are a number of the most vicious ‘identity’ politics Labour women. Quite simple. All are women obsessed with personal power as opposed to concern for future generations.

Gerald gwarcuri
Gerald gwarcuri
3 years ago

Good to see Rod Dreher featured here on UnHerd.

Ed Cameron
Ed Cameron
3 years ago

In the 80s my history lecturer invited two academics who’d lived in the Soviet Bloc to speak to us. Their experiences have stayed with me ever since. The similarities are alarming.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Yuri Maltsev still teaches at Carthage college in Wisconsin I believe. He is in his 70s and grew up in the USSR. One of the things that frightened him most was the quality of the propaganda. It was terrible in the USSR. Nobody believed Pravda. Even the common man in the street knew it was all bullshit. In the USA everybody whole heartedly believed US propaganda. I think that has changed a bit since he said it after all the failed ME wars but not 100 percent. The USA is still the world’s leader I believe in propaganda. We are seeing that as they begin to sell us the “new normal”

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

‘a polity in which people will willingly trade political liberties for guarantees of personal pleasure and security.’

Sounds familiar.

Or, ‘baubles for sovereignty’ as somebody rather appositely recently described these Faustian bargains.

Be it personal or national, these are (mis)represented as ‘choices’ in a democracy, but much like how souls are lost quietly and in increments, the ‘choices’, once acquiesced to, are nigh on impossible to reverse by design once established.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
3 years ago

‘Small groups of fanatics’ [Bronwen Saunders] – like the Nazis? In filling ‘their empty souls’ they succeeded in sucking dry the soul of half of Europe. Nie wieder? How quickly we forget the lessons of history, or more likely never learned them, at least from the 1980s on. We could also ask, who benefits financially from a culture of self-centred comfort?

uztazo
uztazo
3 years ago

“In testimony before a parliamentary committee this week, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said that he believes the reach of the proposed law should cover words spoken in the privacy of people’s homes.

If this were to become law, parents would learn to fear their children”

Ladies and Gentlemen, George Orwell’s 1984 wasn’t for amusement. It was a foretelling of what was to befall Britain decades down the line.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago

“Our goal is to create a fairer, more just society” (semi-cit.)

Dave Smith
Dave Smith
3 years ago

Clearly Scotland is now diverging from any possible understanding of how a country should be run in 2020. This is inevitable in a one party state where the only political question is who is in or out in the ruling party. We need to give the SNP the independence they crave and swiftly. If necessary without a referendum but as the union was created by both parliaments by passing a bill in both.

per.perald
per.perald
3 years ago

England has gone too far, and then Scotland going further is expected.

The British Isles are already lost to totalitarianism

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

When speech is thus restricted, discussion of various issues becomes impossible, and problems become insoluble.
It’s already difficult to point out the clear connection between violence and a Y-chromosome. Despite it being far and away the clearest and most pronounced connection between genes and behaviour known, mentioning it can easily lead to ostracism or worse. Imagine if the ‘men’s rights’ types make male violence a banned concept.

domsargent
domsargent
3 years ago

I do not like this law at all. But we need an examination of the curtailment of speech and freedoms that does not run along ideological lines, analysis that shows how those on the so called right rush to discover and silence dissent, and act just as they say their opponents do. We know what each does because the words they hurl at the other betray their own methods.

Any woke desire to erase prejudice remains paltry compared to liar Johnson’s and sneak Cummings’ boosterist Tonka bus, currently driving over civil rights and smashing what is left of equality after ten years of conservative government, if you can call it that

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

I saw this a while back: ‘Your Hate is Not Welcome Here, Yours Scotland’ on YT.
Scotland has been going in this direction for a while.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago

Excellent article, and it’s always worth getting opinions from those who have lived under extreme regimes. I would however take issue with the Amazon Alexa/Google/Siri example tho – these companies simply want to sell you stuff, and they don’t have the power to arrest or incarcerate you (not would they be interested in doing so if they could)

It is governments slowly extending their powers and the kind of people who lobbied for and presented the bill in the article that is the issue – tech companies don’t want to hand their customers’ data over at all and it’s only by legal threats that govs coerce them into doing. It’s governments granting themselves too much power that is always the problem, as per this bill.

Nunya Bizniss
Nunya Bizniss
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Gavin Haynes piece in Unherd on 29 October may give an alternate view. The Corporate world is very keen to virtue-signal, or at least, to pre-emptively disavow their customers. However distasteful the views of those individuals, to deny essential services based on their beliefs not being *aligned* must be a warning to us all, to keep our heads below the parapet. Precisely as it is intended to…

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark

‘I would however take issue with the Amazon Alexa/Google/Siri example tho – these companies simply want to sell you stuff, and they don’t have the power to arrest or incarcerate you (not would they be interested in doing so if they could)’

Would that it were so.

Not only are Google and Apple preventing third party cookies on their already market dominant search engines under the premise of protecting privacy but effectively stifling competition, Alphabet, Google’s ‘parent’ company is increasingly becoming involved in what would once have essentially been state infrastructure projects through SIP for example, and not out of the goodness of its heart, I suspect.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago

Thank you, Rod Dreher, keep saying it.
But, ‘not only reading the Bible or the Koran to one’s children, but simply owning one could land a Scotsman in the dock on charges of “possessing inflammatory materials”’?
Only one of those two books, in practice, would land its owner in the dock, and we all know which one.

