The recent furore concerning the supposedly joking remarks made by Jeremy Clarkson concerning strikers being taken out and shot is not an isolated phenomenon. 21,000 complaints to the BBC, demands from union leaders that Clarkson be investigated by the police, suggestions that Clarkson himself be shot, this is somewhere we have been before.
A couple of years ago newspaper columnist Jan Moir found herself under venomous attack following her remarks after the death of Stephen Gately an Irish singer. Gately was an indiscriminately promiscuous homosexual who, along with his civil partner, trawled gay bars seeing whom they could pick up for casual sex. After one such expedition Gately was found dead of natural causes. Moir remarked on the sordid circumstances surrounding the death. The result was a firestorm of outrage with complaints to the Press Commission and Moir receiving threats of violence and death via Twitter.
Last year there was the cat lady. A woman from Coventry was videoed dropping a cat into a wheelie bin. Cue outrage. A Facebook group was set up calling for the death of Mary Bale the culprit, who was suffering from anxiety and depression at the time of the incident. She was considered under such threat that she was offered police protection against the rabid animal lovers.
Vicious witch hunts of hard hearted progressives screaming their rancour anonymously on the internet are a fact of life today. Whenever anything offends their sense of rightness they react with all the cruel passion and lack of reason exhibited by the crowds outside a court when a paedophile is brought to trial.
These people have forgotten what emotion is supposed to be. Genuine human engagement has been replaced with the manufactured outrage of offended sentimentality.
A common criticism of Christians from amongst our increasingly vociferous fundamentalist atheists is that Christians exhibit a holier than thou attitude. The opposite is of course true. We Christians are only too well aware of our sinfulness. It is the secularists who not only exhibit a grating attitude of moral superiority but insist on yelling it at the top of their voices.
In this they resemble the inmates of Her Majesty’s Prisons. During my time as a prison chaplain a rumour swept the prison that some inmates from Peterhead were to be relocated to our establishment. Peterhead is where Scotland’s sex offenders are kept. The outrage amongst murderers, thieves and muggers was palpable. If they came the lives of the ‘beasts’ would be made a living hell. Even drug dealers and con men need to feel superior to someone.
When people have no faith in God they search for something which validates their existence. Foaming at the mouth outrage at those who offend right-on progressive sensitivities really covers voices desperately crying out “I am right. I am better. I am good. I am true.” This outrage is not about the object of hatred, it is all about the outraged and their attempts to justify their lives.
This is one reason why I never refer to progressives as liberals, at core they are profoundly illiberal. They don’t believe in liberal values such as freedom of expression and toleration of differing opinions. Freedom of expression applies only to them, however cruel that expression may be. Instead they clamp down, silence and attempt to scream into submission any whose opinions differ from theirs.
Even if they have access to the most sophisticated technology a foaming at the mouth mob is still a mob. In the West today we are witnessing a return to the witch hunts of old. False accusations, the demonization of the different, the cries for destruction, McCarthy lives and his address is Facebook.