Your thoughts are a police matter

A police ‘community cohesion officer’ visited Harry Miller at work and said: “I’m here to check your thinking.”

Humpty Dumpty, the prince of the modern world

This showed laudable self-confidence, for even neuropsychologists equipped with every manner of scanner are defeated by the task of monitoring the purity of human thought.

Yet the constable was undaunted. He scrutinised Mr Miller’s thinking for 34 minutes and allowed that it fell just short of a felony.

However, the tweets posted by Mr Miller will be recorded as a “non-crime hate incident”, which will tarnish his CV for ever. But he should count himself lucky: he could be doing porridge.

In fact, I’m amazed Mr Miller is at large. For he committed an offence against the very essence of modernity, sacrilege against the dominant secular cult.

Mr Miller obstreperously clings on to the outdated belief that a person’s sex is solely determined by a combination of chromosomes, not by consumer choice expressed through surgery and hormonal treatments.

Such thoughts are dangerous enough even if held in private. But Mr Miller had the gall to commit them to social media. He posted some doggerel accompanied by a satirical entreaty: “I was assigned mammal at birth but my orientation is fish. Don’t mis-species me.” 

I feel slighted. For I’ve been cracking such jokes for years, and yet no policeman has paid me a visit yet. As they say in New York, what am I, chopped liver?

Actually, I’m glad I’ve been spared. For my temperament isn’t as placid as Mr Miller’s seems to be.

If a ‘community cohesion officer’ came to investigate my thoughts, I’d tell him to perform the contortionist feat that only an exceptionally well-endowed man could contemplate. Now, that would be an offence in itself, and I could be prosecuted even if my thoughts passed muster.

Anyway, Mr Miller got off easy. He even went so far as to sue the police force involved, along with the College of Policing. And – are you ready for this? – Mr Justice Julian Knowles found for the claimant, citing freedom of speech.

In his ruling His Honour said: “The effect of the police turning up at [Mr Miller’s] place of work because of his political opinions must not be underestimated… In this country we have never had a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi.”

He forgot to tag on a key word at the end of his sentence: yet. It’s also indicative that he described Mr Miller’s opinion as political.

It strikes me as more aesthetic, commonsensical and, if you will, scientific. For any scientist uncorrupted by ideological afflatus will confirm that, no matter how many bits one has cut off or sewn on, one’s sex won’t change.

Actually, I’m behind the times here, for no structural alterations are necessary any longer. One can simply ‘identify’ as a member of a different sex and expect everyone to accept the new identity on pain of punishment.

While applauding Mr Judge Knowles for his wisdom and courage, I can confidently predict that before long judges will be instructed to treat indiscretions like Mr Miller’s as felonies.

The judge was technically right: we don’t have a Cheka, a Gestapo or a Stasi. Yet our ‘community cohesion officers’ are similar in their goals, even if different in their methods. All such types project state power – and all modern, post-Christian, states are tyrannical in their quest to enforce uniformity.

A state imposing tyranny by unrestricted violence is called totalitarian. One imposing tyranny by appeals to some contrived moral standards is called democratic. Yet the salient point is that they both impose tyranny.

I refer to the mechanism employed by democratic states as glossocracy, government by words, typically those used in any other than their dictionary definitions, or else neologisms.

For, proceeding at a steadily accelerating pace, our civilisation first loosened and then eliminated the previously unbreakable bond between word and truth, a bond made explicit in the opening verse of St John’s Gospel.

Starting modestly, with Occam’s 14th century nominalism, and culminating in Derrida’s 20th century deconstructionism, the West gradually pushed St John aside and replaced him with Humpty Dumpty, thereby testifying to Lewis Carroll’s prophetic genius:

“ ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’

“ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

“ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all’.”

This is the essence of glossocracy laid bare. Carroll understood that whoever controlled language also controlled thought, thus becoming master.

His dystopic prophecy has come true. For modernity outpaces the darkest of fantasies and the bitterest of satires, as any reader of Huxley, Zamyatin or Orwell will confirm. To us, their books read as reportage.

Mr Miller’s post didn’t pack even a modicum of the punch to be found in the political cartoons by Gillray (d. 1815) or Rowlandson (d. 1827). Yet the government of George IV, himself often the target of savage satires, didn’t send out constables to check on the artists’ thinking.

Glossocracy might already have been making inroads, but it hadn’t yet conquered. Thus the state didn’t have to police words, nor the thoughts designated by words.  Such a victory had to wait until the arrival of our fully democratic state, practising what Tocqueville called “the tyranny of the majority”.

Actually, the majority doesn’t tyrannise. But it does make tyranny possible by acquiescing to the diktats of today’s Humpty Dumpties, who lord it over word and thought.

8 thoughts on “Your thoughts are a police matter”

  1. “For I’ve been cracking such jokes for years, and yet no policeman has paid me a visit yet.”

    At least not yet. Just saying what you said might be seen as enough to prompt a visit from the “authorities”.

  2. “ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all’.”

    Orwell must have read Carroll. Has anyone else ever made such a connection?

  3. The historical rhyme about Humpty’s death was obviously wrong. The fact that he appears to be intact and operating today convinces me that the Germans would have had plenty of Quislings to help them if they had succeeded in liberating us in 1940-41.

  4. “Love and acceptance,” weaponized words designed to disarm the unthinking who are easily deceived by emotion. They act like a spell.

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