Tad Pringle
Tad Pringle
3 years ago

Elect Muslims to legislate for you and then act all surprised when it’s based on Sharia Law. Genius.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

The lawyers are urging politicians to crack down on wrongthink. According to a story in the Daily Mail online today The Law Commission would like Hate Crime laws to be extended to include private conversations in your own home.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk

cjhartnett1
cjhartnett1
3 years ago

When you no longer fear God, the State will surely give you cause to fear it instead.
China, Russia, Iran etc?….you honestly think that if you stand for something, you’ll be free to stay unimpeded?
We’ve been surrendering our liberties from before I was born. Same clowns who prevented Enoch Powell speaking, now prevent Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer
You tartan cybernats that prevented Nigel Farage walking down Lawnmarket in 2016? Oh how we laughed!…guess where it all ends?
Scotland died with Donald Dewar, and is now the poster child for Eurostyle compliance and quisling undermining of our nation. Some two bob childless Krankie gets voted in to excuse Sean Connery and Robbie Burns as required.
Await the extradition treaty. RIP Roger Scruton….can’t say we’ve not seen this coming can we?

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago

Great article outlining the serious and insidious nature of the proposed Hate Crimes Bill.

Sadly in Scotland the vast majority now think SNP policy= good
Anything counter =bad.

That is about as much thought that goes into it, the SNP tout themselves against the evil Tories and Boris Johnson, and the electorate sadly seem to buy the narrative, no questions asked.

We are sleepwalking into dangerous territory, the Gender Recognition Reform Bill also poses fundamental and contentious changes in law, which when questioned can draw scathing attacks if you happen to be on, what is deemed to be, the wrong side of the argument…

To quote from a great article from the Glasgow Herald..

https://www.heraldscotland….

” hate crime legislation is a form of thought crime. We are punishing people for having ideas in their heads that we do not like”

In Scotland the we, is the SNP.

J Moore
J Moore
3 years ago

“Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said that he believes the reach of the
proposed law should cover words spoken in the privacy of people’s homes”. Other than a couple of internet ‘press’ sites reporting “words spoken in the privacy of peoples homes”, I can’t find an original source for this specific claim.

It’s not in here either https://beta.parliament.sco

Can anyone find and share a basis for this claim other than click bait hearsay?

It would be really helpful to ground this claim in some factual truth so as to brandish to my ‘woke’ acquaintances.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
3 years ago

“And not only reading the Bible or the Koran to one’s children, but simply owning one could land a Scotsman in the dock…”

Come on now; there’s zero chance of being arrested for reading even the most inflammatory passages in the Koran to kids. An ‘Islamophobia’ accusation would stop McCop in their tracks.
The Bible’s Old Testament could be a target though…

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Disturbing and definitely to be opposed.

Worth mentioning that if you join a protest group, you may find that it has been infiltrated by Met policemen who have adopted false identities using the names of deceased children, and will go as far as to form relationships and father children in order to prove their bona fides. Or that if you go on a demonstration, that same Met may “kettle” you and prevent you from leaving for hours as punishment – if the demonstration is one which sufficiently offends the generally right-wing attitudes of the police. Aspects of the authority/individual relationship which are also worth considering.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago

Surely it is the law that is overreaching not the fact that it also applies to the privacy of the home. Isn’t it sensible that laws still apply even behind closed doors? Like murder, rape, domestic and child abuse.
And haven’t we already given up privacy in the home with readily hackable PCs, mobile phones and Alexa for goodness sake?!

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

I agree with the fact that laws still apply even when you are in your own home, the worry here however is how you legally define “intent” to stir up hatred, and what you deem to be hatred, as opposed to having a different opinion or set of beliefs. The case often brought up to highlight this is J K Rowling’s tweet about trans rights. Under the proposed changes could she have faced arrest for stirring up hatred? Hence why so many diverse groups across Scotland are worried from religious groups to the Humanist Society, the arts, comedians, women’s groups, they are all concerned. It is akin to having Big Brothers thought police right here in modern day Scotland!

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

Just to add this has nothing to do with SNP bashing. This is about your fundamental rights to have freedom of belief and expression, to live in a mature society where you can discuss openly with people who have different thoughts and opinions to yourself, not THE STATE prescribing IN LAW what you can say, think and debate.
I urge you to read Stuart Waitons piece in the Herald about why we should abolish ALL hate crime legislation. It is a sobering piece. We are blindly giving away our fundamental rights, I can’t overstate the enormity of what we are sleepwalking into… For too long the SNP have been taking the moral high ground in Scotland because we live in a political vacuum with no organised and credible opposition. It’s NOT about Unionist Vs Nationalist… It’s so much more important than that.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago
Reply to  Isla C

I do agree with you.
Disagreement is not a crime or a phobia.
I just think that it is not only in Scotland with the SNP, (who I only vote for to get independence), that so many freedoms are being eroded.
The trend everywhere, exacerbated by lockdowns etc, is to more and more infantilize us – as if we can’t tell the difference between questioning and real hate crimes ending in violence.
(And I’ll read Stuart Waiton’s piece).

