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Concerning “concerning” opinions

A story in today’s Sunday Times provides a practical lesson in how our freedom is being whittled away. The story is paywalled, but I will quote the most relevant part:

Adoption banned in ‘gay parents’ row

A husband and wife have been prevented from trying to adopt their two young foster children after the couple said a child needed a “mummy and daddy” rather than gay parents.

Social services said it would not consider the couple’s request to adopt the children because they had aired “concerning” opinions about the possibility of a same-sex couple being chosen as the adoptive parents instead.

Campaigners said the treatment of the couple was disturbing because it meant people could be penalised by the authorities simply for expressing support for traditional parenting.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting them, said: “This couple’s viewpoint is lawful and mainstream.”

There are several matters which I could address in this post but will not. The priority placed by the social workers on the interests of two formerly neglected children in finally having a stable home, for one. Or the fact that we now have “lawful” opinions in Britain, which is another way of saying that we now have opinions that are unlawful.

I will content myself with saying that this is the most effective control technique currently in use. You are still free to express dissent. It is just that if you exercise your freedom to express your dissent you and yours had better give up on wanting to do anything else with your life which requires the goodwill of officials, a category which grows ever larger. Our rulers are cannier than those of the Soviet Union. They have dispensed with the labour camps but kept the strategy that actually worked. As Andrei Sakharov said,

“Everyone wants to have a job, be married, have children, be happy, but dissidents must be prepared to see their lives destroyed and those dear to them hurt. When I look at my situation and my family’s situation and that of my country, I realize that things are getting steadily worse.”

16 comments to Concerning “concerning” opinions

  • It seems unlikely that the couple just happened to make this remark amidst comments on the weather. May we, with reasonable probability, assume that the council official who went to see them about their adoption request interrogated them about the acceptability of their views on this and other subjects?

    I believe this was called the method of provocation in the days of Mao and Stalin. As Natalie notes, the maximum consequence today of allowing oneself to be provoked is not nearly as severe. A Sakharov might truly tell us that we hardly know we are born compared to even the un-arrested, merely harassed, soviet dissident.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day. Our freedom will not be destroyed in a day.

    Finally may I praise the restraint with which Natalie wrote that she “… could address… but will not … The priority placed by the social workers on the interests of two … children …” If I had written this post, not addressing it to the point of writing something (‘low’, ‘minimal’, ‘zero’, …) in front of ‘priority’ would have defeated me. But I respect the power that self-disciplined writing can have.

  • Nothing will change until the cultural Marxists are permanently expelled from our institutions.

  • staghounds

    Stable? A home full of HATE, you mean! Crimethink!

    The “cultural marxists” ARE our institutions, almost root and branch. Churches, schools, every phase of government, NGOs- there’s hardly a one in which publicly expressing this “lawful opinion” would be tolerated without at least opprobrium and shunning.

  • David Moore

    It is now unacceptable to have a diversity of opinion in today’s UK. In order to preserve the tolerant society, all alternative world views must to be stamped out without mercy.

    “Rome wasn’t built in a day. Our freedom will not be destroyed in a day.”

    Of course not, it’s taken decades, but The Frankfurt School is slowly winning over the host. They have infiltrated the institutions from top to bottom, and I believe we have past the ‘tipping’ point. Dust off to orbit, and nuke the entire site. It’s the only way.

  • the other rob

    This misbehaviour is not limited to the left. It’s exhibited by all authoritarian structures; left wing, right wing or just old-fashioned corrupt.

    Just try vocally opposing something that the pols on the local council have their hearts set on and see what happens the next time you ask for planning permission or the like.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    I think that, if two same-sex parents want to adopt a child, it should only be of the opposite sex.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “just how chilling this is on public discourse”

    A feature, not a bug, as far as the political class is concerned; public discourse is still permitted, as long as you agree with them on everything.

  • staghounds

    I’m sure she asks the nice Moslem couples what they think of same sex parents, too.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes it is the Frankfurt School of “Cultural” Marxism – that is what P.C. (and what “Critical Theory” and so on) is.

    However, the only people really standing clearly against the Frankfurt School of cultural control by control of opinions and so on, are the Black Flag types.

    So that is the wretched position – the Red Flag collectivism of the P.C. Marxists (for example these “Social Workers”) against the Black Flag collectivism of the various Nazi groups. The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

    And so it will remain till ordinary people stop talking about P.C. “gone mad” or P.C. “taken to an extreme” – and understand that the basic doctrine of P.C. is evil and must be rejected root-and-branch.

  • The articles I link to in this comment interest me because both are first-hand: both writers were raised wholly or mostly in a homosexual, same-sex partner milieu. They are both negative about it but in very different ways.

