Nowadays, liberal democracy rule virtually governs the world. The irony is that modern day conservatives are often seen and referred to as fascists. Such an extreme term does not only not do justice to the true conservative movement, but it also highlights the inability of many proponents of leftist ideology to accept the existence of an ideology which is different to theirs.
Such a sheltered mentality which proponents of the left exhibit, fuels impaired judgments on the topic of equality and justice. Equality for all can never truly materialise. Take for example music. I might be an avid rock fan, whilst you may take pleasure from listening to classical music. Yes, we may agree to be tolerant towards one another’s musical preference and even perhaps in an ideal world take turns in choosing a song at a party. Yet, this does not transcribe to an unanimously happy society. Someone who may hate music might not agree with such a previously mentioned arrangement, and will therefore challenge us to instead turn off the music completely.
This is the greatest flaw of our evolved society. In our quest to reach universal equality and tolerance, we fall victims to our own fight. Laws prohibiting discrimination— such as gendered or disabled discrimination, is very well intended, and I am personally of the belief that it shows our fondness of kinship as humans. Yet, such laws are twofold, in the sense of the equal danger they possess. When we enter an arena of government-regulated speech or certain civilian conduct, it becomes a direct breach of freedom. So in other words, our quest for ensuring the protection of human rights is the very thing preventing us from achieving this.
Currently, within the Maltese parliament, two equality bills are being discussed. Such bills (which also deal with the imposition of monetary fines for their breach) describe discrimination (which they hope to curb) in very broad terms. This should scare you to your core. A member of the clergy posting a poster in line with Catholic theology and doctrine— such as that marital unions should take place between a man and a woman, could be subject to six different court proceedings. If anything, this is absolutely absurd to say the least.
If such a law is indeed approved, religious symbols which do not hold a cultural value will be prohibited in public. Not only is such a statement vague, but it is also pure lunacy. This is Malta. We may score high within various equality and social tolerance measures and EU barometers (such as the ILGA Rainbow Map), yet we surely seem to exhibit self loathing and a lack of respect when it comes to the Catholic Church and our own beliefs.
Whether you are catholic or not, you cannot deny that our culture is heavily intertwined with the Catholic Church. In its bid for equality, such a bill would prohibit you from wearing a cross around your neck, or holding a rosary bead on the bus. If this is not fascism, then I don’t know what is. It not only is in direct breach of the constitution, it also ensures anything but the intended equality. Such a bill is also shocking because the person who is accused has the burden of proof that he is not guilty, rather than the accuser.
A bill which not only strips you from your freedom of speech, religious expression and thought, but allows a person to be charged for vague and unclear discriminatory behaviour, is pure fascism in its very most sense. We should not abandon our values in order to satisfy equality for all, because the latter can never truly be achieved. And if such a bill does indeed pass, equality will be definitely far from achieved.
Written by: Juanita Galea