Naked Edward of Bristol Harbour, as conceptualised by his fans
Take a hypothetical man named, say, Edward. Ask yourself, is he a good man or a bad man? It's important to know, because before cancelling anyone you have to know whether they are good people or bad people.
You must ascertain their private morality, otherwise how will you know whether to put them on your cancel list or not? The outcome of this inquiry could have wider legislative implications, should we need new legislation to cancel automatically (retrospectively for all the dead ones) all the bad people. It's better to do it by legislation so that taxpayers can foot the bill; cancelling other people is a public service.
The Equality Act does its best to identify who the bad people are, by telling us the different groups of people we're not allowed to offend. That way, if you see somebody offending a protected group, you are able straight away to categorise them as bad. But the Equality Act doesn't really go far enough in supplying a complete moral code by which the good and evil in each man's heart can be measured for purposes of public policy. Because some people's evil thoughts lurk very deep in the secret caverns and recesses of their dark hearts, and even with scientific tools of unconscious bias extractions you might still not succeed in knowing their true private morality. Who knows what they do behind closed doors? Or what they say at the dinner table? Or what they dream about at night? Could be anything.
The industrial revolution helped us out in many ways, making life more prosperous and financing many innovations and inventions that improved our quality of life, but that still doesn't address our moral concerns. We still don't know the secret of happiness, what makes life worth living, or how man can find the deepest meaning of his life. Yes, the welfare state is lovely, but no matter how much free money the government throws our way, we still don't have the answers we need. What really lurks in the hearts of our colleagues? That smile on their face, is it real? Deep questions that reflect our search for meaningfulness and fulfilment.
We want the government to help out by keeping us all safe, and prescribing a code of private morality by which all men must abide. We can't let individuals determine their own moral code in case they get it wrong and end up offending us. That wouldn't feel safe. In the interests of social justice, our only option is to determine our private morality by majority vote. Luckily, majority votes are easy to attain in this Age of Political Consensus.
Much as it pains us to do so, because we are True Conservatives with Deep Libertarian instincts, we will be forced to morph into accidental totalitarians (we had no choice!) and pass legislation prescribing the Private Moral Code by which all men must live their lives. We will have no option but to very reluctantly, and with great regret, whip everyone into line, so life can be a bit more fair, a bit less meaningless, and a bit more Moral. Let's build back better, and ensure that every person in our society is a good person.
So much frustration comes from looking to the government to supply not only our food, clothing, shelter, but also on top of that, to supply us with answers to deeper concerns. We want the government to pass new legislation giving meaning to our lives, identifying what makes the human condition worth all the trials and frailties that come along with it, and assuring us of our self-esteem and self-respect. 'There needs to be a new law making sure all people are good people and life is worth living!' we cry.
This new Moral Code would be superimposed onto the old liberal consensus which assumed that social policy should be limited to public affairs. We now know that public affairs extend to matters of private morality, which makes the old concept of social policy no longer fit for purpose.
Reality check: There is no law on earth that can tell us what to cherish within ourselves, and no amount of rioting for social justice will ever change that.
Scholar, Writer, Friend