    Heather, in Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting, describes abuse that is purely emotional, not physical, and not intended – simply a side-effect of how that cummunity’s ethos interacts with a child’s usual emotional orientation. It happened despite her mother and partner being loving and protecting, Heather is still protective of them in her account, somewhat on their side – just not on the side of their one-sidedness.

    The abuse suffered (and witnessed) by Moira (The Story of Moira Greyland) was physical (and emotional, manipulative, etc.). Her mother did not want a straight daughter and was physically active on her from a very early age to avert this. I assume the indifference of her mother when her homosexual-but-not-always father added his acts of abuse on her had the same purpose.

    In between these is Katy Faust (mentiond in Maira’s piece), also raised in that kind of environment. She disputes Moira’s view (that Moira’s experience was merely a crueler-than-usual example of the norm for that community), though she thinks it and other things are enough to reject political correctness.

    So what is the relevance to this post? After all, there’s at least one biological parent in both accounts – as you would expect in accounts of events decades past, since adoption by homosexual unions is a fairly new thing. As Moira observes, we will have statistical data on that in some ten to thirty years.

    Firstly, it seems clear that if would-be-adopters were found to have read either of these articles, let alone confessed to having thought about them, that would cause ‘concern’ to the OP council, whatever conclusions the would-be-adopters claimed to have reached.

    Secondly, Rotherham reminds us that, today, we know what it is safe to notice and what it is safer to ignore – especially if one should happen to work for the OP council.

    So, while readers may agree with Heather, or with Moira, or pick the half-way house with Katy, or (most probably) continue to hold their own view whatever it is, all who refuse to close their eyes can see that the council is playing against the odds with the kids’ well-being.

    A man was once asked what he thought of a new experimental school. “I never judge such things until the children have gown up and can tell us what really happened”, he replied. Heather and Moira have grown up and told us what really happened to them. Some Rotherham kids are in their 20s now, and have spoken. What will that council’s chidlren say when they grow up, I wonder?

  • Jon

    I’m a gay parent and I support these people’s rights to be total dickheads.

  • AndyDan

    They did fall into the trap, didn’t they? When you can’t adopt if you smoke or support UKIP, how did they expect to get away with saying something like that? As Niall says, they were probably provoked into saying it.

    Good on you Jon. Are you mummy or daddy?

  • Jon

    Niall Kilmartin’s original comment is probably pretty close. The adoption process (though I understand it has changed somewhat since I went through it) includes a variety of screening processes designed to weed out undesirables (for instance, those who are unable to financially support a child, those whose own background (criminal, for instance) might be a detriment to a child’s welfare, etc.) We were asked on our views of rights for minorities, including sexual minorities, but since we were a gay couple adopting, I think we made a joke of it. There is a purpose to it though. Mixed race kids have gone to homes in the past and been told they must be one thing, without being given a chance to establish their own sense of place in the world. Similarly, some kids have gone to homes where the idea that they might be gay is anathema to a set of parents. Since, in my view, allowing kids to make their own choices in life politically, and to come to their own realisation about their sexual preference is important, I don’t really have a problem with that aspect of things.

    Incidentally, and more generally, I am curious about the libertarian view of adoption, and social services in general. I was trying to think it through to the end yesterday, imagining what the various enlightened brains on Samizdata might say. I could see people suggesting that financial rewards for having kids were responsible for kids ending up in care, which may be true in some cases, I suppose. I could see the general provision of welfare services, free (at point of use) ante and post natal care etc. providing the illusion that someone who is financially incapable of supporting a child could get to a certain point in the child’s life. But what I can’t see (and what presumably ought to be anathema to libertarians – I’m not yet sure) is the impact of one person’s decisions (or people, in the case of two parents) on another (in this case, their own child).

    Is there a libertarian case for some kind of societal intervention in family structures which are prone to a failure which is likely to cause generational harm (for instance drug dependency), or is there some other mechanism envisaged? Or does libertarianism only apply to nice middle class people? 😉

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Jon, I have a vague memory of someone (Brian Micklethwait?) writing a pamphlet for the Libertarian Alliance on the question of when or if outsiders should intervene in parenting in the late 1980s or early 1990s. But a search only turned up this article by Bryan Caplan: Locke, Consent, and the Rights of Children.

    A search of the Children’s Issues category on Samizdata brings up 103 posts, but since you may not have time to search them all, here are the most recent ones from me that touch on the topic: Raised in the fashion of their tribe and The morality of not teaching your child English.

    Ah, found something! The first of my posts linked to above had a link to this post by David Friedman: Taking Children from their Parents: The General Issue.

  • Jon

    Thanks very much Natalie- i’ll settle down for a read!