It is the state that is illiberal and the state is the
sole source of privilege and, thereby, of under-privilege too.

Statist Political Correctness [PC; the
ideologues who push it are PCers] is maybe the chief ideology against liberty
today as it is for totalitarian government and for general intolerance. However, if the said current totalitarian
ideologues, the PCers, ever gave up their use of the state for protection of
their pet groups, if they never sought to privilege them in law and so thereby
under-privilege everyone else, then PC would be reduced to mere free speech.
Mere mores may set up quasi-privilege but it is the law and actual privilege
that is illiberal. So without the use of the state and the law, PC would be not
one whit illiberal.

Similarly with the various religions, they
are free only, if they are not protected by the state, or if they do not go
into politics to dominate others then they will not be against the social
liberty of all others, but if ever they do resort to the state then they will
be against social liberty.

This is because active politics never can
quite be neutral. It always abuses others by using gratuitous coercion against
them. As it is today, free speech is the about main thing the PC ideologues
want to outlaw. Oddly, they often say they stand for free speech but then they
clearly contradict themselves by explicitly listing a long list of exceptions.

The
Economist
, 28 March 2015, (p35)
carried an article on “The right to be rude” on religion and free speech.

This magazine that calls itself a newspaper
is mainly concerned nowadays with crass politics, but it began as a liberal journal
backing up the Anti-Corn Law League, the great nineteenth century propaganda
and pressure group for free trade, that was soon led by Richard Cobden and John
Bright. This pressure group aided the Corn Laws to get repealed in 1846 and
then it disbanded but the journal continued, largely on economics in those days
but since 1945 it seems, at least to this reader of it, to be way keener on
politics and it might be clearer if it changed its name to The Politician.

It reports that an “offensive preacher” has
acquired some unlikely allies. A Christian street propagandist, Michael Overd,
47, had repeatedly told two male homosexuals displaying their affection in
public that they were sinners who would burn in hell. He also said that Islam
was sinful in the main High Street of Taunton, Somerset.

Michael Overd had repeatedly told Craig Manning and Craig Nichol that they
would burn in hell on seeing them boldly walk around hand in hand on the main
High Street where Overd regularly went to peach to all and sundry. They
took offence at this, but they nevertheless seemed to repeatedly return to the
High Street to get more readings from the Bible on how very sinful they were
from Overd.

The BBC news reported from what looks like an
earlier court appearance by Overd, and his two “victims”. The case seems to
have been in court a number of times, two times or even more, before the
session that The Economist reported
in March. The BBC on-line news site reports that in his earlier evidence for
the court against Overd, Craig Nichols said:

“He
said ‘I have already told these two sinners over here that they are going to
burn in hell’.

He looked at us and pointed at us when he
said it. His voice was quite loud and very clear.

I felt angry, embarrassed and ashamed. It was
a really busy day and I felt that everyone was looking at us when he was saying
these things to us.

I asked him who he was to judge me and he
said ‘It’s God’s words, it is in the Bible’. He said I should repent and ask
God for forgiveness.”

A Muslim judge, Shamim Qureshi, ordered
Overd to pay damages for using threatening and abusive language from the Bible
of £250 but the more serious charge of a religiously aggravated offence was
rejected. When Overd protested at paying a sodomite such a sum the judge
threated him with 45 days in prison otherwise.

Afterwards Overd said: “ If I heard someone preaching
the things I am accused of preaching I would talk to them about it.” But, as
George Bernard Shaw rightly said, the golden rule of doing onto others exactly
as we would have them do onto us can, often, fail to show other people proper
personal consideration, as a boxer might have a different idea of that from
hairdresser thus either might have starkly inept rules. What is fine for an
enthusiastic propagandist, like Overd, need not be apt for Nichols, or vice versa, but, given that the High
Street in Taunton normally allows public speaking by tradition then Nichols
seems to have had plenty of space to dodge ever being offended by Overd. On the
face of it, it seems to have been silly of Nichols to take offence, let alone
to repeatedly go back for more. Those who do take offence all too often,
thereby, seem to earn it.

Peter Tatchell, a well-known gay-rights propagandist has offered to speak
in favour of free speech in court for Overd. He does not agree with the Bible
on gay-rights but he feels it should be tolerated as part of traditional civil
liberty and free speech. Being spared offence is not a human right. To
criminalise traditional religion is a step too far, he says.

What seems yet even more unacceptable to many organisations concerned
with civil liberties and free speech is the Politically Correct courts and
current totalitarian PC law in the UK. The National Secular Society [NSS] seems
to hold that free speech is in danger, and they too have aided Overd in support
of the general cause of free speech as a result. They say the PC legislation is
too sloppy. Overd was prosecuted under the Public Order Act and it can lead to
up to seven years in gaol if the threatening, insulting or abusive language
that the law outlaws is deemed to be racially or religiously motivated.

The NSS, and other civil liberty groups, have recently got the law
amended such that it is not only up to the police to judge if what is said
potentially offensive. It needs, now, to be shown that the language was aimed
at a particular person or group and that offence was taken by the targeted person
or group. But many want further reform
of the law to remove the privilege that religion still has in law, despite the
abolition of the common law against blasphemy since 8 March 2008. They hold
that the idea of religious aggravation revives this abolished blasphemy law to
protect religion from criticism,
according to the executive director of
the NSS: Keith Porteous Wood.

Prior to this abolition, the law had long been allowed to fall into
abeyance, or neglect, until Mrs Mary Whitehouse attempted to revive it in the
1970s, actually being successful in 1977; in the case of Whitehouse versus Lemon.

During the Rushdie affair, many Muslims sought
also to revive the blasphemy laws, so that they could be used to imprison
Salmon Rushdie, and any others who might write similar books to his Satanic
Verses
(1988), that seemed to them to set out to deliberately mock
Islam.

But they overlooked, in this entire rumpus that
the Rushdie affair gave rise to, that the British common law blasphemy laws
were quite indifferent to Rushdie’s books but not at all to the Koran,
that did indeed flout them in the way it basically rejects the Christian creed.
So the Muslims, ironically, sought to revive a law that would effectively
outlaw their own religion rather than protect it. When some of them realised
that, they sought to change the old common law so it would protect Islam as
well as Christianity.

On 5 March 2008, an amendment was passed to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel
in England and Wales. The Act received royal assent on 8 May 2008, and the
relevant section came into force on 8 July 2008. It was haply thought by the
establishment that it would be better to abolish this law altogether rather
than to too openly privilege Islam in the UK.
The resulting need of the natives to kow-tow to Islam might have been
too clearly an under-privilege to impose on the population, even for the
increasingly eager UK totalitarian establishment of today.