It’s been fun learning over the past week or so that I am an extremist. I hadn’t previously considered myself to be one, but it’s now been pointed out so many times over the past few days, by certain young left-leaning folks, that I can no longer be in any doubt. In fact I assume that I, along with other like-minded people, must now just wait for the powers-that-be to start issuing little badges with the letter “E”, in order to warn others that there are dangerous people with unwholesome views in their midst.
Until recently, I’d sort of thought of extremists as being those bearded head-chopper chaps with their black flags, or radical anarchist types intent on bringing down the State. Compared to them, I’m a fantastically dull extremist. Happily married for 17 years; raising six fairly contented children; held down jobs since leaving university 20-odd years ago; never been in trouble with the law; taxes paid into the Treasury’s redistribution scheme; an elder in a local Anglican church; no links to any terrorist organisations; good relations with neighbours; and by and large, pretty relaxed and content with my lot.
But according to Napoleon’s puppies (I’ll explain that in a moment), none of this counts for diddly squat, and I am indeed to be regarded on a par with chaps heading out for an extended holiday in one of those “training camps” in David Cameron’s New Libya.
You might say that it was quite by accident that I found it out. Had Theresa May not taken the inexplicably stupid decision to hold an election shortly before beginning the process of negotiating our way out of the EU, I might never have known. But after her gamble went splat, and she was forced into begging the DUP to bail her out, the grin which had been slowly spreading over the faces of some of the more mathematically challenged citizens during the election night (who still seem to think that 262 seats gets you into government), soon started to be turned into a rather menacing scowl. (As an aside, I too thoroughly enjoyed seeing the so-called “Conservative” Party squirm, but probably for very different reasons.)
The reason for their scowl was that, after finding out what this thing called the DUP was, it suddenly began to dawn on them that – horror of horrors – a party whose members cast doubt on the scientific certainty of the man-made climate change hypothesis; who believe that a marriage with two men in it has one too many men; and who believe that shredding babies is sort of inhumane, was about to hold the balance of power. The BBC even described one of their members as a “devout climate change denier”, which made me giggle when considering what sort of liturgy they must have in that church.
And so the squawking, squealing and screeching began. “They’re extremists”. Squawk. “There is no place for their views in a modern society”. Squeal. “It is an outrage that people with their intolerant and bigoted opinions should possibly be allowed to hold the country to ransom”. Screech. “I mean, what if they start demanding to foist their theocratic intolerance on women in Southampton?”
Of course, the idea of the DUP having the power to foist the laws of Northern Ireland onto the rest of the UK is not exactly what you would call an idea grounded in planet Earth, yet the irony of certain Labour supporters throwing their hands up in horror at this utterly absurd prospect, while supporting a party that did vow to foist the mainland’s abortion laws onto Northern Ireland was probably lost on them.
But for those of us who also entertain doubts about the scientific certainty of the man-made climate change hypothesis; who also believe that a marriage with two men has one woman too few and one man too many; and who also believe that baby-shredding is barbaric, we now know where we stand. And in case we had any lingering doubts, Tim Farron’s resignation has pretty much confirmed that it is now nigh on impossible for someone with such views to hold power (except of course in extremity, after you have held a pointless election and need the “extremists” to bail you out).
In thinking about all of this, I can’t help recalling the passage in Orwell’s Animal Farm where Napoleon take puppies into his charge in order to enculturate them:
“Napoleon took no interest in Snowball’s committees. He said that the education of the young was more important than anything that could be done for those who were already grown up. It happened that Jessie and Bluebell had both whelped soon after the hay harvest, giving birth between them to nine sturdy puppies. As soon as they were weaned, Napoleon took them away from their mothers, saying that he would make himself responsible for their education. He took them up into a loft which could only be reached by a ladder from the harness-room, and there kept them in such seclusion that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence.”
Well the puppies in our own society have been taken into the loft, and now after years of enculturation into the new religion of “Tolerance’n’Diversity” they have now emerged to growl and snap at anyone who holds contrary opinions. And they do so utterly convinced that they are so full of love that the world has never seen such a sight before.
As it happens, I have some sympathies with them. They have received a toxic inheritance from their parents and grandparents which, coupled with the fact that they have been told that it is their right to do whatever they like, wherever they like, whenever they like, means that they are in for some pretty big disappointments in life. Their inability to cope with it will probably drive many of them to despair, which is something I grieve, not rejoice, over. And in any case, any disdain I might have for them is more than offset by the disdain I have for those who have done the enculturation. I just wish the young would see how much they are being taken for a ride.
And so welcome to Totalitopia. Where happily married, hardworking, tax paying, law-abiding citizens are now considered extremists. Where views that were considered perfectly normal only a decade ago are now howled down and those holding them shamed. And where Napoleon’s puppies are emerging from the loft to build their land of love and Totalitolerance. A land where all animals are equal, but — for the sake of tolerance of course — only officially sanctioned views are allowed.