Sydney auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous on the virtue of discrimination.
Fourcultures has written on this line of thought before – only discriminate: four versions of justice
A Hierarchical world view laments the good old days when discrimination was a virtue not a vice, since discrimination, so it is argued, is the very important act of judging between right and wrong. The problem not acknowledged by the bishop is that there is a difference between holding views on contentious moral issues (perfectly reasonable) and being paid by the government to promote these contentious views in schools and elsewhere (less reasonable).
A previous post noted that the Egalitarian world view tends to see discrimination as the thin end of the wedge, since the kinds of moral clarity and purpose proposed by Heirarchies have subjugated and oppressed people for centuries. Take the Bishop’s words, for example. He has a negative opinion of:
the view that all people, all ideologies and all behaviours have equal merit and, therefore, an equal right to exist. When there is no such thing as basic right and wrong, then any judgement of another becomes negative discrimination.
Egalitarian interpretation of this line would point out that the alternative to all people having “an equal right to exist” would be some people having less right to exist. Just who these people are who have less right to exist, the bishop should make clear, so that they can be told they have less right to exist.
There is something to be said for the recommendation that if you want to hold the moral high ground, if you want to discriminate on the basis of some kind of superior understanding of the Good, you should do so with your own money and not with the tax revenue of people who disagree with you – but the bishop isn’t saying it. Indeed, the bishop shouldn’t say it since it is clearly in the interests of his organisation to use other people’s money for precisely as long as the government will let them get away with it.
Oh for the good old days when we all knew the difference between right and wrong.
- The rise of Europe’s religious right | Sophie in ‘t Veld (guardian.co.uk)
- When discrimination is desirable (waddell.wordpress.com)
- Pope makes secret checks on clergy (theage.com.au)