Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Freedom anniversary shows good and bad of Big Government Liberalism

Thoughts abound on the twentieth anniversary of the Homosexual Law Reform Act, from Liberty Scott, to Idiot/Savant, to DPF, to a series of pieces at GayNZ.Com.

My own thoughts can be summarised in the title of Gay NZ's series and also of Idiot/Savant's piece at No Right Turn: Twenty Years of Freedom. As Liberty Scott says, the criminalisation of homosexuality "shows how readily the Police were willing to clamp down on ANYONE the state deemed as 'perverted.' If you wonder how fascism can come to pass, then look – because it existed, for gay people until 1986."

For mine, the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Act comfirms both the good and the bad of Big Government Liberalism: like the 'big government' liberals who sponsored the law, it was a thing of two halves.
  • The good in the Big Government Liberal is contained in the word Liberal. Lindsay Perigo puts the 'liberal' argument on victimless crimes very simply, "It's not the business of the state what you choose to put in your body, or whom." To have criminalised acts between consenting adults that ain't nobody's business but the actors is itself obscene, as was the state's hounding of people over something as personal as their sexual choices -- hounding to death in some cases. To have liberalised that awful stain on human liberty was a breath of fresh, free liberal air. That was the good half of the Act.
  • And the bad? The bad in the Big Government Liberal is contained in those two little words: Big Government. The Big Government liberal sees no progress without government action, and sadly, that stain on liberalism was also reflected in the bad half of the Homosexual Law Reform Act. The big government liberals rightly rejected the conservative enforcement of morality by Big Government, but sadly replaced that wrong with their own form of enforcement of morality by Big Government: it outlawed discrimination against homosexuals by employers, landlords and the like. While the Homosexual Law Reform Act got the government out of people's bedrooms, where it should have never been, it got more government into more offices, businesses, workplaces and other places in other people's lives where it hadn't been before. By taking away people's right to discriminate -- their right to choose wrong -- the Big Government Liberals replaced one wrong with another.
That said, the good in this Act overwhelmingly outweighed the bad. “I felt it was wrong for New Zealand," said Fran Wilde, the sponsor of the Reform Bill. "It was a huge black hole in our human rights legislation and it needed to be fixed for everybody – not only for gay people, but for non-gays too, because it was just wrong.” Good on her.

LINKS: Twenty years of sexual freedom - Liberty Scott

Twenty years of freedom - No Right Turn
Twenty years of freedom - GayNZ.Com

TAGS: Victimless Crimes, Politics-NZ, History-Twentieth Century

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