CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Thought Police and Big Brother

Jan 6, 2010

In what was once known as the free West, we are witnessing an escalation of totalitarian and anti-democratic laws being passed, which are greatly restricting freedom of speech and religious expression. I refer especially to the various hate crimes laws which are being fomented by various minority activist groups.

I have written elsewhere about how bad such legislation is, and why these incursions into our freedoms need to be fiercely resisted. If we do not stand up and fight for our freedoms, they will slowly be taken away from us. Consider the latest case of Big Brother activism – this time in France.

Even by French standards, this one is really quite bizarre. A bill may soon be passed by the French parliament in which “psychological violence” will be made a crime. Really folks, I am not making this up. Here is how a BBC report covers the story:

“If you insult your wife or husband repeatedly, you could soon find yourself in court if you live in France. The charge? Psychological violence. That’s what the new offence will be called if a bill backed by the government is passed by parliament. Once considered a purely private domain, rows between married or cohabiting couples could now prompt intervention from the state.”

This law will be about “mental and verbal abuse” and the State will meddle in domestic situations to ensure that such crimes are not committed. If you thought French police might have had a lot on their plate up till now, just wait till this law gets passed.

They will be patrolling not just every street corner, but every bedroom, kitchen and living room as well. Indeed, perhaps every marriage ceremony or de facto ritual will also have mandatory provisions for a cop to tag along on the honeymoon, or take up a guest room in the couple’s home.

But such is the nature of the ever-encroaching State. Mere humans are simply not capable of conducting their own affairs, so the State must increasingly step in and intervene. Not only must a whole new raft of laws be passed, but a new army of thought police must be employed to enforce these laws.

The totalist state is ever seeking to expand its powers and control, and if we have covered just about every physical crime imaginable, then let’s invent some mental and psychological crimes to also police. When we start creating psychological and mental crimes, the sky’s the limit.

And never mind the mere details about how such a law might actually work. Indeed, just how a case of “psychological violence” can ever be proven in a court of law may be difficult, but never mind, a new mass of lawyers and bureaucrats will quickly spring into action, demanding their slice of the pie.

Judicial activism has already reached epidemic proportions, with lawyers and others making a mint from the ever-expanding State. This law will simply escalate things a hundred-fold. But of course all of this is done for our “own good”. We need to be protected from ourselves, and who else but our faceless bureaucrats can make sure we all live acceptable lives.

Fortunately even secular prophets such as Huxley and Orwell had earlier warned about Big Brother and the strangling apparatus of the total state. Religious prophets have also sounded the alarm. C.S. Lewis for example wrote much about those well-meaning bureaucrats who would slowly exterminate humanity, all in the name of humanity.

His 1947 book, The Abolition of Man is a classic in this area, and all of us should have a copy of this important volume on our shelves. But he wrote about this elsewhere. Consider these remarks found in the preface to the 1959 edition of his The Screwtape Letters:

“I like bats much better than bureaucrats. I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of ‘Admin.’ The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”

Indeed, Lewis penned an entire volume of science fiction on this topic, warning about the dangers of a power-mad bureaucracy in his 1946 volume, That Hideous Strength. In the book the evil bureaucracy was called NICE, the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments. These ruling elites always appear to be nice, even while they are involved in decidedly not very nice activities.

This book – the last volume in his space trilogy – is well worth reading. With great prescience he noted how many Western secular states were heading to a tyranny of the bureaucrat. The passing of time has only confirmed his fears.

Of course all of this is not to dismiss the reality and unfortunate nature of genuine domestic abuse, such as physical violence, bullying and the like. But to ask the State to enter into the minds and emotions of couples, and arbitrate on what might be a case of “psychological violence” would require more than the wisdom of Solomon. And it would require a clear diminution of our freedoms.

The truth is, the State can never create the Perfect Man. Secular totalitarians have tried that before, and have always failed. They always end up becoming coercive utopians, where the heaven on earth is achieved by enslaving mankind and destroying freedom.

Modern France was founded on the concept of liberty, equality and fraternity. While a police state-like equality and fraternity may be the outcome of such laws, the very notion of liberty will cease to exist. It is hoped that the French lawmakers and politicians will have more sense than to pass this idiotic bill. If they don’t then God help us all.

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8440199.stm

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13 Responses to Thought Police and Big Brother

  • I’ll have to hold back on what I was going to say, just in case the thought police are about.

    Yes 1984 (Great book/Movie and sneek preview of the futrue).

    A logical conclusion in a world that no longer accepts absolutes.

    God help us indeed. This form of legislation shows us clearly that there is no, and can never be, a utopia on this earth.

    Tony Zegenhagen

  • Will cheating on one’s spouse be deemed to be psychological violence? To be consistent, there should be a return to a concept of fault in divorce proceedings. But don’t hold your breath.
    Dunstan Hartley

  • Yes good point Dunstan.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Social engineering never did, never has, and never will change human nature.
    Jamie Bowman

  • Some people would have noticed along the way that the tendency to introduce new bureaucratic governmet rules always fosters unhappiness, or worse still, misery. Why? Because those who rush to implement these laws are generally those, who have lost their faith in the true God and that vacuum is filled with nonsense, which has a phony feel good effect for the perpetrator. From where does this inspiration for the actions of these “fix-all” boofheads come? That’s easy. It comes direct from Satan.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Maybe they should concentrate on policing the multicultural violence like the 1,000 cars torched by Muslims over new years before the bureaucrats poke their noses in the business of ordinary law abiding citizens:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/01/youths-torch-over-1000-cars-across-france-overnight.html

