We at Blue Revolution direct this post to everyone who without modern rights would be subject to discrimination, basically everyone who is not a heterosexual male. This anthropological trope goes back to tribal times. Women had women’s roles and men there role. Homosexuality was a threat to the tribe in numerous ways so punishment for this “difference” was harsh. Adultery likewise. As humankind began to evolve via technologies like farming, maintenance of this primitive “status quo” became a challenge taken up by Leading men for example kings. Since our earliest times, there has been a tension between those demanding economic and social change and those attempting to preserve the status quo.
From biblical times to the late 16th Century little in the known world changed. What had always been wrong continued to be wrong. What needed to continue, continued. The wealth created by the economic activity from Bible times to the 16th century found its way into the hands of an elite. The gender discrimination first practised in tribal times was still found in what has become known as the feudal world. There was no impetus to change this because the world still needed this difference.
Gender difference, prohibitions against “choice” and “consent” and an absence of any “rights” not sanctioned by an overlord was a reality for everyone. However, for women, the first form of fascism was mans’ dominion over them and until comparatively recently all cultures accepted it.
Whilst the wars during this long millennial period were about territory and faith there was little difference in the defined role of the vanquished men and women. What we would describe today as discrimination flourished.
For everyone, men and women there was no Contract, Choice or Consent. This arrived in the late 17th early 18th century when things slowly start to change. Commerce needed the freedom to trade on agreed terms upheld by law and eventually, the old order yielded to new ways of doing the nation’s business. This development can’t be underestimated. Whilst the old tribal distinctions prevailed between men and women, in a legal sense these new principles of contract, choice and consent could in theory at least apply to women too. Man’s 10,000 year dominion over womenkind was for the first time weakened by the birth of capitalism. The history since the 18th century has been the history of an economic model, capitalism, delivering abundant wealth with associated inequality but paying for positive social change most often with a big poke from a progressive government.
The left would never admit to it but the rights and freedoms all minorities enjoy whether they are women, gay, queer or whatever, they enjoy because they are formed from economic rules that have over 200 years acquired a social character. Marx was the first to recognise this process. No one in the West seriously questions these social rights to contract freely, consent to what happens to you and to choose your lifestyle. However, they may be under threat, and not only because capitalism has morphed into a dark shadow self..the crony controlled “free market”.
Our ignorance of where our rights come from plus from the Left-wing an open and vitriolic hatred of capitalism and the free market threatens capitalisms enduring legacy of rights. It also threatens the existence of other benefits that accompany them such as our democratic freedoms of conscience and speech. The challenge is, of course, made more acute because capitalism as it was understood when it was forging our rights, no longer exists. It has been replaced by a crony “capitalist” free market economy which has seen employment exported east and low paid workers coming west. There are legitimate reasons to dislike the free market but abolishing economic freedom and replacing it with government ownership will not protect rights. As in the 1970’s it will turn workers against taxpayers!
This newly emboldened orthodox Left wing in the UK is starting to erode freedom of conscience and speech within the Labour Party. This arises because they don’t understand why legal principles like contract, choice and consent are essential to maintaining a fair and free society for everyone. Look at countries that have not socialised these economic freedoms and you still find discrimination ie certain parts of Africa. Look at countries who have never had to accept these principles and you have a tyranny ie Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.
If you have state involvement in the economy as we have today it is important that the economy is as free as possible. The importance of economic freedom in legitimising and maintaining social freedoms can’t be underestimated protecting things like gender rights is a function of a free society based on a free economy.
The orthodox Left has failed to grasp that whilst economic freedom is bourgeois it must be maintained as it underpins all anti-discrimination policy. This is because people essentially workers or consumers and are therefore able to exercise the same rights whoever they are. The Left’s failure to grasp this makes them fellow travellers with those who oppress others and makes them, and those who support them, a potential threat to our free safe society where everyone now has the same slate of rights.
If the Left pursue their 19th-century agenda they will succeed only in throwing the equality baby out with the bourgeois bath water!