Isla C
Isla C
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Just to add this has nothing to do with SNP bashing. This is about your fundamental rights to have freedom of belief and expression, to live in a mature society where you can discuss openly with people who have different thoughts and opinions to yourself, not THE STATE prescribing IN LAW what you can say, think and debate.
I urge you to read Stuart Waitons piece in the Herald about why we should abolish ALL hate crime legislation. It is a sobering piece. We are blindly giving away our fundamental rights, I can’t overstate the enormity of what we are sleepwalking into… For too long the SNP have been taking the moral high ground in Scotland because we live in a political vacuum with no organised and credible opposition. It’s NOT about Unionist Vs Nationalist… It’s so much more important than that.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

” And haven’t we already given up privacy in the home with readily hackable PCs, mobile phones and Alexa for goodness sake?!”

Speak for yourself. I haven’t.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago

I love Unherd and it’s varied and intelligent comments . . . BUT, I’m always a bit shocked and dismayed by the regular Scots/SNP bashing – it comes across as petty and puerile.
I realise that to outsiders Scotland may look like a one party state but of course it isn’t. The SNP have been democratically voted in and are very popular so that even with proportional representation they have in the past had a majority in the parliament (which they don’t any more without the help of the Greens).
SNP – 61
Tories – 31
Labour – 23
Greens – 6
Lib Dems – 5
Independent – 2
And 1 with no party affiliation!
As for the draconian restrictions due to C19 I don’t see much difference between countries (except Sweden).

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Conflating Scots and the SNP is pretty standard nationalism . It’s also very wrong . As is the idea that popularity gives a party carte blanche to over-ride democratic norms . Many of those of us who live in Scotland see that , though the starry-eyed SNP followers are blind to it .

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Healy

“Scots/SNP” is not a conflation of the two but suggesting either/or.
And what exactly are these over-ridden democratic norms?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

People are wearing masks on their face, being told not to socialize, keep.away from your fellow man (sorry not woke), stay isolated as much as possible, we are never going back to normal, build back better? What is that? I dont recall a vote being had on any of this.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

I totally agree about the draconian measures imposed on us without any choice! Thank goodness for Unherd where we at least can have open and sensible debates without being censored or ostracised.

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Mysterious misuse of the down arrow there, as I was just trying to clarify and get clarification.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Thank you – this is a helpful perspective to us across the pond : ) Otherwise it appears that Scotland has gone down the drain.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

Most of us in Scotland have a certain amount of sympathy with the Idea of “Independence” from an historical perspective, but the direction of travel socially seems to outweigh all other issues. Mss Sturgeon and her fellow travellers seem bent on turning what was once a rather socially conservative nation into a WOKE madhouse of gender denial and child indoctrination. The latest attempts to criminalise freedom of speech are the final straw as far as I am concerned………EX SNP member.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hanson

What does popularity have to do with totalitarianism? Tyrants are often very popular at first. That is how they gain their legitimacy. They are sen as solving some great problem

Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

I mean by popular that more Scots want independence for Scotland than don’t.
Totalitarianism only allows the existence of 1 political party and as I’ve shown above, the Scottish Parliament has members from 6 different political parties.
I understand, however, how it feels like we are living at the moment under far too much control by the state, but this is not solely imposed by the SNP – most countries in the world are suffering in a similar way! And I personally think it is extremely ruinous and totally unnecessary.

Key Olney
Key Olney
3 years ago

If you rob someone with a gun, it is more serious than if you rob him by just hectoring. Likewise, with the proposed law, if you assault someone because he is gay or whatever, it is more serious than if you just assault him because he stepped on your foot. The law proposes another a reason for more serious punishment of existing crimes, not new kinds of crimes. It would not be a crime to say, “I hate gay people.” but, if you beat one up and it is proven that you did it because he was gay, then you are in more trouble than if you just beat him up because he was a Celtic fan.The law is full of these kind of distinctions based on motivation. That is why we have a distinction between murder and manslaughter. There is nothing new here.

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago
Reply to  Key Olney

You’re missing the point of the law proposed here , Key . Crimes against those with “Protected characteristics” are already given harsher sentences in Scotland . Indeed , being a Celtic supporter is one of those protected characteristics , as it is seen as a religiously-motivated crime . The new proposed law criminalises speech itself , whether another crime is attached to it or not . It also stretches from the public realm into the home itself . What you say anywhere at any time could be a crime if it is politically frowned upon . That’s the whole point of the article .

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Healy

We are all minorities in one way or another, why should minorities be protected. Some minorities use that “protection” to harm society as a whole…….”stigma” is demonised yet at one time society held people to account, today bad, evil or harmful behaviour is always excused….Time to take back control where it belongs, to parents and the people at large.
Keep protesting against those pushing this legislation regardless of their political persuasion.

Alan Healy
Alan Healy
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

That would be my view as well . The law must be just and to be just it must be blind .