The Power of Stupidity

When I read the other day that Lord Neuberger, Britain's top judge, had stated that Muslim women should be able to testify in court wearing full face coverings it drove home to me yet again just how stupid the most capable people can be.

Lord Neuberger must surely be a man of at least reasonable intellect. But constrain any intellect, no matter how powerful, within the limits of certain unquestioned assumptions and you get not great judgement but great folly. This is what has happened in this case and this is what is happening over and over again in the minds of so many western leaders.

Lord Neuberger is a champion of "diversity", that ill-defined good that supposedly comes from being accepting of more and more and greater and greater differences. This acceptance transmutes the potential for hatred and conflict that naturally arises from differences into a harmonious utopia of universal tolerance. Every sect learns to accept the views of every other as a worthwhile contribution to the whole...blah, blah, blah.

Given this underlying assumption of the goodness of diversity and the gains to be made from accepting it, Lord Neuberger falls naturally into the trap of thinking that showing greater respect for different customs and cultures (apparently regardless of what those cultures actually believe) will bring about positive outcomes. How could he think otherwise? Such is the power of unquestioned assumptions.

Has Lord Neuberger ever stopped to consider whether the customs and cultures he respects show a reciprocal respect for his culture? I doubt it.

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