Thought Police


When orthodoxy becomes optional, it will sooner or later be prohibited’*

Sooner rather than later.

Consider the case of Dr David MacKereth, a doctor of 26 years standing in the NHS who has been refused employment as a disability assessor with the Department of Work and Pensions because he refuses to identify patients as being of a sex that they have themselves chosen or ‘see themselves as’.

Dr MacKereth is a Reformed Baptist, and appeals to scripture as authority for the conviction that sex is genetic and biological, and so established at birth.

But his views are not exclusive to men and women of faith: until very recent times they were generally shared. Gender dysphoria was, until recently, almost universally deemed to be treated more appropriately by the psychiatrist rather than the surgeon. In all probability that remains the majority opinion.

The change of attitude has come about not as a result of any new and incontrovertible scientific evidence, but as a result of political agitation by an interested minority.

This minority (in the nature of the case it is impossible to say how large it is) has now gained the sanction of the law. The DWP, Dr MacKereth was told, had ‘consulted lawyers’ and was adamant that any report or contact with clients should refer to them in their chosen sex otherwise it ‘could be considered to be harassment as defined by the 2010 Equality Act’.

Dr MacKereth is right to be alarmed. The imposition by law of the view that sex, as a matter of human rights, is self-determinative, is objectively unfounded. It imposes upon others an opinion, grounded in no more than sentiment, which cannot (in the nature of the case) be vindicated by reason or by science.

It is, as Bishop Butler said of Enthusiasm, ‘a horrid thing; a very horrid thing indeed’. And the more horrid when enacted by lawyers on behalf of a bureaucracy.

*Fr Richard John Neuhaus

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