Home > The Monday Musings Column > on well meant hypocrisy

on well meant hypocrisy

One of my female business acquaintances recently berated me for being the only one of her social media contacts not to forward on something that she posted about the plight of young girls in certain countries around the world. My failure to support her cause had obviously upset her, but I have strong feelings myself about issues like this and, whilst they trouble me, it is not for the same reason as my friend.

The lady concerned is a fervent Remainer and a self-confessed Leftie who has been very vocal about the British Imperial past whereby we, in her view, oppressed those whose countries we colonised by trying to, amongst other things, convert them to our religion and customs. She is also very critical of the way that we treat immigrants to the UK in not wanting them to bring their customs here; we should instead embrace them as what they bring enriches our society.

Both points are all very well, but I feel that there is some hypocrisy here in that her cause for young girls around the world is surely an example of us trying to “civilise” people in another country. Yes taking child brides and FGM are abhorrent to our society, but what right have we to tell someone else that their customs are wrong? To me it is one of the things that we used to do as a colonial power and if you think that we were wrong then how can you agree that it right to do it now?

Effectively the message is that other cultures are to be embraced, but not in their entirety. When I put this to my friend she could not see the conflict in her stance and that saddens me. I am not certain that I am right, but it seems to me to be wrong to go to another country and try to change their way of life. By the same standard here we have laws and standards and people who come to live in this country should abide by them.

For me it is one thing for the United Nations to decide that it is necessary to send in a force to stop, for example, genocide in another country, but it is entirely another thing to have private organisations, no matter how well meaning, trying to convert people in other countries to our way of thinking. It suggests that we hold ourselves better than them and I think that is wrong. In fact I see it as nothing less than one strand of white supremacist thinking.

I have no doubt that my friend and those who think like her have the right motives at heart. They do not mean to be hypocrites, but I think that they are. Maybe I am wrong on this and I leave it to you to make up your own minds. One of my more controversial posts, but It has been nagging at me since my friend brought it up, so there it is.

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