People who feel unkindly disposed towards economic migrants are chemically imbalanced, according to a study from the University of Bonn. More specifically, they are deficient in oxytocin, a neuropeptide hormone sometimes known as the ‘cuddle drug’ because of its ability to turn normal human beings into simpering halfwits.
Psychologists ran a series of studies in which Germans were asked how much money they would like to give to, say, Tariq and Mohammed, who have just arrived here from Syria. ‘Nothing at all, unless they intend to spend it on a ticket home’ is of course the correct response, and indeed many Germans initially concurred with this. However, after they were bunged some oxytocin they were handing out the dosh willy-nilly. Remarkable. Perhaps German women should be given regular doses to make them more amenable when they are sexually assaulted by the so-called refugees. Or perhaps the researchers have got the whole thing the wrong way round and the people who are most fervently in favour of the unlimited arrival of talented brain surgeons, engineers, physicists etc from the Levant, Somalia and beyond actually have far too much oxytocin, and it is they who are chemically imbalanced, not the rest of us.
I checked the effects of an oxytocin overdose — you tell me if you think the following egregious states strike a chord when you watch liberals marching through London to protest about something or other: mania, hypersensitivity, memory impairment, intense confusion, shakiness, stupidity, convulsions and restlessness. I reckon I may be on to something. Perhaps if we gave liberals oxytocin inhibitors they would end up being at least borderline rational, able to debate the issue without screaming ‘they are human beings!’ and sobbing uncontrollably.
In the meantime we’d better get used to the left deciding that people who hold views with which they disagree are either evil or chemically or mentally unbalanced. It is a kind of gentle totalitarianism (at times, not that gentle) and it has been on the rise for quite a while. For many years now, people in the workplace who express views which run counter to the party line on feminism, LGBT rights, transgender rights, disablement and so on have been routinely sent on re-education courses where they are left in no doubt that their opinions are ‘unaccept-able’ and must change. It is a source of great shame to me that while I worked at the BBC I was sent on only one of these, and that was one which was compulsory for everybody.
Footballers who express doubts about the legitimacy of gay marriage, or homosexual sex, are fined and sent off to be brainwashed. Social workers who oppose gay parenting are usually just kicked out, no course needed. As are Christian social workers who dare, at any point, to mention the word ‘God’ to their clients or their colleagues. In such a way, views which are shared by a significant minority — or even a majority — of British people are rendered contraband and samizdat. Areas of debate are closed down, because as far as the liberals are concerned, there is no debate at all. And so we arrive at a stage where people are banned from speaking on college campuses because their views might transgress any one of countless asinine shibboleths imposed by the authoritarian adolescents of the NUS (usually with the craven support of the college authorities).
But this fury does not stop at criminalising opinion. It will also criminalise fact, when the fact is inconvenient. For example, to state that the acquired gender of a man who has transitioned into a woman is less authentic than the gender into which he was born is almost always, scientifically, a fact. Check the chromosomes. But simply to state it will get you banned from speaking at our universities and will most likely get you into trouble at work.
Then there’s the case of the sacked Google engineer. James Damore wrote a ten-page treatise on why he thought Google’s equality and diversity programme was not working. In particular, he suggested that the reason there were fewer women working as engineers and at higher echelons in the company was because they might not be suited to the work. He phrased his objections inelegantly and without caveats, but the gist of what he was saying was almost certainly right. In British schools, 90 per cent of students taking computing at A-level are male. Just as almost 80 per cent of students taking physics are male. There has to be a reason for this and it cannot simply be down to institutionalised gender inequality. Despite 30 years of educationalists trying desperately to raise the percentage of women taking physics, despite government directives and the WISE campaign with Princess Anne as its patron, the proportions of women studying technology and the sciences remain stubbornly low.
You might draw from this a conclusion that, on average, more men than women wish to work in such areas and that even if discrimination still exists, either engendered in the home or reinforced by schools and popular culture, there is still a more basic reason why girls don’t go into hard science. That is all that James Damore was trying to say. And yet after three and a half years of service he was kicked out because he had, said Google, ‘promoted harmful gender stereotypes and violated our code of conduct’.
The notion that he might be right, which he almost certainly is, did not remotely occur to them. It is something they are not allowed to think. When it came to dealing with someone who possessed views different to their own, suddenly Google’s oxytocin levels dropped very sharply, as is so often the case.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $20 for 10 issues