Why Peter Hitchens is wrong about “Liberal Bigotry”
Those who tuned in to last night’s ‘Question Time’ will have witnessed the ever-furious Peter Hitchens making the following remark:
He [Will Self] said quite falsely that people who are against homosexual marriage didn’t like homosexuals. This extremely unpleasant lie is repeatedly told by those who do not wish to debate this subject, and who would hound anybody who stood in their way out of it, with abuse and lies.
And this is the problem which our country faces. There is a new liberal bigotry which will not tolerate – and increasingly wishes to suppress – conservative opinion.
This is, of course, a deliberate fallacy. Peter Hitchens used this argument to basically try and disregard the opinions of those who hold liberal beliefs, rather than conservative ones.
But there is a difference between ‘bigotry’ (from the social Right) and so-called ‘liberal bigotry’ (from the social Left).
Regular bigotry might involve, say, someone arguing that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to have equal rights. This is bigotry, as it attempts to deny an oft-persecuted minority from enjoying the same freedoms as straight people. This minority will consequently suffer, not due to opinions they hold, but because of who they are.
‘Liberal bigotry’, as Hitchens puts it, is quite different. What he calls ‘liberal bigotry’ is simply a socially-liberal person (Will Self, in yesterday evening’s case) dismantling his socially-conservative arguments.
Engaging in debate and proving someone’s argument to be flawed can not be considered bigotry.
Socially-liberal people will listen to your views, and they won’t stop you from airing them on national television (unlike Hitchens, who seemed very keen to talk over people). But if those people see flaws in your arguments, or notice a false basis which underlies your opinion, then they are allowed to speak against it. It’s called “having a debate”. And just because everyone doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t make them ‘liberal bigots’.
It seems that Peter Hitchens wanted to quick easy way to disregard Will Self’s rational and well-thought arguments, so he decided to tar him with the absurd ‘liberal bigotry’ label instead.
Hitchens may have fooled some, but I don’t think he fooled many: to most people, it was clear that his arguments had simply reached a dead end, and he decided to resort to accusations in order to try and discredit his opponent.
He later went on to claim that liberal bigotry is “the worst kind of bigotry”.
I’m sure that black people who’ve been discriminated against based on the colour of their skin, or homosexual people who’ve been discriminated against based on their sexuality, will shed many tears for poor Mr Hitchens, who faced so much discrimination (read as: reasoned arguments which opposed his own opinions) on ‘Question Time’ last night.
To finish off, here are a few nice sarcastic quips from Twitter on the issue last night:
“Liberal bigotry is so terrible. It allows you to say whatever you want but just not that you should be allowed to discriminate.” (@Endless_Psych)
“Liberal bigotry is the worst kind because they tend to daub non-racist slogans on the shops of indigenous Britons.” (@Natt)
“Hold on Hitchens, is ‘liberal bigotry’ actually worse than hanging black people from trees or stoving in a gay mans head?” (@LukeMackayCooks)
“I’m going to go out today and subjugate loads of wealthy white men with my Liberal bigotry. Really make their lives *hell*” (@shornkoomins)
“Liberal bigotry is worst of all because it thinks it’s so enlightened”, says the guy who uses supposedly divine scripture to justify his.” (@Mindless__drone)
That’s all for now!
As always, all comments are welcome
except for those with conservative opinions due to my liberal bigotry
- Thank you @michaellegge for inviting me to have dinner with #GeneWilder a few years ago. One of the most unforgettable nights of my life. 6 hours ago
- Train company owner holds back CCTV until leadership race (with Corbyn wanting to nationalise rail). How very subtle..... #traingate #Corbyn 5 days ago
- RT @BobJWilliams: Morrissey tonight: "Cows do not start wars. Badgers do not start wars. Politicians start wars and they love it." #truedat 1 week ago