    Damien Spillane

  • For once I think all the above comments are brilliant. Only God can change the heart of man/woman. Every couple rows sometimes (or lies if they say they never do!). My daughter – married for 2+ years says wisely that she would be far less challenged about her selfishness etc if not married. My own marriage is very soon to be 33 years old and we have seen a fair few rows. We have grown to love each other more over the years even though temptations to do very much the opposite have sometimes come. By the grace of God we have both changed for the better.
    I don’t think we need to worry too much about the thought police in our bedrooms (or any other room – bedroom least likely for a row if you obey the command never to let the sun go down on your anger) in reality. They are too busy catching little old ladies with china pigs in their front windows (visible), speeding motorists, the odd drunk, the even more occasional burglar and have genuinely not got the manpower to police what goes on behind closed doors. Would that they had the manpower and common sense to catch and pre-empt all terrorist activists. We need to pray regularly for the police to have supernatural insights to be able to prevent these criminal acivities.
    Katharine Hornsby

  • Personality Disorders can do a tremendous amount of damage within a marriage (& without), but imagine how much that would be amplified if the person (or people) making the decisions about how things should be dealt with in such siuations has minimal training & zero vested interest in getting things even correct, let alone fair or reasonable?

    If that was a bad enough start, add in factors like many forms of Disorder including various levels of deceit to very quickly arrive at the conclusion that “nightmare” is a simple, easily soluble situation compared with what you’d be facing.

    Bear in mind the facetious saying “I’m from the Tax Department, I’m here to help you,” then rephrase it to “I’m from the Psychological Violence section. I’m here to help you.” Insanity would be blessed peace in comparison, & mere frustration something you’d desperately aspire to achieving.

    Leon Brooks

  • To Damien Spillane (from In Praise of the First and Second Amendments, which is worth reading entirely):

    The less control the authorities have with Muslims, the more control they want to exercise over non-Muslims. As problems in Europe get worse, which they will, the EU will move in an increasingly repressive direction until it either becomes a true, totalitarian entity or falls apart. This strange mix of powerful censorship of public debate, yet little control over public law and order, has by some been labelled anarcho-tyranny.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Whilst Gordon Brown imposes on us a dualism, in which there is no connection, or relationship, between cause and effect, thought and behaviour, private and public morality, spiritual and material, religious and secular, he blatantly invades the privacy of our lives.
    Earlier this year he and his wife Sarah clearly identified themselves with the LGBT card-carrying section of society. In preparation for London Pride, Mr Brown said: “We won’t ever give up on the fight for equality – we are marching with you every step of the way. The Labour government has one simple guiding ideal when it comes to LGBT rights: you can’t legislate love.”
    But Mr Brown, with a “clunking fist,” does not hesitate to legislate against freedom of thought, freedom of emotion, freedom of conscience and freedom to debate. Indeed, he has increased the amount of repressive legislation over that introduced by Tony Blair. The history of twelve years of New Labour government has been a frenzied approach to law-making and an obsession with controlling the minutiae of everyday life, where dissent from “lusting after strange flesh” will now apparently carry a seven year prison sentence.
    The most iniquitous thing about this government is that it has said that there should be a clear distinction between public and private morality; and the ‘real world’ and religion, whilst the Department of Children Schools and Families, under ED Balls, blatantly assumes ownership of our children, with parents being reduced to mere operative, answerable only to the state. Has not Dr, Katherine Rake of the government funded Family and Parenting Institute said,” We want to transform the most intimate and private relations between women and men?”
    The ideologues of the present government, like Katherine Rake and Angela Mason are using soft persuasion to deconstruct society. How? By taking control and the rewriting of Britain’s history (multiculturalism); by taking control of the language and replacing the contents of familiar words with flexible meanings; by taking control of the most intimate and private relations between men and women so families come in all shapes an sizes; by taking control of sex education and promoting promiscuity and homosexuality; by taking control of peer pressure and by taking control of the media and relaxing the restrictions on the circulation of pornography. But if this soft coercion does not work on hearts minds there is always repressive legislation, public humiliations, thought police, loss of occupation, fines, prison and the possibility of our children being put up for adoption to homosexuals. Yes, it is all there, embedded in the Equality Bill.
    Invite your own oppression

    David Skinner, UK

  • Surely, the logical end to this is a world where we are all connected up to a central computer where our emotions and thoughts are controlled by those who hold the power.

    We might happy and content but no longer worthy of the name human.

    David Skinner, UK

  • I would feel psychologically abused by having a such a law passed. Soon the kill joys will want laws changed for them. Can’t have people being happy and excited when they’re not.
    David Visser

  • Bill, it is stranger than fiction, but the UK does now have it’s National Institue of Coordinated Experiments (NICE). It is indeed called NICE, I jest not – the National Institue for health and Clinical Excellence – and the experiments concern the ‘health’ of every one of Big Nanny’s children – ‘experiments’ in the broad sense of clinical research and policy conclusions. See the ‘about NICE’ at http://www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/ and you see that there is generous scope for meddling by those “quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks”. They can issue bioethical ‘guidance’ on ‘appropriate treatment’ (eg of the pregnant teenager, the handicapped child, the frail aged), on the ‘promotion of good health’ (eg to inadequately promiscuous students) or on ‘health technologies, where the UK’s enthusiasm for experimenting on embryonic humans comes to mind. Fairly intimate areas for the exercise of the hideous strength of a godless state.
    David van Gend

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