Last month, the Saudi Crown Prince came to visit the UK. Saudi Arabia has long been a close ally of the West, primarily because there is oil there.
We largely ignore their deplorable human rights violations, and even though under the new prince these are slightly less awful (though still horrendous), this has been the case for years. Recently, the decision to roll out the red carpet for the Saudi Prince has been criticised by the Labour Party for the role of Saudi Arabia in funding Jihadi groups causing conflict in the Yemen. But despite how fresh this is in the mind of people, the government focused on the minor reforms the new prince has made in his country, rather than the obvious involvement in this conflict.
A major concern about this, however, is an issue that is increasingly on the rise and very difficult to write about without irritating or offending people. And that is the issue of hypocrisy when it comes to social justice campaigning. Now, let me please point out that I have said for a while now that pointing out hypocrisy does not prove a point. Just because someone is being hypocritical, does not mean that what they are saying or advocating is automatically wrong. But looking at where hypocrisy takes place highlights a very different issue. And that is the notion that liberals have lost liberal ideas in the modern world. Look at the outrage at the proposal of President Trump visiting the UK. Look at the petitions signed and the protests planned. Now, all of that is fair enough. It is people’s right to protest. I personally wouldn’t bother because, although I find Trump a deplorable man, I don’t think his actions warrant the risk of hurting the special relationship. I understand, as well, why somebody might have the same view when it comes to our relationship with the Saudis. But I honestly think that the Saudi regime is a lot more of an insult to civilized ideas than Trump’s America. But that isn’t what we see from the modern left. It’s fashionable to hate Trump.
It’s commonplace. But hating Saudi Arabia is a much more delicate issue. People don’t want to protest against social injustice if it is motivated by religious reasons. It is not fashionable to do that. In fact, it is fashionable to criticise those who do. Because everyone wants to be a social justice warrior, and it’s seemingly very easy to make links between criticisms of a religious regime, and “racism.” Ridiculous though that is, it’s so very prevalent in modern society. Now, I know that there are those on the left who would protest the Saudi Prince, but they are always demonized for doing so by these ridiculous social justice warriors. I have no problem with the Islamic religion, but I champion secularism. And religion and government are far too connected in that country. Now, I wouldn’t take it upon myself to criticise this, as my own country still isn’t secular. But I wouldn’t demonize someone for doing so. And it astounds me how many feminists get angry when people criticise the treatment of women in the Muslim world. Laurie Penny is a prime example that springs to mind, a militant feminist who has literally accused people of wanting to ban the full face veil (a religious garment) as ‘racist.’
So, can we please bring back liberal ideals, and protest things because they oppose our values, rather than because it’s fashionable to do so.